Random Beer Thoughts: February 2020

Maine Beer Co Lunch

A group of beer writers, enthusiasts, and brewers recently started #FlagshipFebruary, designating this month to honor flagship beers in an era when many breweries are constantly rotating new beers in and out. I wrote an article on why, in a time when beer drinkers have nearly limitless options, flagship beers are more important than ever. I didn’t drink enough flagship beers in February, I’ll try to make up for it over the next few months! Pints and Panels also had a Flagship February themed post, highlighting an amazing beer and city.

Vanished Valley XP

The Mass Brew Brothers have a rundown of all of the breweries planning on opening in the state in 2020. The final list of actual openings always ends up being much shorter, many will hit snags and delays, but it looks like there will be a considerable number of new options in the state this year. A few of the breweries that are opening soon include Vanished Valley’s new taproom in Ludlow and Rockport Brewing Company.

Not a brewery opening, but I am excited to check out the new Craft Beer Cellar building in Belmont when they open!

Unfortunately, we also have another closing to report; Strange Brew in Marlborough is closing their homebrew shop and newly opened taproom. Apparently, the taproom took much longer to open than they anticipated and the brewery ran out of money. Tackle Box Brewing, who were brewing and serving their beer at Strange Brew under the same license, are looking for a path forward for their brewery.

Jack's Abby Galaxy Brau

The Mass Brewers Guild has elected a number of new members to their board, including new guild president Sam Hendler from Jack’s Abby. The guild has a series of new and continued priorities, led by the reform of franchise laws in the state.

Speaking of the Mass Brewers Guild, Mass Beer Week is coming up soon! Check out their website for information on events and special glassware.

Were you wondering what is going on with the couple behind Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project? They have a new brewery in the UK and it is off to a great start.


MassLive has a profile of Berkshire Brewing as they celebrate their 25th year in business.

Following their success with Dunkin Donuts Harpoon has teamed up with another local establishment, this time brewing a cannoli themed beer with Mike’s Pastry. Harpoon has also launched a Bruins themed beer brewed with the help of local product Chris Wagner. I am betting that a Legal Seafood’s oyster stout is coming soon.

Night Shift Santilli

Hop Culture has the story of Santilli, Night Shift’s flagship IPA that was crowd-sourced from a rotating series of IPA recipes.

Paste continues their excellent blind tasting series with a ranking of dark lagers.

Trillium brewed a special beer in collaboration with Dr. J. Jackson-Beckham to honor the #IAmCraftBeer movement.

Exhibit A Sunday Paper

You know the plastic PakTech 4 and 6 pack holders that most breweries use for their cans? They are not easy to recycle, if you throw them in your regular recycling they will probably end up in the landfill. Exhibit A is now an official recycling drop-off point for the holders, so bring yours by the brewery and grab a beer while you are there.

Beer Advocate and Untappd have merged under the Next Glass umbrella. Not sure what this will mean for either going forward, maybe they can develop a single website/app for all of the haze bros to brag about their trophies.

March 7th is the Great Boston Chili Bowl, a celebration of chili and beer with funds raised going to ALS research.

Hill Farmstead Legitimacy

Clickbait Article of the Month: The topic for this was pretty easy, basically any article that references the Rate Beer awards. The idea that any website could name and rank the best breweries in the whole world is beyond laughable, it ends up being a crowd-sourced hype contest that has little to do with quality or consistency (even if many great breweries do end up ranking high). Also, the fact that a certain brewery who spent the entire year fighting a racial discrimination lawsuit ranks in the top 10 is really disheartening.

Gary Dzen also points out some of the flaws in the RateBeer lists, although he is much more forgiving than I am.

That is it for February, enjoy your Leap Day, drink some awesome beer this weekend, and feel free to send along any articles you think I should feature in upcoming links columns!

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