Life has been a little hectic recently, work, travel, family commitments, all the stuff that makes you feel like you barely get a chance to sit down, let alone relax. My wife and I both felt a little burned out late last month and decided to take a day off just for us, no big plans, just some R&R. We had a perfect little New England fall day, apple orchard for apples and cider donuts, nice lunch out, and then (because this is me we’re talking about) a visit to a brewery. We were just west of the city for our other stops, so the obvious destination was Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham. The tasting room at Jack’s Abby screams “artisanal craft brewery”, with a small bar and some standing room, enough space for a small crew but not for huge parties. There also isn’t a ton of seating, most of the tables and the back bar are meant to accommodate standing patrons. On a Friday afternoon there were a number of people dropping in for a pint, a tasting flight or to stock up on lager for the weekend.
The wide variety of tasty lager draw patrons to this brewery, and there is plenty to choose from at Jack’s Abby. They pour full pints and 4-beer tasting flights, and sell bottles and growler fills to go. Most of the brewery favorites like Jabby Brau and Hoponius Union are available, along with a rotating selection of special releases. I was able to taste a version of their Berliner Lager brewed with cranberries, as well as Numb Swagger, a black lager aged with Szechuan peppers. Some of the most sought-after brewery releases are the flavored and barrel aged versions of Framinghammer, their Baltic porter. During my visit Framinghammer was available in barrel-aged, cocoa-nut, vanilla, coffee, and peanut butter and jelly varieties. In addition to the tasting I grabbed a few bottles and a new pint glass to take home. One of the beers I grabbed was the fifth release in the Hopstitution series, called BAM (Bravo, Amarillo, and Mandarina hop varieties). While many breweries do a series of single hop beers (same malt but a single type of hops that changes), Jack’s Abby uses unique combinations of two or more styles of hops for each Hopstitution beer.
Jack’s Abby Hopstitution BAM pours a clear straw gold with a large and well sustained white head. The smell is a huge burst of hops, floral with touches of citrus. The taste is hops and more hops, notes of spice, pine, lemon, cut grass, earth and papaya. The flavors are complex, but they work very well together. There is a little malt in the backbone, hints of crushed grain and honey, but this beer is clearly brewed to highlight the hops. The clean lager yeast profile helps make this beer super drinkable, and the 5.5% ABV is clearly not overwhelming. The finish is crisp with a pleasant but mild hop bite. Hopstitution BAM is very well done, this is a perfect vehicle to make this combination of hops sing. I really love the concept too, using the series to highlight hop combinations instead of single hops. I’ll be trying any new version of Hopstitution that Jack’s Abby produces, I suggest you do the same. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Jack’s Abby Reviews: