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Harpoon hits the mark.

The Mass. Bay Brewing Co. has been one of the pioneering New England microbreweries, and has produced a long line of fine beers. The company's Harpoon Ale and Golden Lager have proven steadfast flagship brands, and we have admired their Octoberfest.

Mass. Bay has continued to release seasonal offerings, including an annual Harpoon Winter Warmer, and now Harpoon Stout. We recently sampled these two products and found them well-crafted and flavorful.

Harpoon Winter Warmer is a slightly cloudy golden beer with a clean malty flavor. The beer is accented by spices, although these spices are not overpowering. It is not clear which spices were employed, but there are delicate hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.

The beer is crisp and fairly light-bodied, and quite lager-like, which is unusual of itself, since spiced ales are much more common. Whatever yeast is used, the beer has a sweet, malty character, and the finish is long and somewhat dry. It's a very good beer, and that from tasters who are not overly fond of spiced beers.

Stout is more our line, and Harpoon Stout is a great one. It is a rich, dark brew possessed of a smooth roasty flavor. A second sip reveals hints of licorice and coffee, and a pleasingly nutty flavor. It is dark, but not completely opaque. Held up to the light, it is a deep mahogany. Last year, this brew was available on on draught, but it is now also packaged in 12-oz bottles. The brewers at Harpoon report that there is year-round demand for this brew. Now we know why.
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Title Annotation:Mass. Bay Brewing Co.'s stout, winter beers
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Evaluation
Date:Feb 8, 1993
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