Within a five block radius of where I sit right now—cozy in the oh-two-one-four-oh—there are five bars with upwards of 24 beers on tap. Widen that circle by a mile or so and you’ll encompass at least four micro/craft/indie brewing operations. And somewhere in the between you’ll find any number of liquor stores peddling the goods and wares of the aforementioned local crews alongside elixirs from countless other Mass.-based breweries.
And this is just a small chunk of Cambridge.
In a town of solo-cup-happy college kids, thirsty tourists, and professional barflys, it’s no wonder great beer plays such a prominent role in Boston’s drinking culture. Brews of rarely-rivaled variety and quality flow forth from the taps of this town every night. Or afternoon. Or morning. No judgements here.
So if you dig beer and are fortunate enough to call Boston and its surrounding municipalities home, raise that glass up high, bellow an utterance befitting of such revelry, and slam it down on the bar with a slosh of frothy victory—you’re doin’ alright.
But I. Am I doin’ alright? And more importantly, who am I? Well. The name’s Steve Miller. And I—like you—am but a humble inhabitant of Greater Bostonia with a marked enthusiasm for the consumption of fine and occasionally not-so-fine beers.
I’ve been commissioned to write this here blog about the local beer scene—who brews what, where, and why.
If the cut-it-with-a-knife humidity and thunderstorms are any indication, summer is upon us. And if there’s anyone who knows what beers best beat the Boston heat, it’s the crews at Slumbrew and Pretty Things. Both come by-way of Somerville. And as local craft brews go, it doesn’t get much better.
First up is Slumbrew’s Rising Sun Ale.
I picked up a 22 oz. bottle of this at Downtown Wines and Spirits just off Davis Sq. for $7.95. It pours creamy with a warm, dark chocolate hue and light head. Released in late May, Rising Sun takes cues from a semi-obscure German brew called dampfbier which pairs an all barley malt bill with Weissbier yeast. This one is bold, but not flashy, clocking it at 5.7% ABV. It bubbles off the tongue rather quickly and leaves a smokey-sweet, leathery taste behind. When held up to light, Rising Sun has a slow-burning crimson color to it. And while it doesn’t scream summer in the way a pilsner or IPA would, Rising Sun makes for a fine front porch companion on a breezy night.
And from the fine folks at Pretty Things, we’ve got American Darling.
Another 22 oz.er, clocking in at $7.70, and Sporting one of the better names/labels I’ve seen in some time, American Darling is a lager to be reckoned with. It comes out the bottle with the sunny aroma of a radler—a concoction of beer and sparkling lemonade born in Bavaria but popular across much of Europe as a sumer thirst quencher. At 7% ABV, this one is deceptively dry. It has a light mouthfeel, but is so dry that it doesn’t taste like much until it’s halfway down your esophagus. American Darling sits golden in the glass with a foamy, sweet head. It’s Pretty Things’ only filtered beer, and is a great pick for anyone looking for a strong, but not overwhelming lager.
Both can be found in a liquor store near you, provided said store knows what’s up.
Look for further dispatches from my sloshy self in the coming weeks. There’s a lot of good to drink around here. Get off that office chair and onto that barstool while you still can.
Over and out.
-Steve, Future Boston Intern