Thursday, May 21, 2009

Crowding out the little guys

Every time I seem to go into a liquor store these days (which is quite frequently, mind you) Sam Adams seems to have a new brand on the shelves. After what seemed like years of seeing the same ten styles on the shelves, it has been a little disorienting to see all of these new LongShots, Imperial Series, Brewmasters Collection and other nonesense. For my real thoughts on all of this, read on.

Samuel Adams Blackberry Wit
Bottle -- Luke's, Rockland
little annoyed that koch stole my blackberry idea -- it would be so much better in a chocolate porter! fruity aroma seems closer to raspberries than blackberries to me, but you get the gist. quite sweet and flavoring seems artificial. very fizzy. exactly what you would expect. not going to reccomend this even to those fruity beer drinkers out there.
Score: 3

Samuel Adams Brick Red
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
was a little surprised to see this one -- pretty sure they already have an irish red in their line... nothing groundbreaking either. malty with very sweet aftertaste. watery. the cynic in me thinks that all of these flashy new labels are just a ploy to crowd out other smaller craft brewers for shelf space...
Score: 5

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Up to 707 beers now. Expect to see a lot more West Coast brewers on this list next time with my honeymoon next week happening to take place in the microbrew capital of the world: Portland, Oregon!

Beer, Score (1-10)
Abita Christmas Ale, 7
Abita Jockamo IPA, 4
Abita Purple Haze, 6
Abita Restoration Pale Ale, 2
Albany Pump Station Evans Extra Stout, 9
Alesmith Old Numbskull, 7
Allagash Black, 7
Allagash Curieux, 9
Allagash Dubbel Reserve, 8
Allagash Fluxus, 9
Allagash FOUR, 6
Allagash Grand Cru, 10
Allagash Interlude, 7
Allagash Tripel Reserve, 10
Allagash Victoria Ale, 9
Allagash White, 10
Amnesia Copacetic IPA, 8
Amnesia Desolation IPA, 7
Amnesia The ESB, 7
Anchor Christmas Ale, 4
Anchor Liberty Ale, 6
Anchor Old Foghorn Ale, 5
Anchor Porter, 8
Anchor Steam Beer, 5
Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, 9
Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale, 9
Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' IPA, 9
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice, 8
Andrew's English Pale Ale, 6
Andrew's St. Nick Porter, 8
Arcadia IPA, 5
Arcadia Scotch Ale, 4
Asahi Super Dry, 3
Atlantic Brother Adam's Bragget Ale, 5
Atlantic Coal Porter, 5
Atwater Vanilla Java Porter, 7
Atwater Voodoovator, 6
Avery 14er ESB, 6
Avery Ale to the Chief , 9
Avery Anniversary Ale - Fifteen, 5
Avery Collaboration Not Litigation, 7
Avery Karma Ale, 5
Avery Out of Bounds Stout, 9
Avery The Czar, 5
Avery The Maharaja Imperial IPA, 9
Avery The Reverend, 9

Ballast Point Big Eye IPA, 8
Bar Harbor Acadia Pale Ale, 9
Bar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout, 10
Bar Harbor Harbor Lighthouse Ale, 8
Bar Harbor Thunder Hole Ale, 9
Bass Pale Ale, 6
Beamish Irish Stout, 5
Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout, 10
Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, 10
Bear Republic Racer 5 India Pale Ale, 8
Bear Republic Red Rocket Ale, 9
Beer Belly Ball and Chain IPA, 8
Beer Works Back Bay IPA, 7Beer Works Bay State ESB, 8
Beer Works Black Bat Stout, 5
Beer Works Bunker Hill Blueberry, 7
Beer Works North Shore Light, 3
Beer Works Pumpkinhead Ale, 5
Beer Works Saison Nouveau, 8
Beer Works Salem American Pale Ale, 8
Beer Works Smoked Porter, 6Beer Works Splendid Splinter, 6
Beer Works Tell Tale Lager, 7
Beer Works Terrier Scottish Ale, 5
Beer Works The Grinch, 6
Beer Works Triple A Amber, 7
Beer Works Winter Works, 7
Beer Works Witch City Red, 5
Belfast Bay Lobster Ale, 4
Belfast Bay McGovern's Oatmeal Stout, 5
Belhaven Scottish Ale / Export / 80 Shilling, 7
Bell Lager, 2
Berkshire Cabin Fever Ale, 6
Berkshire Coffeehouse Porter, 9
Berkshire Draymens Porter, 8
Berkshire Imperial Stout, 9
Berkshire Lost Sailor India Pale Ale, 8
Berkshire River Ale, 5
Berkshire "Shabadoo" Black & Tan Ale, 8
Berkshire Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale, 4
Berkshire Traditional Pale Ale, 7
Berkshire Springs Stock Ale, 4
Bison Organic Chocolate Stout, 5
Black Bear Pail Ale, 5
Blue Hills Extra Pale Ale, 6Blue Hills India Pale Ale, 8
Blue Moon Belgian White Ale, 5
Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, 6
Blue Point Honey Moon Summer Ale, 6
Blue Point Rastafar Rye Ale, 7
Blue Point Toasted Lager, 3
Blue Point Winter Ale, 3
Boddington Pub Ale, 5
Boulder Beer Hazed and Infused, 7
Boulder Beer Mojo IPA, 8
Boulder Beer Pass Time Pale Ale, 3
Boulder Beer Planet Porter, 6
Boulder Sundance Amber Ale, 4
BridgePort Blue Heron Ale, 6
BridgePort IPA, 8
BridgePort Ropewalk Amber Ale, 6
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, 10
Brooklyn Brown Ale, 8
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, 5
Brooklyn Lager, 7
Brooklyn Local 1, 10
Brooklyn Winter Ale, 6
Brooklynator Doppelbock, 5
Budweiser American Ale, 3
Budweiser Shock Top Belgian White, 3
Buzzards Bay Alt, 4
Buzzards Bay Black Lager, 5
Buzzards Bay Hefeweizen, 2
Buzzards Bay Pilsner, 6

