I love it when breweries start to bottle or can their beers. To be perfectly honest I am not a huge fan of growlers. You need to drink them quickly, especially once they are open, and 64 oz. (or even 36) is a pretty big commitment. If I visit a brewery and they have cans or bottles available I will always choose them over a growler fill. While I love visiting breweries and buying beer directly from the source, I would guess that I buy 80-90% of the beers I review at my local bottle shop (usually Craft Beer Cellar in Newton). I know it is different for different people, but the most common reason I haven’t tried a specific local beer/brewery is that they don’t bottle their beer. RiverWalk Brewery out of Newburyport distributed their beer in growlers and on draft for a while, but recently launched a new line of 500 mL bottles. I don’t have a ton of experience with RiverWalk beers, but I’ve heard good things and I look forward to sampling their whole lineup. I’ll start it off with Screen Door, their summer seasonal. RiverWalk Screen Door is a hoppy version of an American wheat ale, available during the summer months on draft and in the aforementioned 500 mL bottles.
RiverWalk Screen Door pours a clear deep yellow with a substantial white head. The scent is solidly hoppy, with the distinct citrus and tropical fruit aromas of New World hop varieties. The flavor is also very hop-forward, notes of grapefruit, mango, lemon and orange along with a crisp but mild bitterness. This is balanced by a light malt backbone, crusty bread and a touch of wheat. Screen Door is very light bodied and easy to drink, perfect for the porch at 5.5% ABV. The finish is very clean with just a hint of lingering hop flavor. RiverWalk Screen Door is a tasty and well-rounded beer that melds an American pale ale and wheat ale, with plenty of hop flavor and drinkability. I’ll definitely check out some more RiverWalk beers in the near future! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.