By Dan Kochakian
After recently being walloped by massive snowstorms in the northeast, maybe we should put our plans of drinking outside on hold for a bit! We should look ahead, however, to the next NERAX (New England Real Ale Exhibition) that will bring 100+ cask ales from the UK and US to South Boston from April 11-14.
Sam Adams released a very limited edition barrel-aged Scotch Ale, the first specialty bottle from the new Bier Keller with sales only at the brewery. To not miss out on future Bier Keller releases, keep up with Sam’s Facebook page for info. Oaked Vanilla Porter made through R&D which will be on draft for a limited time as well, and 26.2, the gose brewed for the Boston Marathon, is pouring now. Unmalted wheat, Saaz Noble hops, salt and coriander lead to a refreshing reward after you finish the marathon run. This year, 100% of proceeds will go to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital’s Adaptive Sports Centers.
Wachusett Brewing in Westminster has released Wally Juice, a 7%/70-IBU juice bomb with aromas of orange and grapefruit with a big citrus flavor. Maybe not the big hazy unfiltered style some covet, but this is a very refreshing beer. Wally Jr., however, is considered a New England IPA and is a lighter version of Wally IPA at 4.5%.
Flying Dreams’ 100th brew is Cash Money, a double IPA at 9%/100-IBU with Cashmere and Mosaic hops with touches of Ahtanum, Ekuanot and Crystal hops. Bottles are available at the brewery, but you may enjoy it on draft throughout the state. Giving in to demand, head brewer Dave Richardson has brewed ConSession, a New England-styled IPA at 4.5% packed with Mosaic and Citra hops. In early April, Flying Dreams next sour, Black Currant Gose (4%), will be showcased at the brewery, and in restaurants and stores on draft and in bombers.
Night Shift Brewing in Everett has begun a run of its best-selling sour beers in cans with Ever Weisse (with kiwis, strawberries and hibiscus) available through May, followed by a summer release of Ricky Weisse (with raspberries and limes), and then ending the year with Mainer Weisse (aged with blueberries and cinnamon sticks). Congratulations to Night Shift on its 6th anniversary!
While Everett also boasts Bone Up Brewing, Down The Road Brewing and Short Path Distillery, nearby Malden will soon have Mystic Brewing around the corner from Idle Hands Brewing. Mystic has reached capacity of 3000 barrels at its current location in Chelsea, but will have a capability of 20,000 with the new facility while retaining the Chelsea space to brew pale ales, IPAs and Belgian-styled beers. Malden will also have a new brewpub called Faces, named after the nightclub on Rte. 2 in Cambridge. Faces will settle at 50 Pleasant Street and is under construction now.
Down The Road has started a new program called The Brew Chef Project. On the last Tuesday of every month, the taproom will host chefs from area restaurants who will prepare several courses paired to DTR beers. Spring releases include Pukwudgie Session Ale, Patchwork Kilt Scottish Ale and Dreamtime NE IPA.
In Somerville, Aeronaut Brewing’s excellent go-to beers, Hop, Hop & Away and A Year With Dr. Nandu, are available through the year, but keep watch for Guava Sour Planet, Carrot Maibock, Citra-Galaxy Session Ale and American Pale Ale. Five women from Aeronaut took part in the March 8 brew day for International Women’s Day in conjunction with the Pink Boots Society. The ladies brewed Pink Boots DIPA. Congratulations to Aeronaut on its 4th anniversary, to be celebrated with a week of special events and releases starting June 18.
Jack’s Abby in Framingham now has Hoponius Union, a hoppy IPL, and the rest of its core beers in 16-oz cans. Springdale Brewing has been distributing Good n’ You (NE IPA) and Pearly Wit throughout the area. Brigadeiro breakfast stout (with Brazilian coffee, cacao, oats and milk sugar) and Melange de Mûres (sour saison aged on blackberries) have also been seen in eastern Massachusetts. At the Barrel Room is the only place currently to buy Yawp!, a 5.5% hazy hopped pale ale with Chinook, Centennial and Mosaics. The brewing women of Jack’s Abby have brewed a 5% pink session IPL colored with beet juice called The Brewture is Female in collaboration with the Pink Boots Society.
Lamplighter Brewing’s head brewer, Tyler Fitzpatrick, is proud to release Kieran (named for his great-grandfather who emigrated from Ireland in 1898), his 2017 Barleywine that was aged in stainless for three weeks and then aged in oak bourbon and rye whiskey barrels for four months. Subtle notes of vanilla and almond as well as warming maple and amaretto come through in this fruity and rich 9.9% beauty.