Cambridge Amber, 8
Cambridge Arquebus, 3
Cambridge Big Man Ale, 9
Cambridge Bitchin' Bitter, 8
Cambridge Blunderbuss Barley Wine, 7
Cambridge CaCow! Chocolate Milk Stout, 10
Cambridge Charles River Porter, 8
Cambridge Espresso Stout, 9
Cambridge Half Wit Belgian Style Wheat, 7
Cambridge Hefe-weizen, 9
Cambridge Never Mind the Bollekes!, 5
Cambridge Regatta Golden, 7
Cambridge Tall Tale Pale Ale, 7
Cambridge Tripel, 6
Cambridge Tripel Threat, 7
Cambridge You Enjoy My Stout, 7
Cape Ann Fishermans Brew, 8
Cape Ann Fisherman's Brew IPA, 7
Cape Ann Pumpkin Stout, 8
Captain Lawrence Captain's Reserve Imperial IPA, 10
Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold, 7
Carling Black Label, 3
Carlsberg Brown (Malawi), 4
Casco Bay Brown Ale, 4
Casco Bay Carrabassett Pale Ale, 5
Casco Bay Carrabassett Winter Ale, 4
Casco Bay Pale Ale, 7
Casco Bay Riptide Red Ale, 9
Casco Bay Summer Ale, 8
Castle Lager, 1
Castle Milk Stout, 6
Cerveja Super Bock, 2
Chelsea Checker Cab Blonde Ale, 8
Chelsea Hand Pumped Cask Ale, 6
Chibuku Shake Shake, 0
Chili Head Lager, 5
Chimay Triple, 9
Cisco Captain Swain's Extra Stout, 7
Cisco Gray Lady Hefeweizen, 6
Cisco Moor Porter, 6
Cisco Whales Tale Pale Ale, 3
Clipper City Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3, 8
Clipper City Heavy Seas Red Sky at Night, 7
Clipper City Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning, 9
Concord Junction Porter, 10
Concord North Woods Ale, 7
Concord Rapscallion Creation, 4
Coniston Bluebird Bitter, 8
Cooperstown Back Yard IPA, 5
Cooperstown Benchwarmer, 8
Cooperstown Nine Man Ale, 4
Cooperstown Old Slugger, 3
Cooperstown Pride of Milford Special Ale, 7
Cooperstown Strike Out Stout, 5
Corona Extra, 3
Cottrell Old Yankee Ale, 8

Davidson Brother's Dacker Authentic Adirondack Ale, 8
Davidson Brother's IPA, 5
Delirium Tremens, 8
Deschutes Bachelor ESB, 8
Deschutes Black Butte Porter, 10
Deschutes Cinder Cone Red Ale, 9
Deschutes Green Lake Organic Ale, 9
Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale, 10
Deschutes Obsidian Stout, 9
De Struise Black Albert, 9
Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager, 5
Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, 9
Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA, 10
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA, 5
Dogfish Head ApriHop, 7
Dogfish Head Black & Blue, 4
Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, 7
Dogfish Head Fort, 8
Dogfish Head Immort Ale, 9
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, 8
Dogfish Head Midas Touch Golden Elixir, 8
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron, 10
Dogfish Head Pangaea, 7
Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale, 7
Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre, 8
Dogfish Head Raison D'Extra, 5
Dogfish Head Red and White, 8
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, 6
Dos Equis XX Amber, 5
Dundee Original Honey Brown Lager, 5
Duvel, 10

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale, 6
Eel River Certified Organic Porter, 6
Endurance Glacier Gold, 6
Eugene City Tracktown IPA, 7

Fish Tale Organic India Pale Ale, 6
Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter, 5
Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat, 2
Flying Dog Road Dog Scottish Porter, 7
Flying Horse Royal Lager, 5
Fort Collins Kidd Lager, 8
Fort Collins Major Tom's Pomegranate Wheat, 4
Fort Collins Rocky Mountain IPA, 7
Fort Collins Z Lager, 5
Fosters Lager, 2
Founders Breakfast Stout, 10
Founders Centennial IPA, 6
Founders Curmudgeon, 9
Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA, 6
Founders Dirty Bastard, 9
Founders Reds Rye, 9
Franziskaner Hefe-weisse, 4
Fresh Catch Amber Ale, 2
Full Sail Amber Ale (USA), 9
Full Sail IPA, 8
Full Sail Rip Curl, 8
Full Sail Session Premium Lager, 9
Fuller's London Porter, 8

Gearys Autumn Ale, 9
Gearys Hampshire Special Ale, 9
Gearys London Porter, 9
Gearys Pale Ale, 9
Gearys Summer Ale, 8
Gearys Winter Ale, 6
George Killians Irish Red, 6
Great Divide Denver Pale Ale, 7
Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, 9
Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout, 9
Great Divide St. Bridgets Porter (St. Brigids), 7
Green Flash Hop Head Red, 8
Green Flash West Coast IPA, 9
Gritty McDuffs Best Bitter, 7
Gritty McDuffs Black Fly Stout, 6
Gritty McDuffs Christmas Ale, 8
Gritty McDuffs Halloween Ale, 9
Gritty McDuffs India Pale Ale, 9
Gritty McDuffs Lions Pride Brown Ale, 5
Gritty McDuffs Original Pub Style, 4
Gritty McDuffs Raspberry Wheat, 5
Gritty McDuffs Scottish Ale, 7
Gritty McDuff's Sebago Light Ale, 2
Gritty McDuffs Vacationland Summer Ale, 8
Guinness Draught, 4
Guinness Extra Stout (North America), 3

Hansa Pilsener, 3
Harpoon Ale, 5
Harpoon Brown, 6
Harpoon Celtic, 5
Harpoon Hibernian Ale, 5
Harpoon Imperial IPA (Leviathan Series), 3
Harpoon IPA, 6
Harpoon Old Rusty's Red Rye Ale, 7
Harpoon Smoked Porter, 6
Harpoon Summer Beer, 3
Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen, 7
Harpoon Winter Warmer, 3
Heartland Big Belgian Blonde Ale, 6
Heartland Buffalo Bock, 5
Heartland Cornhusker Lager, 2
Heartland Farmer Jons Oatmeal Stout, 7
Heartland Harvest Wheat, 3
Heartland Indian River Light, 3
Heartland Indiana Pale Ale, 5
Heartland Red Rooster Ale, 5
HeBrew Messiah Bold, 7
Heineken, 3
Henry Weinhards Blue Boar Pale Ale, 6
Henry Weinhards Private Reserve, 7
Hoegaarden Original White Ale, 6
Hook and Ladder Golden Ale, 3
Hoppin Frog BORIS The Crusher, 9
Hoppin Frog Mean Manalishi, 10

Ipswich Dark Ale, 9
Ipswich India Pale Ale, 7
Ipswich Oatmeal Stout, 10
Ipswich Original Ale, 8
Ipswich Summer Ale, 4
Ipswich Winter Ale, 3

Jacks Pumpkin Spice Ale, 6
Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, 8
Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza, 7
Josh’s Homebrews Crimes Against Humanity Bitter, 7
Josh's Homebrews Hoppy Holidays! / Obama Beer!, 5
Josh's Homebrews The-Waiting-Is-The-Hardest-Part Pale Ale, 5
Josh's Homebrews Promised Land Porter, 7
Josh's Homebrews You're So Vain... You Probably Think This Stout is About You!, 1

