McNeill’s Brewery Dead Horse IPA
By: Taylor Morse
Nestled in the little, river town of Brattleboro, Vermont is McNeill’s Pub and Brewery; a small, local hotspot where the hippy haven days of Vermont (circa late eighties and nineties, the emergence of Phish) are all but over. Walking in at four o’clock on a Friday the scene was an empty bar besides a bartender and a rogue child running around empty tables. Not a bad start. My visit to McNeill’s was almost a year ago but as I sit drinking their Dead Horse IPA I fondly remember how I laughed that day walking into that unusual image of a barroom. With Vermont seemingly sprouting a new brewery every couple of days it’s nice to have a humble, longstanding brewery at the forefront of the charge. And although their distribution is limited and their beer mainly functions as the main attraction for their in house pub and brewery, nonetheless they are rich and proud part of the Vermont beer world.
First Impression: A sprightly can that shows its age. Brewed since 1991, the Dead Horses’ appearance looks like an outtake from the “Saved By The Bell” intro graphic. Though despite its playful imagery, the can boasts it prestigious past, “Winners of 15 National and International Awards” which assures its drinker that they’re in for a treat from the earlier days of craft beer.
Pour: A cloudy amber with a small head, though golden and bright when placed beneath the right lighting. As the beer settles the yeast gathers visibly at the bottle of the glass. This beer looks like a classic, tasty India Pale Ale.
Taste: With a strong first wave of its distinctive German, American, and English blended malts, the Dead Horse settles as it lingers, leaving the after taste of its “extra addition” of hops for your palate.