D.L. Geary Brewing Company - Hampshire Special Ale
- ABV: 7.0%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 38
- Serving Temperature: 48-55° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass, Mug, or Snifter
- Malts: 2-Row English Pale, Crystal, Chocolate
- Hops: Cascade, Mt. Hood, East Kent Golding
Hampshire Special Ale pours an amber-red color with an ample, creamy, light khaki colored head. On the nose, a malty aroma with a firm hop bite is readily apparent. Look for toasty, caramel, and fruity notes with a honey-like quality, joined with floral hops and an underlying citric impression. As it warms, hints of the 7.0% ABV begin to peak through. Take a sip and…Wow! Lot’s going on here! Look for it to open with big fruity notes akin to grape, raisin, apple, plum, fig, and berry. Underneath the fruity esters, the malts offer a mild to moderate caramel flavor, with some residual sweetness that carries through to the finish. In the fade, look for a grain-like quality to try to come through – ultimately being overcome by the hop bitterness that builds into the finish and hangs on for a while with remnants of the fruit. A buttery note is present, and the beer is quite vinous with noticeable alcohol notes coming through on the mid-palate, helping to cut down the malts. The panel was very impressed with this superb, full-bodied English Strong Ale; fruity, caramelly, edgy, bitter, and round, all at the same time – what’s not to like? Cheers!
In 1983, only thirteen microbreweries existed in all of the United States, with the majority concentrated out West in states like California, Oregon, and Washington. Inspired by the idea of brewing small-batch, high-quality beer for the enjoyment of fellow New Englanders (and themselves, of course!), David and Karen Geary began D. L. Geary Brewing Company in October of that year. But they did not rush headlong into production; instead, David flew to Britain in 1984 to begin researching English and Scottish brewing, and training in their techniques. Helped by Scottish brewer and nobleman Peter Maxwell Stuart, who arranged for him to work at a number of different commercial breweries in both Scotland and England, David honed his craft among some of the finest breweries in the world, including the famed Traquair House Brewery (producer of some of the greatest ales in all of Great Britain).
Meanwhile, David and Karen set to the task of building the business. They laid out their business plan, identified and purchased the property that would become home to the brewery, raised capital, bought brewing equipment, and designed packaging. It was also during this time that the recipe for what would become Geary’s Pale Ale, their flagship brew, began to take form as David drew from the tradition and technique of Britain’s best brewers. Finally, construction began in 1986 after almost two years of preparation, and in December of that year the first batch of Geary’s Pale Ale was sold. The establishment of Maine’s first microbrewery signaled the dawn of the microbrewing renaissance in New England, which now boasts scores of excellent breweries and brewpubs. David and Karen continue to work at the brewery, joined now by their daughter, Kelly. For more information on their Tasting Room or brewery tours, call them up at 207-878-2337 or visit www.gearybrewing.com.
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