This week's tasting features beers of a more whimsical origin.
Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is just that: a project, not a brewery per se. Self-proclaimed "tenant brewers," co-owners and husband and wife duo Dann Paquette and Martha Holley-Paquette, rent their brew space by the day (or night, actually), but do all the of the brewing themselves.
The two met in Massachusetts where Paquette (a long time professional brewer with previous stints at the Ipswich Brewing Company and John Harvard's Brewery & Ale House, among others) was working at the Haverhill Brewery. They then ventured to Holley-Paquette's native Yorkshire to get married and stuck around for a while where Paquette took a job at Daleside Brewery. There Paquette began to dream up ideas (with Holley-Paquette's help) for a brewery project of their own. Upon their return back to the US, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project was born. The first beer they ever made was their flagship Jack D'Or - a shining example of the thought that Pretty Things puts into each of their beers. Illustrated and brought to life, Jack D'Or is more than a beer, he is a character - an anthropomorphized, mustachioed barley hull (who closely resembles Brewmaster Dann Paquette). With quirky names, illustrations, the occasional costume and even original poetry, Pretty Things has both taste and character in ample supply.
Sporting a lawnmower on its label, American Darling was developed as an "un-lawnmower beer" - meaning there is no corn or rice to be found in this easy-drinking lager. Pouring a straw yellow with a light head, American Darling smells citrusy and spicy with notes of lemon grass, ginger, and white pepper. And at 7% ABV the body is a bit fuller than the color would lead you to be believe but still delightfully easy drinking.
We're not quite sure what Jack D'Or has done to merit the "Jack D'Or Must Die!" campaign, but we are pretty glad he's still around. Jack D'Or pours a very similar color to the American Darling, but just a touch brighter. Smelling of hay and sweet spice, the taste is grassy with a remarkable dry hop bitterness at the finish.
The clearest of the three, Meadowlark pours the sunny orange color of apple juice. The nose packs an earthy hop aroma, with notes of fruit and a caramel malt sweetness. The taste is extremely well-balanced between the earthy, bitter hops and sweet malts with a super smooth mouth feel and lively carbonation.
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