Category Archives: Best Beers

HoppyBoston Best Beers-Winter 2016

One of my New Years resolutions for Hoppy Boston was to make an active effort to buy, drink and showcase more non-IPAs. This was partially motivated by the hype machine that is so IPA-centric, but it was also influenced by how hop-heavy the My Favorite Beers page on HoppyBoston has become. While it has been my goal from day one to discover and share underrated and readily available local beers, I am going to extend that goal to try and highlight some beer styles that don’t get enough attention. The going might be slow, I’ve had to cut back to two posts a week, but I am also focusing my posts on beers that I enjoy now. There have been a number of beers that I’ve intended to review and found them mediocre, so I declined. The beers on this list are far from mediocre, all are amazing and have been added to the growing list of my favorites. As always, if there is a beer missing from that list that you feel deserves consideration please pass it along in the comments, or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

alchemist-focal-bangerAlchemist Focal Banger: I’m not one to chase down whalez, but my friend brought a stockpile of Alchemist beers to a recent guys weekend, and let us all take some home. Bold hop flavor and easy drinkability, I actually prefer this beer over Heady Topper.

allagash-hibernal-fluxusAllagash Hibernal Fluxus 2016: Allagash makes the best special occasion beers, incredibly complex Belgian style ales where every ingredient has a purpose and the flavors all meld together perfectly. Hibernal Fluxus is no exception, an exceptional dark Belgian Ale brewed with figs.

some-whoopie-pie-stoutSoMe Whoopie Pie Stout: Sometimes when a brewery tries to make a beer that tastes like a particular item of food it comes across as gimmicky (or terrible). This beer is the opposite, a flavorful stout where the adjunct ingredients add complexity but still let the natural chocolate flavors from the roasted malts shine through.

HoppyBoston Best Beers-Fall 2016

After an incredibly crazy summer life has settled down a bit this fall. I am back into somewhat of a routine with the new house, new job, new commute, etc. I’ve even found some time to visit a handful of breweries this fall. As part of the compromises that came with these changes I am writing a little less on Hoppy Boston, although I am still getting two posts up most weeks. Honestly, the three posts a week run I was on was probably unsustainable regardless of any life changes. Fewer posts means that I’ll probably have fewer new entries into my “Favorite Beers” list, but I am still committed to finding all of the great beers in New England, especially the ones that don’t require waiting in line to acquire. As always, the best beers I’ve reviewed this fall have been added to the My Favorite Beers page, and the links lead to the full review. Please feel free to recommend any beers that you think belong on this list and I haven’t had a chance to review yet. Cheers!

medusa-black-ale-projectMedusa Black Ale Project: The first in a series of beers (from different breweries) that will benefit charities that help veterans, and Medusa knocked it out of the park. A full flavored milk stout that is still easy to drink and not too boozy, I really hope this beer makes a comeback.

bbc-oktoberfestBerkshire Brewing Oktoberfest: A classic marzen, tons of malt flavor without being cloying, packs some punch but still super drinkable. Everyone should celebrate the fall with a few mugs of this beer.

notch-infinite-jestNotch Infinite Jest: The newest addition to Notch’s flagship lineup has quickly become a mainstay in my beer fridge. Big hop flavor, balance, drinkability, and of course it’s a session beer, making it perfect for all occasions.

oxbow-barrel-aged-farmhouse-pale-aleOxbow Barrel Aged Farmhouse Pale Ale: I am really glad to see Oxbow beers make their way down to Massachusetts. This saison aged in oak barrels with Brettanomyces has a complex mixture of flavors but everything comes together and makes a delicious beer.

Hoppy Boston Best Beers: Summer 2016

This summer was a little crazy for me personally, bought a house, lost my job, moved, started a new job, plus all of the day to day stuff that keeps me busy even in a “quiet” stretch. Due to the extra demands on my time Hoppy Boston actually went on hiatus for a month in June/July, so it should come as no surprise that the quarterly round-up of my favorite beers is a little light. It’s unfortunate, I had plans to review some of favorite summer classics and ran out of time, I guess it will have to wait until next summer. As always, these beers have been added to the My Favorite Beers page, feel free to pass on suggestions for beers that you think belong on that list (and I haven’t had a chance to review yet). Cheers!

Ipswich Riverbend PilsIpswich Riverbend Pils: I bought this beer at CBC Newton after one of the guys there gave a strong recommendation and it didn’t disappoint. Crisp, clean and easy to drink but still tons of flavor, this is what a pilsner should be.

CBC Pearls of WisdomCambridge Brewing Company Pearls of Wisdom: When Cambridge Brewing Company and Mystic collaborated to open a facility that focuses on barrel aged and wild ales this is the kind of beer I was excited for them to develop. Wild fermented, aged with Brett and then dry-hopped before bottling this beer is incredibly complex but everything works in harmony.

