Beer of the Week: Heavy Seas Pale Ale

This week’s Beer of the Week is a brew by Heavy Seas Beer.  This line of beers is actually brewed by the more well-known Clipper City Brewing Company, which you’ve probably heard of.  So who/what is Heavy Seas?  I’ll let them tell you:

“Brewed by Baltimore’s Clipper City Brewing Co., Heavy Seas is produced by Baltimore craft beer pioneer Hugh Sisson – the brewery’s founder and managing partner – and Brewmaster Ernesto Igot, formerly brewmaster at San Miguel Brewery in the Philippines.  After successfully lobbying the Maryland Legislature to legalize brewpubs, Hugh began brewing professionally in 1989 at his family’s Baltimore pub – Sisson’s – which was coincidentally Maryland’s first brewpub.  In 1994 he left Sisson’s to found Clipper City and has been involved in all aspects of the business – brewing, finance, marketing, and sales.

Combined Hugh and Ernie represent over 50 years of experience in developing, producing, marketing, and selling fine beer.  Totally driven by a passion to make richly flavored beers, they are also focused on making beers with finesse and balance.  Their wealth of experience gives them a firm foundation in the values of traditional brewing methods, yet they also share a desire to create new beer experiences.  The result is a brand that captures the best of both worlds – modern beer thinking blended with the best elements of traditional methods.  We offer:  

    • Multiple fleets showcasing a broad range of styles and gravities
    • Over 7 different yeast varieties to create unique flavors
    • Many beers are naturally conditioned in either the bottle or cask.  Our cask ales are sought after up and down the east coast
    • Using both flower and pellet hops results in bold flavors with elegance and subtlety
    • Filtration is often coarse and sometimes eliminated entirely, yielding more rounded, complex flavors
    • Certain beers are given special wood aging treatments yielding additional complexity
    • A number of beers are vintage dated, intended to be aged for increased complexity”

So basically, you’ve got two beer badasses combining to brew some fantastically different types of beer.  I actually stumbled upon the Heavy Seas name at a local Fairfax bar called Fat Tuesdays.  They have a number of Heavy Seas’ brews on tap and I had heard people rave about them.

The brew I tried was their classic Pale Ale.  Heavy Seas description of the beer is as follows:

“Amber in color with a nice earthy hop aroma. Distinctly British in character with a firm malt character and a crisp, angular hop finish. Pairs well with burgers, chili and spicy foods.”

Pretty spot on.  I’m not sure I know what a “british” beer tastes like, but it was an excellent pale ale.  The alcohol/volume was modest at 4.75%, but it did make the beer quite easy to drink.  The hop level was great and I really like how they tell you what foods each beer pairs well with, I’m awful at that.  I had this one with some pork chops and it was phenomenal.  Overall, I was pleasantly surprised.

Heavy Seas actually has a number of beers that they separate into three “fleets”: the Pyrate Fleet (higher alcohol content around 7-8%), the Clipper Fleet (classic brews all under 6% alcohol), and the Mutiny Fleet (bold styles on limited release).  I would recommend trying some of their different styles.  They really have something for everyone.

Conclusion: I’ll take one of each.

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