Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale – 7% ABV
I was in a weird mood yesterday. I was torn as to which bomber of what beer I wanted to drink and review last night. Just for kicks, I decided to have another of the selections that came in the mail the other day. In case you may have forgotten, I have a membership in a Microbrewed Beer of the Month club. Each month the UPS guy hands me a box full of 12 delicious brews, an assortment pack – three beers each of four different styles. This particular one came from the D.L. Geary Brewing Company, based out of Portland, ME. The name of this brew is Geary’s HSA, or Hampshire Special Ale. This is an English Strong Ale that checks in at 7% ABV.
Poured into a tulip glass, we get a clear deep reddish-amber body (almost to the point of being brown) with a nice cream-colored 2-finger-thick foam head that diminished to a nice layer of film around the edge of the glass. A little bit of spotty lacing persists. Sure this thing looks good, but how will it smell? How will it taste? These are the two most important qualities a beer should have. Kind of obvious don’t you think? Let’s give it a test drive.
Interesting nose on Geary’s Hampshire Special. Immediately you sense the bready aromas from the malt, something like a chocolate and caramel backbone right off the bat, with some dark bread action coming in to assist. What follows is an interesting combination of yeasty esters and floral hoppiness. Maybe come citrus element in there as well, but regardless, this is pretty nice on the nose. Better have a taste.
Upon my first sip, the taste is predominantly caramel, with the malts pushing the rich sweetness and then in the end being accompanied by a floral hop presence. It is medium-bodied and nicely carbonated. It doesn’t leave a very strong bitterness in your mouth after drinking it, just enough to balance the heavier-than-your-average-beer boozy strength. Honestly throughout the session, the malt and the hops arm-wrestled back and forth for bragging rights. Who won? We’ll let you decide. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth and easy to quaff.
This big daddy is easy to drink, yet packs a pretty nice punch. I was surprised that this wasn’t more filling and heavy on the palate and the gut. It wasn’t watery, but it wasn’t too thick either. Nicely proportioned. I would have this again. It’s not my favorite brew, I’ve had so many stellar options to choose from, but this one can hold its own, especially if you’re into this type of beer. Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale isn’t bad for the style, although I have yet to seek out more of its brethren for comparison purposes. And on that note, the search continues. Cheers!