Trillium Melcher StTrillium Melcher Street IPA: I think Melcher Street is my favorite Trillium IPA. This beer highlights the Mosaic hop, really bringing out the tropical and citrus fruit flavors that have made these hops so popular.

 

HoppyBoston Best Beers Spring 2016

My favorite beers this winter were predominantly big and malty, stouts, porters, quads and barleywines. As the weather started to warm I went back onto a hoppy beer kick, and this is reflected in my favorite beers of spring. As I move into summer I imagine my taste will go even lighter, hopefully adding a number of pilsners and other crisp and easy drinking beers to my favorites list. Here are my personal favorites amongst the beers I reviewed this summer. As always these beers have been added to the My Favorite Beers page and the links lead to the full reviews. Also a reminder that I am always open to suggestions, if you have a beer that you’d like to see reviewed on HoppyBoston send a message on twitter (@HoppyBoston) or Facebook (facebook.com/hoppyboston). Cheers!

Mayflower AldenMayflower Alden: Originally a one-off beer in the Cooper’s Series Mayflower brought this double IPA back due to it’s popularity. Tons of hop flavor and aroma, good balance and incredibly drinkable for a bigger beer.

Trillium Free Rise with CitraTrillium Free Rise with Citra: I’ve enjoyed a number of iterations of Free Rise, but the version dry-hopped with Citra is a standout. The natural citrus fruit flavors and aromas from the hops meld beautifully with the esters produced by the expressive Belgian style ale yeast.

Maine Beer Co  MoMaine Beer Company Mo: While so much attention is paid to MBC’s stellar IPAs this pale ale often gets overlooked. Huge hop flavors and aromas, just enough malt and the drinkability and lower bitterness you expect from an APA.

Trillium Fort Point Pale AleTrillium Fort Point Pale Ale: Possibly my favorite local beer (which is saying something). Huge hop flavors, smooth and easy to drink, everything you want in a pale ale. I’ve tried a number of different versions of this beer and each one is stellar.

Kent Falls EquinoxKent Falls Equinox: A dry hopped saison featuring the  Equinox hop which adds a mixture of fruity and herbal notes that form a complex and delicious interplay with the farmhouse yeast flavors. Kent Falls is making some unique and very tasty beers, this is amongst the best I’ve tried so far.

HoppyBoston Best Beers: Winter 2015/16

After a slow quarter in Hoppy Boston best beer additions this fall the winter came on with a vengeance, adding seven beers to my favorites list. There were a number of reasons for this increase, including the announcement that Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project was shutting down leading to a month-plus tribute where I reviewed a number of their beers. Pretty Things now has seven total entries on the My Favorite Beers list, a number that won’t be surpassed anytime soon. Also of note, there are no IPAs/DIPAs or other hoppy beers on my list this quarter, not something I did intentionally per se, but I have been making an effort to add more diversity. Without further ado, here are my favorite beers that I reviewed in the last 3 months, links lead to the full review. Cheers!

Goose Island BCBS 2015Goose Island BCBS 2015: There aren’t many AB-InBev products that beer geeks get excited for, but this is clearly one. Bold, boozy and still incredibly smooth, this beer is a sought after classic for a reason.

Pretty Things Baby TreePretty Things Baby Tree: One of Pretty Things flagship beers and one of the best quads on the market (at least it was), complex and boozy while still being drinkable and approachable. This beer will be missed.

Pretty Things Our Finest RegardsPretty Things Our Finest Regards: At absolute ode to malt flavor, intense and delicious. Probably my favorite barleywine.

Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2015Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2015: The 2015 version featured a quadruple aged in rum barrels, in my opinion the best combination of the three they’ve tried.

Brewmaster Jack Tennessee PrinseBrewmaster Jack Tennessee Prinse: Another barrel aged quad, this time in Tennessee whiskey barrels (fitting for a brewery with “Jack” in their name). Nearly flawless combination of malt, yeast and whiskey flavors.

Night Shift AwakeNight Shift Awake: I tried a number of coffee porters for porter month and this was my favorite, just enough coffee flavor to add complexity without overwhelming the beer.

Jack's Abby FraminghammerJack’s Abby Framinghammer: A boozy Baltic porter that packs huge flavor but is still dangerously easy to drink. Many swear by the barrel aged variants (which are great), but I still love the original.

