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Monday, December 5, 2016

Drinksgiving 2016: Part II - Baaahston, baby!

Day 3 - Thursday 11/24

Thanksgiving Day was spent in Boston at Dan and Kristen's house in our lounge pants eating way too much food for five human beings and drinking some choice gems from Dan's beer cellar (actually, some of his beer is stored in a guest room, while the rest is kept in his DFB, or Dedicated Beer Fridge, in the garage). Here's what we cracked open throughout the day, in no particular order:

  • One Hop This Time: Vic Secret - Night Shift
  • One Hop This Time: Mosaic - Night Shift
  • Citra Cutting Tiles - Trillium
  • Apple Brandy Barrel Noir - Prairie
  • Bourbon Barrel-Aged Mexican Cake - Westbrook
  • Imperial Blu Bu - De Garde
  • Petit Kriek - De Garde
  • Special Rogue - De Garde

Beer aside, Dan really went above and beyond for Thanksgiving dinner, although I must say that I wasn't surprised at all. This is the same guy who made a metric ton of pulled pork and turkey for Ffej of July as well as gallons of homemade BBQ sauce and enough baked beans to make everyone at the party flatulent enough to burn a hole in the ozone layer. For dinner, we enjoyed a feast of smoked turkey, sausage stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, maple mashed sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower, corn, pumpkin pie, and a homemade Mexican cake with Bavarian cream in the middle. I hope I didn't forget anything. After not having Thanksgiving dinner for the previous 8 years, I must say this was a big treat for us! Dan knows his way around the kitchen fo' sho'!

We capped off the day with a viewing of the fantastic Marvel universe movie Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds. I must admit that I never jumped on the Marvel bandwagon aside from my all-time favorite superhero, Spiderman (even though I collected various Marvel comics for a few years during my mid-to-late teens), but this movie was pretty damn awesome! It was funny, irreverent, violent, and serious when it needed to be. Dare I say it was the coolest superhero movie ever made? Sure, why not?

Day 4 - Friday 11/25

Since we stayed locked in at Dan and Kristen's place all day for Thanksgiving, Brewslut and I had some serious cabin fever. So, we put together a pretty ambitious itinerary for Black Friday including 7 breweries. The day's tally actually turned out to be 8 due to a quick impromptu visit of one not on our list. I mean, we were walking right by it, so we had to stop in, right?

Our first stop of the day was Dorchester Brewing Company, who'd just opened its doors back in July. Dan hadn't even paid them a visit yet. Typical of any first stop of the day, a sampler flight was in order. Here's the low-down on my tray:

Entitled IPA - straight-up IPA with tropical fruit notes
V1 DIPA - fruit-forward DIPA with tons of Mosaic hops
Mass Ave IPA - IPA hopped with El Dorado
Warp Rider - Red IPA with notes of pine resin

I also sampled some of Brewslut's Secret Decoder Ring (awesome name... if you don't get the reference, you need to drink more Ovaltine), a brown porter aged on cocoa nibs. This was pretty tasty.

However, I was still in the mood for a smoked beer, especially since the one I wanted at Jack's Abby had kicked. So, I opted for a half liter mug of Engine 21, a traditional German Rauchbier made with 33% Beechwood smoked malt. This one was right on the nuggets! Not too smoky and a prime example of this unpopular style. I wish more breweries would make traditional Rauchbiers. For those afraid of smoked beers, you really need to try a classic Rauchbier. They are fantastic! (Steps down from soapbox.)

Enjoying an Engine 21 Rauchbier at Dorchester.

Up next was a stop at the new Night Shift location. I'd had a number of their beers already, and it took me a few to get into them. After a pair of initial disappointing beers, they first wowed me with Whirlpool, a delicious, fruity American Pale Ale. Since then, I'd enjoyed just about everything I tried from them.