Kelso Nut Brown Lager, 7
Kennebec River Magic Hole IPA, 5
Kilimanjaro Premium Lager, 1
Kronenbourg 1664, 7
Kuche Kuche, 1

Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout, 9
Lagunitas Censored, 5
Lagunitas Pils, 8
Lagunitas Sirius Ale, 9
Lake Placid 46'er Pale Ale, 7
Lake Placid IPA (Frostbite Ale), 9
Lake Placid Ubu, 6
Lakefront Fuel Cafe, 3
Leffe Blonde, 4
Left Hand Black Jack Porter, 4
Left Hand Milk Stout, 9
Legacy Hedonism Ale, 7
Legacy Midnight Wit, 7
Legacy Nor'easter, 7
Leinenkugels Oktoberfest, 4
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, 1
Leinenkugels Sunset Wheat, 3
Liberal Cup Alewife Ale, 8
Liberal Cup Backhouse Bitter, 7
Liberal Cup Bug Lager, 6
Liberal Cup Tarbox Cream Stout, 8
Loco Pilsner, 6
Long Trail Ale, 7
Long Trail Belgian White, 4
Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat, 7
Long Trail Double Bag, 8
Long Trail Hefeweizen, 5
Long Trail Hibernator, 5
Long Trail Hit the Trail Ale, 6
Long Trail India Pale Ale, 5
Lost & Found Abbey Ale, 7
Lucky Labrador Dog Day IPA, 8
Lucky Labrador Hawthornes Best Bitter, 7

Mackeson XXX Stout, 7
Mad River Steelhead Extra Pale Ale, 7
Magic Hat #9, 7
Magic Hat Fat Angel, 6
Magic Hat Hi.P.A., 7
Magic Hat Hocus Pocus, 6
Magic Hat Irish Red Ale, 7
Magic Hat Jinx, 6
Magic Hat Roxy Rolles, 8
Magic Hat Single Chair Ale, 7
Magic Hat Y33, 3
Marshall Wharf Tug Pale Ale, 3
Mash Tun Alberta Pale Ale, 2
Mayflower IPA, 4
Mayflower Pale Ale, 7
Mayflower Porter, 7
Mayflower Thanksgiving Ale, 3
McMenamins Concordia Pale Ale, 5
McMenamins Hammerhead Ale, 5
McMenamins Nebraska Bitter, 7
McMenamins Ruby, 3
McMenamins Terminator Stout, 7
McNeill's Extra Special Bitter, 6
Meantime IPA, 8
Mendocino Black Hawk Stout, 4
Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale, 3
Mendocino Red Tail Ale, 5
Mendocino Saratoga Lager, 8
Michelob Pale Ale, 3
Middle Ages Beast Bitter, 7
Middle Ages Kilt Tilter, 4
Middle Ages Wailing Wench, 8
Modelo Especial, 3
Moat Mountain Hoffman Weiss, 8
Montana Brewing Whitetail Wheat, 8
Mosi Lager, 1
Murphy’s Irish Stout, 5

Narragansett Cranberry, 2
Nashoba Valley Bolt 117 Lager, 4
Nashoba Valley Heron Ale, 5
Nashoba Valley Oaktoberfest, 4
Nashoba Valley Wattaquadoc Wheat, 6
Negra Modelo, 6
New Belgium Fat Tire, 8
Newcastle Brown Ale, 7
Newport Storm Chocolate Porter, 6
Newport Storm Gloria, 6
Newport Storm Henry, 6
Newport Storm Hurricane Amber Ale, 4
Newport Storm's Irish Red, 3
Newport Storm Regenschauer Oktoberfest, 6
Newport Storm Rhode Island Blueberry, 7
Ndovu, 1
Nile Special Lager, 1
North Coast ACME California IPA, 8
North Coast Blue Star, 8
North Coast Old No. 38 Stout, 8
North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, 10
North Coast Old Stock Ale, 9
North Coast Pranqster, 7
North Coast Red Seal, 9
Northampton Black Cat Stout, 6
Northampton Maggies Wee Heavy, 8
Northampton Old Brown Dog, 6
Northampton Pale Ale, 8
Northampton Redheaded Stepchild, 6
Northampton Steamer, 7

Oak Pond Dooryard Ale, 5
Oak Pond Nut Brown Ale, 8
Oak Pond Oktoberfest, 6
Oak Pond Pale Ale, 4
Oak Pond Pilsner, 6
Oak Pond Somerset Lager, 7
Oak Pond White Fox Ale, 7
Offshore India Pale Ale, 7
Olde Burnside Dirty Penny, 9
Olde Burnside Ten Penny Ale, 6
Ommegang, 8
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence Stout, 9
Ommegang Hennepin, 9
Ommegang Rare Vos, 7
Ommegang Three Philosophers, 8
Opa-Opa IPA, 6
Opa-Opa Steakhouse Red Rock, 7
Orlio Organic Black Lager, 5
Orlio Organic Common Ale, 6
Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale, 10
Oskar Blues Old Chub, 9
Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, 8
Otter Creek Copper Ale, 4
Otter Creek Otter San, 3
Otter Creek Pale Ale, 5
Otter Creek Raspberry Brown Winter Ale, 3
Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter, 5
Otter Creek White Sail, 4
Owen O'Leary's Black & Tan, 4
Owen O'Leary's Dave's Blueberry Ale, 4
Owen O'Leary's Golden Eagle Ale, 5
Owen O'Leary's I.P.A., 4
Owen O'Leary's Irish Sunsetter Red, 6
Owen O'Leary's Summertime Wheat, 3
Oxford Hefeweizen, 4

Pabst Blue Ribbon, 4
Pacifico, 3
Paper City Batch 108, 8
Paper City Blonde Hop Monster, 8
Paper City One Eared Monkey, 2
Paper City PC Blue, 2
Paper City Riley's Mother's Milk Stout, 9
Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale, 8
Peak Organic Nut Brown Ale, 3
Pearl Street Canal Street Stout, 9
Pearl Street Lake Effect Pale Ale, 7
Pearl Street Trainwreck, 4
Pennichuck Bagpipers Scottish Ale, 5
Pennichuck Black Lager, 8
Pennichuck Engine No. 5 Firehouse Red Ale, 6
Pennichuck Halligan RyePA, 7
Petes Wicked Strawberry Blonde, 5
Port Brewing Wipeout IPA, 8
Pretty Things Jack D'or, 9
Primus, 1
Portsmouth ALTernator, 9
Portsmouth Bottle Rocket IPA, 8
Portsmouth Dirty Blonde Ale, 7
Portsmouth Oatmeal Stout, 8
Portsmouth Smoky Dunkelweizen, 5

