Review: John Harvard’s 50 Shades of Earl Grey Session IPA

Review of John Harvard’s 50 Shades of Earl Grey Session IPA from John Harvard’s Brewery & Ale House in Framingham, MA

Beer Type: Session IPA  ABV: 4.5%  Tried on draught.

Their Description: “Brewed with five pounds of English Tea, this beer is moderately hoppy with smooth malt flavors that finish with just a hint of Earl Grey.”

The Reality: This beer had a nice head with the aroma of Earl Grey tea and hops. The initial taste is a blend of mild citrus and hop flavors, and it does drink smooth, although It didn’t get much of the “malt flavor” they mentioned. The finish and aftertaste are a lovely Earl Grey that cleans the palate and makes you want to take the next sip.

Final Verdict: This beer didn’t make me want to engage in kinky sex acts (unfortunately) as the name implies, but it does have other redeeming qualities. One of the most underused ingredients in craft beers these days is tea, as it can provide wonderful floral and savory elements to a beer’s overall profile. This beer uses tea and uses it well. Earl grey is a personal favorite of mine, but could easily overpower if not rationed properly, but in this beer it’s perfectly subtle. It drinks light and has a nice balance of flavor. So remove your blindfold and ball gag and get down to John Harvard’s Brewery to try this beer (shirt and shoes are required).

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