Tag Archives: Cambridge Brewing

Cambridge Brewing Working Class Hero

Cambridge Brewing Company is one of the most under-rated breweries in Massachusetts. I can think of a few reasons that might have contributed to this. One is the styles of beers they brew. I am a huge fan of their barrel aged and wild ales, but beer geek buzz seems to only surround breweries that make 10 different types of IPA. Until recently they also had limited number of beers that made it to distribution, too many of their most creative beers were brewery only. It hasn’t stopped the accolades from flowing in, Cambridge Brewing Company brewmaster Will Meyers recently won the Russell Schehrer award for innovation in craft brewing. While I don’t make it to the brewery nearly as much as I would like, it has been nice to see the variety of CBC cans and bottles that now populate the shelves at bottle shops. Now that we are into spring and summer one of my go-to styles are saisons, so I was excited to try Working Class Hero an American saison brewed with citrus peel and a generous dose of hops. Cambridge Brewing Company Working Class Hero is available on draft and in 12 oz. cans.

Cambridge Brewing Working Class HeroCambridge Brewing Co. Working Class Hero pours a hazy bright yellow with a solid white head. The scent is mostly fruity and spicy Belgian yeast along with a touch of citrusy hops. The yeast leads the flavor, notes of pear, clove and apricot. The citrus peel and hop flavors complement this well, adding touches of orange, lemon, and grass along with a crisp bitterness. The malts round out the flavor with touches of wheat bread and cereal. Working Class Hero is light and crushable, a session beer at 4.5% ABV. The finish is crisp and dry with some lingering yeast and citrus flavors. This is a delicious saison, after we tried it my wife exclaimed “I think I’ve found my summer beer for the year”! I agree and highly recommend grabbing some. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Cambridge Brewing Co. Reviews:

Cambridge Brewing Co. Arquebus, Cambridge Brewing Co. Pearls of WisdomCambridge Brewing Co. Le SaisonniereCambridge Brewing Co. Hay is for HorsesCambridge Brewing Co. Sgt. PepperCambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My StoutCambridge Brewing Company Remain in LightCambridge Brewing Company The Audacity of Hops

Cambridge Brewing Co. Arquebus

It probably won’t surprise regular readers to find out that I am a pretty big nerd. I have a bunch of geeky interests beyond just beer, including science (which is also my job), video games, Star Wars, fantasy novels and board games. So it should come as no surprise that the first time I saw a bottle of Cambridge Brewing Company Arquebus I knew it was named after one of the first firearms developed in Europe. For the uninitiated, the arquebus is also an available weapon in Dungeons and Dragons (or at least it was the last time I played D&D, it’s been close to 20 years). CBC Arquebus was developed to be the beer equivalent of a dessert wine, they took a blonde barleywine recipe and added local honey and Semillon wine grapes. The final beer is then aged in French oak barrels. Cambridge Brewing Company Arquebus is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 375 mL bottles.

cbc-arquebusCambridge Brewing Co. Arquebus pours deep orange with solid white head. The scent is a mixture of white wine and rich malt. Arquebus is a very complex barleywine, many are just malt and booze, but there is a lot more going on here. Of course there is still plenty of malt flavor, notes of caramel and bread dough along with a mild sweetness. The wine grapes add significant flavor, notes of pear, apple and stone fruit. You also get some vanilla from the oak barrels and the faintest hint of hops. Arquebus is full bodied but drinks very easy for a beer with 12% ABV. The finish is rich with a little lingering fruit flavor and malt sweetness. This is an exceptional barleywine, it has the rich flavor you expect from the style with added complexity from the grapes and barrels, but everything works in harmony. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Cambridge Brewing Co. Reviews:

Cambridge Brewing Co. Pearls of WisdomCambridge Brewing Co. Le SaisonniereCambridge Brewing Co. Hay is for HorsesCambridge Brewing Co. Sgt. PepperCambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My StoutCambridge Brewing Company Remain in LightCambridge Brewing Company The Audacity of Hops

Cambridge Brewing Co. Pearls of Wisdom

I think I mentioned this pre-hiatus, but it’s worth re-visiting. The Mass Brew Brothers have started Mass Beer Mondays, trying to get more drinkers to focus on local offerings. You can join in by using the hashtag #MassBrewMonday on twitter. I try to keep most of my drinking to the weekends, but to stay in the spirit I will be focusing Monday reviews on Massachusetts beers as much as I can. One MA brewery that has been impressing me lately is Cambridge Brewing Company, they have always brewed some great beers but many of their most interesting offerings were brewery-only. Their recent collaboration with Mystic brewery on a joint facility devoted to wild and barrel aged ales has allowed for an expanded capacity, which means more beers available in bottles. A great example is Pearls of Wisdom, a wild blonde ale re-fermented in oak with multiple strains of Brettanomyces and then blended and dry-hopped in stainless steel. I tried Pearls of Wisdom pre-hiatus and didn’t get a chance to write it up, but it was so good I needed to do the review now even if the beer might not be widely available currently.

