Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Beer Nut: Big beer biz news in Massachusetts

I was on vacation for a week and a half, so I'm just catching up on all of the happenings in the beer world as I work my way back into working shape.
Here is a round up of some things that have been happening lately, plus some random musings.
Massachusetts is a hotbed of activity this year. Eight new breweries opened, and at least another is planned for early 2012.
One of those breweries, Jack's Abby Brewing of Framingham, has been quite busy, and has already started making some changes in its lineup.
They have recently announced they will not be brewing its Saxon Sons Pilsner and Red Tape Lager. Instead, they have introduced a brand-new beer. Called Jabby Brau Session Lager, a 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, easy drinking beer. I tried a sample of this beer, and it was quite good.
They also recently bottled its first beer, Kiwi's Rising Double India Lager. It is a fantastic beer. The beer was hand bottled, so it was only available in limited amounts. But, Jack's announced on Facebook that they have put a down payment on a bottling line, so expect to start seeing bottles of Jack's beers sometime next year.
Talking about bottles, Wormtown Brewing Company has recently bottled its third beer, and I am so excited. It is one of the best beers brewed in Massachusetts. Sweet Tat's Imperial Stout is an imperial breakfast stout brewed with coffee, chocolate, vanilla and oatmeal. Can't wait to get my hands on a few of these.
More Massachusetts beer news. Blatant Brewery, which just made its debut in the past couple of months, is now available at every Not Your Average Joe's restaurant in the state. That is fantastic for an up-and-coming brewery.
And one random thought about the new Massachusetts breweries. Mystic Brewery, one of the new breweries in 2011, is brewing world-class beers. If you see a bottle of any of Mystic's beers, splurge and drink them. They will be a big player in the future.
Stepping away from Massachusetts beers, one of the biggest beer stories of last week was about the band Hanson. Yes, the band made up of three brothers, has announced they are releasing a beer. The beer is called MMMhop IPA.
"We are going to be selling our own beer,'' said band member Zac Hanson. "I'm not joking. MMMhop anyone?''
The fact that Hanson is releasing a beer may be the sign that craft beer is dying. I may have to switch to whisky.
Speaking of which, Watch City Brewing Company in Waltham last week did their first whisky mash-in and will be making its own whisky. They are working with an Ipswich distiller. Should be interesting.
Recently, a new brewery made its debut in Massachusetts. Uncommon Brewers from California started popping up on local shelves. The beers are available in 16-ounce cans. Give them a try, they make some pretty interesting beers.
Another brewery that you will see popping up, at least on draft, is Hill Farmstead from Vermont. Hill Farmstead beers have been available at the Armsby Abbey in Worcester for about a month, so I bet other bars will soon be offering their excellent beers.
Also, even though we just finished one of the warmest Novembers on record, it is time to think about winter beers. Here is a quick list of my top five winter beers everyone should try.
  1. Troeg's Mad Elf; a Belgian-style quad
  2. St. Bernardus Christmas; a Belgian-style strong dark ale
  3. Port Brewing Company's Santa's Little Helper; a Russian Imperial Stout
  4. Boulder Brewing Company's Killer Penguin; a big, burly barleywine
  5. Samuel Smith's Winter Warmer; a British winter warmer, with, thankfully, no spices.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For question, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at

Read more: The Beer Nut: Big beer biz news in Massachusetts - Maynard, MA - The Beacon-Villager

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