Tag Archives: BOSTON MA


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Tucked into the friendly confines of Boston’s Jamaica Plain section (one-half mile South of Sam Adams Brewery), TURTLE SWAMP BREWING came into existence during May 2017. Led by former Harpoon brewer, Nicholas Walther, this L-shaped fortress features a roomy red-bricked patio, overhead-doored tap room (with community tables), rustic left side lounge (with cozy loft) and enormous right side brew room.

Expressionist art lines the tap room walls where several draught lines serve a rounded selection of fine brews utilizing locally sourced ingredients.

I conversed with assistant brewer Tanner Cobb while downing five brews with my wife on an early Saturday afternoon, December ’19.

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First up, easygoing All Ears Golen Ale let dry grassy-hopped astringency and tart lemondrop zesting gain corny sourdough malting to its white breaded bottom.

Next, dry herbal lemon spicing perked up 02130 Copper Kolsch, an amber grained moderation with mild dry-hopped bittering.

Cascade-hopped citrus juicing lent a quirky twist to Nik’s (English) Bitter, leaving dry lemony orange illusions upon its dewy earthen mossing and toasted bread spine.

Dry peanut-shelled walnut, sweet hazelnut and caffeination cola imbued black chocolate-fronted JP Porter, picking up tertiary cocoa, coffee and caramel latte tones at the nutty mocha finish.

Sweet brown-sugared molasses dripped over pumpkin pie-spiced butternut squash, acorn squash and sweet potato illusions for Skwashbuckle Imperial Porter, a zanily profuse Halloween treat with dark-fruited cinnamon, ginger and clove illusions as well as mild fern, cocoa and pecan snips.


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Inside a red brick Industrial warehouse and up a few stairs to its rustic railroad-tied wood bar, BACKLASH BEER CO. opened for biz in 2018. After contract brewing for a few years at Holyoke’s Paper City Brewery and canning at Foolproof, Backlash settled into the historic Roxbury neighborhood at a former piano factory where they stand proud crafting high quality brews in a no-frills atmosphere on the outskirts of Boston.

Reminiscent of a large loft apartment with its double-hung windows, olden columns, exposed pipes and Edison-bulbed free form bar shades, Backlash features a 12-seat, L-shaped, slate top bar with a blackboard beer list and ten white-tiled draught lines guarded by a toy bulldog.

Several community tables fill out the open space across the bar.

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My wife and I consumed five fine elixirs during our early December ’19 sojourn.

Rounded Belgian blonde, Groundswell, delivered candi-sugared pilsner malting to sharp orange-peeled coriander spicing, candied banana-clove sweetness and lemony white grape tartness over musty white-peppered herbal hop grassiness.

Rustic basil-minted saison, Basilisk, retained peppery basil-leafed herbage for floral-daubed lemon zest, perfumed coriander spicing and shaving-cologned chamomile restraint.

Succulent India Pale Ale, Bad Decision Juice, brought juicy grapefruit, orange, peach, pineapple and mango tanginess to pale malt sugaring contrasting mild wood tones at the dry citric-induced finish.

Mildly amber-hazed NEIPA, Ricochet, coalesced orange-spiced sweetness with lemony grapefruit tanginess, dry plantain tartness and peppery hop herbage over bready pale malting.

Mocha-spirited Imperial Stout, 10 Hour Nightmare, draped cocoa-sugared brown chocolate syrup over milked coffee bittering, dry cocoa powdering and maple molasses oats as well as tertiary vanilla, toffee and burnt caramel sentiments.


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Strategically beginning operations on July 4, 2018, DEMOCRACY BREWING celebrates Independence Day on a daily basis. In the heart of Boston’s Downtown Crossing, this blue-faced side street pub boasts a German beerhall atmosphere while its decorative wood furnishings, old-fashioned wagon wheel chandeliers and stark arched columns provide serene Revolutionary Era antiquity.

Cozy wood booths and tables sidle the 20-chaired, red brick-walled bar (with 12-plus draughts and 2 TV’s). The brew tanks are located upfront in an exposed front cellar.

My wife and I grab seats at the central draught area on a glorious Saturday afternoon, May ’19, to quaff five stylishly conservative, yet well defined and balanced, Boston-made brews.

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Muskily dry lemony herbage seeped into light-bodied blonde ale, Workers Pint, an approachable pilsner-malted, citric-spiced flagship.

Sassy farmhouse ale, Fighting 54th Saison, gathered peppery chamomile-lemongrass herbage to sidle its tangy lemon-soured tangerine briskness and sweet banana-clove ascendance.

Dewy English bitter, Cellar Door, let moderated black tea-like bittering relegate its orange-dried pine resin and pale malted amber graining.

A frisky lemon spritz picked up mossy earthiness and dank wood tones for medium-bodied Imperial IPA, Consummate Rioter, leaving lightly spiced grapefruit-orange rind bittering in its wake.

Cold-brewed Peruvian coffee added medium-roast bitterness to Crash Coffee-Infused IPA, letting latent IPA-like citrus-spiced wood tones linger lightly at the brusque java finish.  

