Capital Punishment (The Pilgrimage Edition)

Posted: July 20, 2012 in Beer Drinking Adventures

This is my third installment of Capital Punishment where I have been in a state capital and tried to punish my liver for being there.  In all fairness, this is really my 4th state capital this year as I also hit Providence RI earlier (see thread listed https://merc7186.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/stranded-along-the-shore/)

So begins a nice long weekend away (without children), so the parents can play.  After getting up at 3AM for a long seven hour drive, we made a stop at Logan Airport to pick up my best friend who flew in from Charlotte NC. Somewhat tired and hungry, we headed out to lunch to the Eire Pub, a place that had been past visited by several US Presidents and supposed to be a staple of the Dorchester area of Boston.  Upon a recommendation of someone, I ordered a Lobster Roll with fries and a bowl of Clam Chowder.  The only way I can describe what a lobster roll is as a tuna sandwich (except with lobster and not tuna) served on a hot dog bun.  Tasty as it was, definitely not $9 dollar tasty as the excessive mayo used to make said Lobster overpowered the lobster itself.  As for tap selection, it was pretty much all your typical old man selections and I went with one of the few exceptions.

  • Red Hook Ale Brewing Long Hammer IPA (MA)(6.5% ABV) was as I described ‘A Weak Pale Ale’ except it was an IPA, light floral taste and mildly malty, uninspiring and very boring.  3.00 /5 Rating.

From there, we took a trip over to the Mission Hill/South End of Boston to take a quick stop at the New England Conseratory as my wife wanted to visit this place as a childhood friend had come here after High School to study Jazz Theory (which has paid off as she has won multiple awards for her music and currently has the number 2 Billboard single for Jazz)(Take that Kenny G).  My best friend wanted to check out some of the photo galleries in the area, so the rest of us wandered into a local bar called JJ Foleys.  It was  your typical run of the mill Irish pub with a long carved bar, old nestalgic pictures on the walls and faux brass light fixtures hanging from the walls and ceiling.  We had a quick order of Mozzarella Sticks and Strawberry Shortcake split amongst us.  It was you typical cheaply made/frozen quality that we were still somewhat frozen and bland.  The tap list was your typical BMC Irish Pub menu so I settled on this local whale:

  • Harpoon Brewing UFO White (MA)(4.8%ABV) is a local Witbier with a Wheat and Mild Orange nose and added Mild Lemon taste to it, light, refreshing, but light on taste.  3.38 /5 Rating.

From JJ Foleys, we narrowly escaped getting caught in rush hour traffic trying to get to our hotel in Braintree (about 10 miles south of downtown).  We then checked into or hotel, drove to the nearest train station and shot back downtown for some sight seeing and dinner.  After touring around the Boston Common and parts of old town, we settled into Scholars, a more upscale style of establishment with nice dark wood for bar, tables and chairs.  Scholars had a decent draft and bottle list that exceeded 40 different beers of mostly the craft beer style.  The that the table ordered was of higher quality (and price) and delicious.  I was able to sneak in a nice draft beer:

  • Pretty Things Beer Baby Tree Quadruple Ale (MA)(9.0% ABV) was a solid fruity, malty quad with a sweet malts, raisin, red plum nose and similar taste with the addition of a red tart cherry finish on the back end.  This beer went great with my beef choice for dinner.  3.9 /5 Rating.

The group decided to cut out early because we all were tired from the travelling and walking around downtown, plus we knew we had a long weekend ahead, so we hopped the redline back to the hotel for the evening.  Upon arrival, we decided to crack open a growler I received from California earlier that week from a great trading partner of mine.

  • Bruery Nottenroth (CA)(2.08% ABV) is a failed attempt at the Bruerys Hottenroth Berliner Weissbier.  They decided to serve it anyways as a failed beer so when I asked for it, I knew full well that it was a bad batch of beer.  The nose was a weak lemon and mild wheat with a similar taste but with a hint of yeast in there.  It has a weak watery finish too to go along with the mild nose and taste but I was thankful to have expereinced it.  My best friend did not enjoy my enthusiasm about the beer.  2.78 /5 Rating.

