In the heart of Pioneer Village’s capital city, WHITE LION BREWING COMPANY became Springfield’s first modern brewery in late 2020. Right off Route 90 in the rear of the UMass Center, this capacious sportsbar-like brewery is owned by local entrepreneurial publican, Raymond Berry, a well-respected urban revivalist.
Upon entering, White Lion’s extremely long left side bar services glass-windowed Main Street tables, a VIP lounge and a few chaired tables. Its silver-barreled platform brew tanks are set behind glass. Manned by skillfully rounded brewmeister, Mike Yates (formerly of Amherst and Berkshire breweries), this mass appeal upscale gastropub’s black art deco ceiling, exposed pipes and roomy elegance give the mall-bound joint a mod Industrial feel.
I bought a few White Lion offerings for the road during August ’20 – while the place was still getting finished for late autumn opening.
Flagship Citra-Mosaic-hopped 2.0 Pale Ale retained laidback grapefruit-orange tanginess and delicate quince-grape-melon hints for wood-dried grassy hop astringency above white breaded pale malting.
Sunny yellow grapefruit-embittered orange peel tang consumed juicy Galaxy-hopped medium-full body, Galaxy IPA. Briskly sharp citrus zesting gained dry pine-toned juniper bite to contrast spicy pale malt sugaring.
A wonderful collaboration with Trillium (brewed at White Lion), fudgy caramel-burnt cocoa nuttiness led the way for Black Is Beautiful Imperial Stout, a toffee candied chocolate dessert with rummy bourbon vanilla specs and cinnamon-allspice-anise seasoning contrasting dark chocolate-y black coffee bittering.
Its flavor profile was amplified for adjunct-laden Black Is Beautiful Imperial Stout (with Papua New Guinea Vanilla Beans) as dark chocolate-fudged vanilla bean creaming squared off against milk-sugared coffee surge as bitter tar-like hop char contrasted ancillary toffee spicing and peanut-oiled almond, hazelnut and coconut snips. (The Trillium brewed version is listed separately in Beer Index).