Impeccable bourbon-aged Framinghammer variant stuffs bittersweet cocoa nibs and chewy coconut caramel inside richly floured cookie dough sponging. Sturdy bourbon vanilla sweetness, fudgy dark chocolate creaming, milked coffee splendor and nougat-y toffee confectionery reach mildewy brown sugared oats base for lusciously decadent porter.
Stylishly mish-mashed bronze-cleared semi-dark Czech lager unites spritzy lemon-dropped tartness with dry fungi-mossed dewiness, leafy hop astringency and sour cider riff over bland white breaded bottom.
Easygoing yellow-cleared cumulus-headed dry lager brings mild lemony grapefruit-orange tang to wood-toned grassy hop astringency over delicate pale malting of IPA-inspired Celtics fodder. Floral citric spicing tingles dry finish.
Designing some of the most impressive lagers, dark ales and barrel-aged stouts in the entire country, Framingham’s JACK’S ABBY BREWING has tripled in size since opening in 2011, becoming a premier New England craft beer haven on a grander scale than the fabulous, less glorified Ipswich Ale Brewery. The pride of Jack, Eric and Sam Hendler, three Massachusetts-based brothers originally inspired by German beer culture, Jack’s Abby now encompasses an enormous red brick warehouse (with forest green aluminum siding).
Presently the largest microbrewery in the state, Jack’s Abby occupies a high black-ceilinged 1,300-barrel taproom with multiple barrels, brew tanks and canning operation connected to its community-tabled bar area. A food station with wood-fired pizza oven serves fine pub fare. A roomy side deck offers further capacity.
Entrance to Springdale Beer Co. pictured above
In 2016, the maverick Hendler brothers decided to expand their empire to include SPRINGDALE BEER COMPANY, an offshoot taproom and blendery experimenting with sour ales, tarts, cocktail-inspired knockoffs and barrel aged fare.
I’d already tried at least thirty Jack’s Abby and a dozen Springdale offerings before my initial June ’21 visit to purchase a few new brews, including stylishly enhanced Samoa Bourbon Barrel-Aged Framinghammer Baltic Porter, semi-dark Czech lager Co-Pilot: Leopold, Pride and Parquet Hoppy Lager and Ray Catcher Lemongrass Lager (reviewed in Beer Index).
On tap at Taphouse 15, daintily floral-perfumed lemongrass adjunct gains musky mineral grained pilsner malting and mild lemon spicing for summery herbal tea-licked golden lager.
On tap at Growler & Gill, pleasant helles lager drapes dewy peat moss, dry stalked corn and grassy hop astringency over mild doughy wheat base. A fine rustic moderation.
On tap at Growler & Gill, easygoing moderation retains musky grain rusticity. Raw-honeyed amber grain toasting receives cellared fungi dampness, dewy peat mossing and hay-like hop astringency of an English bitter. Well beneath the surface, spritzy yellow fruiting contrasts green tea bittering.
On tap at Plank Pizza, exquisite barleywine takes bourbon-aged dark lager on fantastic voyage. Sweet bourbon vanilla warmth spreads across whiskey-toned burgundy and brandy wining as well as bruised cherry, rum raisin, toasted almond, molasses taffy, salted pineapple and spiced fig undertones.
On tap at Plank Pizza, spritzy pinkish amber-cleared German-styled radler retains blood orange pith, rind and peel influence glazed in turn by candied Valencia orange syruping. Mild shandy-like lemonade tartness reinforces juicy blood orange stead. Wispy mimosa, orange soda, Orangina and rosé illusions waver.
On tap at Ambulance, bold bourbon-aged porter doubles the chili pepper heat of original Mole for more demandingly robust vanilla-chocolate nature. Brown-sugared dark rum spicing regales bourbon vanilla continuance to counter chili burn. Hefty cinnamon stick, cocoa nibs and chocolate molasses cookie influence deepens intensity.
On tap at Ambulance, creamy chocolate-enriched marshmallow sweetness, molasses-fudged Graham Cracker follow-up and resilient cocoa beaning seeped into subtle bourbon vanilla warmth. Chocolaty marshmallow S’mores candy likeness picks up latent toasted coconut, crème de cocoa, cookie dough and glazed hazelnut pleasantries for perfect dessert treat.
On tap at Ambulance, warm-fermented Kellerbier piles Belgian candi sugar to subtle French farmhouse-styled lemon spicing and dry rye malting. But its rye influence is restricted and, stylistically, this biere de garde’s as nebulous as its summery strong pale ale category.