Massachusetts Update 8/23/17
By Dan Kochakian
With so many new beer ventures opening, the adage may become true that one day, every one of us will own a brewery! The Bay State now has over 150 breweries with more on the way, including Cheeky Monkey Brewing, Brato Brewhouse & Kitchen, Remnant Brewing, Cabral Brewing, Kayfabe Brewing and Democracy Brewing in the Boston area, Timber Yard Brewing, Tin Bridge Brewing, Redemption Rock Brewery, Purgatory Beer Co., Floodwater Brewing, Arcpoint Brewing, Bear & Bramble Brewing, Outlook Farm Brewery, Two Weeks Notice Brewing, Whip City Brewing, Altruist Brewing and Drunken Rabbit Brewing in western Mass., as well as Harper Lane Brewing, Lookout Farm Brewery, Percival Brewing, Franklin Brewing, Henry & Fran Brewing, Amory’s Tomb Brewing, Walden Woods Brewing and Pitkin Point Brewing in central Mass., and Silvaticus Brewery and Barewolf Brewing in Amesbury.
The recently opened Plymouth Beer Co. will soon be joined by Second Wind Brewing, a few blocks away, and Small Mighty Brew. Article XV Brewing in Rockland plans Mango Habanero IPA and Hoppenheimer’s Fat Man Double IPA on draft. Aquatic Brewing in Falmouth has federal approval, but is awaiting state and local permits. Naukabout Beer Co. should be open in Mashpee now, and Stellwagen Beer Co. plans a microbrewery and taproom on the south shore soon.
Vitamin Sea Brewing of Hull is finalizing a location and has been producing fantastic hazy New England IPAs and recently had a big hit with a collaboration brew with Barrel House Z in Weymouth.
John and Matt Downes, owners of the Flynn’s Irish Pubs in Sagamore, Cedarville and Mansfield, are installing a brewhouse at the Father’s Kitchen & Taphouse location in East Sandwich to be called 6A Brewing Co. 6A’s beers will be brewed by Chris Meyer, formerly of Harpoon and DC Brau, and will only be available at Flynn’s and Father’s. First up will be Evelina, a witbier like Schneiderweisse, a New England style IPA called Lil Elsa, a rotating NE style double IPA called Transonic, a RIS called Destry and a raspberry golden ale named Ezzie. An exciting touch is that pilot batches will be tapped every Sunday at noon.
There are still more pending beer concerns, but in the meantime, check out some of these brewers’ recipes at the Mass. Fermentational Fest (sponsored by the Mass. Brewers Guild) on Worcester Common on Sept. 16. At least 50 Mass. brewers are signed up.
In Provincetown, an Octoberfest will be held at the Pilgrim Monument on October first. Area breweries, including Cape Cod Beer, Mayflower, Hog Island and Devils Purse will be pouring, and fine food from Nor’East Beer Garden will complement this fun event. Nor’East’s kitchen is closing on Sept. 17, but the lively and vibrant bar with 16 taps and cocktails including Cascade Lemonade with Hop Head Vodka and house-made Cascade Hop syrup made to perfection by John, the consummate bartender, will be available until Halloween.
And on Sept. 22 and 23, the second Copenhagen Beer & Music Festival, sponsored by Mikkeller, comes to City Hall Plaza in Boston. Breweries rarely seen in the New England area, including Other Half, 3 Floyds, Jester King, Fonta Flora, Cigar City and Funky Buddha will be pouring rare offerings.
Jeff Rowe at Winter Hill Brewing in Somerville has released Saison LaGrenada, a 4.8% rustic brew conditioned with pomegranate molasses, and a red ale called Emma is 7% with a hefty dry-hopping of Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight. A single-hop 6.6% series called Transitory is starting about now and will include pale ales and IPAs with Simcoe, Mosaic, Zythos, Falconers Flight, and Citra melding with the same base wort in which oats play a major role.
