Black Hog Brewing, based out of Oxford, announced last Saturday that their brews would soon be on tap at bars and restaurants throughout CT. We know people probably wet themselves with excitement…and we were part of the wetters. Our curiosity with Black Hog was stoked back in April when we had the chance to talk with Jason Sobocinski who along with brother Tom (both of Caseus in New Haven) and Head Brewer Tyler Jones (formerly of Portsmouth Brewpub) would open up Black Hog in the former Cavalry Brewing building in Oxford. They got everybody excited and, if your favorite spot didn’t have it, people were urged to ask. So, we did what most people here in the Stamford area would do: we got in touch with Gerard Robertson, owner of Coalhouse Pizza. Turns out he already had them on tap and had all four Black Hog brews that they are launching their brewery with.
So, after we judged the Fairway Firefighter Cook-Off, you best believe we hit up Coalhouse with fellow judge, beer savant, and Stamford Advocater, Scott Gargan. Our mission: try all 4 brews and report back to you.
Well, here we go:
S.W.A.G.: Summer Wheat Ale with Grapefruit Peel
ABV: 4.3% IBU:12
Malts: 2-row Pale, Wheat Malt, Munich, Crystal 110
Hops: Super Galena, Perle
Other: Organic Grapefruit Peel, Fresh Sage
Golden, cider color. Refreshing, citrusty at first, coming from the grapefruit peel. There was a hoppy finish, too, but it was more of a note rather than a punch. And, bringing it all together into a nice beer was a wheaty note that stayed in the background.
Granola Brown: Brown Ale Brewed with Oatmeal, Grains, Hops, and Roasted Malts Granola
ABV: 5.5% IBU:18
Malts: 2-row Pale, British Pale, Malted Oats, Flaked Oats, Munich Malt, Crystal 150, Special B, Brown Malt, Chocolate Malt
Hops: Nugget, East Kent Golding, Chinook
This is a great example of a brown ale. While it was slightly bitter, those bold flavors from the malts took it up another level than most brown ales. If you stop and smell the brew (yeah, we’re weird, we know) you can get a nice hit of nuttiness, too, and we love that.
Easy Rye’ Da: Sessionable Rye IPA
ABV: 4.7% IBU:20
Malts: 2-row Pale, British Pale, Rye Malt, CaraHell, Aromatic
Hops: 05256, Nugget Summit
This is what we call a nice and sessionable IPA that you can probably drink all damn day. Before you even drink, you get citrusy and piny notes which are a nice preview to the brew you’re about to drink. You get the rye and hops right away, but it remains a crisp and easy drinkable beer. We dug it.
Ginja Ninja: Red India Pale Ale Brewed with Ginger
ABV: 6.5% IBU:56
Malts: 2-Row Pale, British Pale, Crystal 150, CaraRed, Aromatic, Melanoidin, CaraFa
Hops: Apollo, Cascade, Centennial Other: Fresh Ginger
Made for Tyler Jones’ wife on her wedding day, this brew has a beautiful history which helps us to appreciate it even more. We know what you’re probably thinking: ginger in an IPA? Look, you can’t go around life not trying new things and this is a beer that you probably should try. Hey, and if you don’t like it, then that’s cool…at least you tried. We liked this Red IPA because we felt that the ginger balanced out with the hops nicely, so nothing was too overpowering. It really smooths out at the end, too.
For a brand new brewery, we were excited with the offerings of Black Hog Brewing. Clearly, Tyler Jones still has the brewing touch since coming from Portsmouth Brewpub. The two standouts in our minds are the Ginja Ninja and S.W.A.G. Expect a Mid-August opening for the brewery itself, starting off with Saturday hours. And, expect more beer to hit the bars and the tasting room floor early August like their Strawberry Gose: a low ABV beer made with organic strawberries from Massaro Farms in Woodbridge. This will kick off their quarterly Farmland Series that features locally grown foods/items. And, a portion of the profits from this beer will go towards supporting the local farmland community.