Redhook Blonde Ale, 4
Redhook CopperHook Spring Ale, 4
Redhook ESB, 7
Redhook Long Hammer IPA, 3
Redhook Sunrye, 5
Ringwood Old Thumper (USA), 6
Riverhorse Tripel Horse, 6
Rock Art Magnumus Ete Tomahawkus ESB^2, 8
Rock Art Vermonster, 8
Rock Bottom American Dream IPA, 7
Rock Bottom Improper Hopper IPA, 5
Rock Bottom Lumpy Dog Light Lager, 1
Rock Bottom Mad Cow Milk Stout, 6
Rock Bottom Munich Gold, 4
Rock Bottom North Star Amber Ale, 2
Rock Bottom Off-Kilter Scotch Ale, 5
Rock Bottom Pumpkin Ale, 6
Rodenbach Classic, 8
Rogue American Amber, 6
Rogue Brutal Bitter, 5
Rogue Chipotle Ale, 2
Rogue Chocolate Stout, 8
Rogue Dead Guy Ale, 9
Rogue Mocha Porter, 7
Rogue Santa's Private Reserve Ale, 9
Rogue Shakespeare Stout, 7
Roots Organic Burghead Heather Ale, 7
Roots Organic EXXXcalibur Imperial Stout, 8
Roots Organic Pond Turtle Pale Ale, 8

Safari Lager, 2
Sagres, 6
Samuel Adams Black Lager, 9
Samuel Adams Boston Ale, 7
Samuel Adams Boston Lager, 9
Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, 4
Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, 3
Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic, 1
Samuel Adams Cream Stout, 8
Samuel Adams Double Bock, 8
Samuel Adams Dunkel Weiss, 7
Samuel Adams Hefeweizen, 5
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter, 8
Samuel Adams Honey Porter, 2
Samuel Adams Imperial Pilsner, 6
Samuel Adams Imperial Stout, 2
Samuel Adams Irish Red Ale, 6
Samuel Adams Light, 5
Samuel Adams LongShot Grape Pale Ale, 3
Samuel Adams LongShot Weizenbock, 9
Samuel Adams Octoberfest, 8
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale, 5
Samuel Adams Pale Ale, 4
Samuel Adams Scotch Ale, 7
Samuel Adams Summer Ale, 7
Samuel Adams Triple Bock, 1
Samuel Adams White Ale, 4
Samuel Adams Winter Lager, 6
Samuel Smiths Imperial Stout, 5
Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout, 10
Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Pale Ale, 4
Samuel Smiths Taddy Porter, 8
San Miguel Dark Lager, 4
Sapporo Premium Draft, 3
Saranac Adirondack Amber, 4
Saranac Black and Tan, 5
Saranac IPA, 4
Saranac Pale Ale, 5
Saranac Pumpkin Ale, 4
Sea Dog Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale, 3
Sea Dog Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter, 3
Sebago Fryes Leap IPA, 7
Sebago Hefeweizen, 3
Sebago Lake Trout Stout, 9
Sebago Runabout Red Ale, 5
Sebago Slick Nick Winter Ale, 5
Serengeti Premium Lager, 1
Sheepscot Valley Bold Coast Pemaquid Ale, 6
Sheepscot Valley Boothbay Special Bitter, 2
Sherwood Forest Archers Ale, 5
Sherwood Forest Sheriffs IPA, 8
Shipyard Light, 3
Shipyard Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2008 (Brown Ale), 7
Shipyard Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2009 (Royal IPA), 8
Shipyard Blue Fin Stout, 7
Shipyard Brown Ale, 3
Shipyard Chamberlain Pale Ale, 6
Shipyard Export Ale, 9
Shipyard Longfellow Winter Ale, 8
Shipyard Prelude Ale, 9
Shipyard Pugsley's Signature Series Barley Wine Style Ale, 7
Shipyard Pugsley's Signature Series Imperial Porter, 8
Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, 8
Shipyard Summer Ale, 3
Shipyard Tremont Ale, 8
Shipyard Tremont IPA, 4
Sierra Nevada 12th Release Harvest, 6
Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, 7
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, 9
Sierra Nevada Brown Ale, 8
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, 8
Sierra Nevada Early Spring Beer, 7
Sierra Nevada India Pale Ale, 8
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 8
Sierra Nevada Porter, 9
Sierra Nevada Stout, 8
Sierra Nevada Summerfest, 7
Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, 8
Singha, 4
Sixpoint Brownstone Ale, 7
Sixpoint Sweet Action, 10
Smithwicks Ale, 4
Smuttynose Big A IPA, 10
Smuttynose IPA, 3
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog, 6
Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager, 6
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale, 6
Smuttynose Robust Porter, 10
Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale, 9
Smuttynose Summer Weizen Ale, 6
Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale, 6
Smuttynose Winter Ale, 7
Snapperfish IPA, 4
Southampton Double White Ale, 9
Southampton ESB, 10
Southampton IPA, 7
Southern Tier Back Burner, 7
Southern Tier Big Red, 7
Southern Tier IPA, 8
Southern Tier Jahva, 6
Southern Tier Phin & Matts Extraordinary Ale, 6
Southern Tier Porter, 8
Southern Tier Raspberry Porter, 5
Southern Tier Raspberry Wheat Beer, 3
Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale, 5
Speakeasy Prohibition Ale, 9
St. John Brewers Virgin Islands Pale Ale, 2
St. Pauli Girl Lager, 3
St. Pauli Girl Special Dark, 3
Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, 8
Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, 9
Stone India Pale Ale, 9
Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard, 9
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2008, 7
Stone Pale Ale, 9
Stone Ruination IPA, 8
Stone Russian Imperial Stout, 5
Stone Vertical Epic 08-08-08, 6
Stone Coast 840 IPA, 8
Stone Coast Knuckleball Bock, 6
Stone Coast Sunsplash Golden Ale, 2
Stoudts American Pale Ale, 9
Stoudts Double IPA, 8
Stoudts Fat Dog, 8
Stoudts Scarlet Lady ESB, 6
Sunday River Black Bear Porter, 6

Taj Mahal, 2
Tecate, 1
The Tap American Pale Ale, 7
The Tap Bock, 7
The Tap Chocolate Porter, 8
The Tap Dopplebock, 4
The Tap Haverale Cream Ale, 6
The Tap Hewitt Brown, 6
The Tap Irish Stout, 7
The Tap Leatherlips IPA, 9
The Tap Nut Brown, 7
The Tap Whittier White, 7
Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper, 6
Thirsty Dog Siberian Night, 10
Thomas Hooker Blonde Ale, 7
Thomas Hooker Hop Meadow IPA, 9
Thomas Hooker Liberator Doppelbock, 10
Tiger Beer, 2
Tommyknocker Alpine Glacier Lager, 3
Trinity Belgian Gold, 6
Trinity Brown Ale, 6
Trinity Hefe Weizen, 5
Trinity Larkens Irish Stout, 7
Trinity Rhode Island IPA, 8
Trinity Russian Imperial Stout, 9
Trinity Special Kolsch, 8
Troegs Hopback Amber Ale, 8
Troegs Pale Ale, 6
Tsingtao, 2
Tuckerman 6288 Stout, 7
Tuckerman Pale Ale, 8
Tusker Lager, 2
Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA, 6
Two Brothers The Bitter End, 7

