"My Maserati Does 185"

Brewery and Country of Origin: Harpoon Brewery of 306 Northern Ave # 2, Boston, MA, 02210, USA

Date Reviewed: 3-04-13

The arts have always brought people fame, along with the perks and comorbidities of being watched by society. Opera singers, composers, sculptors, and playwrights were the rockstars, actors, and directors of today. So the Oscars are over, and glitz and glamour of 2012-2013 entertainment awards ceremonies are things of the past. Fortunately, that means we don't have to go into Anne Hathaway's emaciated physique, Jennifer Lawrence's Kentuckian personality, or Tommy Lee Jones' pouty mood. But that does mean that with a name like "Director's Cut," you're all probably expecting us to go on about some ridiculously stretched connection between this beer and the movie industry. Let us take this opportunity to dispell those beliefs right now. What this is then, is a review of a rather unique hybrid style of beer that has garnered up a little bit of fame and infamy, all because of just fifteen minutes in the spotlight. We're talking of course, about the Black And Tan. Maybe you've heard of it. This is actually not technically a beer style, it's more of a mixture of two separate styles: a stout (usually Guinness), and either a bitter ale (usually Bass), or a pale lager (usually Harp). The concept originated in British pubs in the mid to late 19th century, when drinkers were looking for a beer with the flavor and boldness of a stout, and the lighter presence of a pale ale. The result was the mixture we know today, but the name was never given in the British Isles, and certainly not in Ireland. Back during the Irish War of Independence, Winston Churchill sent over thousands of British World War I veterans and other recruits to aid the Royal Irish Constabulary in their attempt to maintain control over Ireland. They were known as Black and Tans for their khaki uniforms, and became a symbol of oppression and violence for their attacks on Irish civilians in response to the IRA's actions. The name Black and Tan then was and still is regarded as offensive. Today, the beverage is served in the UK and Ireland under the name Half & Half, depending on what beer Guinness is mixed with. In the US, the name Black and Tan is widely used. Some brewers, including DG Yuengling, and Matt Brewing produce and distribute their own premixed bottles and cans of the drink. And today for a limited time, you can buy yourself a bomber of Harpoon's newest 100 Barrel Series session, Director's cut, a combination of Harpoon's Pale Ale, and Stout.
Date Sampled: 2-09-13 At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA, 02134, USA
Beer Style: Black And Tan
Alcohol by Volume: 6.25%
Serving Type: 22 oz Bottle, 16 oz Stange Glass
Rating: 4.05


The Directors' Cut has a clear appearance with no visible sediment, and a rich, very dark glow which gives off a full, ruby red color in bright light. This brew pours smoothly with a curbed amount of carbonation action. The foam head is a quarter inch tall with a medium high density and a lower than average retention. A nice layer of lacing shows up on the glass.


A strong hoppy character sets the tone for the aroma, which is a bit of both worlds, as implied by the style. There are definite secondary darker and sweet malty notes present, which balance out the aroma into a fusion of black and tan character. The malt gives off mostly dark chocolate and coffee roasted like notes. There are some nuttiness and floral notes as well.


This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation, an above average weight, and a high viscosity. All of these attributes lead to a sipping beer which is full of substance. Overall, the feel is smooth, but somewhat crisp toward the end. There is a lingering dry finish with a slight crispness. No alcohol warming is delivered.


This beer is full of robust darker malt flavor with a very bitter hoppy trailer. In this, you get the best of a high quality dark brew like a coffee porter with some dark chocolate and nutty secondary notes, as well as a bold IPA with some floral qualities in a highly bitter and hoppy mixture. The hops take over for the lingering aftertaste which lasts for a regular amount of time.

Our Take

Director's Cut is an excellent blend of two wonderful things: Harpoon's famous Pale Ale, and their Stout, both of which we quite like. As far as the 100 Barrel Series goes, this was somewhat of a deviation from the norm, which expects brewers and company employees to submit their own, original ideas for pilot testing. But this beer, which takes a ratio of two already existing brews, challenges this tradition. Still, we have to applaud the risk taking, simply because this is an excellent result. As was intended with the original dark/light beer combinations, this beer satisfies the maltier, heavier beer enthusiast's wants, with the needs of someone looking for something that isn't as filling. And as we're approaching St. Paddy's Day, the weather will start heating up. Soon, then, the season for dark heavy Porters and Stouts will be behind us, and the seasonally inclined beer world will be asking for lighter, more refreshing beers. And sure, there are better ways to drink yourself cool on the beach, but if you're looking for a stout in the middle of a new, hot spring day, once you've found this two faced sensation, look no further.