[Editor's Note: Our friend Dominique switched coasts for a week with a trip out to Boston, and came back with the following review of plenty of beers at Boston Beer Works. Enjoy, and happy Fourth of July.]
What more patriotic circlejerk is there than a pretentious beer review from the heart of the American Revolution? Boston’s got beer. I’ve got an expendable liver.
So I traipsed down to Boston Beer Works and ordered the whole left side of whatever was on tap. Join me for an obnoxious amount of sampling, and I’ll try not to slur.
I couldn’t visit Boston Beer Works without trying the legendary Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale. Watching the blueberries rise and fall within the ale would have been cuter if the beer didn’t taste like watery blueberry syrup. There was a tangy sweetness, some aromatic spice, and, unfortunately, much to be desired. Even as someone who enjoys a light, summery beer, this one left me just a little disappointed. Save it for when you’re inebriated enough to derive all your joy from the mesmerizing, lava-lamp-like blueberries.
The Watermelon Ale is a cheap trick, a regular ale with an aromatic watermelon slice atop the glass rim. Another fizzy, fresh, cool, but insubstantial beer for the high school kids.
The Cask-Conditioned Double Pale Ale is an ambitious, hoppy IPA. If you’re into IPAs, this is your crate of tea, historical Boston pun intended! No need to pretend if you’re not, though; the tongue wants what it wants.
The Victory Red, named after the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series victory, is another bitter and hoppy beer. Why do I feel like this one is lip service more than brewmaster craftsmanship?
The Mayflower Maibock, though, is a good artisan beer. It’s malty, smooth, bocky, and easy to drink. Also you can pretend you’re a pilgrim, settling…for whatever bar rat hits on you that round. It makes everything that good.
The Buckeye Oatmeal Stout was a full, round glass of comfort with a stalwart coffee aroma, but without being too sweet. A dark beer lover’s velvety dream.
The Old Ironsides Ale took me by surprise since it had little to no nose. Just wait until it’s in your mouth for half a second, and taste its boozy, delicious bite. It starts off with a good taste and ends on an upswing. Definitely too complicated for this plain colonist to explain, but I love it.
The Muddy River Porter probably tastes better than the Charles River, especially if you like porters or coffee or both. Like the Ironsides, this beer has a complex tasting journey, except it ends with a sweet (rather than a boozy) aftertaste.
The Beantown Nut Brown Ale gives more of that dark, coffee nose. There’s the telling roasted malt with Northwest hops (Manifest Destiny, anyone?), just a little reminiscent of hazelnut. If you like slightly sweet, dark, nutty beer, this is for you.
Overall, I’ll stick my flagpole in the Beantown Nut Brown Ale, the Oatmeal Stout, the Mayflower Maibock, or the Cask-Conditioned Double Pale Ale any old day. My hands-down favorite was the Old Ironsides Ale. Boston Beer Works has a good thing going on, but you may want to steer clear of those lighter ales. They try so hard, though! It was enough to inspire me to scalp some BoSox tickets last minute and then scream my lungs out. True story.
Oh, and Boston Beer Works will make you a hearty burger, too.