Fat Ten-Er #4

Fat Ten-er # 4 (Red Ale)
Growler, $10, 6.8% ABV

Purchased at the brewery, Woodbridge

4Some breweries put out “experimental” batches that are truly experimental. And by “experimental,” I mean crappy. Or weird. Or wacky for wacky’s sake. Usually, I do not like those breweries so much – or at least not many of their experimentals.

Then there’s your Hill Farmsteads and NEBCOs. High level of quality control and – yeah, that’s right. I just lumped NEBCO with Farmstead. Yeah, yeah, Farmstead is the best in the world and I’m being ridiculous, blah blah blah.

You know what? The last thing in the world I want is for my beloved NEBCO to become a national destination for rich people who would rather tweet out pictures of them standing in line in 9 degree temperatures at dawn than just simply enjoying high quality beer. Unfortunately, since NEBCO moved across the street and added tap lines at their tasting room, the lines have only grown. Which makes no logical sense. The lines should be shorter now.

Of course, I want nothing less than all the success Matt and Rob and Sebastian and James down there deserve. I want them to be recognized for what they’ve been able to do. But I also want to be able to hop off the Wilbur Cross and get a growlette of whatever, whenever. This long line business is nuts.

Anyway, as I was saying, NEBCO puts out these Fat Ten-Er experiments every couple of months and they are not wacky or kooky or average or aimed at a tiny slice of the public. They have all been fantastic and accessible. I appreciate that. I appreciate that a lot. (#5 will be a smoked old ale, which might derail this paragraph… time will tell.)

I had the chance to talk to Sebastian, who apparently is responsible for this round (and perhaps at least #2 as well… maybe all of them?) and yeah, he fits the NEBCO mold. Humble, quiet, accommodating and cool. He just shrugged off my mild compliments and told me what went into this red ale:

HBC342 hops like Lagunitas Sucks and then dry-hopped with Mosaic, Nelson and Galaxy. Not too much was added at the end, just enough for the aroma, as apparently HBC342 (which will surely get a name, as it’s being used in a ton of acclaimed beers) lacks a discernible aroma. See, even when HBC experiments and has a winner, it’s not perfect.

The hop schedule of Sucks is the following: Chinook, Simcoe, Apollo, Summit, Nugget and HBC342 hops. Which aside from the HBC342, is a totally different mix from NEBCO’s Fat Ten-Er #4. Both are great.

humble-pie-650-430So for you beer geeks that demand to know this stuff, this page is for you. You’re welcome. And for you guys and gals who travel up to Hill Farmstead on the regular, I’m always up for that – that is, I’m always up for you guys traveling up to Hill country and scoring some of their phenomenal beer for me. I’m good for it.

I don’t want the lines to diminish at NEBCO, because those lines are deserved. (I do expect them to wane now that it appears production has caught up to demand after the move though.) In talking to the guys at my last visit, they all said pretty much the same thing: “I don’t really get it. It’s just beer.”

Never – NEVER ever wonder why NEBCO is my favorite brewery and why they are so good at what they do. There is a massive lesson to be learned in “It’s just beer,” and so many businesses and bloggers and athletes across the land could really learn this simple thing: When you are one of the best, your product/writing/skills speak for themselves. Nothing else is really necessary.


Some doofy guy who writes about stuff in Connecticut that a few people seem to enjoy now and again.

Overall Rating: A
Rating vs. Similar style: A+

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