Unfortunately, the ever-popular Irish-styled 1919 Strike Stout, was unavailable.



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A full-scale upscale cocktail lounge with a fully automated brewery, large billiard room, plush band stage and pristine Old world splendor, CHEEKY MONKEY opened for biz in 2017. Its black metal fenced-in porch with three tables leads customers into this sterling polished gem across the street from historic Fenway Park.

Besides offering crisply clean draught beers, Cheeky Monkey’s fine wine and liquor selection crowd the wood shelves at the elongated 30-stooled L-shaped bar. Solid pub fare goes well with the six tapped beers emulating from the far back windowed 10-barrel Smart Brew System.

The posh barroom also includes several shelved antique radios, old metal beams and low-hanging ceiling pipes to capture Boston’s historic rustic charm. Several wood booths and tables line the room.

An American-flagged back lounge with plush furniture and stone hearth provides some privacy to counteract the large sports-centric open area where a spacious billiards hall competes with shuffleboard tables and ping pong before leading to the back-barred brew tanks.

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While my wife and I hung out at the bar, we tried four diversely easygoing brews during our quick May ’19 afternoon stint.

First up, wonderful fruit ale, Wild Blueberry, captured all its distinct sweet-tart blueberry goodness alongside briskly carbolic lemon zest and honeyed wheat sugaring.

Next, easygoing Galaxy-hopped Down Undah Pale Ale proved to be stylishly intensified as spritzy lemon zest, tangy orange juicing and tart guava-gooseberry spunk merged over its musky pale-malted oats spine.

Straightforward Harambe’s Ghost IPA brought sharp citric-pined crisping and tingly floral spicing to sweet caramel malting without making a fuss.

Fudgy milk chocolate-y Rebellious Monk Stout let lingered oats-sugared black chocolate and mild coffee tones gather for a creamily full-bodied midday nightcap.



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In the heart of Beantown, this re-renovated chain restaurant-brewery opened as ROCK BOTTOM in 2001 and got renovated April 2011. Formerly Brew Moon, Rock Bottom bought out the company, merged with Gordon Biersch, and is owned as of this December 2011 trip by large conglomerate, CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries. This eloquent red brick-walled, wood-furnished space attracts vacationing families, businessmen and theatregoers. Special tap tables at right side booths allowed beer drinkers to pour by the ounce each house beer (brewed in Pittsburgh for this faux-pub).

I sat at the blue-slated central bar (with 3 TV’s per side) to taste each stylistically efficient ale. My wife settled on a bottled Wachusett Blueberry while I delved into the lighter fare this late afternoon session (after hitting Faneuil Hall’s shopping district). Kolsch-Style Ale brought floral-hopped citric spicing to a phenol hop prickle, finishing like bark-dried lemon rot (but ain’t as unpleasant as that seems). White Ale’s white-peppered, lemon-candied, orange-peeled coriander spicing suited its light effervescence. IPA’s surprisingly soft tone contrasted wispy peach, apple and tangerine illusions against negligible hop pining. Caramel-spiced orange and red fruits smudged grassy dry-hopped Red Ale.

The two seasonals on hand had less obvious stylistic guidelines so each benefited from being less regimentally specific. Holiday-styled Winter Wheat brought a nifty peppermint twist to orange-dried coriander-nutmeg-cinnamon spicing. Better still, Snow Moon Belgian Trippel layered creamy cotton-candied banana over molasses gingerbread cookie sweetness, finishing with pastry-like banana-clove illusions resembling German hefeweizens.

Rock Bottom’s bottled beer selection included Lagunitas, Troegs, Left Hand, Magic Hat, Cisco and several well-known Belgians. Guest draughts were Victory Prima Pils, Ommegang Hennepin, Boulder Mojo IPA and local fave, Mayflower Porter.




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In December ’07, got to frequent older version of BOSTON BEER WORKS, located across Fenway Park. Opening to an auxiliary service bar with glass-encased brew tanks, this spacious sportsbar widens to a gigantic back dining-bar area (including multiple TV’s) boasting superb left wall beer bottle collection and many rear silver kettles. Winter Celebration menu included sea bass, lamb, and duck while yearlong fare comprised turkey, salmon, ribs, chicken, and meatloaf. Check newer Fleet Center-based Beer Works for beers sampled there.

Banana-melted vanilla-clove-backed peppery-hopped Victory White reminded me of Hoegaarden’s Belgian ale. Hazelnut coffee-roasted mocha-finishing Beantown Nut Brown, dry-malted yellow-fruited lemon rind-embittered Fenway Pale Ale, and lemony-hopped barley-oats-backboned Boston Garden Gold sufficed.

Better were espresso-chocolate-like cola-walnut-charred black cherry-tinged Buckeye Oatmeal Stout and overripe cherry-sweetened banana-bruised kiwi-mango-backed hop-charred barleywine-styled Hercules Strong Ale.

