Lamplighter Brewing Company had it’s first birthday this month, and they have been celebrating with a series of special events and beer releases. It is crazy how quickly Lamplighter transitioned from an exciting new brewery in town into one of my go-to local breweries. Most places have a bit of a learning curve in their first year, issues with consistency batch-to-batch or solid beers mixed with some misses. Lamplighter has minimized this, within months of opening they had a stable of quality offerings across an array of styles. It’s reached a point where I almost always try a new Lamplighter release and a few of my favorites have become staples in my beer fridge. A couple good examples (which I hadn’t reviewed yet) are their flagship porter Werewolves of Cambridge and Birds of a Feather, an IPA brewed with Mosaic, Columbus and Citra hops. Both beers are available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. cans.
Lamplighter Werewolves of Cambridge pours nearly black with a small tan head. The aroma features some rich roasted malt. These malts lead the flavor, notes of molasses, chocolate and caramel. This is balanced by some mild hops, earthy and grassy with just a hint of bitterness. Werewolves of Cambridge is medium bodied and very smooth, not overly boozy at 6.3% ABV. The beer finishes rich with some lingering roasted malt flavors. This is a really good porter, I will drink quite a few of these over the coming winter months. I’ve also heard rumors of brewery-only variants aged in bourbon and rye barrels, I might need to make a trip to the brewery to check them out. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Lamplighter Birds of a Feather pours hazy orange with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of hops, citrus and tropical fruit. This is a quintessential NEIPA, the fruity hop flavors shine, hints of mango, tangerine, peach and papaya but minimal bitterness. There is some malt flavor for balance, touches of cereal and wheat bread. Birds of a Feather is medium bodied and drinks very easy, not overly boozy at 6.8% ABV. The finish is crisp with substantial lingering hop flavor that keeps you coming back for more. This is another very good beer from Lamplighter, every release is quickly becoming a must-try for me. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Lamplighter Reviews:
Lamplighter Watchman, Lamplighter Blitzen, Lamplighter Lucid Nonsense and Easy Tiger
There are a number of major milestones that a brewery goes through as it starts up and begins to establish it’s place in the market. Opening the doors and starting to sell beer is obviously the first huge event, along with seeing your beer on draft at local bars. Starting to can or bottle beer is another big step forward, they allow customers to purchase more beer at a time and attract customers who don’t like growlers. The new packaging also allows the brewery to start distribution to local bottle shops, even if they are just transporting a few cases at a time on their own. This is an underrated step in the growth of a brewery, having your beer in a bottle shop will introduce it to a larger range of potential customers. I was excited to see Lamplighter beers available in cans on a recent visit to Craft Beer Cellar in Framingham. I’ve enjoyed a number of Lamplighter beers and while I have no issue visiting the brewery (it’s very close to my office), I hope the distribution helps introduce their beers to more local drinkers. One of the beers I picked up was Watchman, a wheat IPA brewed with Hallertau Blanc and Hull Melon hops. It is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. cans.
Lamplighter Watchman pours murky dark yellow with a solid white head. The aroma is a big hit of fruity hops. The flavor is also hop forward, notes of cantaloupe, white grape and lime but minimal bitterness. this is balanced by a mild malt backbone, hints of wheat bread and crackers. Watchman has a light body, smooth drinkability and is sessionable at 4.8% ABV. It has a crisp finish with lingering hop flavor. The hops in Watchman caught me off guard at first, they impart a pretty different flavor profile compared to many popular IPAs, but I really enjoyed the beer. Different and definitely worth trying! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Lamplighter Reviews:
Lamplighter Blitzen, Lamplighter Lucid Nonsense and Easy Tiger
Merry Christmas (a day late) and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend celebrating with friends and family, and that it included a number of delicious beers. I am enjoying a large variety of styles over the holidays, from hop-bomb IPAs to malty stouts and barleywines. In my opinion you don’t need a specific style for the holiday season, anything delicious will do. There are a number of breweries that make holiday themed beers, and to be honest there aren’t many that I enjoy on a regular basis. Many of them are heavily spiced, which is never something I’ve enjoyed. Belgian style holiday ales are an exception, the dark malts and expressive yeast flavors can hold up to adjunct additions resulting in complex and flavorful beers that work well with the holiday season. One Belgian style holiday ale that I sampled for the first time this weekend was Blitzen, a Belgian strong dark ale from Lamplighter Brewing Company in Cambridge. Blitzen is available for a limited time at the brewery for samples, drafts and growler fills.
Lamplighter Blitzen pours a deep reddish brown with a moderate cream colored head. The scent is a mixture of dark fruit from the malts and esters from the yeast. The yeast leads the flavor, notes of pear, clove and nutmeg. This is complemented by plenty of malt flavor, touches of date, plum, toffee and bread dough. There are minimal hops, just a touch at the end to keep the sweetness from the malt in check. Blitzen is a full bodied sipper, but goes down pretty easy for a beer with 8.8% ABV. The finish is dry with some fruity yeast and malt sweetness lingering on the tongue. I really enjoyed Lamplighter Blitzen, it is the perfect style of beer to celebrate the holidays with! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Previous Lamplighter Reviews:
Lamplighter Lucid Nonsense and Easy Tiger
I rarely make it to the grand openings of breweries, usually by the time I can make the trip a brewery has been in operation for a little while. In fact, my life has been so crazy that there are a number of places that have been on my must-visit-soon list for way too many months. I was able to make a glorious exception to this last week with a visit to Lamplighter Brewing Company less than a week after they first opened their door. It is a huge help that Lamplighter’s new space near Kendall Square in Cambridge is right down the road from my new job. The brewery is currently one big open room with equipment in the back, a counter for filling growlers and buying merchandise, and a small bar for tasting (Lamplighter currently just pours free tasting samples, they are working on getting the proper licenses to sell beer for consumption on the premises). I had to do a quick in and out, but I came away with some new glassware and a couple half growlers, one filled with Lucid Nonsense IPA and another with Easy Tiger Brett IPA. Both were very good, and I highly recommend checking out Lamplighter the next time you make a trip into Cambridge!
Lamplighter Lucid Nonsense pours a deep hazy orange with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of hops, citrus and pine. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, resin and tangerine along with a solid bitter bite. There is enough malt for balance, touches of bread crust and honey. Lucid Nonsense is medium bodied and drinks easy but packs a little punch at 7.1% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and bite. Lucid Nonsense is kind of a hybrid between the juicy east coast IPAs and the more bitter/piney west coast versions. It is a very good beer, a strong addition to the stable of delicious IPAs being brewed in Massachusetts. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
Lamplighter Easy Tiger pours a hazy gold with a small white head. The scent is a mixture of funky yeast and fruity hops. The hops lead the flavor, notes of melon, orange and papaya along with mild bitterness. The yeast adds complexity, fruity esters and the distinct barnyard flavor imparted by the Brettanomyces yeast strain. The malts round out the flavors with hints of white bread and crackers. Easy Tiger is medium bodied and drinks very easy, with moderate alcohol at 6.8% ABV. The finish is crisp and dry with some lingering flavors of hops and funky yeast. It is nice to see that Lamplighter is not afraid to experiment with some different flavors, coming right out of the gate with a very well done Brett IPA. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.