CBC Pearls of WisdomCambridge Brewing Co. Pearls of Wisdom pours a hazy copper-orange with a solid white head. The scent is a mixture of funky Brett and floral hops. The flavor is complex, but everything works in harmony. There is plenty of hops, notes of mango, white grape, grapefruit and passion fruit. The yeast is also well represented, touches of sour apple, barnyard, peppercorn and apricot. The malts round out the flavor with hints of bread crust and honey. The beer is medium bodied and very easy to drink, not too boozy at 6.3% ABV. The finish is crisp and dry with a combination of hop and yeast flavors lingering on the tongue. I was really excited when Cambridge Brewing Company and Mystic announced their collaboration, and Pearls of Wisdom is the kind of beer I was looking forward to. This beer is really good, I am not sure if it’s still around or if they will be brewing it again, but I highly recommend trying it if you get a chance. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Cambridge Brewing Co. Reviews:

Cambridge Brewing Co. Le SaisonniereCambridge Brewing Co. Hay is for HorsesCambridge Brewing Co. Sgt. PepperCambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My StoutCambridge Brewing Company Remain in LightCambridge Brewing Company The Audacity of Hops

Cambridge Brewing Le Saisonniere

More breweries are dabbling in barrel aging, buying up used wine or spirit barrels and filling them with all types of beer. While the most common barrel aged beer is still the bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, you are starting to see a whole variety of beer and barrel combinations hit the shelves and taps. I am not a huge liquor drinker, at this point in my life I try to stick to beer, but I have a few types of booze that I still enjoy on occasion. First and foremost is whiskey, bourbon and scotch in particular. Second, and probably the only other spirit I have on even a semi-regular basis, in gin. Gin and tonic is a go-to summer drink for me, especially when quality gin is involved. I haven’t seen many beers incorporate gin barrel aging, so I was excited when I learned about Le Saisonniere, the gin-barrel aged saison from Cambridge Brewing Company. Le Saisonniere is named in honor of the seasonal farm workers in southern Belgium, this type of refreshing and lower alcohol beer was the perfect end to a long day of hard work. Cambridge Brewing Company Le Saisonniere is available on draft and in 750 mL bottles.

CBC Le SaisonniereBrewing Company Le Saisonniere pours a hazy golden yellow with a moderate white head. The scent is a mixture of spicy saison yeast and some botanicals from the gin. The taste is pretty complex, you get multiple layers of flavor here. The Belgian style yeast is well represented, notes of apple, clove and pepper. The gin is pretty mild, just a touch of juniper and herbs, but the oak is pretty strong. There are some earthy and floral noble hops along with white bread and biscuits from the malts. That is quite a few different flavors, but they work well together overall. The beer is medium bodied but drinks very easy and is sessionable at only 4.0% ABV. The finish is dry with a complex  mixture of fruity yeast, hops, gin and oak in the aftertaste. This is a really interesting beer, I like seeing more diversity of beer and spirit styles in barrel aging programs and I think the combination of a saison with gin is a great idea. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Cambridge Brewing Co. Reviews:

Cambridge Brewing Co. Hay is for HorsesCambridge Brewing Co. Sgt. PepperCambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My StoutCambridge Brewing Company Remain in LightCambridge Brewing Company The Audacity of Hops

Cambridge Brewing Co. Hay is For Horses

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Mystic Brewery and Cambridge Brewing Company have recently collaborated on opening a barrel cellar and bottling project. We can expect to see a number of new barrel aged and wild beers from each brewery over the course of the next few years, and many of these beers will be available in bottles. I’ve enjoyed many of CBC’s year-round offerings in bottles and cans, but some of their best offerings have been brewery-only due to capacity issues. It will be great to sample more of these beers on a regular basis. One of the first releases from the bottling project is Hay is for Horses, a Nordic pale ale brewed in collaboration with brewers Anders Kissmeyer from Denmark and Yvan de Baets from Belgium. I’ve recently noticed a number breweries making Nordic Pale ales, which use spices that were common in Nordic brewing tradition. Hay is for Horses is brewed with a wide range of ingredients including gruit herbs, oats, alfalfa hay, heather honey, and a little bit of hops. The beer is fermented with an English ale yeast that lets the herbal qualities shine through. It is available for a limited time on draft and in 22 oz. bottles.