Uganda Breweries Pilsner Lager, 1
Uinta Angler's Pale Ale, 8
Uncle Jim's Homebrews Amber Ale, 4
Uncle Jim's Homebrews Cream Ale, 6
Uncle Jim's Homebrews Oatmeal Stout, 6
Uncle Jim's Homebrews Red, 8
Uncle Jim's Homebrews "SB", 6
Union Station Belgian Tripel, 4

Victory 12, 4
Victory Bags Packed Porter, 7
Victory Baltic Thunder, 9
Victory Braumeister Harvest Pils, 6
Victory Festbier, 6
Victory Golden Monkey, 9
Victory HopDevil, 9
Victory Moonglow Weizenbock, 4
Victory Prima Pils, 8
Victory Storm King Imperial Stout, 10
Victory V Lager, 6
Victory Whirlwind Witbier, 4

Wachusett Blueberry, 5
Wachusett Green Monsta, 7
Wachusett Octoberfest Ale, 3
Wachusett Summer Breeze, 4
Wachusett Winter Ale, 7
Watch City 38 Schilling Scottish Ale, 6
Watch City Biking Bob's Bohemian Pilsner, 4
Watch City Bombed Blondeshelle Belgian Strong Ale, 5
Watch City Dubbel Belgian Ale, 6
Watch City Hops Explosion IPA, 9
Watch City Kingpin Imperial Stout, 7
Watch City Moody Street Stout, 7
Watch City Pie Eyed Pumpkin Ale, 6
Watch City Shillelagh Irish Red Ale, 5
Watch City Titan Brown Ale, 9
Watch City Totem Pale Ale, 8
Watch City Uber-Okto-Lager, 6
Watch City Wheat IPA, 7
Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot, 8
Weyerbacher Hops Infusion, 7
Weyerbacher Merry Monks' Ale, 7
Weyerbacher Winter Ale, 4
Widmer Brothers Drop Top Amber Ale, 8
Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen, 9
Widmer Brothers Snow Plow, 7
Widmer Brothers W06 NW Red Ale, 8
Windhoek Lager, 3
Wolaver's Farmhouse Ale, 8
Wolavers India Pale Ale, 7
Wolaver's Oatmeal Stout, 4
Woodstock Inn Pemi Pale Ale, 6
Woodstock Inn Pigs Ear Brown Ale, 5

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, 7
Young's Oatmeal Stout, 9
Yuengling Traditional Lager, 8

Z Street Mocha Java Stout, 8

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last call before updated ratings...

Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale
Tap -- Deep Ellum, Allston
recommended this to a friend at deep ellum, and enjoyed the taste enough that i had to order one myself. perfectly balanced -- caramel sweetness and flowery hops work well together. a very nice beer.
Score: 9

Mayflower IPA
Bottle -- Marty's, Newton
orange-copper with head that makes neat ring. aroma is warming and hoppy. rough bitterness up front and very lively. a brash, somewhat unrefined ipa.
Score: 4

Sebago Brewing Slick Nick Winter Ale
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
another muddled winter warmer. very sweet, warming alcohol... in the mold of a scottish ale.
Score: 5

Shipyard Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2008 (Brown Ale)
Bottle -- Maine
reddish-brown with quickly subsiding head... small malt aroma (served a little too cold though)... some layered malts here: roasty and chocolate. didn't pick up much in terms of hops... pretty good though. i thought the 2009 version from this line, the royal ipa, was well done too.
Score: 7

Shipyard Chamberlain Pale Ale
Tap -- The Grainery, Farmington, ME
good clarity in pour... fruity aromas and alcohol weighs heavy on nose... taste of toffee malt, fruity esters, and piney hops... medium-bodied with buttery mouthfeel. good drinkability. joshua chamberlain is one of my heros and this beer honors him well.
Score: 6

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fall River
for starters, a nice looking beer... strong citrus hop aroma... has some bite AND some balance... very lively. no hint of this being 7.2%. this actually reminded me a lot of the ipa i brewed... which makes me think a lot higher of that brew.
Score: 8

Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA
Bottle -- Chris Gasbarro's, Seekonk
clear reddish-amber with small head... sharp hop aroma, both spicy and sweet... alcoholic too... taste is again an aggressive bitterness at the start, with some fruitiness unfolding... quite dry, and musty, if i am not mistaken. enjoyable (as most ipa's are) but didn't blow me away.
Score: 6

Sunday, May 17, 2009

International Hour

Yup, more international beers to report back on already. Get used to it -- the times they are a changin'. This is a domestic beer blog no longer.

Flying Horse Royal Lager
22 oz -- Punjab Cafe, Quincy
a lager from india. nice looking bottle actually, with date brewed and tasting notes on beer. taste is of light malts, grainy cereal or even corn. served role well of washing down the spice of chicken tikka masala.
Score: 5

Franziskaner Hefe-weisse
Draft -- Pour Judgement
starts with funky yeast found in many german beers that i just don't like... lemon, cloves, rise above other expected flavors (banana, grain...) light bodied. not my favorite.
Score: 4

Fuller's London Porter
Bottle -- Gordon's, Waltham
unmistakable chocolate aroma. flavorful malt profile. creamy texture. a very nice porter; the hype is justified.
Score: 8

Meantime IPA
Bottle -- Lighthouse Wine & Seafood, Manchester, ME
pours straw/copper color with tight, bubbly head. lots of fresh hops on nose, with some sugar and grain in the background. differences with american ipa's are immediately apparent: hops are relegated to the background, playing on your tongue. quite sweet and you can taste the alcohol, but not 7.5% worth. light, silky smooth, very sessionable. a refreshingly unique ipa.
Score: 8

Young Double Chocolate Stout
Bottle -- Blanchard's, Brockton
very chocolatey aroma with some vanilla... closest to bailey's. charred malts, vanilla, and semi-sweet chocolate (in that order.) as velvety as you would expect. surprisingly, this had some of the sour earthiness characteristics of my failed oatmeal stout...
Score: 7

Saturday, May 16, 2009

On the lighter side

As I have said before, I have been putting more and more emphasis on finding drinkable beers these days. The key, of course, is finding a beer that is light and easy going down, with sacrificing flavor -- and I am not talking about Bud Light's idea of flavor either!

