Boston watering holes

I mentioned in a previous post that many restaurants are welcoming craft beer to their taps. The place your buddies used to frequent for $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon drafts might now have a tap handle with an unfamiliar name written down the side. Why? Well, it could be because local craft brands have started to market their product better. It could be because 20-and-30-somethings have thrown themselves at the organic and locally grown food scene. Beer’s food, right?

Still, some craft beer bars stick out from the others. Below is my growing compilation of good bars in and around Boston that specialize in craft beer. They’re some of the beer bars with the best selections I’ve found so far.

The Publick House – 1648 Beacon St., Brookline

The Publick House has a laid-back feel and a friendly staff. The restaurant boasts a wide variety of Belgian beers on tap, many of which are not available at any other Boston restaurants. When I was there, I ordered a Founders Brewing Co. Breakfast Stout. The breakfast brew is a double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout—a meal in itself.

Deep Ellum – 477 Cambridge St., Allston

More than twice I’ve heard Deep Ellum referred to as a hipster bar. It’s a little on the pricier side for its Allston location, but the selections, including cask beer, are worth the extra cash. I had a Maine Mead Works Hard Apple Cider, bubbly like a champagne and served in a wine glass. Other local offerings include beers from Maine’s Rising Tide Brewing Company and New Hampshire’s Smuttynose Brewing Company.

Bukowski Tavern – 50 Dalton St., Boston

Bukowski’s, from what I hear, is a great place to grab a hotdog and a Belgian ale. I was in there once. Someone ordered a Chimay Rouge for me that I didn’t like, but that’s no fault of Bukowski’s. The place has an outstanding selection I haven’t gotten a chance to return back to try. Its menu includes a sake-ale hybrid, a number of smoked beers and Dixie Blackened Voodoo—a lager out of Louisiana that sounds like it could kill someone.

Sunset Grill and Tap – 130 Brighton Ave., Allston

With more than 100 beers on tap and more in the bottle, Sunset’s menu could take you all night to read. Seventeen hard ciders are listed on the menu. The restaurant’s Twitter account mentions 112 taps and 380 bottled beers.

Here’s a Google map for other craft beer bars around the city.

Boston Beer Bars

Boston Beer Bars

Boston Beer Bars

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring in a bottle: Baby Tree

In the midst of winter, I found myself wanting a little bit of spring. I hunkered down for the recent nor’esater, one of the worst Boston’s seen in years, with a local spring beer.
I picked up Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project’s Baby Tree, a brew Pretty Things’ website says was the company’s first Easter beer. What’s a better way to celebrate?

Baby Tree

The label on a Baby Tree bottle / Photo by Gina Curreri

Baby Tree is a quadruple, according to its label, which I’ve learned is a Belgian style ale with bold flavors.  A quadruple such as Baby Tree has a garnet, deep brown hue. The beer has some sweetness, but it’s not overpowering. Baby Tree is rich and malty, not hoppy. Its malts consist of pils, vienna, chocolate malt and oats. Allagash Brewing makes a quad, Allagash Four, and so does Harpoon, the Harpoon Leviathan Quad.

Pretty Things Beer

Baby Tree, a belgian-style quad from Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project based in Somerville / Photo by Gina Curreri

I didn’t have a stemmed beer glass, so I used a pint glass. The beer was dark brown, but more of an auburn in the light. It was a nice refresher from the heavier winter beers that have been on tap. Fruit flavors cut through the brew mid-sip, and the finish was rich, yet not too heavy. It perfectly embodies spring, a time when fruit and life begin peeping through the heaviness of winter. The beer is extremely drinkable. For any person who dislikes bitter beers, Baby Tree is perfect. Better yet, Baby Tree and all other Pretty Things brews come in 22-ounce bottles. I bought mine at Chansky’s Market in Brighton for about $10.

I was curious as to what a baby tree really is, so I looked it up. The first thing that Google turned up was the beer. (Kudos, Pretty Things. You’ve mastered search engine optimization.) A few entries down, I found this video, from the people behind Pretty Things themselves:


The real baby tree is moderately horrifying and creepy, but I applaud Pretty Things on heading to Yorkshire to do real research on the beer’s name.

Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project is based in Somerville. The company’s most common beer on tap is Pretty Things Jack D’Or. The company is not a brewery, but the people behind it rent space and time in other people’s breweries to make their product. Pretty Things is hosted at Buzzards Bay Brewing in Westport.

On Friday, the company tweeted about the then-upcoming storm:

PrettyBeer

A tweet from Pretty Things / Screenshot taken from @PrettyBeer

I’m glad to have been a help in the beer cellar raid, guys! I’ll be back.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learning the craft

Hi, guys! Welcome to my blog. I’m a Boston University journalism student on a mission to learn as much about craft beer as I can.

Slumbrew

Slumbrew is a popular craft beer brewed in Somerville / Image via bostinno.com

As a waitress at a few restaurants, I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge about wine. And though the places I work at receive a growing number of craft beer selections each year, the restaurant staff is always taught very little about the newest beers. Maybe that’s because beer is such a complex and vast topic of interest. Regardless, most bar managers will tell you that craft beer is a necessity on any good bar menu these days. But craft beer is not just found at the nicer bars with more targeted  audiences. Somerville Brewing Company’s Slumbrew and Clown Shoes Beer out of Ipswich both pop up at many Boston bars. Instead of ordering the mass-produced American standbys such as Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon, younger crowds make it a point to ask what craft beers are on tap.

Slumbrew and Clown Shoes are just two of 15 new breweries that have surfaced in Massachusetts over the last three years, according to DigBoston’s weekly beer columnist.

So what is craft beer? Any why does it seem that nobody know anything about it?

The Brewers Association defines a craft brewery as a brewery that annually produces fewer than six million barrels of beer. No more than 25 percent of the craft brewery should be controlled by an industry member that is not a craft brewer.

Mayflower Brewing Company'

Mayflower Brewing Company’s craft ales are bottled in Plymouth / Image via bostinno.com

Well, okay. Now what does that mean? Blue Moon, formerly a craft beligian ale, says on the label that it is produced by Blue Moon Brewing Co.—a company MillerCraft now owns. Still, many beer drinkers believe Blue Moon is a craft beer.

However, most beer snobs will deny Blue Moon, and even the lesser-known Magic Hat as a craft beer because larger companies bought them. Does it matter? Is there something in drinking craft beer similar to eating locally grown food? Seems it.

 

Follow me as I try to get my head around craft beer through trying and reviewing it myself, chatting with brewers and doing some good ol’ research.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments