By Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff
New Years has arrived and with it the end of the regular season. For this special event we’re going to change up the normal format and present a review of the new breweries to open in New England during 2011. In some cases we may include breweries founded in 2010. Founding date and date the beer is first available can be many months apart, so there isn’t a reason to be too strict about this. Also outside Mass and Maine we may have to stretch the definition a bit. Final note, these are distributing breweries, not new brewpubs.
Some of these are draft only, or have limited distribution. With time they’ll be available in more and more places. So if you don’t see them around now, just wait.
What to eat?
We’re still going to need to eat right? Lets turn the Buffalo classic buffalo wing into a dip.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 bottle chunky blue cheese dressing, 12ish ounces
1 bottle Frank’s Buffalo Wing sauce, 12ish ounces
or your favorite buffalo wing sauce
1 stick cream cheese, 8 ounces
1 pack shredded cheddar cheese, 12 to 16 ounces
2 cans chicken, 10 ounces each
Yes if you want to do needless work, you could grill, steam or fry chicken breasts and shred them.
Combine everything and cook in crockpot on high for an hour, turn down to warm. If heated too long and it separates just stir until it combines.
What to drink … from 2011?
Starting with Massachusetts
Slumbrew opened in Somerville. The first three releases are all in 22 ounce bottles: Flagraiser IPA, it’s a 7.5% ABV IPA hopped to 80 IBU with mainly Galaxy hops. An Australian type that is fairly uncommon in the United States. Tastes of citrus and passionfruit. Happy Sol, is their hefeweizen brewed with a truckload of Blood Oranges. 5.5% ABV and something I’d drink a few times during the summer. Porter Square Porter, is a 6.5% ABV Oatmeal-Milk-Chocolate Porter. (dry hopped with Taza Chocolate Nibs)
Mystic Brewing is a new specialty brewer located in Chelsea. Their beers tend towards Belgian traditions, using harvested microflora and wood barrels. They brew at local breweries and then bring the unfermented beer, called wort, back to their facility for fermentation. Available in 750ml bottles, and on draft. Prices are high, not as high as similar imports, but higher than you’d pay for an everyday beer. Mystic Saison is the flagship. 7% ABV. Saisons are all different as it’s one of the most open ended styles of beer. If you’ve had a Saison Dupont you’ll have a general idea what you’re getting here. Just don’t expect two saisons to be as similar as say IPAs or Stouts from 2 different breweries. There was also a wine barrel aged version available for a short time. Mystic Descendent is the other beer I’ve seen. Truly it’s own creation. They call it a Suffolk Dark Ale, the idea behind it being a Boston-Belgian-Stout- Porter thing. I’d call it a Dark Saison, saison is that widely defined. Also 7%. They also have a beer, or malt cordial called Entropy. I haven’t seen this one, but the brewery considers it their answer for Cognac. With Saison being their white wine, and Descendent their red.
Idle Hands Craft Ales is a new nanobrewery from Everett. A nanobrewery is a craft brewer that produces less than 5 and for most it’s less than 3 barrels at a time. We also have Idle Hands to thank for reversing a ridiculous decision handed down by the state alcohol commission that would have revoked most brewers licenses in the state. Pandora is their Belgian Pale Ale, and flagship beer. 6% and the only set beer in their lineup so far. With nanobreweries different beers tend to come and go at a fast pace. They’ve also made Patriarch, a Patersbier styled after the Abbey Singles usually available only inside monasteries and not sold for outside consumption like Dubbels and Triples. Cognition, a dark beer that could also be called an Abbey Single, but more likely a tafelbier or table beer. And a witbier named Brevity is in the works. As you can see they’re also brewing on the Belgian model. Compared to the farmhouse traditions Mystic is using, Idle Hands is trending more towards the monastic traditions.
Taking a break from those new Belgian styled Breweries. Next is Blatant Brewery. Blatant brews out of the Just Beer facilities in Westport. Tenant, alternating propreitorship, wandering, gypsy whatever name is attached by the TTB and the brewery these arrangements have become more common. All we need to know is Brewery A has more capacity than they need, Brewery B buys up, or coowns or whatever that capacity and uses it. Blatants first two beers have been: Blatant IPA, an American IPA at 6.5% ABV and 65 IBU. Blatant Session, sort of an American version of a British Bitter. 3.9% ABV balanced by 22 IBUs means you can drink a lot of it. 22 IBU may not seem like much compared to the IPA number, but you’ll taste it in a lower ABV beer. Blatant beers are on draft only at this point.
Wandering Star finally became operational in 2011. Located in Pittsfield, this brewery’s beers are only available on draft. Mild at Heart, is listed in the British mild ale style. It’s a bit too big to really fit there at 4.4% and 29IBUs. Raindrop Pale Ale, is a 6.2% ABV pale hopped with UK, New Zealand and American hops. The last year round beer is Bash Bish Bock, named after the waterfall. This is a traditional Bock beer, German in style and 6.6% ABV.
