Saturday night was the first night of the Summer tour, kicking things off at Sixth Sense Brewing Company in Jackson, Ohio.Jackson is a small town that I have passed the sign for a thousand times (and every time I think of the Johnny Cash song) on the Appalachian Highway traveling between Cincinnati and Athens, but I had never actually set foot in it... until this holiday weekend. I was delayed a bit by some wicked thunderstorms passing through Chillicothe, so I arrived shortly before my scheduled start time, and didn't really get to see much of the town outside of the block or two surrounding the brewery.
Sixth Sense is in a free-standing building towards the center of town, easy to spot as it's freshly painted and standing by itself, next to a war memorial just past it. The building's grey/white/black color scheme and logo stand out with a more contemporary look than its surroundings, and a drinking patio stretches around from the front to the side of the building.
Inside the taproom is a long space, with the bar to the back left, the stage area just to the left as you enter, and tables running all the way to the back. The brewery has been in business for over 2 years, and the kitchen, specializing in burritos, etc. opened about a year ago. As usual, I didn't try the food as I don't like to perform on a full stomach, but it smelled great.
Sixth Sense Brewing Company - Jackson, OH
Beers are available in the taproom on tap, in growlers, and some in cans. Beers are also distributed throughout Columbus and SE Ohio, primarily kegged in finer restaurants and drinking establishments, but also in very limited supply via cans.
As has been my trend this Summer, I arrived quite thirsty and a bit worn out after the drive and unloading my gear, so I went straight for refreshing and thirst quenching to start... in this case the Blood Orange Wheat (5%). A slightly hazy light gold in hue, this was a very refreshing wheat, with only the slightest hint of orange (a little on the nose, and the slightest hint on the taste). I'm a big fan of blood orange, so I could have stood to tasted a little more orange, but on the other hand these things are usually best when the fruit is understated rather than too pungent, so for the masses it is probably just about right where it is. The wheat beer at it's root was well balanced, not too hoppy, not too bready... just a nice crisp wheat, perfect for a hot day, and then with that hint of orange just to make it that much more refreshing.
I next tried the Sixth Sense flagship, their Murk Juice (6.8%) New England IPA. I should note that this also came in a Tropical Murk Juice variant, but I stuck with just the regular, top selling Murk Juice. NEIPAs (aka Hazes) have exploded in popularity this year, and Sixth Sense has done a great job capturing the essence of the strain. It pours a hazy yellow, reminiscent of a glass of pineapple juice, and the aromas and flavors exude the fruity and floral elements that make this genre enjoyable. The aroma brings out more tropical fruits, and the taste is not overly hoppy, but enough to be interesting and complicated, with the hops bringing out hints of grape, grapefruit, and a little spice... delivered via a smooth, almost creamy medium body. Another great choice for when you want that crushable beer that doesn't lack in flavor and character, but is smooth and sessionable when you have a serious thirst to quench.
For my second set I sipped on the Telepathy (5.9%) double dry-hopped American pale ale. Made exclusively with Mosaic hops, one would reasonably assume that this would be one seriously hoppy brew, perhaps smelling of dank cannabis, and tasting pretty heavy on the piney side of hops. Fortunately, it surprisingly really was none of that. Another well balanced brew, the hops were not overbearing, and it did not smell like a fresh bong nor taste like Christmas tree juice. Instead we got yet another very well balanced brew from Sixth Sense, a crisp yellow pour with a white head, hoppy enough to keep you interested without making you feel like you might get hay fever from it... with hints of sweet tropical floral and fruity flavors over a medium bodied, moderately carbonated drink, with a nice clean, ever so slightly bitter finish at the end.
For my last two drinks of the night I took an abrupt turn towards the perhaps unseasonably dark beers, starting with their porter and then a high-octane coffee stout. Foresight (6.7%) was the name of the porter, a roasted nutty porter, easy to drink and chock full of roaty, toasty, porter taste and body. A nice dark pour with a light foamy head, that rich dark goodness with a medium body and crisp carbonation. The type of beer I want to point people who are afraid of dark beers towards.
My final beer of the night, though... if you're afraid of dark beers, THIS is the stuff of your nightmares... the Prodigious (9.1%) coffee double brown. Yes, dark beer drinkers, it is every bit as good as it looks on paper! Almost black to the pour with a tan head, the aroma just screams of rich coffee beans and a little vanilla. The body is fairly heavy and creamy, and the coffee content (which is provided in partnership with a coffee shop here in Jackson) is rich and robust. This is the type of heaven that you sip on at the end of a long day, just savoring each sip as you wind down and think about heading to bed... OR when you roll out of bed in the morning and plan to do just whatever the hell you feel like doing... either way, it's all good, man. And yes... it is 9.1%, but I didn't really detect an alcohol type flavor... all I tasted was the coffee sitting nicely on a nice dark brown ale.
The crew at Sixth Sense were very friendly and welcoming, as were the customers. Reception of the music was very warm, and they bought CDs and t-shirts, so I thank them again for that! As I keep throughout the U.S., you can find real treasure when you get the hell off the interstates and seek out these breweries that are off the beaten path. I've found this to be true all over, but just in Southeast Ohio alone you could spend a long weekend bouncing from Sixth Sense in Jackson, to Little Fish in Athens, to Wooly Pig a little north in Coshocton, and on and one. In the foothills of the Appalachians, it's beautiful country with lots of state and national parks, lakes, etc.
As I mentioned before, I've passed Jackson probably hundreds of times on my way to Someplace Else, and never had a reason to stop. If you are traveling East/West on Rt. 32 or North/South on Rt. 35 in southeast Ohio... stop and have a burrito and a beer or two at Sixth Sense, it's well worth the effort!
What do you think if Sixth Sense Brewing? What is your favorite brewery that more people should know about?
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