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Dedicated to the idea that beer should be inclusive, approachable and excellent, Castle Island Brewing Company has been pumping out award-winning beer across various styles much to the delight of beer lovers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island–and now Castle Island is coming to New Hampshire!

 

The company’s headquarters in Norwood, MA is home to its production facility and original taproom. Castle Island also opened a second taproom and brewery in South Boston in 2021, in an industrial building once owned by the great-grandfather of Castle Island founder, Adam Romanow. Both locations have a wide variety of experimental R&D beers alongside their core brews with lots of fun events happening. Kudos to their in-house food partners at Bardo’s Bar Pizza, who were recently named the best bar pizza in Boston.

While plenty of folks have been flocking to Castle Island’s two MA locations, beer lovers in NH can pick up a 16 oz. 4-pack or grab a pint in their home state, starting in February. “We are really excited about introducing our beers to New Hampshire,” says Romanow. “Since we opened in 2015, we’ve been getting phone calls, emails and DMs from Granite Staters asking us to send our beer north but we’ve always embraced an “inch wide, mile deep” distribution philosophy, so we wanted to take our time and not expand until we were in a sustainable place to do so. We’re glad that time is finally here, and we’re excited to have a partner like Amoskeag to make it happen.”

“With the explosion of the craft beer space, quality has become the price of entry, so we pride ourselves on making beers across a range of styles that are balanced in flavor, embrace the art of subtlety, sport a mid-range ABV and are reliably consistent,” adds Romanow. “Our production team has over 50 years of combined experience to help bring this vision to life. I like to say – only partly in jest – that we make beer we like to drink, not sip and our variety and recipes all reflect that mentality. At the end of the day, it’s just beer – it’s supposed to be fun. We want to keep it that way.”

Coming soon to a cooler or a bar near you–Keeper, their flagship IPA, is the product of many late-night and weekend home brewing sessions. This smooth but punchy, balanced yet intense beer was named after a great friend of Romanow who exclaimed, “well, this one’s a keeper,” after trying it. Fiver, their Hazy IPA, was born early in the pandemic alongside a companion program called the Fiver Initiative, where Castle Island partnered exclusively with five charities for a whole year to maximize the impact of their financial giving efforts. Hi-Def, DIPA, hits with fresh melon, papaya and tangerine flavors. White is a Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with Valencia orange and coriander. This bright, beautiful, award-winning American White Ale won the Silver Medal in the Belgian Witbier category at the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship.

There’s a sign that hangs above Castle Island’s loading dock that reads, “If you’re not proud of it, don’t ship it.” That sign was originally put up by one of the building’s prior tenants but Castle Island quickly adopted it as their own internal mantra and have infused that mentality into their culture, brand and their product.

To learn more about Castle Island Brewing Co, head on over to their website here, and be on the lookout for their amazing beers all over the Granite State very soon.

 

Words: Kelly Kirkpatrick, editor of The Heady Times. To learn more about The Heady Times, check out our Publications page.

Photos: Mike Lianza, Marketing Director at Amoskeag Beverages

Nearly 30 years after it was first released, Allagash White is still one of the best-selling Belgian-style witbiers in the world. But the team at Allagash knew it was time to add an IPA to the roster – both for consumers and themselves. “First and foremost, our staff loves drinking great IPAs, myself included,” Allagash Brewmaster of 24 years, Jason Perkins said on the brewery’s podcast From Maine, With Love. “It’s not at all uncommon for me to visit an account in town and of course, my first beer is always Allagash, but my second beer is often an IPA.”

Even the brewery’s most ardent fans – people who have made a pilgrimage to the taproom in Maine – have asked Allagash to make a beer on the hoppier side. Sales Director Naomi Neville explained, “In the tasting room, the first question patrons often ask is ‘what’s your hoppiest beer,’ or ‘do you have an IPA?’ We’ll finally be able to say yes.”

“We’ve been making IPAs off and on over the years, but it’s not something we have done on a national scale,” said Perkins. “From the get-go, we were looking for something timeless, something approachable, but assertive in hop aroma.”

After seven months and 17 different recipes, everyone at the brewery was confident that they had created an IPA with an Allagash spin – a beer their fans would love but that could also recruit curious, new drinkers to the fold. The final result is Hop Reach IPA – a full-bodied and refreshing IPA, blooming with lush hop notes at 6.8% ABV. Brewery Founder Rob Tod is excited about the first IPA to join Allagash’s year-round lineup, to say the least. “Hop Reach is our own, uniquely Allagash IPA and we can’t wait for people to enjoy it as much as we do.”

But there was one more job ahead of them… design a label that says to consumers, “Hey, Hop Reach is an Allagash IPA and it’s really special.” The marketing team got to work. They decided a cream-colored can communicated approachability, while the tropical-colored hops on the label speak to the beer’s balanced, bright, citrusy flavors. The design was also created with shelf placement in mind. The team wanted a timeless, classic label that could sit next to Allagash White and wouldn’t look out of place or become dated too quickly.

As for the name, Hop Reach was chosen for some very good reasons. Allagash brewers and brewery employees often find themselves reaching for an IPA, so Hop Reach is a “fun play on the word,” according to Senior Communications Specialist Brett Willis. A little less obvious, but also significant, is a not-so-well-known definition of “reach” which the dictionary says is “a stretch of river or straight expansive stream.” This ties in nicely because many labels in the Allagash portfolio display streams and rivers. And you may ask, “Why are these waterways important in the first place?” The Allagash River, a federally protected waterway rich with Native American history, runs right through northern Maine.

Wrapping up a conversation with Brewmaster Perkins – he offered to describe Hop Reach in 3 little words…”citrusy, tropical & refreshing”! So, check in with your Sales Rep; Amoskeag will be carrying Hop Reach in 16 oz. cans, 12 oz. cans,  and draught beginning in February! It won’t be long until you can crack open a Hop Reach and enjoy!

 

Words: Kelly Kirkpatrick, editor of The Heady Times. To learn more about The Heady Times, check out our Publications page.

Photos and Video Courtesy of Allagash Brewing Company.