I’d much rather have a plague of hop water than that of locust. I think Moses would also agree to that, and a local brewery made [what I think would be] his wish come true. New England Brewing concocted this beer in the hopes that it would let their people go… and grab as many growlers as they could hold, venture out, and pick up some this liquid gold. That had to be the thought behind NEBCo’s newish IPA, Locust Reign. Brewed with Mosaic and Galaxy hops, this IPA would make Neil Armstrong take one giant leap to get another growler fill. With the puns reigning strong, it’s time to see how well this beer will fly.
Appearance: On first pour, I babied it a little too much and didn’t get much of a head, but on the second go around, Locust poured with a solid white fluffy foam and laced as I drank. The body is a murky golden color, reminiscent of many tap only IPAs from NEB.
Smell: So juicy. Mango, pineapple, grapefruit, papaya, yuzu, peaches, kiwi. Also get signature NEBCo dankness, and a little bit of citric acidity, maybe some pine.
Taste: Big bitter hop kick to start that nails the sides of the tongue followed by the softer, more tropical tastes of the hops. The acidity of the hops are noticeable and give off a bitter grapefruit rind taste but the citrus mellows it out a bit. Not as much mango in the taste compared to the nose on this brew, but it’s there, especially once you get used to the bitter charge. The grain in here can only be identified on the back end once the more assertive, punchy hops give way, and the malt has a very light, minerally taste to it similar to the most recent batch of Maine Beer Co’s Dinner. The beer finishes with a little bit of star anise, which seems to be signature of Trillium, but works with the dankness of the hops in here. One thing to mention before moving on to ABV and drinkability is how earthy this beer also is. The hops in here have a connection to nature stronger than most Occupy protestors which makes for an interesting and complex IPA.
In addition to the grassroots taste, what’s really impressive is how easy this monstrous IPA is to drink. It has the perfect level of carbonation accompanied by a light to medium bodied mouthfeel. The 8.5% ABV goes unnoticed in the brew only leaving a gregarious hopped up taste in your mouth.
Overall: Admittedly, I had this beer when NEBCo first came out with it about 8 months ago and was blown away by it. This experience is a little bit different, but I was still very impressed by it, as were other NEBCo fans judging by the line that formed at 2:30 on a Thursday. This might be my favorite IPA by New England and is one that hasn’t got a ton of traction yet, but looking at its Beer Advocate score, that will change soon. I’ll have to give Locust Reign an A. I actually think that if you give this brew a week, it’ll drink better than it does fresh… but I’m sure many would disagree. In any event, this beer is one of biblical proportions.