The advantages of selling beer directly to the consumer have been well documented, but most breweries quickly realize that there is a limit to the amount of beer they can move on premise without distribution. The Mass Brew Brothers recently wrote an article on the top 25 breweries in Massachusetts by volume, and the vast majority package and distribute their beer. The exceptions are Beer Works, which runs a chain of brewpubs, and Tree House and Trillium, which are the two places that can sell large volumes directly from the brewery without relying on distribution. The other breweries on the list need to balance distribution with keeping up a robust business of direct to consumer sales at he brewery. I think Night Shift does an exceptional job finding this balance. It is easy to find their flagship beers at local stores, but they keep good tabs on inventory so the beer is usually fresh. Despite the easy availability of their flagship beers the Night Shift brewery in Everett is still an extremely popular destination (and I would bet anything that the new location in Boston is going to be a huge success). One reason is that the brewery is a great place to hang out, a comfortable and fun space with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Another reason is the wide array of special beers that are only available at the brewery. Many of the small batch, experimental and barrel aged beers Night Shift brews are only available in Everett, usually on draft and in cans or bottles to go (which is an underrated plus, no growler needed). One beer that I grabbed on a recent visit was Albert, a rye saison. Night Shift Albert is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans at the brewery.
Night Shift Albert pours clear deep orange with a solid white head. The aroma is full of fruity and spicy scents from the fermentation. The yeast also leads the flavor, notes of apricot, peppercorn and clove. This is complemented by the malts, spicy rye and bread crust. A touch of earthy and floral hops round out the flavor. Albert is medium bodied and super easy drinking, not too boozy at 5.8% ABV. The finish is dry with some lingering flavors from the yeast. This is a really nice saison, a classic interpretation with a bit of a twist from the rye malt. I need to make more frequent trips to Night Shift in order to check out all of the creative brewery-only beers they are brewing! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Night Shift Reviews:
Night Shift Waiting for Anton, Night Shift Matisse, Night Shift The 87, Night Shift Bennington, Night Shift Whirlpool, Night Shift Awake, Night Shift Santilli, Night Shift Maracuya, Night Shift Mainer Weisse, Night Shift Thunder Moon, Night Shift Morph IPA, Night Shift Ever Weisse, Night Shift Grove, Night Shift JoJo, Night Shift Taza Stout, Night Shift Simcoenation