(And one more note on Bud Light, while we are on the topic. I think it is important that we not cede the word "drinkability" to Bud Light, despite their popularizing the term with their slick and omnipresent advertisements. The idea of drinkability far predates this latest ad campaign, and is used by many craft beer enthusiasts as one of the five pillars on which to rate beer. But I digress.)

Point is, drinking more than a couple of Russian Imperial Stout's or Barleywine's is a tall order (just ask my friend Jon after my bachelor party...) Take for example, the beers I will be making available after my upcomming wedding (only one week away!) As much as I might have wanted an IPA or a Robust Porter, I thought better of it. Better to have a flavorful session beer available, which is why I am proud to announce that two of my favorites local beers will be available:

1) Ipswich Original Ale - English Pale Ale, 5.4% abv, Ipswich, MA

2) Cape Ann Fisherman's Brew - Amber Lager, 5.5% abv, Gloucester, MA

Looking forward to see what the crowd's reaction will be on these two fine session beers.

Now let's go mining for some more session beers on the light side of the spectrum...

Blue Hills Extra Pale Ale
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
a new brewery? in canton, mass?! hot damn! hard to get excited about an extra pale ale, but this wasn't bad. flavor characterized by toasted malts and some light fruit hops. not bad for an extra pale. look forward to blue hills next offering.
Score: 6

Blue Hills India Pale Ale
Tap -- Union Brewhouse, Weymouth
i had to wait a couple of months, but i found their next brew at the same place. pours a little darker for an ipa, a light amber. floral hops on nose, but is dulled a bit by malts. malts register in taste too, while hops take on citrusy nature. extremely drinkable for a 6.6% ipa. i really liked this beer and will eagerly reccomend it to all!
Score: 8

Gritty McDuff's Sebago Light Ale
Sampler -- Gritty McDuff's Brewpub, Freeport, ME
light and and almost totally flavorless, as you would expect. i know every brewer feels the need to have a bud light alternative, but still this is hard to recommend.
Score: 2

Magic Hat Single Chair Ale
Sample -- Great Lost Bear, Portland, ME
an american pale ale weighing in at an even 5%. taste is of wheat-like malts, light strawberry, and ginger. at this point i am having trouble distinguishing between the magic hats beers -- they all seem to be easy drinking, if unremarkable.
Score: 7

Mendocino Blue Heron Pale Ale
Bottle -- Boston
skunky wheat taste, raw hops. the next good beer i have from these guys will be the first.
Score: 3

Oak Pond Somerset Lager
22 oz -- Oak Pond Brewery, Skowhegan
golden, but dark golden for a lager... husky aroma of grain and alcohol... this is a flavorful lager. earthy hops translate to a light bitterness... light heft to it. would fit the bill on a hot day.
Score: 7

Shipyard Summer Ale
Bottle -- Gordon's, Waltham
it is difficult to rate beers in a style that just doesn't do much for me, and that would certainly be the case here. grainy, lemony, not especially tasty. like most summers, it foresakes what is interesting for easy drinking.
Score: 3

Victory Braumeister Harvest Pils
Tap -- Deep Ellum, Allston
first beer of the day for my bachelor party. chosen in the hope of being light and easy drinking, and it did not disappoint there. taste is of grassy, distinctively german hops. not bad, but this is supposedly rated as the number one german pilsner in the world... which is hard to believe.
Score: 6

Best bet:
Clipper City Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning
Bottle -- Washington DC
first off, may i say that i hate how clipper city names their beers. the whole heavy seas brand is confusing and makes the names just too lengthy. but anyways, this is an uber (imperial) pils. translucent orange... both citrus hops and biscuit malts register in aroma and flavor. both light and easy drinking. one of the best session beers i have found. thanks to my sis for this one!
Score: 9

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New brewers to town

I have found that in order to find new brewers, I have to try a little bit harder these days. A couple of months ago, I took a swing down through my old stomping grounds of Fall River and came up with a couple of these new brewers. The other two came from two of my favorite local haunts: Luke's in Rockland and The Jury Room in Quincy.

Eel River Certified Organic Porter
Bottle -- Chris Gasbarro's, Seekonk
another good california brewer. color is brown with definite reddish tint... lots of chocolate on nose... creamy texture actually makes bigger first impression than flavor... subdued taste of caramel malts, chocolate, faint roasted coffee, and somthing close to vanilla. tasty enough, but i have had better porters.
Score: 6

McNeill's Extra Special Bitter
22 oz -- Luke's, Rockland
first time i have found this fairly well-known vermont brewer. a robust esb for sure, with big flavorful piney hops. decent balance but seemed to break down towards the end of the bottle. wouldn't rush back for this one but am curious to try another.
Score: 6

Snapperfish IPA
Can -- Pour Judgement, Quincy
felt bad ordering this can when dale's pale ale was available but i can rarely pass on a chance to try a new brewer. snapperfish is from upstate new york. a milder ipa, with hops taking on a grapefruit-like coarseness. if ever faced with this choice, go for the dale's without a second thought.
Score: 4

Troegs Pale Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fall River
i have been waiting for this popular harrisburg, pennsylvania brewer to make it up here, and was some excited when it did. light copper color... malts are quite sweet in the aroma -- think honey... hop character is closest to earthy... flavor is a little bland with an not altogether pleasant bitterness... light mouthfeel, well-balanced... good, not great.
Score: 6

Best bet:
Troegs Hopback Amber Ale
Bottle -- Cardoza's, Fall River
shallow amber with reddish tint and neat head. wow, now this is my kind of amber! big, flavorful citrus, piney hops on nose. hops in taste are balanced by solid malt profile. robust bitterness at end. smoothness only lends to drinkability. my excitedness to finally find troegs was totally justified. order this beer!
Score: 8

Monday, May 11, 2009

Maine Beer Trail

Here is an interesting press release that made it into my inbox today:

The Maine Restaurant Association and Maine Brewers’ Guild Team Up to Create the Maine Beer Trail

PORTLAND, MAINE – (May 11, 2009) – The Maine Restaurant Association and the Maine Brewers’ Guild announce the Maine Beer Trail. This new trail spotlights the high quality and creative diversity of fresh, hand-crafted, Maine-made beer. The purpose of the Trail is to attract visitors to Maine to enjoy the vibrant micro and craft brewing industry found throughout the state.

The Maine Beer Trail brochure provides a simple guide to more than a dozen of the state’s breweries and brew pubs. Brochures can be downloaded from the Maine Brewers’ Guild website and will be available at Maine Visitor Centers and participating breweries and brew pubs.

Maine is widely known for its award-winning craft beer. According to the Brewers Association, Maine ranks fourth in the nation for the number of breweries per capita, with one brewery for every 42,000 residents. Maine is home to New England’s first microbrewery, D.L. Geary Brewing, which was established in 1986. Gritty McDuff’s opened its doors in 1988 and became the first brew pub to open in Maine since prohibition. Since 1986, Maine has been at the forefront of the craft brew movement and the industry has grown to include dozens of breweries and brew pubs statewide.