CBC Hay is for HorsesCambridge Brewing Company Hay is for Horses pours a hazy light amber with a mild cream-colored head. The scent is pretty complex, a little yeast along with a diverse bouquet of herbs. The herbs lead the flavor, notes of cut grass, green tea, heather and spice. There is also a mild acidity to the beer, not a full blown sour but you get a little bite on the tongue. The malts add another level of flavor, touches of whole grain bread, honey and crackers along with a rich mouthfeel. The hops are muted, but the beer dries out at the finish leaving a herbal and spicy aftertaste. Despite the solid body and complex flavor profile the beer goes down smooth and isn’t too boozy at 5.25% ABV. This beer definitely isn’t for everyone, if you stick to hop bombs or the beers traditionally brewed by American brewers this might be a little out there for you, but I really enjoyed it. If you are a fan of unique beers or you want to try something different I highly recommend Hay is for Horses. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Cambridge Brewing Co. Reviews:

Cambridge Brewing Co. Sgt. PepperCambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My StoutCambridge Brewing Company Remain in LightCambridge Brewing Company The Audacity of Hops

Cambridge Brewing Company Sgt. Pepper

Cambridge Brewing Company has developed a reputation for brewing some great barrel-aged and wild fermented beers. Due to limitations in cellar capacity most of these beers have been brewed on small scales, and the only way to sample the majority of them has been to travel to the brewpub in Kendall Square. That is about to change with a unique new program Cambridge Brewing Company and Mystic Brewing are launching. The two breweries are collaborating on the opening of an expanded new barrel aging facility at the Mystic Brewery in Chelsea. Both have made a significant investment with the hope of producing world class lambic-style ales on a significant scale. You can read the full press release HERE. I am very excited to try these new releases once the program comes to fruition. These new beers should complement the solid selection of year-round bottle releases that Cambridge Brewing Company currently produces. One of CBC’s year-round offerings is Sgt. Pepper, a saison brewed with rye, Belgian style yeast and a variety of peppercorns. Named in honor of the classic Beatles album this saison is available on draft and in 22 oz. bombers.

CBC Sgt PepperCambridge Brewing Company Sgt. Pepper pours a slightly hazy amber orange with a mild white head. The scent is mostly spicy Belgian style yeast with a just a touch of rye. The yeast leads the flavor, notes of clove, coriander and apple. This is complemented by the peppercorns, which adds some pepper flavor without overwhelming the other aspects of the beer. The malts add some complexity with hints of grainy barley and spicy rye. The beer is rounded out by some subtle earthy and grassy hops. There is a lot going on here, but the flavors mesh well. Sgt. Pepper is medium bodied, easy to drink and not too boozy at 6.0% ABV. Overall this is a solid beer with a very creative use of a non-traditional ingredient that complements the natural flavors of the yeast, malt and hops. Hoppy Boston score: 4.0/5.

Previous Cambridge Brewing Company Reviews:

Cambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My StoutCambridge Brewing Company Remain in LightCambridge Brewing Company The Audacity of Hops

Cambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My Stout

Barrel aging, where a beer is transferred into a barrel that had been previously used to age wine or liquor, has become a major part of many craft brewers’ repertoires. While aging sour beer styles in barrels has been done for centuries, many U.S. brewers have started aging some of their bigger beers in liquor barrels. The most popular style in the U.S. is probably the bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. When done properly the sweet and boozy bourbon can perfectly complement the rich and roasted malt flavors of the beer. Unfortunately in my experience too many of these beers are over-done, they end up tasting like a diluted glass of bourbon. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice bourbon, but in a barrel aged beer I want the whiskey to add complexity to an already delicious beer instead of overwhelming the palate. I have spent some time this winter trying to find some of the best local examples of barrel aged beers, and I’ll use the blog to pass along a few recommendations. One relatively new and highly recommended bourbon barrel aged imperial stout is You Enjoy My Stout, brewed by Cambridge Brewing Company.

CBC You Enjoy My StoutCambridge Brewing Company You Enjoy My Stout pours midnight black with a mild dark brown head. The smell is a mixture of dark malt with a pungent hit of boozy bourbon. The malts come through strongly in the taste, chocolate and espresso with hints of plum and raisin. The bourbon aging is also well represented in the flavor without overwhelming the beer, some vanilla along with smoky, sweet, and boozy bourbon. This is a full bodied beer meant for sipping, at 10% ABV it is important to take it slow. So many bourbon barrel aged stouts are all bourbon and booze but this one is extremely well balanced. The ageing adds significant complexity without overtaking the delicious imperial stout. Well done. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Cambridge Brewing Company Reviews:

Cambridge Brewing Company Remain in LightCambridge Brewing Company The Audacity of Hops