14 June 2008

Boston Beer Roundup

North Carolina has, as I've mentioned, a surprising and growing microbrew community. But as I'm in Somerville, MA for the summer it's worth giving the necessary shout-out to Boston as certainly one of the original homes of the microbrew movement - there was a time, yes, when Sam Adams had indie cred.

There is no lack of excellent options here, now, from Boston proper but also from Portsmouth, Portland Maine-not-Oregon, and assorted other New England hamlets. A short review follows.

  • Harpoon IPA. At this point, perhaps the iconic Boston good-beer - on tap pretty much everywhere, often brought to BBQs, and an exceedingly solid choice. It doesn't have the lovely stanky hoppiness of, e.g., Green Flash IPA (indeed the Eastern IPAs generally shy away from that, in contrast to CO, CA, WA and OR), but it retains a solid bitter character, is not overly malty and is eminently drinkable. Good standby.
  • Cisco's Whale Tail Pale Ale. Sweeter and maltier - not an IPA - but still a good balance of hoppiness. Not an all-night beer but nice early in the evening.
  • Shipyard IPA. Just superb. Crisp, hoppy, refreshing, bitter, and balanced. Very little malt but again, not West-Coast-hoppy. At $7.25 at my corner store, this will be a reliable choice through the summer.
  • Geary's Summer Ale. As with all Geary's, it's good-not-great. Nothing distinctive but just nice and drinkable.
  • Magic Hat Circus Boy. A nice hefeweizen, if unremarkable save a crispness sometimes lacking in hefes. Magic Hat, generally, is nice-but-overrated, for my beer $.

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