In Lynn, Bent Water Brewing’s latest is Kathleen, an 8% double IPA with fruity Waimea, Galaxy and Citra hops.
Matt Morris, originally from New England, was lured home by Castle Island Brewing from his job at Toppling Goliath in Iowa. Matt will join three other full-time brewers at the Norwood facility.
On the way to the Cape, we have many options for beer stops, including Widowmaker Brewing in Braintree, 10th District in Abington, and Barrel House Z and Union Brewhouse in Weymouth. Now we receive the great news that Vitamin Sea has also found a home in Weymouth. Founder Dino Funari plans a tasting room and patio to sample beers from the 10-bbl system. Dino and his crew have been producing small-batch unfiltered IPAs for a year now and collaborated with Barrel House Z recently. Now we’ll never make it to the beach!
Widowmaker’s Ryan Lavery and his team have been releasing a new beer every couple of weeks at the taproom just off Rte. 128. New beers will include new batches of Martin & Lewis Milkshake IPA (7.1%, bright and juicy with a hint of vanilla), There’s No Wrong Way Peanut Butter Stout, Fun Time NE DIPA, and Manc, a pilsner brewed with juniper berries. Widowmaker has joined Night Shift Distribution and may now be found as far west as the Worcester area.
If you hop over to Martha’s Vineyard in your Scarab, be sure to enjoy lunch and Neil Atkins’ beers at Offshore Ale in downtown Oak Bluffs. Neil will have a saison with Lemon Drop and Saphir hops, and assistant brewer Chris Contesso has formulated Great Rock Bight (golden IPA at 6.4%/45-IBU) with Topaz and Mosaic hops. Das Pils (4.7% with noble hops and pilsner malt) and Maibock (7.2% strong lager) should make a return this spring.
Untold Brewing in Scituate recently launched its Tap 12 Series, taproom-only offerings of small-batch brews. One of the latest is Coco Maggie, Untold’s Good Mother Maggie scotch ale infused with toasted coconut, to present an 8.3% burst of caramel, vanilla and coconut with a warm boozy finish.
Scott Brunelle of Moby Dick Brewing in New Bedford and Keith Carvalho of Troy City Brewing in Fall River, teamed up to brew a saison with grains of paradise and peppercorns. Moby Dick celebrated its first anniversary on March 15.
In 2017, Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville went 100% solar-powered and added new fermentation tanks and a new canning line. This year will see Rock Art’s beers, including 20th Anniversary DIPA (8%/80-IBU), Limited Access DIPA (7.5%/75-IBU), Sun Rocked IPA (6%/60-IBU) and A River Runs Gruit (5.2%), distributed through Massachusetts courtesy of Atlantic Beverage in Framingham.
The 11th batch of Backacre’s gorgeous Golden Sour will be released on April 6 at Meulemans’ Craft Draughts in Rawsonville. GS was barrel-aged and then blended from different barrels to produce a bright, effervescent tart fruity specialty beer. Vintage batches will also be on sale at the debut offering.
Three members of the Dropkick Murphys visited Magic Hat Brewing in South Burlington to work with brewers to produce Barroom Hero Pub Ale, 4.2% dark amber beer with a roasted coffee aroma and smooth caramel finish. Although this is a limited edition, this ale should be available through the summer. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Claddagh Fund begun by DM’s leader Ken Casey.
New Hampshire Craft Beer Week occurs from April 6-15 with over 150 events throughout The Granite State. Check nhcraftbeerweek on Facebook for the official complete list of events.
Fifteen women in the NH craft beer industry gathered on March 2 at 603 Brewery in Londonderry to brew Damsel No Distress, a limited edition 3.8% Belgian-style pale ale with Palisades, Simcoe, Mosaic and Citra hops. The launch date was the 22nd, so there should be 16-oz cans still available. The ladies are the NH division of the Pink Boots Society and are one of 220 registered groups collaborating to raise awareness of women’s roles in the brewing industry.
Kelsen Brewing in Derry, known for its big Double Battle Axe DIPA, Draken Robust Porter, and Vinatta Russian Imperial Stout varieties, has begun The Cryptic Project dedicated to sours, farmhouse, mixed fermentation and barrel-aged beers. The first four are Luminous (4.5% sour ale with blackberries), Nocturne (6.8% dark sour ale with chocolate and raspberries), Faded (5.4% gose with sea salt and coriander), and Hypnotize (6.2% saison with hibiscus and lemon).