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Local draught at The Moan and Dove: an unofficial review

We recently paid a pair of visits to The Moan and Dove, a local bar in Amherst. Owner Jason DiCaprio – who also owns High Horse – hosts an ever-changing selection of local and imported beers. We focused on trying some of the local draught selections. For you, the craft beer enthusiast, the adventurous bar-goer and those looking to support their local brewers, we present an unofficial review.

Brick and Feather Brewery

Chad: This is the one where we were debating whether it’s an ale or a lager.

Mad: Right, the great ideological beer debate. We were talking to the bartender about this local beverage, and she referred to it as a “lagered ale.” She explained that it was cold-fermented for a while – the way lagers are made – but it was made with ale yeast. Which begs the question, what defines the beer – what it is made of or how it is made? Your opinion, Chad?

Chad: So ales are usually made with top-fermenting yeast and lagers are bottom-fermenting, but in my opinion the real distinguishing factor is temperature, the process. I’d call it a lager.

Mad: I feel like I have to side with the bartender on this one, mainly because I would like to disagree with you.

Chad: Fair enough.

Mad: In terms of how this “lagered ale” tasted, I did really enjoy it, and I tend to prefer lagers over ales.

Chad: It was fruity, but not nearly as much as some of the other ones we tried.

Mad: It was slightly hoppy, but not too much so. After some investigative research on the beautiful Brick and Feather website, we discovered it may be a “Blonde Biere de Garde.”

Chad: We’re like 75 percent sure.

Mad: This is why we call our reviews unofficial.

Toasted to: Transparent white boards

Rating:

Chad: 3.7/5

Mad: 4/5

Honest Weight Ego Trippin’ Porter

Mad: Alright Chad, please share your thoughts.

Chad: No, I thought I’d keep this one to myself.

Mad: But you’re the one who drank most of this one. I was only spared a few sips.

Chad: It was a dark, slightly bitter porter with a mild chocolate undertone. It wasn’t as creamy as some other porters. Although porters tend to be more bitter than stouts, anyway. Good, but I’m biased since I like stouts and porters.

Mad: I enjoyed it as a stout, but like I said, I prefer lagers.

Toasted to: Tipping the bartender

Rating

Chad: 3.9/5

Mad: 3/5

Honest Weight Positive Mental Attitude Ale

Chad: So this one is all you, Madeleine, since I was only spared a few sips.

Mad: Okay, I did order this drink. It was a pale ale, something that I’m not historically very fond of, but the name drew me in. It was incredibly hoppy. The fresh, vibrant flavors made me think it would be a refreshing summertime beer.

Chad: That’s a good point. It was a super fruity, kind of sweet beer. It was almost like cider but, you know, better.

Mad: That’s interesting that you say that because I am a fan of ciders but didn’t particularly enjoy this flavor. It was probably because of the hops, though.

Chad: I feel like the bitterness and fruitiness of the hops balanced out well.

Mad: It had a hint of raspberries and grapefruit, with a lingering citrus flavor. Oh, also, it was carbonated.

Chad: Every beer is carbonated.

Mad: What? That’s why they make people burpy?

Chad: What did you think the bubbles were?

Mad: That’s an excellent question, Chad.

Chad: Beers are all carbonated because they’re fermented in sealed barrels for at least a portion of the brewing process. When you ferment anything, you have a slurry with sugar and air and yeast. The yeast eats the sugar and reproduces until it runs out of air, at which point it starts doing anaerobic respiration, or fermentation. The byproduct is alcohol and carbon dioxide. Wine and meads are brewed in caskets that let air out, but not in, so that the carbon dioxide can escape. But when it’s in a sealed environment, like beer, it increases the pressure until the carbon dioxide dissolves into the liquid. It’s a weird mix of biology and chemistry. It’s kind of cool.

Mad: And an excellent answer. My favorite thing about this beer was the fact that we were supporting a local brewery. Both this and the porter were brewed by Honest Weight brewery, in good ‘ole Orange, Massachusetts.

Chad: The brewery is only about a 37-minute drive from the Durfee Conservatory according to Google. Have you ever been to Orange, MA?

Mad: No, but I’m from Orange County.

Chad: Basically the same thing. I’ve never been to either of those places.

Toasted to: Chad’s hair

Rating:

Chad: 3/5

Mad: 2/5

Allagash Black

Mad: Do you know what a raisin is?

Chad: It’s a grape that’s had all the fun sucked out.

Mad: Exactly, it’s a dried grape, which means this beer is technically part wine.

Chad: What? No. No, it’s not.

Mad: Technically, a little bit, yes.

Chad: There are definitely no raisins in this.

Mad: Their website definitely says it is “brewed with two-row barley, torrified wheat, roasted barely, chocolate malt, black malt and hopped with Northern Brewer and Glacier. A generous portion of dark caramelized candi sugar produces a hint of raisin in the finished beer.”

Chad: It says right in it that there are no raisins. It just tastes like raisins, and frankly I didn’t really taste the raisins.

Mad: I detected tones of raisin; however, it did not overwhelm the palette, leaving the drinker open to experiencing the more rich, subtle flavors and dimensions of this complex beer.

Chad: Well, put. It tastes like a stout, on account of the fact that it is, in fact, a stout.

Toasted to: Nighttime Unicyclists

Rating

Chad: 4/5

Mad: 3.8/5

Overall, we really enjoyed spending time in The Moan and Dove. It’s a small, cozy bar with a great drink selection and nice atmosphere. It’s a place where you can try something new any time you visit. Some of their drinks can get a bit pricey, but there are few better places to try some wonderful local products.

Madeleine Jackman can be reached at mjackman@umass.edu. Chad Stoughton can be reached at cstoughton@umass.edu.

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