HoppyBoston Best Beers: Fall 2015

My favorite beers list for the fall is somewhat briefer than normal, it’s actually the shortest list I’ve had since I started the blog. It’s not that I didn’t sample and review great beers over the last three months, on the contrary I think I found quite a few,  there were just a lot of beers that scored just below the threshold. I have also made an effort over the last few seasons to review some of my all time favorites along with beers that are new to me in order to flesh out the My Favorite Beers list, but I got off track on that pursuit and reviewed almost all new or new-to-me beers this fall. The fall is also a tough season for me, I am not a fan of pumpkin beers and it seems like the majority of the seasonal releases focus on the pumpkin craze. This winter I promise to mix in some personal favorites along with the new beers and add a number of stouts, porters, quads and other big winter beers to my favorites list. As always, the links below take you to the full review and all of these beers have been added to the My Favorite Beers page linked above. Cheers!

Treehouse JuliusTree House Julius: The flagship beer that is one of the major reasons for the explosion in popularity and demand for Tree House products. Juicy and fruity new world hops and a soft bitterness make for a delicious and easy to drink IPA. I hate waiting in line for beer, but it is worth it for some Julius.

Singlecut Full Stack IPASinglecut Billy Full-Stack: There was a lot of excitement when Singlecut announced that they would start distributing to the Boston area, and this beer is a major reason why. Tons of hop flavor in this bold DIPA, but it is still extremely easy to drink without a hint of alcohol on the tongue. One of the best DIPAs I’ve tried recently. 

Peak Organic Super FreshPeak Organic Super Fresh: The bigger and stronger cousin of Peak Organic’s popular dry hopped pilsner Fresh Cut. More hops and more alcohol, but still crisp, clean and delicious. This beer shows how a light lager backbone can showcase big hop flavors without coming across as one-note.

HoppyBoston Best Beers: Summer 2015

Despite a pretty crazy summer on the personal front I managed to fit in quite a few brewery visits, and many of my favorite beers from the summer were purchased during these stops. While I tend to prefer light and easy to drink beers on warm summer days, I have a pretty good variety of styles on this favorites list. One style that I have really started to enjoy recently are wild ales which mix complex flavors from expressive yeast strains with a mild tartness. As always, these are the beers that I’ve given the highest scores over the last three months, links are to the full reviews, and all of these beers have been added to the My Favorite Beers tab. Cheers!

Mayflower SquantoMayflower Squanto: The latest beer in the Cooper’s Series, Squanto is a saison with a diverse but balanced flavor profile. I’ve always loved saisons for pairing with meals, the spicy and fruity notes from the yeast complement so many dishes, and this is a great example of the style. I hope that these Cooper’s Series beers aren’t all one-offs, they have been some of my favorite Mayflower releases.  

Stillwater YachtStillwater Yacht: A light lager has officially made my favorite beers list. Yacht is a crisp and refreshing session lager with big hop flavor but very mild bitterness. Stillwater is best known for their saisons, but this showcases their ability to make a range of great beers.  

Allagash CurieuxAllagash Curieux: A version of Allagash’s canonical tripel aged in bourbon barrels. The bourbon is present but doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors in the beer, which is the key to barrel aged beers in my opinion. I’m convinced that this would be a wait-in-line “unicorn” type beer if it was limited release, but it gets overlooked by some drinkers because it’s so easy to find.

Foundation EpiphanyFoundation Epiphany: Foundation has been generating a lot of buzz recently, and this DIPA is probably the biggest reason. Some have gone so far as to compare it to the most-sought after versions of the style in the country, high praise for a small brewery. Foundation currently cans Epiphany just once a month, and it is definitely worth seeking out.

Bissell Brothers The SubstanceBissell Brothers The Substance: Instead of rolling out a handful of work-in-progress beers at their launch Bissell Brothers started with one recipe that they knew was great (a strategy I wish more brewers would take). This beer was a hop-bomb IPA called The Substance, and it’s sales enabled the growth of their entire brewery. While they make a number of delicious beers now, people still flock to Industrial Way in Portland for this celebration of hops in it’s distinct tallboy cans.  

Allagash Confluence 2015Allagash Confluence: A Belgian pale ale brewed with a mixture of Allagash’s expressive house yeast and Brettanomyces, aged in tanks and then dry hopped before bottling. This was actually the first time I tried Confluence and it blew me away, one of the best beers I’ve tried this year. I will definitely be sampling this on a yearly basis.

Enlightenment Things Are BeautifulEnlightenment Things Are Beautiful: A wild saison that expertly mixes subtle hoppy, fruity, funky and tart flavors. Enlightenment beers are so well crafted, it’s a shame that the transition period of the Idle Hands brewery has put the Enlightenment brand on hold. Enjoy the beers that are available now and hope that they come back soon!

Treehouse Alter EgoTree House Alter Ego: Tree House’s third anniversary beer is brewed with the same malt bill as their flagship Julius but dry hopped with Amarillo and Mosaic. The brewers at Tree House are experts in adding huge hop flavor and aroma while still keeping the beer balanced and easy to drink, and Alter Ego fits right in with their other great IPAs.