Tag Archives: CAMBRIDGE MA


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Quaint red-bricked neighborhood bistro in downtown Cambridge maintains cozy corner café appeal with freshly brewed coffee as well as beer. Inside a former auto repair shop, LAMPLIGHTER BREWING COMPANY came to fruition in 2016. Its back kitchen serves locally sourced breakfast items to folks at the 12 white-tiled parlor seats, main community table, right side area and front cove lounge on my early December ’19 trip.

Glass encased silver tanks to the left service the twelve-plus draught taps of the rustically furnished white-walled, cement-floored, pipe-exposed coffeeshop/ microbrewery.

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My wife and I try seven lovely suds late Saturday morning prior to the college football conference playoffs.

Musky dry-hopped pale lager, Stupid Seagulls, gained a lemony white grape souring above hay-like grain malts.

Tangy grapefruit-peeled blood orange juicing blitzed Cloud City, a fruitful NEIPA with dry floral herbage, grassy hop astringency and distant guava-mango-melon tropicalia.

Tart NEIPA, Birds Of Paradise, relinquished lemony pineapple, passionfruit and papaya tropicalia for lactic yogurt souring.

A more adventurous NEIPA, Sneaker Wave let arctic thyme salting influence its citric-juiced guava, papaya and pineapple souring and sweet elderflower sideswipe.

Possibly bettering all these NEIPA’s, Tropical Tom retained a cotton-candied toasted coconut sweetness fortified by vanilla-creamed orange, pineapple, mango and peach tones just barely embittered by piney hop resin.

Delightfully candi-spiced Belgian-styled holiday ale, Blitzen, brought cinnamon-toasted Graham Cracker sugaring to caramelized fig, chocolate-covered cherry and nutmeg illusions as well as pumpkin pie, allspice, clove, plum and toffee snips. Luscious dessert fodder.

On the dark side, bittersweet cacao nibs flourished alongside tarry dark chocolate and Turkish coffee sugaring for London Calling, a bold, heady porter.



Just past the heart of Cambridge five miles west of Boston, ATWOOD’S TAVERN has the cozily rustic feel of an Olde English pub with its wood furnishings, low ceilings, bottle cellar, rear dining space and superb beer selection. A heavily rotated batch of draughts delights both neighborhood brew hounds and curious outsiders. My wife and I sat dead center at the left bar during a two-hour mid-December 2011 stopover.

Copious salads, burgers and sandwiches dot the menu. I totally enjoyed the crispy crabcakes over spinach. There were a dozen tapped craft beers listed on the board in front of me and I chose three different stylistically ambitious brews from three brand spankin’ new local Massachusetts brewers.

First up, Jack’s Abby Brewing Kiwi Rising, an interestingly deviant Imperial India Pale Lager, represented the nearby town of Framingham. As Velvet Underground’s heroin-indulging “Waiting For My Man” played in the background, I quaffed the subtly tropical elixir. On tap, its faded kiwi, mango and passion fruit dalliance caressed piney grapefruit-peeled bittering and white-peppered spices, letting less intricately detailed pineapple, peach and red grape illusions to filter through the backend.

Next, the Beatles joyous “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey” crammed the speakers as I dug into Backlash Convergence, a busy Belgian-styled farmhouse saison from the northwest Boston suburb of Brighton. Its barnyard yeast funk saddled prickly white-peppered rye malting, lemony candi-sugared banana-clove insistence and vanilla wafer sweetness.

A fabulous live bluegrass quintet played pristine acoustic numbers by the time I dipped into Somerville Brewing’s excellent Slumbrew Porter Square Porter. Based in Somerville two miles outside Boston and opened for business a mere month, this small operation now has three flagship beers in their young catalogue. A fine after dinner relaxant, Square Porter’s hop-roasted oats toasting allowed prominent coffee-stained black chocolate richness to deepen the wood-burnt walnut char and honey-glazed hazelnut sweetness.

Expanded reviews of these three brews are in Beer Index.



The Brew Lounge: Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge, MA [Part 1]

During April ’05 Boston trip, initially visited CAMBRIDGE BREWING at Kendall Square (a retail/ entertainment center taking up a few centralized city blocks). One of the first brewery-restaurants in the United States, this popular establishment opened in 1989. Alongside contending watering holes Flattop Johnny’s, Jasmine & Kendall Lounge, and Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub, its blue-green entrance leads to brick-walled, high ceiling bar with brew tanks to the rear. Outdoor dining was available and large menu boasted seafood, brick oven pizza, and mildly upscale entrees.

Wheat-husked, maize-dried, yellow-fruited lightweight Regatta Golden Ale, mildly embittered sourdough-tinged Tall Tale Pale Ale, and remarkably diverse Cambridge Amber (with coffee-roasted brown chocolate reticence nudging pale-caramel malting) will please softer palates. Dry-malted, Saaz-hopped, red-fruited spring seasonal Vienna Gold also had a muted tone.

Biscuit-y, barley-toasted, honeyed tea-like smoothie Bitchin Bitter English Ale, mild rye-marbled, red licorice-dabbed Saison Du CBC, and bitterly wood-burnt, coffee-roasted, molasses-dipped Charles River Porter will satiate heartier thirsts.

Best Bets: alcoholic Ommegang-like, floral-hopped, orange-blossomed, fig-sugared, coriander-spiced Tripel Threat Belgian Strong Ale and incredible cocoa-chocolate-y, raisin-pureed, prune-dried, maple-sugared, Cognac-like digestif Blunderbuss Barleywine.



John Harvard's Brewhouse – Cambridge, Massachusetts | Fifty States of Brew

Along the Charles River across from Boston, historic puritanical colony, Cambridge, could be difficult to navigate with its narrow one-way cobblestone streets, landmark cultural museums, and world-class collegiate institutions. Busy downstairs restaurant JOHN HARVARD’S BREWHOUSE, with its wooden décor, Old Americana portraits, and reasonably priced entrees, has been a provincial staple of this frontier settlement for over a decade as of April ’05 visit. But closed down in 2019.

Boasting beer recipes handed down from literary wit William Shakespeare, brewer Geoff De Bisschop kept servicing brew tanks behind the bar. German-styled sourdough-fizzed blonde ale Colonial Kolsch; friskily Cascade-hopped red-yellow-fruited John Harvard’s Pale Ale; subtly Saaz-hopped red-fruited sweet-grained Old Willie’s IPA; soapy crystal-malted yellow-fruited Bard’s Best Bitter; feathery coffee-espresso-lilted Newtowne Nut Brown; and roasted coffee-themed hazelnut-tamed Irish-styled Black Watch Stout were served.