Saturday, August 13, 2011

Paper City Brewing's Holyoke Dam Ale

As the prophet Sophie B. Hawkins once poetically said, "Dam. I wish I was your lover". Now why she's talking to a damn dam beats the heck outta me.

This stuff hails from Holyoke, Massachusetts which is the birthplace of volleyball, theorized to be invented by late descendants of Misty Mae, what a babe. I always thought it was an eastern European thing but apparently it was invented in 1895. Holyoke also hosts the second largest St. Patrick's Day parade, after New York City, which brings in close to half a million patrons. I was there. I've seen better, not bigger though. I mean, I dunno, how exciting are parades anyways, ya turkey?

The reference to the dam on this beer isn't just to appeal to water power enthusiasts; there is actually an impressive water power system in Holyoke. Back in 1827, the first water powered cotton looms, and probably a few Cotton Gins for you Eli Whitney fans out there, harnessed the water power of the Connecticut River and expanded and reconditioned to generate enough power to fuel 450 mills in the mid 1800s. Today the canal system is 4.5 miles long and generates power in the range of "a shit-ton" and "a whole hell of a lot"

The Holyoke Dam ale is a English style ale. I'm in the process of trying to find out more about them. They don't currently have any information on their ingredients or ABV's on their larger quantity brews. This beer has a sweet, mellow scent with a hint of caramel. The taste is medium to lower bodied, so you can knock a few of these back. This has a slightly sour, bitter aftertaste and the overall taste is a malty, semi-sweet, nutty flavor. They leave some sugar behind to increase it to maximum maltiness, which is evident in the thick foam lingering on the glass. Again, not sure about the ABV yet by my brain is telling me it's higher than Montel Williams at a Phish concert in the Netherlands.

This beer is really easy to drink and has a great nutty aftertaste that makes it seem like you were eating hazelnuts all day; even when you haven't. You can pick up a 6-er of this stuff for $9.00 but I picked up their 12-bottle variety pack for $16 bones. It's a little hard to come across if you are out of the Springfield, MA area, but if you are in the Boston area, they serve it at Bukowskis. The label is also pretty killer, showing the Holyoke Dam, and Paper City is a pretty unknown brew outside Hampden County, so you will definitely look like a booze snob if you roll deep to a party with some of this.

Drinkability: 8/10
Taste: 6/10
Value: ???/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 7.0/10

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