Welcome to the Boston Better Beer Bureau, our latest incarnation of the trusty suds reporting we’ve done at DigBoston ever since people referred to beer as suds. Really, we remember the days when we’d spend half our checks on fancy German bottles just so that we could review them, whereas these days breweries from all around New England kindly send us samplers and stay in touch. The BBBB is a new attempt to return that love, all while sharing more news about the innumerable microbreweries and pubs among us.
I don’t have to ask if you have ever been to an event or party that you didn’t really want to attend. It’s pretty much a rite of passage, if not a regular routine for many—especially if you live in one of those fantasy lives in which partners cutely do stuff that their significant others want them to do, as opposed to throwing up a wall and refusing to emerge from your comfort zone, as I typically do.
In case you haven’t guessed it, I attended such a less-than-voluntary shindig a few weeks ago. It was a typical underwhelming experience—all the guys were talking sports, and as usual in these kinds of scenarios, I found myself off in a corner, drinking away much boredom and pain. And then I pulled a Black Hog IPA that I had picked at Craft Beer Cellar from the cooler, wiped off any excess icy water and cracked open the can, and like that I became content, a cucumber among a cast of stereotypical Type A tamales.
A 6.2% ABV number packing top notch Citra and Mosaic hops, this relatively new selection from the Connecticut-based Black Hog Brewing Co. is a certifiable standout and delicious social lubricant. It’s not too hoppy, but rather is ideally hoppy, firmly juxtaposed with sweet notes and syrupy smoothness. If your jaw and palate are adjusted for rugged selections, this IPA will satisfy; if you’re not a big fan of big hops, I still recommend giving one a pour.
While I hate to focus on aesthetics, I feel compelled to mention the simplistic beauty of the Black Hog can. A basic two-tone design that nevertheless stands out in the cooler, its look reflects the thick yet crystally concoction on the inside. An exercise in balance, this IPA could proudly stand beside any of the exalted local standbys, from Be Hoppy by Wormtown to Lord Hobo’s Hobo Life. Let’s hope it gets the opportunity and soon.
Oh, and as it turns out, great beer also makes for great conversation, even in those awkward friend-of-a-friend’s barbecue kind of moments. Weeks later, I can’t even recall what the other people in the backyard looked like, but I remember every sip of Black Hog I put down, as well as the praise and discussion that ensuingly brewed around the bonfire, cans in hand.
Citizen Strain/Grain is an amalgamation of a bunch of us who, in addition to the hard and oftentimes depressing journalism we report for the Dig, also enjoy sampling and writing about the various beers, spirits, and cannabis products that vendors from near and far send our way. If you want us to check out your product, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.