Bailey's Blonde Ale - Cisco Brewers, Nantucket
I had no idea there was a commercial brewing operation on Nantucket. I've been to Martha's Vineyard a number of times back in the 90s. I remember Pete's Wicked Ale and Sam Adams being a big deal back then. Seeing as the folks back home were barely able to get Boulevard back then, I guess the islanders were a little ahead of their time. Looking back it doesn't seem like that much of a stretch to put at least a brew pub on either island. This bottle of beer says Nantucket at the bottom of the label but on the backside it does say it was contracted out to Ipswitch, MA. Not that it matters either way, the won't taste any different if it's made on the island. The packaging does play up that Nantucket island chic though...
This beer pours a clear golden color, darker and clear than I was expecting from something called a Blonde Ale. The head is minimal and what there is doesn't hang around for long. This beer looks more like a filtered Golden Ale or maybe even an IPA with less head. The aroma is very subtle, there's a lingering fruit scent that isn't strong enough to pinpoint what fruit it might actually be. I picked up on pale malt and a pinch of spicy hops. This beer seemed pretty inviting and almost completely off style from what I was expecting.
This is where things took a turn for the worse... Things quickly became undrinkable, to be quite honest. My first sip of the Bailey's Blonde went like this, it's a little sweet at first with pale malt underpinnings, as the beer reached the middle of your tongue you're coated in layer of bitter hops that prevent you from tasting anything else. The finish is just more bitterness with an astringent twang that tastes oddly metallic... it reminded me of a 9 Volt battery actually.
I really didn't care for this beer and ended up pouring almost half of it out. I went into this expecting a Blonde Ale and got a 7.5% IPA. False advertising aside, I wasn't able to pick up anything other than hops in this beer. It's one thing to make a hoppy Blonde Ale, it's another to throw a bunch of tops in a beer and label it a "Blonde Ale" ...I wonder if this wasn't actually contract brewed at Lagunitas.