Scott Brunelle, head brewer at Moby Dick Brewing Co. in New Bedford, has Inward Delight, which is a new Oktoberfest, and a 6% pale ale called Eternal August (we can dream!) which is loaded with Citra and Cascade. A Belgian White and an Oatmeal Stout are on the horizon. Watch for a brewer’s dinner with a harvest menu.
Shoveltown Brewing in Easton has been open since February. The taproom includes a variety of foods, including flatbreads and oysters to complement the 8 drafts. Signature beers include Shovel Shop DIPA (8.2%), Five Corners Citra Dry-Hopped IPA (6.7%), Twine Cutter Pale Ale (Mosaic dry-hopped at 5.5%), Madagascar Vanilla Cream Ale (4.5%), and Uniondale Farmhouse Saison (4.5%). The autumn seasonals will include Pumpkin Ale with fresh sugar pumpkins, Cranberry Weizen with local cranberries, and Oktoberfest with all German malts and Hallertau hops.
Hog Island Brewing’s 15-bbl system in Orleans has been jumping this summer with its outdoor lawn area with picnic tables and cornhole, and several solid beers, including White Shark Wheat, IPA and a beautiful smooth stout, offer a refreshing break after a day at the beach. Dinner on the patio or in the bar which has about 20 guest taps, is always rewarding.
Many Boston area beer fans are excited that Tree House Brewing has moved half an hour east to Charlton, about 17 miles closer. TH’s brewing capacity jumped from 7000 barrels to 125,000, so we’re hoping that there will be no more long lines for Julius, That’s What She Said or Green.
Fort Hill Brewery in Easthampton has three excellent IPAs for you hop lovers: Fresh Pick is 7%/50-IBU with Magnum and Hallertauer Mittelfruh, Jigsaw Jazz is 9.3%/65-IBU with Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra, and Double Paw is 9.3%/70-IBU with Nugget, Simcoe and Mosaic, more than enough to keep you hoppily happy.
Dorchester Brewing, which just celebrated a year in operation, hosted Puppy Yappy Hour on August 24 which is a benefit for Survivor Tails Animal Rescue. Have a fresh beer on the deck with your pet who can enjoy dog treats. Every Tuesday at 6pm, Night Shift Brewing in Everett hosts Paws & Pints for Happy Trails Pet Rescue. On Sept. 16, Night Shift has its annual celebration of German beer with a Bavarian themed event with steins, beers and festive music.
Lookout Farm’s ace cider maker, Aaron Mateychuk, who was the brewer at Watch City in Waltham, will get back into brewing at the newly-installed system at the farm in South Natick soon. Just south in Sherborn is Stormalong Cider where cider expert Shannon Edgar just released the new Mass Appeal (Macintosh and Golden Delicious flavors) in 12-oz cans to join Legendary Dry (bittersweet apples) and Dry Hop (double dry-hopped with Citra leaves). Just released is the 2016 version of The Grand Banks, a whiskey barrel-aged cider in collaboration with Bully Boy Distillers.
And just a bit further west is Wormtown Brewery in Worcester who has five new beers for September/October: Fresh Patch Pumpkin Ale (4.5%, made with fresh pumpkins from Lazy Acres Farm), Pro-Pro Smoked Porter (new in the Underground Dark Series, a collaboration with Medusa Brewing of Hudson), Table Talk Pumpkin Pie Ale (a 6.6% collaboration with TT Pies, those legendary small pies we all grew up on), Be Hoppiest (the dangerous but so delicious 10.8% triple IPA with pineapple notes), and a 6.6% traditional 19th century-styled Octoberfest with rich malt character and additions of Hallertau hops to reduce the sweetness). We hope that the Wormtown brewers will produce a new batch of the Joe Z collaboration, Coconut Porter, very soon.
In Sturbridge, Rapscallion Brewery will host it Octoberfest weekend on the 7th and 8th. Enjoy good beer and amble among the apple trees and farm animals at Hyland Orchard on sunny cool days. The weekend is highlighted by the release of O-Fest, of course.