Upon entering, we were greeted by an expansive space with communal seating, a bar area, high ceilings and an additional room in the back for more seating options. I perused the beer selection, and they had about 10 or so offerings currently available. I started with a pour of Morph, Night Shift's constantly evolving IPA series, which changes from batch to batch. This particular batch was #38, dated 11/17/16. Upon further investigation, I learned this version incorporated Bravo, Vic Secret, Simcoe and Citra hops to create a juicy IPA "bursting with citrus and tropical fruit flavors." They didn't have to twist my arm to drink this. It was quite tasty! Brewslut opted for the Aloha Weisse, a Berliner Weisse brewed with pineapple, which I also sampled. This was pretty damn delicious, and she concurred. Since Dan was a member of the Barrel Society, he was able to procure a pour of Sheridan, a Flanders-style sour ale aged in various oak wine barrels. This sucker was warm, fruity and tannic with some moderate mouth pucker. I ended with a pour of Awake, a delicious coffee porter aged with coffee from Counter Culture. I'm always in the mood for a coffee beer (or coffee, for that matter), and I seldom miss an opportunity to sample one when I'm travelling. Good stuff, this was!

Pleeps says, "Aloha from Night Shift!"

Our next stop was another new place with which I'd not yet familiarized myself: Bone Up. This place was quite small but boasted some modest charm through the use of unique lighting and a Metallica pinball machine. It was looking like a quick one-and-done stop, so I settled on Wasted Life, their flagship IPA. As I was doing a bit of post-trip research, I checked the Bone Up web site and noticed that, in addition to food pairing notes, they also added a specific cheese pairing and, oddly, enough, music pairing for each beer. I thought this was kind of funny. Unfortunately, this particular beer is recommended to go well with "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls, which makes me wonder if this beer has a predominantly gay male fanbase. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Forget bellying up to the bar... I want to BONE UP!

After our visit at Bone Up, we convened back at Dan and Kristen's to eat some leftovers from the previous day's feast, and cracked open a Dusk Trill Dawn, an Imperial Stout with cold brewed coffee made in collaboration with Trillium and Evil Twin. That was some mighty fine drinking, let me tell you! Unfortunately, we once again ate too much and later in the evening experienced a few unfortunate "puke burps" as a result. That's the price you pay for loading up on carbs before you drink all night.

After dinner, we continued our Boston brewery crawl by Uber-ing back into town. Our next stop was a newish place called Winter Hill. Brewslut and I opted for the same beer - Hesher, an American Wheat IPA dry-hopped with Citra and Zythos. This one missed the mark a little, and I detected a hint of diacytl in there, but it wasn't off-putting. She wasn't digging it at all, unfortunately. The place seemed cool enough, although it was sparsely populated while we were there. Dan and Charles were caught up in some compelling conversation and Brewslut was feeling the effects of too many carbs, so this was a one-and-done stop for us. This was fine with me, as we had many more places to cross off the list.

Pleeps sometimes likes the murky ones.

Our next stop, Aeronaut, was a brisk 25 minute walk from Winter Hill, which found me wishing I'd worn my heavier coat instead of just a hoody. It wasn't uncomfortably cold, just a tad bit chilly with a hint of cool breeze. Upon entering the premises, this place felt right up my alley. Like my previous comments about Ecliptic in Portland, OR, I'm a sucker for "outer space bullshit," to quote Ricky from Trailer Park Boys. My first selection was First Steps on a Sour Planet, a Berliner Weisse on cask! This was a rare treat, as I seldom see this style on a beer engine. I was very pleased with this decision, and it was one of my favorites of the day, so great first impression, Aeronaut! As we made our way back into the adjacent room, I noticed about a dozen classic arcade games in the corner. I'm definitely a sucker for 80's arcade games, and even better was the fact that these were all FREE PLAY machines (meaning no quarters or tokens needed). BOOYEAH! Plus the arcade games served two important purposes on this particular evening. Not only did they provide about half an hour's worth of free entertainment, they also served as a distraction from "some douche playing an acoustic guitar" who was just around the corner near the front of the room. (Editor's note: Sick Cards Against Humanity reference, Ffej!) He wasn't a hired musician; he just felt like bringing his guitar in to show off to all the ladies (or perhaps dudes... he was sporting a questionable sweater).

