Somerville Brewing Company, affectionately known as Slumbrew, is the brainchild of a Somerville couple, Caitlin Jewell and Jeff Leiter. Jeff began brewing out of his house, and now the couple has created more than 11 beers. I sat down with Caitlin outside an event she was hosting to talk shop.
Slumbrew does no wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer of theirs I didn’t love. Below are a few can’t-miss brews.
Belgian beer lovers should direct themselves toward Slumbrew’s Trekker Trippel, a Belgian pilsen with caramel malts. It pours out golden in color with a head that quickly dissipates.
This beer is very yeast-forward like a trippel should be, but the aroma is full of pineapple, apple and pear. To the taste, it’s full bodied and heavy. I’d recommend drinking this beer with some hearty food. I’m not sure I could drink more than one, as it feels like a meal in itself and takes a while to finish. Its sip has a long finish, and leaves notes of caramel and malt on the tongue.
This trippel is unlike others I often find from craft breweries. Its flavors are complex, and my guess is that this one went through many rounds of testing before it made it to the bottle. I bought this beer by the bottle, but I think it’s better suited for the tap.
Happy Sol was the first Slumbrew beer I ever tried, and I’ve been following Slumbrew and its creations since then. The waitress I had at the time described Happy Sol as a beer similar to Blue Moon. I’d disagree. Though Happy Sol and Blue Moon are both wheat beers, Slumbrew’s take on the genre is much more crisp and refreshing.
Happy Sol is a hefeweizen, and is fermented from blood orange juice. Its aroma is therefore primarily citrus. To the taste, coriander gives this otherwise hoppy, fruity beer a zesty side. I’d say it’s a little heavy on the wheat side to be a true hefeweizen, but this cloudy orange brew is beyond drinkable. It’s even brewed with local wildflower honey. Beat that, Blue Moon. Again, the painstaking care that goes into Slumbrew’s beers is clear. Caitlin and Jeff strive to only use the best ingredients.
Attic and Eaves
Poor brown ales always get forgotten. Attic and Eaves is top of my list. A sip of this beer, and it’s as if autumn rushed in and brought with it great taste. This brown ale is brewed with both brown and chocolate malts. This is a fall seasonal, limited release beer, but if and when it hits the shelves again, put it top of your list.
Both the aroma and taste of this beer are nutty, but the toasted buckwheat underlying the nut flavor gives it a great sweet and toasty undertone.
Attic and Eaves pours a deep brown with a fluffy head that lasts. Its rich, creamy taste would pair perfectly with fall foods — pumpkin pie, stuffing, turkey, apple pie, mashed potatoes… Okay, I’m getting a little carried away. I can’t wait for fall to return so I can catch this brew on tap again.
Flower Envy Saison
Flower Envy is the quintessential summer beer for those still looking to drink real beer in the summer. (It’s not just a fall and winter thing, everyone!) It’s a saison, also known as a farmhouse ale. Farmhouse ales are often brewed in the winter and intended for consumption during the summer months.
Brewed with Belgian wheat, this beer has an admirable amount of hops. It’s herbal in taste, full of floral undertones. The most prominent tastes I got were lavender, raspberry and lilac, but the wheat flavor balances it out so the beer is not at all too sweet. Apple and pear tastes are also in this classic, earthy saison. This crisp beer got better as I kept drinking, and I soon picked up more flavors — black tea and mild clove. Its finish is fairly long and leaves behind a lingering spicy citrus taste.
The beer pours a golden color and is very drinkable at a six percent ABV. It’s a seasonal summer ale, on shelves and on tap now.
Slumbrew and craft by the numbers
Source: Caitlin Jewell, The Brewers Association, Massachusetts Brewers Guild, Beer Marketer’s Insights. Infographic made with easel.ly.