Kettlehead Brewing Company is located smack dab in the middle of New Hampshire and has been attracting New Englanders, and guests from far and wide, since they opened in 2017. They have two locations, one in Franklin and one in Tilton, which are situated just 2.5 miles apart (or a quick five minute drive).
Unfortunately I live 3127 miles away and can’t get to New Hampshire very often…so when I saw their mainstay IPA, The Agent - a James Bond themed brew - I jumped at the chance to try it.
Their flagship IPA is double dry-hopped with Galaxy hops and features a solid 7% ABV. You can snag a four pack from the brewery for $18.
The Agent poured a bright and cloudy golden straw color with about a finger of pure white head topping it off. The head was thin and sticky, quickly disappearing into a thin layer while leaving some nice lacing clinging to the wall.
On the nose, this beer was tropical and fruity. Massive notes of pineapple, peach, and mango led the charge. There were some fruity yeast esters as well that included more tropical fruits, like tangerine and papaya, while the grist offered notes of flaked wheat and oats.
Each sip begins with a creamy, smooth feel and a light twinge of carbonation and bitterness. From there those fruity flavors really begin to swell. But the tropical qualities all come in one big blended wave - a huge cacophony of juicy peach, acidic pineapple, and sweet mango.
After the initial ripple of flavors settled down, a pithy, slightly bitter, grapefruit characteristic began to creep forward. It was joined with a cereal-esque quality that attempted to add some biscuity sweetness to the brew but was mostly overshadowed by the citrus rind.
The Agent ends rather cleanly. There is a bit of the grapefruit twinge and some orange peel pithiness that lingers on but no real aftertaste or dryness.
However, the pillowy softness does mean it sits a bit on the heavier side. So, while the flavors make it quite easy to go back for swig after swig, the thicker body does a nice job of limiting how much is consumed quickly.
It might not be a martini or Vesper, but this is a beer any secret agent would be proud of. A hidden 007% ABV, an assault of hoppy fruits, and a killer taste.