This seems like a great idea. I created my own Maine Beer Trail on GoogleMaps for a beer trip with friends this past February, but we didn't make it to any 14 stops! Hopefully, this map will allow Maine's breweries to garner a bigger share of those tourist dollars. Would be nice to see a few more of the little guys on the next version of the list though...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Doing Belgian as well as Belgium?

I think this is a really interesting list of Belgian-style beers. Five of them (Chimay, Delirium, Duvel, Hoegaarden, and Leffe) are from Belgium, and among the best known beers in the world. The others come from Lost Abbey and Jolly Pumpkin, who in my mind, are in that elite class of Belgian-style brewers that call the US home (alongside Allagash and Ommegang...) I'd argue that any of these four US brewers can hang with the big boys of Belgium... agree or disagree?

Chimay Triple
Sample -- Great Lost Bear, Portland, ME
for a beer like this, you really can't write a review off of a sample. so here are a couple of initial thoughts. hazy with steady carbonation... honey sweet malts, fruity hops, yeastiness in both aroma and flavor. lot of complexity here. liked my first impression very much.
Score: 9

Delirium Tremens
Sample -- Great Lost Bear
no missing this one with its famous pink elephant on the label. big lacing on the pour. wheaty base is accompanied by fruity esters and even a little pepper. alcohol comes big here, so be ready for it. another beer that deserves more than a sample.
Score: 8

Bottle -- Loco Restaurant, Easton
i have been looking forward to this beer for some time... and yet it still surpased my expectations. very light colored pour with amazing thick head that covers the entire glass on its way down. smell is fruity with measured yeast and spice. and what a tasty yeast strain! fruit, grain, spice and alcohol all register. light, crisp, and lively. fantastic!
Score: 10

Hoegaarden Original White Ale
Sample -- Battleship Brewhouse, Fall River
a witbier that has the light and cloudy appearance you would expect. aroma is of funky yeast and lemon zest. flavor is very spiced, but yeast is held in check. citrus grants nice drinkability.
Score: 6

Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza
750 ml -- McKean & Charles, Waldoboro, ME
my first biere de garde (that i can think of) and my first offering from jolly pumpkin, all of which is very exciting. seriously overcarbonated, as it doesn't stop boiling over. spice and white wine grapes on nose and dry texture also of white wine. extremely tart. alcohol is well placed. fascinating beer that has just a few too many white wine qualities for me.
Score: 7

Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
750 ml -- McKean & Charles, Waldoboro
a wild ale -- what a cool style name. dan points out label is a little ridiculous with the kitten pirates and all... smell of sour patch kids candy and red wine... flavor is hard to put a finger on -- watermelon and quite oakey... chalky, very fizzy mouthfeel... very interesting and i liked it.
Score: 8

Leffe Blonde
Sample -- Great Lost Bear
clear golden pour. smell is yeasty, but also of fruity bubble gum. syrupy, candy-like sweetness in taste is way too much for me. very light and clean... to the point of dumbing down this classic belgian style. a disappointment.
Score: 4

Lost & Found Abbey Ale
Bottle -- Luke's, Rockland
reddish body with aroma of sweet alcohol and hops. could swear this was a barleywine. nice floral hop flavor and smooth. nice.
Score: 7

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just a wolf in sheep's clothing?

Dundee Original Honey Brown Lager
Bottle -- Gordon's, Waltham
dundee is put out by high falls brewing company, which is owned by north american breweries, who are best known for their labatt line (and historic craft beer genesee cream ale...) sweet honey, husky malt aroma. flavor is all honey, and no brown. too sweet for me, but the honey presence seemed pretty authentic to me. sure it is kind of watery and one-dimensional, but i could see this being a hit with those bud-light-drinkers of the world. for what its worth, this is the first non-mediocre beer i have tried from the high falls label...
Score: 5
Verdict: More than just a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Leinenkugel Summer Shandy
Bottle -- Discount Liquor's, Brockton
we picked up a six-pack of this sabmiller product to go with some chinese food for kelly. kelly said i wouldn't like it, but i couldn't help but try. she was right. closer to a mike's hard lemonade than an actual beer. with a couple of key strokes on the internet i found out that they actually take a wheat beer and mix it with lemonade. seriously. the result is a sickly sweet, carbonated lemonade that has very few beer-like qualities. this frankenstein of a beer borders on being considered a beer at all in my mind. just horrific.
Score: 1
Verdict: Just a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Michelob Pale Ale
Bottle -- Blanchard's, Brockton
in an effort to be fair and balanced, i should note that i purchased this single from a large bin of older beers at a packy store in old town, maine... pours brighter orange than expected... sweet hay hops on nose... unrefined bitterness is best way to describe taste... some citrus fruit and biscuit malt... light and crisp... wasn't impressed.
Score: 3
Verdict: Just a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Boston Pub Crawl!

With the wedding three weeks away, it was time for my bachelor party, which meant... Boston Pub Crawl! Dan Cedrone was the master of ceremonies, putting together a very ambitious but organized three-mile loop through Allston and Brighton. I mean, he had not only our time in each bar timed, but knew how long it would take to walk between each place! In order to get to the some dozen bars on the itinerary, we met at 8:30 in the morning at my house for breakfast beers (my homebrewed coffee porter) and some pretty cool matching pub crawl t-shirts (thanks to Slick). By the time all was said and done we numbered 13 -- so a big thanks to Dan, George, Slick, Matt, Link, Nate, Steve, Jon, Ryan, Eric, Colanti, and Budri who turned out and made this an awesome day!

Now, of course, I had to bring along my notepad, but I knew better than to try to rate beers in the midst of a day of heavy drinking. I would, however, keep notes on the different bars of the pub crawl, of which all but three were new to me. If you are looking for a new bar in Boston, odds are you can find what you are looking for somewhere in this eclectic list. Here we go!