One small step for Pleeps, one giant step for monkies!

My next selection was Hop Hop & Away, a Citra and Mosaic-hopped American Pale Ale. At 4.6% ABV, this was an easy drinker! I wish I would have picked up some cans of this one before we left, but I was still reeling from the free arcade games. Oh well. We ended up toting back a pretty sizable haul of goodies to share with our Team D(r)INK compadres!

By the time I moved on to a pour of Leipzig Bop, a Gose, "some douche" had moved from guitar to the upright piano occupying the room. That was our cue to finish up and head to the next place.

After Dan's glowing review of Lord Hobo's Hobo Life session IPA (he compared it to Three Floyds' Zombie Dust), we made a quick decision to swing by and scarf down a pint between the four of us. And that we did. Dan also ordered a pour of something called Fallow Harvest, a beer from Hermit Thrush, a brewery based out of VT with whom I wasn't acquainted. This particular beer was an unspiced pumpkin sour ale uniting two vintages aged in French oak barrels. This was pretty fantastic and these guys are now on my radar. We'll hopefully be back in VT in 2017, so we'll be sure to track them down!

Pleeps takes a break and enjoys a rare beerless pose.

After our little 5-minute beer carousel ride at Lord Hobo (we literally stood at the bar and passed each beer around to one another until both were finished), we were off to another new brewery. This time, it was Lamplighter. When we arrived, I noticed the place was clean and well-kept with modern decor. Think a semi-fancy brunch spot with a variety of seating options, lots of time, and funky lighting. And it was bumping in there by the time we walked in. If any place in Boston is "Hipster Central," it's this place. Located in Cambridge and just a stone's throw away from our final destination (Cambridge Brewing Co.), Lamplighter was dripping with hipsters. That's not necessarily always a bad thing, though, because some hipsters have the innate ability to sniff out the good stuff. In this particular case, Lamplighter was indeed "the good stuff." With a penchant for brewing "aroma-packed, funk, and flavor-driven ales," many of the Lamplighter beers I sampled during our visit were yeast-focused. Check out this diverse sampler flight I enjoyed:

Danger Zone - Get ready to call Kenny Loggins, because this tasty dry-hopped sour ale features wildflower and tart lemon notes.
Mad Hatter - 100% Brettanomyces Pale Ale with ripe peach and resiny flavors.
Lion Eyes - dry and funky 100% Brettanomyces IPA.
Easy Tiger - another 100% Brettanomyces IPA with tropical fruit and earthy funk.

Hangin' with the hipsters at Lamplighter.
I enjoyed all of my beers, and Brewslut was impressed as well. However, the day was winding down and it was off to Cambridge before closing time. Aside from Lord Hobo (which hadn't even begun brewing when we last visited), Cambridge was the only "been there" place of the day. Dan and I both love their Blunderbuss Barleywine, but alas it was not on tap on this particular occasion.

Beer-wise, this was our final stop of the day, so we decided on a single pour of something from the tap list. I went with Don't Panic, a juicy Session IPA with notes of berries and wildflower amid herbal spiciness. Brewslut opted for a Boilermaker Stout, a barrel-aged dry stout. Both served as the closure of a day well-spent in Boston.

Aside from the beer, one of my favorite things about this place is the rotating mural on the wall adjacent to the bar. Depicting a variety of movie stars, musicians, fictional characters, Cambridge employees, and even local customers, this ever-changing mural always elicits a fun topic of conversation during our visit. We noticed, among others, President Obama, John Winger (Bill Murray's character from Stripes, and Barney from the Simpsons). It's always fun to try and figure out who's who on the mural!

Stay tuned for more Drinksgiving adventures including Portland, ME and a romp around New Hampshire before heading back to PA. Until then...

1 comment:

The Pour Travelers thank you for reading about our beer travels!