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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Celebrating 3 Years of Man Drinks Beer...

On April 26th, 2014, this blog turned 3 years old.

And I totally, completely forgot about it.

Bad beer blogger, I know.

Year three has been a blur-the new career has kept me otherwise occupied, as have the ever growing and demanding children of the Man Drinks Beer Household, so new content on the blog has been far less frequent that in years one and two. MDB kid # 3 is due this summer, so the content is going to continue to lag.

But the craft beer scene in Massachusetts and across the country continues to grow. And so will this blog, albeit slowly.

One local MA brewery that's grown significantly this past year is Everett's Nightshift Brewing. Founded in 2012 and dedicated to "brewing memorable beers with a wide array of rich, complex flavors", Nightshift recently opened a brand new, expanded brewery and taproom at 87 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA.

Despite their great reputation, until this weekend, I had never had a Nightshift beer. I have no idea why. But it was something I felt I needed to rectify.

Viva Habanera
Nightshift Brewing
Everett, MA
7% ABV

I'm a sucker for beer with Habaneros. I just love what a spicy pepper can do to a beer, and I've found Habaneros to be the best at imparting both heat and flavor to beers. Add to the mix that Viva Habanera is a Rye Ale- spicy in its own right- and also has some agave, and you've got something really interesting going on here.

It was with eager anticipation that, after letting it warm for 15 minutes, I popped the cork and poured this into my glass.

Viva pours almost red, with a tinge of honey color, and a loose, fluffy off white head. Its clear, not cloudy, and deep in color.

I get a whiff of agave sweetness at first sniff, followed by noticeable spice, more black pepper than habanero at this point though. I take a sip, and here's where this beer quickly- and oh not so subtly- begins to assert itself....

Initial mouthfeel is moderate, almost light, but not quite. Nice texture, and some active bubbles on the tongue....

...and then these bubbles then absolutely freaking EXPLODE on the tongue, releasing a massive heat wave of spice. It's hot. I mean, like, Africa hot. Its intense and flavorful, but its difficult to discern rye from the habaneros in the initial assault. When the habaneros finally recede a touch I finally get some noticeable rye. Finish is very dry (or maybe my mouth is just completely dehydrated, I just can't tell at this point).

Wow, this beer is an absolute punch in the face of flavor, and I love it. With Viva Habenera, Nightshift remains true to their mission of producing memorable beers with complex flavors. This is a great brew, but its not for the faint of heart, spice averse, or craft beer newbies. The flavors in this beer are very complex- the heat of the habanero is the star, clearly- but the agave sweetness is also there, as is the more subtle rye spice, and if you can deal with the heat you'll enjoy a truly unique, flavorful, tasty beer. And really, isn't that we all really want?


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