All posts by John Fortunato


New England microbreweries


Round back of an old industrial red brick warehouse, ALTRUIST BREWING COMPANY came to fruition January 2018. A rustic hideaway with a dank cement-floored, wood-ceilinged interior and community-tabled front patio, Altruist brewmaster Bob Bixby and his assisting son, Cam, craft mostly well-rounded one-off brews maximizing flavor profiles.

The homespun nanobrewery features a 14-seat L-shaped bar (including 12-plus tap handles with a reclaimed wood backdrop), left side seating and a small front stage. On my initial September ’21 Saturday evening stopover, I downed all seven available brews (skipping the Ginger Hibiscus Kombucha Tea).

New England microbreweries

Dry white-wheated lemony grapefruit spicing graced Pucker, an expansive Berliner Weisse with delicate cinnamon-spiced vanilla sweetness, musty salted herbal licks and vodka-nipped peach/pineapple remnant.

Pink Himalayan-salted Passion Gose let lemon-pitted strawberry-kiwi souring reach lightly vinous white grape esters.

Sharp-spiced autumnal, Pumpkin PI, let mild cinnamon-nutmeg seasoning seep into the brown-sugared pumpkin pie crusting, leaving phenol esters upon the piquant gourd finish.

Lemon-oiled tangerine tanginess sufficed for Single hop With Galaxy, a lightly salted NEIPA with dry wood tones.

Smooth coffee-roasted Force On Nitro Oatmeal Coffee Stout gained dry wood-burnt nuttiness and hop-charred mocha luster above maple oats.

Like a Black Forest cake, Fiske Ale brought cherry-bruised dark chocolate to the fore as red grape-jammed cocoa nibs secured the backend.

PB&J knockoff, Sassy Cassie Stout, allowed black grape bluster to storm dark cocoa-syruped peanut buttering and moderate charcoal-singed hop bittering.


Redemption Rock is Official Craft Brewery of POW!WOW!Worcester


On Worcester’s Shrewsbury Street main drag in an old-styled Coca-Cola warehouse, REDEMPTION ROCK BREWING, not only offers fine beers, but also home-brewed coffee, snacks and apparel since January ’19. Head brewer Greg Carlson’s elixirs satiate “casual fans, traditionalists and experimentalists.” As a proud Certified Benefit Corporation, the cafe-styled pub provides local charity services as well.

A baby blue Redemption Rock insignia welcomes patrons to the side entrance. An enclosed deck at the overhead door features a closed-in picnic area (with turf-fielded summertime plastic furnishings and ). Inside, the immaculate cement-floored brewing cafe offers casual splendor as its comfy couched area, community-benched midst and cozy lunchroom atmosphere capture the eye.

The blue-tiled tap handles at the eight-seat back bar served the seven sundry suds I’d thoroughly enjoy this beautifully sunny Saturday at noon, September ’21.

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Since autumn was upon us, Thackery Oktoberfest let leafy hop foliage leave dewy splendor on the mild spiced apple sweetness contrasting desiccated orange souring and wispy black peppering.

Zingy orange-oiled banana and clove sweetness faded a tad for Edelstein, a slightly divergent hefeweizen engaging fungi herbal yeast funk and floral lemon licks to its pilsner-malted French breaded bottom.

Wildflower-honeyed unripe peach souring received gently creamed wheat sweetness for Yass, Honey!, a peachy weissbier with dried apricot, musty plum and waxed crayon snips.

The One With Coconuts, a demurely coconut-toasted cream ale, stayed mild as oaken vanilla-daubed pilsner malting bordered mild grassy hop astringency.

Flagship New England IPA, War Castle, retained juicy floral-daubed citrus zesting as mellow crystal malt creaming sweetened its tangy orange-tangerine-clementine combo to contrast waxy grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and resinous piney hops in a clean cucumber-watered setting.

Nitrogenated Irish-styled Blackstone Stout plied freeze-dried coffee, dark chocolate and espresso tones to an oncoming walnut, Brazil nut and macadamia nut influence blackened by its charred hop residue.

Black grape, black cherry and blackberry fruiting guided Dark & Sunny Tropical Stout, tossing dark chocolate-draped Blackstrap molasses and dark-roast peanuts at charcoal-stained hop bittering.    


Tap Room - Bay State Brewing Company


Right in the heart of Worcester’s bustling Canal District alongside the minor league ballpark, retail shops and restaurants lies BAY STATE BREWERY & TAP ROOM, an enormous publick house in a modern entertainment complex with two hockey rinks and sufficient game room. A grey-bricked orange-topped facility, Bay State’s large L-shaped bar services the Industrial designed high-ceilinged tap room featuring several community tables, twelve tap lines and an overhead garage door leading to a front benched deck.

Opened since January 2020, Bay State’s entrepreneurial homebrew-schooled owners, Chip Jarry and Shawn Rice, create ‘distinctive small batch lagers and ales’ in the 10-barrel brewhouse that used to be Nonna’s Pizza. Originally occupying a smaller nearby Leicester space, Jarry & Rice complement their variegated beers with a worthy pub menu (wings-hummus-nachos-soup-salad).

My wife and I settle in at the front deck to consume a classic hefe and a Belgian tripel. I also bought Blood Orange Lager, Kelley Double IPA, Becky Likes The Smell Double IPA and Velvet Revoluce Black Lager (all reviewed in the Beer Index) for home consumption.

An expectant banana-clove sweetness gained a mild lemon twist for Cuttyhunk Hefeweizen, an herbal-licked summertime moderation with sourbread wheat base.

Creamy caramelization coated the candi-sugared plum, prune and raisin dalliance plus perfumed orange sweetness of Tripel Trap, a Noble-hopped pilsner malted Belgian blonde ale.