Early last Sunday afternoon I stopped by the Medusa Brewing Company’s taproom to get a taste of what they have to offer. I found Medusa Brewing while doing some local traveling. I hadn’t heard of them before, likely due to the taproom having just been opened at the beginning of March. A quick read of their blog informed me that they concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of last year which helped them put the finishing touches on a very nice space in downtown Hudson, MA.
Walking through the front door you enter into a good-sized serving area. It’s a sizable space: there is a large bar to the right with plenty of tables, a standing area to the left, and large clean restrooms in the back. My wife and I took a seat at the bar and had arguably one of the best spots in the house. We were able to see through a window onto the brew floor, but even better than that, directly in front of us was one of the most awesomely mesmerizing things I have seen in a bar or brewery: an automated growler filler. It made for great entertainment, and we did not get tired of watching it in action.
When we first arrived, there were only a few other patrons, but as I got to work on my first flight the place quickly filled up behind us. That’s usually a good sign and it’s great to see a new place get that kind of support. The people behind the bar were all friendly despite being kept rather busy and both me and my amazing gluten-sensitive wife felt welcomed. She amused herself by drinking a Sarsaparilla root soda and taking most of the wonderful pictures you see here.
Now that I’ve set the scene, let’s talk about the beer. A quick scan of the tap list revealed a few notable points of interest. For starters, it looks like they are going to regularly have cask offerings, something I really approve of. Cask beer has been my big discovery this year and it seems to have followed me here as well. Unfortunately it was kicked on the day of my visit (it started pouring on Thursday), but a lot of their beers will probably translate well to this format, so I can see this being a great thing for them to explore.
As for the beers I was able to try that day, there were a couple of styles I was really intrigued by because they are usually underrepresented in the craft scene. There was a great English Dark Mild dubbed Sir Terry and a sessionable Scottish Export ale called Moffat 80/-. Sir Terry is aptly described as “mild in strength but not in flavor” on the menu and that is a great description. As the style suggests, it pours black with just a bit of white/tan head. Light roasty taste up front, accompanied by nice notes of malt and cocoa. A thin mouth feel served this beer quite well and makes it very easy to drink. The Moffat 80/- was an equally delicious mix of malts of which a light caramel was the most predominant. Another easy drinker, this one warmed up well, and I think would make for an awesome cask.
The rest of their lineup consisted of solid examples of more traditional styles ranging from light and hoppy to dark and roasty. On the hoppy front, they were offering Citra Legacy, a Rye IPA using Citra hops, a Session IPA called Emilisatie, and Dr. Rudi, a Pale Ale. Citra Legacy poured a light caramel color and had a nice malty, slightly spicy rye base. The citrusy hop finish really brought this together and overall this was a well executed IPA. As a reference point, I wouldn’t put it at the elite Trillium-like level but I did find it highly enjoyable. The Emilisatie had a ton of flavor for a Session IPA. There was a big burst of hops up front, and a clean finish that again made for an easy to drink and flavorful beer. Last but by no means least was Dr. Rudi, the first installment in their Solo Project Series in which each beer highlights a single hop variety; in this case New Zealand’s own Dr. Rudi hops. This was a decent Pale Ale with a moderate hop presence, but something in the finish which threw me off a little bit. I want to say it was a bit maltier or maybe roastier than you typically expect for the style. Not a bad beer, but this didn’t quite do it for me. There was, however, an alternate version run through a Randall of fresh grapefruit that was quite tasty. The grapefruit infusion blended well with the moderate hoppiness of the original and gave the beer an amazingly strong fresh juice smell. The grapefruit also completely dominated the finishing taste of the original so this version was definitely the one I preferred. If I had to rank them, I would go Citra Legacy, Dr. Rudi Randall, Emilisatie, and then regular Dr. Rudi.
Rounding out the list of lighter beers is Wittershins, a Belgian style Witbier. I am hit or miss on this style but I did like this one. There were notes of orange and a lemony/citrus zest and it was overall very clean tasting and refreshing. There was also a subtle mix of light spices that made a nice contribution to a very flavorful beer. It was maybe slightly out of season for me on a day just barely touching 60, but I would be all over this as a late spring or summer beer. There was no direct comparison to it on the menu that day, but I would rank this quite favorably among the samples available.
For dark beers, they offered Stout Lad and Blighty, a porter. Stout Lad was a 7.2% stout (the strongest of the day’s options) and had a roasty and moderately chocolate taste. Like the rest of the beers here, it had a good mouthfeel and was smooth to drink. Blighty was a Porter that in a lot of ways was a slightly milder version of the stout. There were some chocolate and coffee notes but not as much of the roastiness of the Stout Lad. Both were well done and I would imagine choosing between the two comes down to individual taste preferences. Myself, I prefered the less roasty Blighty. The bartender told us that the next beer to get the Randall treatment will be the Porter infused with coffee beans which I can imagine being pretty amazing to drink.
I enjoyed my visit to Medusa and would highly recommend checking them out if you find yourself nearby. All told, the bill for nine 5 oz. samples and 1 bottle of craft soda came out to $26 (not including the tip), which is pretty good. Combine that with a lovely new taproom and the interesting and creative list of beers and I would call this an intriguing new brewery with great potential. Check these guys out, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