Brewery and Country of Origin: Jack's Abby Brewing, LLC of 81 Morton St, Framingham, MA, 01702, USA

Date Reviewed: 2-06-14

While some breweries make 324 different kinds of IPA, Jack's Abby of Framingham, MA has been rolling out a unique line of what they call "Extra Pale Ales", all under the same name: Hopstitution. These beers, based on the same pale ale, are brewed in 4-8 week long stints which differ from each other only in the experimental variety of hop flower used. And though they all taste different, they all share the same name. Some are better than others. And that brings us to the Olympics. As you already know, the Olympics are a multi-sport, global event that showcases the world's best athletes in a series of competitive events in a wide array of sports. They occur every two years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Games, with the most recent being 2012 in London. Like each stint of the Hopstitution, the games last several weeks with a different flavor each games influenced by the event's host nation's culture. Generally speaking, the Olympics are a world wide celebration of friendly competition, culture, sports, and diversity. Some have enjoyed a more successful legacy than others, with kidnappings, bombings, massive debt, boycotts, and other events marring certain games. With the opening ceremonies to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia taking place tomorrow, the world's eyes have turned to the host country, and its ability to deliver on the promise of yet another spectacular event. There have been growing conerns about a number of issues, including security threats, inadequate hotel accomodations (including dangerous water supplies, unfinished buildings, and shoddy construction), the safety of gay athletes and tourists, and the immense cost of the games, with Russia having already spent a massive $51 Billion (and counting) on security, infrastructure, and other preparations. Still, as Sochi makes the last minute push to be ready on time, the world is as always, full of excitement and anticipation for the coming weeks of the world's best in competition. A record 88 nations will be participating, with seven making their Winter Games debut. Nearly 3,000 athletes will compete in 98 separate events spanning 15 disciplines in 7 winter sports, starting with figure skating, snowboarding, and freestyle skiing, opening the competitions today, and bobsled, cross country skiing, and the men's ice hockey tournament rounding out the last day of compeition on February 23rd. The US Olympic Team includes 230 competitors, including Shani Davis, the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal in the Winter Olympics (speed skating), Zach Parise, the captain for the men's ice hockey team, Gracie Gold, the 2014 US National Champion (figure skating), Shaun White, two time Olympic gold medalist (snowboarding), and captain of the women's ice hockey team, Meghan Duggan.
Date Sampled: 12-07-13 At: The Olde Magoun's Saloon, 518 Medford St, Somerville, MA 02145
Beer Style: American Pale Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 5.50%
Serving Type: Cask Keg, 16 oz Tumbler Glass
Rating: 2.37


Hopstitution pours fairly smoothly with a moderate level of carbonation action, producing a nice looking cascading and effervescent effect before settling, and a tall, full inch deep foam head with a white color, a lower retention rate, and a medium low density. This beer does contain a very small amount of extremely fine sediment, and shows off a bright glow which is golden in color. This beer also has a good amount of lacing.


The aroma is strong overall and full of very clear and immediate citrusy hops from the Northwestern US region. There is also a good amount of sour fruity notes mixed with some grainy pale malt, which serves as a meager secondary. This beer's hops are floral, and slightly buttery with some more earthy like tones. The aroma contains no sweetness or alcoholic tinge.


This is a medium bodied brew with an average amount of carbonation, a moderate viscosity, and a matching weight. Because this is a cask ale, it is served at cellar temperature, much higher than standard cold keg temperatures. The texture is smooth overall with only some crispness at the end. This beer finishes very dry with a dull overall effect, and a good amount of linger.


The taste of this beer is where it fails to satisfy the most. The overwhelming bitter and citrusy hops have a strong presence akin to magic marker smell, with a soapy undertone. This is a very bitter beer with some alcohol tinge and slight earthy notes. There is no real pale malt present to balance, and there is a very strong, lingering dry and bitter aftertaste. This beer's flavor would be better if it wasn't so dominating.

Our Take

This had the make up of a potentially great beer. Made by a respectable brewery of local interest, served in a cask, and as part of a cool hop variety series based on a hoppy ale that is received quite well. unfortunately, this beer failed to live up to the description. Hampered mostly by an unforgivable black Marks-A-Lot permanent marker like smell and aroma, this beer's aromatic properties were at best, confusing, and its flavor, nearly destroyed. The overall hop flavor was indeed strong on all sides, being enhanced by its cask serving format, but in such a way that it inundated your senses and provided little in the way of balance. Overall, we were disappointed in this beer, not just because it was simply unenjoyable, but because this was a cask ale, a real ale which should have been something of a novelty for most who don't come across English style bitter ales served "warm." We hope that this was simply a bad variety and recipe combination, for the sake of the rest of the series. And it's a shame that this particular variety came out so unsatisfactory. But like the water in Sochi's newly built hotels, our only recommendation is that you avoid it altogether.