Next day, after walking Boston Commons with family, tried goodly date-fig-centered holiday warmer White Christmas Ale and peculiar Belgian-styled Winterfest Gruit, an un-hopped prune-date-fronted clove-coriander-allspice-tingled sugar-plummed herbal delight.

Better was cask-conditioned Baby Hercules Pale Ale, a soft cream-whipped ‘small beer’ with whiskey-dabbed rye frontage, honeyed tea linger, and fig-date slip.

At 11 AM sharp on a cold mid-December ’11 day I returned to Boston’s Fenway Park-sidled Beer Works with wife by my side for a surprisingly high nine untried brews. As we settled into a generously portioned hummus platter (with feta cheese, roasted peppers, artichoke, eggplant and olive), I downed the lightest fare in 6-ounce samplers.

Despite its misleadingly savage moniker, 9 Alarm Amber’s a simple mainstream lager with mellow raw-honeyed orange-yellow fruiting and crystal malted caramelization over a bitterer hop profile than the usual soft-toned amber fare.

Fig-dried rye enveloped the equally soft Bay State ESB. Not far removed from this Extra Special Bitter, Tell Tale Dunkel Lager brought plantain-grazed dried fruiting and washed-out earthen dewiness to a sedate biscuit backdrop.

Sticking with the German-styled branding of Tell Tale, thinly stable Accelerator Double Bock secured a dried fruited bed for its coffee-milked mocha sweetness, placing brown-sugared molasses plus desiccated black cherry, fig and prune illusions atop earthen mineral grains.

Mocha-related beers such as cocoa-dried Black Rider (a black-peppered, chicory-dabbed, dried fruited, peat-bound schwarzbier) and coffee-roasted Curley’s Irish Stout – Cask Conditioned (with its dry hop-oiled earthiness and milked espresso niche) were fine.

Getting into the wintry seasonals, I preferred the whiskey-dried Winter Warmer, a Scottish wee heavy with sweet vanilla-chocolate malting and cherry-fig ripeness, over Yuletide-spiced White Christmas, where toasted rye breading gets a fig-dried ginger-rooted nutmeg-cinnamon-coriander-allspice tingle.

For dessert, the awesome Godzilla Barleywine ruled! A sweetish barleyine with sherry, brandy and Scotch tones, its raisin-pureed red cherry, bruised banana, candied apple and sugared fig fruiting danced on the tongue while chewy caramel malts tantalized the bourbon finish.

On a beautifully sunny Sunday eve in May ’19, revisited Fenway brew spot to quaff four previously untried elixirs.

Blasé lo-cal fruit ale, Blue 92, let its lacquered blueberry tartness dry up for mild phenol-hopped citric bittering.

Dazzlingly hybridized Rice Saison brought subduede rice wine sweetness to funky herbal yeast and floral-fruited herbage, leaving cologne-perfumed lemongrass, bay leaf, sage and chamomile upon tart lemon-candied banana sweetness.

Seared dark-roast black malts gave Excellent Porter a rich walnut-charred black chocolate bittering reinforced by chalky cocoa and burnt coffee tones.

Creamily soft-toned dessert treat, Nitro Cookie Stout, loaded dark-roast chocolate and cacao nibs onto cookie dough richness, nearly duping an Oreo in all its mocha splendor.



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Since 2005, I’ve thrice revisited the Bay State’s greatest city. Founded by Puritans way back in 1630 and known for throwing a wild tea party, this early colonial settlement became a major seaport with narrow streets, brick sidewalks, stately Old World charm, and nowadays, two worthy small-chain brewpubs.

A li’l history: Post-Christmas ’98, enjoyed Samuel Adams samplers at Boston Commons during one snowy evening, then found a few Harpoon brews previously unobtainable in Jersey. Exactly four years later, visited Fanieul Hall’s Cheers pub replica for Guinness-soaked stew, then took one-mile walk to famed Bull & Finch before bringing family to Cambridge’s JOHN HARVARD BREWHOUSE (revisited April ’05, see Cambridge section) to quaff eight notable brewpub samples prior to taking pictures at nearby National Lampoon headquarters. I purchased Wachusetts and Concord brews along the way.

It took me ’til October ’07 to discover capacious BOSTON BEER WORKS near Fleet Center on Canal Street. Featuring neuvo-Industrial metal-welded wood chairs and tables with right side bar, its exposed ceiling ducts, rear brew tanks and upstairs loft (with billiards tables) gave this an adequate sportsbar feel.

Beer fare included light yellow-orange-fruited mineral-grained Golden Ale; Cascade-hopped quince-berry-peach-aided Back Bay IPA; medicinal banana-coriander-fronted Double Vision Belgian Double; loosely Trappist-styled orange-bruised lemon-aided Funky Monk-y and its mellow-fruited easy-grained Tripel Gold cousin; bittersweet barley-rich berry-bottomed Bunkerhill Blueberry Ale; palest red-fruited Victory Red; and coffee-stained Curley’s Irish Stout. Crimson Clover Irish Red had mild honeyed tea frontage and its cask-conditioned version added deeper alcohol warmth and soft-honeyed heather mystique.