English, Belgian, what about some new beers in the German traditions? Well for that Jack’s Abby in Framingham also opened in 2011 and they were covered in the Indy edition of the Buffet Table I also want to point out Night Shift brewing also out of Everett. They have a brewery now and will start producing sometime in early 2012.
Now heading to Maine where there has been a new brewery explosion.
Starting with Baxter Brewing. They actually started in 2010, but they just started distributing to Mass this year, and New Hampshire gets their beer in 2012. The two you’ll find outside Maine are: Pamola Xtra Pale Ale, a low ABV session pale ale at 4.9% ABV and 27 IBU. Golden in color, it looks like it won’t taste the way it does. Stowaway I.P.A, their IPA at 6.9% ABV and 69 IBUs. Baxter cans all of their beers. An “American Farmhouse” Brewery, Oxbow in Newcastle is draft only. They do sell growlers to go from the brewery. As the name implies they blend American and Belgian styles. Both the Pale ale and Octoberfest, or Oxtoberfest are brewed with a Saison yeast. You may remember Saison from such breweries as Mystic listed above.
Massachusetts isn’t the only state to get a new German styled brewery. In Portland BUll Jagger has started selling their Portland Lager. In the Golden Munich Helles style. The Great Lost Bear sold out of their entire stock at the release party, and had to send people to the brewery for emergency beer.
While we’re in Portland, there is also Rising Tide brewing. They may have opened in 2010, but oh well. Firmly in American craft traditions, they’re making a Black Ale named Atlantis. In the new style of “Black IPA” we covered back here. Daymark is their American Pale Ale, hoppy with a touch of rye. Ishmael is an “American Alt Beer”, brewed with Munich malt, so there is a more malty body than in the Daymark. Ursa Minor, they’re calling a wheat stout. It’s the winter seasonal. Beer available in Maine only, on draft and in 22 ounce bottles.
Finishing up in Portland, we have Maine Beer Company. OK I’m not sure when they opened, it was fairly recent. Lunch IPA is a standout, 7% IPA that stands toe to toe with any of the west coast examples. Zoe is a Hoppy Amber Ale, 7.2% and hopped like an IPA. Mean Old Tom is their stout, brewed even less often than lunch. 6.5% ABV, aged on vanilla beans. Peeper Ale, is their American Pale Ale, hoppy and 5.5% ABV. Their beer is distributed outside Maine, but it can be hard to find. In half liter bottles. They’re all very good, but expensive due to the small size of the operation.
Heading West to New Hampshire
Squam Brewing in Holderness opened in 2010. They are only sold in New Hampshire, and as can be seen from the link they have quite a few different beers available.
Throwback Brewery is a nanobrewery, producing 3 barrels (6 kegs) at a time. Distribution is to New Hampshire only, and the Seacoast region at that. On draft and in 22 ounce bottles. As with a lot of nanobreweries, being small in size seems to lead to an increase in the variety of beers they make.
White Birch in Hooksett opened in 2009, but I’m stretching here because the other newer NH breweries do not distribute out of state. White Birch, distributes to Mass, Philly, New York and I believe other New England states.
They have quite a few beers, the Apprentice series are always good. For those the apprentice brewers are allowed to forumlate their own beer as part of “graduation”. Most common is the Hooksett Ale, a blend of Belgian and American Pale Ale traditions.
Next up: Vermont
First a change, The Alchemist Brewpub in Waterbury has been turning out acclaimed beer for years. The brewpub was destroyed by Hurricane Irene and they are not going to reopen. However just before Irene hit, the Alchemist cannery opened. The cans are only available in Vermont now, but watch for the availability and variety to increase. They’re canning Heady Topper, a world class Double IPA. 8% ABV and 120 IBUS in 16 ounce cans.
Northshire Brewery in Battenkill distributes on draft and in 22 ounce bottles. Battenkill Ale is a 5.7% ABV Brown Ale. Chocolate Stout is a 6% ABV stout brewed with real chocolate. Seasonals are also available.
There are also a pair of newer, and very limited distribution breweries in Vermont. Hill Farmstead in Greensboro Bend. Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Warren. These are the type of breweries that you really have to be in the right place at the right time to try any beer from.
In Rhode Island there are two new breweries.
In Westerly, Grey Sail has been producing their Grey Sail Ale and Leaning Chimney Smoked Porter only since November. Draft only, and only available in Rhode Island.
In Providence, brewer Sean Larkin has opened Revival Brewing. He’s also the brewer for Trinity, and makes some of the Narragansett seasonals, and likely other things I’m forgetting. Draft and bottles, only available in Rhode Island.
We’re going to have to stretch the rules again to feature anyone from Connecticut.
Cavalry Brewing in Oxford, CT was opened outside our cutoff in 2009. Beers are in the English style with two Bitters a Porter and a Stout available. The Dog Soldier is what would be called a Summer Bitter in England, the Hatch Plug a Bitter. Big Wally Porter and Nomad Stout are exactly what their names say they are.