Deep Ellum
477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA
the pub crawl started at the finest beer bar of them all: deep ellum. been to this personal favorite a few times but have never officially reviewed the bar... pretty small, trendy looking bar but we settled on the decent-sized wooden balcony out back. tap list is always roatating and never disappoints. i kept it light and drinkable with victory's braumeister pils and anderson valley's boont amber. staff is knowledgeable, glassware is proper, even the food is good. i'd say this is my second favorite beer bar after publick house in brookline. good start!
Atmosphere: 4/5, Selection: 10/10, Quality: 10/10, Service: 4/5, Overall: 16/20, Total: 44/50
Total rating: A

Irish Village
224 Market St, Brighton, MA
15 minute walk up to brighton for an... irish bar?! what in the hell? but i hate irish bars! this was undoubtedly the greatest irish bar i have ever been to, and that is not even a swipe at irish bars -- this is a cool place. spacious, dark mahogany bar, futbol and rugby on tv, and good beer on tap! love those easy to read beer lists on the chalk board. i had an allagash white which was delicious... the whiskey not so much. dogfish 60 minute, smuttynose, and chimay were all good alternatives on tap. we pretty much had this place to ourselves, along with the first of what would be many drunk guys trying to convince me not to get married. i would actually return here.
Atmosphere: 3/5, Selection: 7/10, Quality: 7/10, Service: 3/5, Overall: 13/20, Total: 33/50
Total rating: B+

Brighton Beer Garden
386 Market St, Brighton, MA
the shots started to catch up to me in a hurry from here on out (so i am going to cut back on my bar reviews a little bit...) i know this boston-based chain from their flagship bar in southie; this place is really just an upscale sports bar. i enjoyed an ipswich ale here, which i want to say was my last good beer for a while. the highlight here was the horse race on tv, that i convinced everyone was the kentucky derby and we had to bet on it. the always lucky mr. pomerleau won, of course.
Total rating: B-

Porter Belly's Pub
338 Washington St, Brighton, MA
called an audible on this next one, was not on the original itinerary. can't remember how, but this place was on my radar. another irish bar, albeit with a much less exciting tap list. place had a pretty good feel and the curry fries were delicious. everyone else seemed pretty into the rugby match, which is pretty fun.
Total rating: B-

Green Briar
308 Washington St, Brighton, MA
heard great things about this place from kelly's cousin tom, so my expectations were probably a little too high. i think i was even less impressed with the tap list here than the previous bar, and ended up with a hoegarden. the booth we sat in towards the back was kind of dingy, but the bar itself looked nice enough. i'll probably have to give this one another shot.
Total rating: B-

Joshua Tree
1316 Commonwealth Ave, Allston, MA
this was the long walk of our trip, just about a mile to get back to allston. i recall taking a shortcut by rolling down a grassy knoll at somepoint... how dan got us from one bar to the next i will never know. we had our first change in personell here; thorley dropped off and eric arrived. as for the bar itself, it is a pretty trendy spot that i think i might have been to years ago. i went for the long trail ale, but there were some better than expected options. imagine this place gets ridiculously crowded at a time other than 3 in the afternoon.
Total rating: B

Our House
Commonwealth Ave, Allston, MA
this was the dive bar leg of the trip, which was perfect timing. pretty sketchy lounge set-up here though. for some reason they had like four people working this empty joint -- one of them stood ten feet away and stared at us the whole time. they gave us a round of shots on the house, but then tried to trick the guys into paying for the shots. there was some sort of incident with the fusbol table too. skip this one.
Total rating: D+

Avenue Bar & Grille
1249 Commonwealth Ave, Allston, MA
nothing memorable here either. we sat out by the street. i ate goldfish and had a shot of jager. they didn't like us because we opened a window. and we lost steve to the celtics game, that lucky guy.
Total rating: C-

Sunset Grille
130 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA
sunset grille wasn't that far of a walk away from our previous stop but two of my friends managed to blow out both of my knees before we got there. however we did finally make it to dinner time at sunset grille! thank god. my chicken sandwich was probably the greatest meal of my life. this wasn't my first time to sunset, but it was the first time i have been able to get inside and get a table (they gave us a room to ourselves, go figure.) this is a great beer bar: their tap list is legendary at 112 beers, glassware is proper, and service was very good. a must for any craft beer fan. people started to crash at this point, but we picked up some new blood with colanti and budri.
Total rating: A

The Kells
Allston, MA
this was our shortest stop, a fashionable club across the intersection from sunset. the guys tried (unsuccessfully) to force another shot down my throat before we crossed back across the street to our last stop, big city.
Total rating: C+

Big City
Allston, MA
upstairs of sunset grille, big city is generally disrespected as the lesser partner. however, i generally enjoy my time there, with a little more room to spread out, play some pool, and in this case, watch the celtics game 7. besides, even though the beer list isn't too exciting, with 80 taps to choose from, you can always find something worth drinking. quality and service is definitely a bigger question mark up here, but i was pretty pleased with my cambridge regatta golden. great place to cap this highly successful pub crawl and close the night at jon's in brighton.
Total rating: B+

How Dan executed this pub crawl will remain one of life's greatest mysteries. We made it to eleven of the thirteen bars on the original itinerary (which was more than enough) and even finished on time (11 hours after we started...)! This was a great bachelor party so thanks again to everyone who came out and bought me a drink! I hope all those who were in attendance will share your own favorite moments and correct my misrembrances in the comments below.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Lighthouse Wine & Seafood

Lighthouse Wine & Seafood
928 Western Ave, Manchester, ME
I finally got a chance to visit this beer store on a trip back home to Maine last weekend. This visit was something I have really been looking forward to since they recently expanded their beer selection and have been supplying my Dad with some of his favorite local beers. (Sebago Lake Trout Stout, Oak Pond Storyteller Dopplebock...) It has even gotten to the point that the owner, Jim, has been consulting my beer ratings -- awesome! This place didn't disappoint either. A small store, Jim and his wife Bridget have managed to carve out a decent space at the front of the store for craft beer. (The other 3/4 is devoted to wine, cheeses, and some really fresh looking seafood.) I was really impressed with the selection: your requisite Allagash and Dogfish Head, local favorites Andrew's and Bar Harbor, and some farther flung beers from Jolly Pumpkin and Rogue. They really did have all the best available brewers covered with some beers I haven't even seen in Massachusetts. I would say the split is close to 50-50 between domestics and imports, with some really exciting international beers (I picked up the UK's Meantime IPA and Peche Mortel from Quebec.) Store is very clean and welcoming, if somewhat disorganized. Jim is exactly the kind of guy you want running a beer store -- he is very passionate about each of his beers, and we must have spent 30 minutes just discussing some of our favorites. He went so far as to let me have a bottle of the rare Black Albert from Belgium that he had out back! I can't tell you how nice it is to finally have a source for great beer in central Maine, and owners that will go above and beyond for their customers! This place comes highly reccommended and borders on being a beer destination all on its own.
Total rating: A-

Black Albert
Bottle -- Lighthouse
from de struise brewery, served close to room temp in an oversized wine glass. beautiful black pour with pretty thick tan head. big appealing aroma of roasted coffee, chocolate, and dark fruit. creaminess of mouthfeel strikes you first; very soft texture. flavor is sharp at first, alcohol and charred malts. strong taste i can't quite place... charred malts, i guess. and earthy. mellows as you drink. a fascinating russian imperial stout, and a big thanks to jim and bridget for finding this one!
Score: 9