While running an errand the other day I found myself right around the corner from Fenway Park and the downtown location of Boston Beer Works. The Beer Works have been in the back of my mind since reading about them last month, and while I was in their neighborhood I couldn’t resist stopping in for a quick flight.
With baseball season still a few months away things were pretty slow in this part of the city. I pretty much had my pick of seats at the bar as there were only a handful of other patrons present – an experience unheard of during the spring and summer months when there are lines out the door on game days. After perusing their lengthy tap list (I counted about 20 beers, all house creations) I decided on a flight to give me a good mix of their offerings.
I started out with a cask version of Hub Light (second beer from the left). The original version of this beer sounds like your typical 4.4% light lager made as an accessible offering for the gameday crowds, but for the cask they jazzed it up a bit by adding mangos and gave it a Mosaic dry hop. While this is not necessarily a style I get excited about, I’ve developed a love of cask beer and couldn’t resist giving it a try. Turns out I made a good choice. After a faint light malt taste to start the beer off, it went on to taste not entirely unlike lightly hopped mango juice. The warmer serving temperature and thicker, less carbonated mouthfeel typical of cask worked really for this beer. Clean and refreshing, it offered a promising start to the evening.
The next beer I sampled was an 8.2% Imperial Red Ale called REDeemer (second from the right). No way I was not trying this one given my love of hoppy red ales. It didn’t turn out quite the way I expected it to, but the beer was pretty good nevertheless. It had a nice red/amber-colored body with a foamy head and started out with that piney hop profile I like so much. The malts that followed threw me off a bit though. Rather than the sweeter caramel tastes I had been expecting, there was more of a roasted coffee taste to it, with only a hint of sweetness mixed in. Again, not what I was expecting but overall it was still a pretty good beer.
Beer number three was Big Boy, a 8.0% DIPA. It looked promising enough with its pale golden body, but I didn‘t much care for this one. The smell was very muted and the taste was mostly nondescript malt. There were occasional hints of bitterness, but otherwise the hops never really showed up in this beer. There was also something off about the taste I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s hard to describe, almost like it came from a drastically different (and not as good) water source. I tried reading up in my homebrew guide about off-tastes and none of those seem to quite cover it. Anyone out there have any ideas?
My fourth and final beer of the evening was one of their seasonals, the 9.5% BW Imperial Stout. This one brought us back into the realm of good beers. It looked pretty much the way you would expect it to with a solid black body and a nice fluffy tan head. The smell and taste both imparted smooth lightly roasted malts and just a hint of dark chocolate on the finish. Mouthfeel was right on point for the style with a great creamy thickness. While this may not have been the most exciting big stout I’ve had lately, there’s no denying it was a good, quality brew.
And that was all I had time for on that particular day. It was nice to get into Beer Works and have a chance to sit quietly and think about the beers. It had actually been a few years since my last visit, which was after a night game when the place was wall-to-wall people. I was happy to find some good, solid brews (Big Boy aside) and enjoyed my visit. While it might not be the number one destination in Boston for hardcore beer enthusiasts, I certainly was pleased with my time here and it is easily one of the better brewpubs I’ve been to lately. Good times.