Clipper City Brewing Company - Heavy Seas Cross Bones
- ABV: 4.5%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 35
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: Pale, Munich, Wheat, Caramalt, Carapils, Biscuit
- Hops: Chinook, Equinox, Hallertau Blanc, Cascade, Simcoe, Palisade
Brewed as a session IPA, Cross Bones weighs in at just 4.5% ABV, but stands as a testament to how lower-gravity beers can still deliver tons of flavor. Pouring an attractive copper color with a sizable head of lasting foam, Cross Bones looks good in the glass and is quite exuberant in the aroma department, too. Brewed with no less than a half-dozen different hop varieties, the beer presents a myriad of bright and complex notes including citrus reminiscent of tangerine, grapefruit and hints of lime, with juicy tropical fruit notes reminding us of pineapple and mango, along with light melon, citrus blossom, light earthiness, pine, and wisps of berry or grape. Looks for these notes in the flavor too, where they are bolstered by a bit of an herbal kick, and balanced by a lightly malty backbone of fresh bread, mild bread crust, and very mild caramel. Despite all the hop character, overall hop bitterness remains moderate at just 35 IBU, keeping this brew very drinkable and not fatiguing the palate. Heavy Seas recommends pairing with sausage or chocolate cake (which would offer a sweet/bitter contrast), and to that list we would add a complementary salad with a bright citrus vinaigrette, or a classic plate of fish & chips, with lemon wedges for spritzing. Cheers!
The history of the Clipper City Brewing Company goes back to the mid-1980s when Hugh Sisson, proprietor of Sisson's, a local restaurant and bar, first recognized the potential for a small brewery in Baltimore. Upon attempting to get a license to brew beer at his restaurant, he quickly discovered that legislation prevented brewpubs in Maryland. So he began working with Senator George Della, Jr. to successfully lobby the Maryland General Assembly to pass new legislation. In 1989, Hugh began brewing at Sisson's, Maryland's first brewpub.
The move helped usher in the wave of craft brewing in Baltimore, and Hugh engrossed himself in the development and market recognition of both Sisson's brewpub and its beers, while simultaneously serving as this pioneering facility's first Brewmaster. After five years of brewpub brewing, Hugh went through another round of legal wrangling in order to expand into a full-scale microbrewery. In early 1996, Clipper City Brewing, borrowing a Baltimore sobriquet as its name, officially began brewing on the scale Hugh was going for. In 2010 the brewery placed all of its beers under the Heavy Seas name, a brand they began in 2003. In addition to their bottled beers, Clipper City is also one of the largest, if not the largest, producer of British-style cask-conditioned beer in the U.S. For more information about the brewery, scheduled tours, or their Baltimore and Arlington Alehouse gastropubs, call 410-247-7822 or check out their web site at www.hsbeer.com.
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