A couple of the Guerrillas and I took another quick trip up to Massachusetts to hit the big time breweries up there…more on that to come, stay tuned. First, as a Jersey guy I want to get a little NJ representation on here. Carton Brewing out of the Atlantic Highlands, NJ, is as good of a place to start as any; with a 95 score on Beer Advocate, 077XX is a strong way to kick it off.
The description on the can:
Like all things truly Jersey, 077XX makes the most in balancing through its accentuation of extremes. Inspired by the west coast IPAs we love, we added a thump of hops to a dynamic malt profile and chose a yeast to drive these two further than they wanted to go. Throw our water into this mix and you will find dank green resinous hops popping over orange, mango and papaya aromas, with just enough sweetness of body to make the long finish a pleasure to have around. A double IPA perfect for adding fuel to the fire of a dinner, a game, or an idea, drink it when your night matters.
077XX pours a really rich golden/amberish (not a word) color. The color looks almost like you poured some pineapple juice into a glass of orange juice, or vice versa. Light gets though the beer but it is definitely hazy. There is about 1 finger of white head that look very much like soap bubbles, and it dissipated quickly. Truly a good looking beer.
There is a crazy strong hop aroma from the minute you crack open the can. The smell of hops is even more evident once the beer’s poured into a glass. Huge citrus aroma for sure. Orange, grapefruit, mango are all there. The can does say papaya also which I either wasn’t getting or don’t know what papaya smells like, both equally possible. This thing smells tropical, slightly slightly dank, and amazing.
077XX tastes even better than it smells. Pretty much all of the aromas are there in the taste: orange, mango, slight grapefruit, and a ton of hops. The taste is slightly sweet and earthy with just a touch of bitterness to balance it. I got more of the malts and a slight breadiness (also not sure a word) on the aftertaste. A light and smooth mouthfeel with a fair amount of alcohol to balance the whole thing out.
I may be biased but I feel that the NJ craft brew scene is really making some strides towards producing beers that are on par with all the craft brewery kings you hear so much about. 077XX is a perfect example of that. This beer looks great, smells fantastic, and is completely delicious. The hop aromas and flavors are nearly perfectly balanced with the tropical fruit aromas and flavors. This East Coast Double IPA is an 8/10 for me and is something you should seek out.