Hoppy Boston’s Ideal Tap List

I think everyone who enjoys a good drink with good company daydreams about opening their own bar. It is easy to imagine the perks, you control the atmosphere, music, décor, menu and most importantly the drinks. There are also a number of headaches and real world reasons why you wouldn’t want to do it, but it is fun to plan what your bar would look like and what you would serve. Will Gordon recently wrote an article picking the 16 beers he would have on draft at his bar, and I am going to follow suit with my own selections. First, a few ground rules. My bar would be located in Eastern Massachusetts (say, Sudbury), so all of the beers must be available here, no picking Heady Topper, Pliny and Zombie Dust. Obviously my picks will skew local. You also need a range of styles, that bar with 15 different IPAs had better do incredible volume to keep them all fresh. With that in mind, I like the idea of 16 taps, any more any you start to worry about freshness. Here are my selections along with potential backup options, let me know what you think of my list or try to make one of your!

1. Pale Ale: Maine Beer Co. Mo. One of my favorite APAs, tons of hop flavor and just enough balance. Also, when I can get it: Trillium Fort Point Pale Ale. Possibly my favorite beer, but limited availability.

2. IPA: Wormtown Be Hoppy. A stellar American IPA, huge hop aromas and flavors, easy to drink, still packs some punch, don’t need to wait in line to get some. Also in the rotation: Long Trail Limbo. An underrated standout.

3. DIPA: Single Cut Billy Full Stack. One of my only beers from outside of New England, but a worthwhile stretch for this flavorful and surprisingly easy to drink DIPA. Also, when I can get it: Bog Iron Middle Child. Probably not readily available, but I have a feeling that if I opened a bar the guys at Bog Iron would find a way to keep kegs of Middle Child heading my way.

4. Session beer: Notch Infinite Jest. A toss up between Left of the Dial and this beer, I’m giving a slight edge to this easy to drink wheat beer with low alcohol but big bold flavor. Also, stepping away from the Northeast for a minute, Firestone Walker Easy Jack.

5. Rotating seasonal selection: Otter Creek Seasonals. In realty my draft list would probably adjust with the seasons, I imagine pilsners sell better in the summer and imperial stouts sell better in the winter. That being said, I am a big fan of Otter Creek’s new seasonal line-up, and I would definitely reserve a tap line for Citra Mantra, Kind Ryed, Overgrown and Fresh Slice

6. Saison: Allagash Saison. Allagash are the masters of Belgian styles and I would probably be happy devoting half of my taps to their beers, but we’ll stick with their tasty and easy to drink saison. Also on occasion: Boulevard Tank 7. A classic for a reason.

7. Other Belgian style: Idle Hands Triplication. This tap would see heavy rotation of fun Belgian beer styles, but the mainstay would be this boozy but easy to drink take on the tripel from Idle Hands. Also when I can find them, all of the special release beers from Allagash, such as Confluence, Interlude, Farm to Face, etc.

8. Something funky: Kent Falls Field Beer. While I am still getting used to the more assertive sours, I am a big fan of wild ales that have a bit of tartness to complement their other flavors, and this beer from Kent Falls is a great example. Back-up keg: Mystic Flor Z.

9. Big/barrel aged beer: Brewmaster Jack Tennessee Prinse. A quad aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels. Do you need any more convincing? Also in the rotation: Mystic Day of Doom, another big and boozy quad.

10. Porter: Mayflower Porter. This should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog. Probably my favorite porter and one of my favorite local beers. Foolproof Raincloud is another very tasty local porter worth checking out.

11. Coffee beer: Night Shift Awake. Coffee beers have become so popular they are worthy of their own category, and Awake is my personal favorite. Back up keg: BBC Coffeehouse Porter.

12. Imperial stout/Baltic porter: Jack’s Abby Framinghammer. I would mix in the various barrel aged varieties, but my favorite is still the original which is incredibly easy to drink for such a big beer. In the winter I would add in some Cambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My Stout, a bold bourbon barrel aged imperial stout.

13. Pilsner: Peak Organic Fresh Cut. Not the most traditional take on the style, but this is a really good beer with a hoppy nose and clean drinkability. Also in heavy rotation, Notch Session Pils, the beer that taught me how delicious pilsner could be.

14. Classic beer: Geary’s HSA. I want to save one tap for an old school favorite, and HSA still holds up as a full flavored and balanced ESB. Also Sam Adams Boston Lager doesn’t get much respect from the beer geek community, but it’s still a very good beer.

15. Lower cost option: Narragansett Lager. To be honest, I would probably carry ‘Gansett in tallboys rather than on draft, and I would stock some of their seasonal/special releases too.

16. Whatever I’m in the mood for at the moment. A total cop-out, but I would definitely leave on tap line open for any new beer that I tried and enjoyed. Right now a good choice would be Ipswich Riverbend Pils.

So, if that were the tap list would you be scheduling a trip out to the ‘burbs to check out my new place?



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