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Posted April 14, 2014 by keif in beer

Boston Brewing at a Glance

Long time, no see! I’ve been wrapped up in life and a new job, and I’m diving back in!

I had a brief pop-in to Boston, Massachusetts last week (sadly, not for PAX east), and had a chance to hit up a couple of the local breweries, and walk the freedom trail. It wasn’t quite enough to really get some great photos this round, but as I’ll be returning (possibly in May), so with a better understanding of the lay-of-the-land, I can plan a little better.

Where did I hit? Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery (evidently, a chain, but it was close to my hotel, and I was wiped out), an awesome beer hall – Meadhall, comparable to Dublin, Ohio’s own Pint Room with one-hundred taps–but I didn’t try their food. A brewery within walking distance of the office, CBC – not our Columbus Brewing Company, but the Cambridge Brewing Company. Before I caught the flight home, I made it to two smaller operations, that reminded me of Zauber’s early days (and Caution Brewing in Denver when I visited there with my brother last year)–Night Shift Brewing Company and Idle Hands Craft Ales.

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery

This is a chain, so I am not going to dig in to this too much, aside from the Cisco Winter Shredder (Untappd had poor reviews – it was good, but it felt like a beer I wanted to be drinking when it’s snowing outside), a Smoke & Dagger by Jack’s Abby Brewing, and one of their own IPAs. With my steak from dinner, it was overall enjoyable. Follow me on Untappd if you want the details.

The Meadhall

Okay, so the gentlman I spent my two mornings in Cambridge with dropped this on me when I mentioned what I was interested in learning about Boston – the culture, the history, and, of course, craft beer. He recommended The Meadhall as a place he recently discovered – so I walked over after work and ordered a couple local pints – Hoponius Union by Jack’s Abby Brewing and Dean’s Beans Coffeehouse Porter by Berkshire Brewing Company (B.B.C.). Dean’s Beans Coffeehouse Porter was like dessert in a glass.

Cambridge Brewing Company

On the main stretch, I made it the CBC twice – once after the Meadhall, when I ordered some brussel sprouts (delicious after two flights) and once late in the evening when I was hoping to actually eat dinner (I managed to arrive exactly when the kitchen closed!). I was hungry and pissed, luckily, the bartender suggested Lord Hobo to me as a late night spot to eat. Bacon Mac & Cheese, while I listened to The Distillers and The Offspring’s album Smash. Just setting the tone for you – I felt like I was home. *And* they had local beers on tap. I’m so glad that you can go everywhere, and more and more bars showcase their state’s ales over the mass produced beers.

The bartender was friendly and attentive – and the beers? Very good. They weren’t exactly enough to make me have one that I would say “I wish we had that here” – but they were great craft beers, that I would love to have them locally to pop-in on occasion. Their Lush Life would have to be the winner for me – a very belgian strong beer with a great fruity mix to it.

Night Shift Brewing Company

Night Shift was slightly difficult to find. I mean, it looks sketchy as fuck. I drove by a construction site (where it felt weird… I was using Uber, so I pulled up in a town car, and there were guys in suits there), and stepped out to a long warehouse, where I luckily saw the sign, found the building, wandered down the hallway, and discovered I could’ve walked down the open garage hallway. So, like the old Zauber building ;-)

Night Shift and Idle Hands are neighbors–and I had a few moments to chat with a local (who had nothing but great things to say about Ohio Craft beer and the local places that had been cropping up) and Tim who was handling the bar while the founders were at CBC (Craft Brewer’s Conference this time, not the other two). Their beers were *very* unique, and I want to get some shots of their shop next time (I’m hoping May).

The pours – essentially $2 for 4 oz. if I recall correctly. It’s worth trying them all. Their Bee Tea on cask was awesome, and I would recommend catching whatever art ales they have on tap – the Farmhouse Bramble and El Lechedor were both worth taste. Their Smokeshow was a great, smoked IPA (possibly the first I have had) and their Viva Habanero was a great mixture of rye and kick!

Idle Hands Craft Ales

As I was leaving, I saw they had opened while I was sampling Night Shift, and as I was catching an evening flight home, I felt it was my duty to sample. The tastings were free–but I opted to buy a tasting glass as a memento. As I was running in to a time crunch, I feel I drank these a little faster than I would have cared to, to really enjoy them–as I feel Night Shift had the more unique flavors, I feel Idle Hands had a good, well-rounded selection with great flavor. I’ll definitely be hitting these two up on my next trip (and maybe make it to Sam Adam’s and Harpoon, too!)

Until next time, prost!



Keif is a ecommerce web consultant and fan of beer, wine, fine spirits, the art of the home brew, and fine smokes. Favorite Beer: tends to fall around stouts and I/PAs Favorite Wine: Port Favorite Microbrew: The city of Columbus, Ohio. All of it.