On saturday, we made our way down to the Boston Common, Public Garden, took a Duck Boat tour of Boston, walked part of Old Town, then made our way over to the Cambridge area.  I was excited by the prospect of getting to Cambridge Brewing Company as I had some of their bombers and really like their stuff.  The place has a nice feel to it, great outdoor patio and is decent sized for a good crowd.  After checking over the menu (and food menu too), we ordered lunch and some beers.  I hate to say it but I was disappointed by the experience as the food was average and the beers I ordered were disappointing.  I ordered the pale ale on cask and on tap and didnt care for it either way.  I also ordered another beer on tap and was left disappointed too.  My best friend ordered the CBC/Nogne collaboration, which was a smoked brown ale and that was decent enough but my orders left me feeling down about the place.  Here is what I walked away drinking…

  • Cambridge Brewing Tall Tale Pale Ale (MA)(5.9% ABV) was a floral, mildly grainy pale ale on both the nose and taste.  I tried this beer first on cask and was disappointed, then switched to on tap and was equally let down.  3.43 /5 Rating.
  • Cambridge Brewing Never Mind the Bollekes! Belgian Pale Ale (MA)(5.5% ABV) was a weird BPA as it had a floral, sweet malts, mild belgian sugar, mild corriander nose with a sweet malts, floral, mild corriander taste.  The flavors just didnt seem to mesh well together and like the Pale Ale, the hop/malt characters didnt balance.  3.60 /5 Rating.

Leaving CBC somewhat disappointed, we wandered over to Lord Hobo as it came highly recommended by friends and boston locals…plus, I really needed a good beer as up to this point, it had been somewhat of a let down…and Lord Hobo didnt fail me.  Lord Hobo has kind of a corner bar feel from the exterior and the interior had a dark, gothic appeal to it but a solid tap list and equally great bottle list.  This place was worth the walk in the hot 90 degree heat…and to hydrate, this is what I tried…

  • Port Brewing 6th Anniversary Double IPA (CA)(10.0%ABV) was a solid Double IPA with Resin, Citrus, and Malty nose and taste.  This beer was very well balanced and transitioned between the tasts very nicely…warning, this beer is palate wrecker.  4.35 /5 Rating.
  • The Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale (CA)(6.7% ABV) is a nice saison with a weird profile of yeast, apricots, corriander, and white pepper nose then a yeast, corriander, white pepper and peach taste.  This beer had a great spice profile and interesting blend on the flavors.  4.13 /5 Rating.

From Lord Hobo, we had to hump back to the train station and back downtown for a dinner reservation (against my will) to meet up with some people at Stoddards.  The place was kind of off the beaten path somewhat but seemed to have a nice decor about it when we arrived.  It was set in a old building with brick all around, old beems running overhead and decent lighting.  They also featured 24 taps to choose from and a slightly higher priced menu.  I enjoyed a decently cooked Filet with frites which went very nicely with my beer choices.

  • Haverhill Brewing Sassy Rabbit Red Rye Pale Ale (MA)(ABV Unknown) was served on cask with a caramel, dry malts, rye, floral nose and a rye, caramel, malty, and mildly floral taste.  This beer was prefect for a cask serving as it really released the great rye flavor.  3.95 /5 Rating.
  • Left Hand Brewing Sawtooth ESB (CO)(5.3% ABV) was a very nice ESB with a bitter malt and mild caramel nose and a bready malts, floral, and mild caramel taste.  The beer was also done justice being that it was on nitro and smoothed out the tastes more than normal.  3.90 /5 Rating.

For our last full day in Boston, my wife and I were kind of dragging ass from two full days of walking and being on the go.  We did a 3 hour movie bus tour around the city and got dropped at Cheers (yes, that Cheers with Sam, Woody, Coach, Norm, Carla, Diane, and Rebecca). We were rather hungry when we were there but it was very apparent that it is a total tourist trap as the gift shop was bigger than the actual bar area.  We hopped a train over to the North End of Boston to grab lunch, beers, and eventually meet up with our friends (who attended the Red Sox game in the 94 degree afternoon heat, dummies).  We ended up at Beer Works Brewing on Canal Street, which had the motive of a total sports bar but with the addition of brewing equipment and tanks in the back end of the place.  The food was typical bar food, nothing special and the beers were passable, especially for the hot weather...

  • Beer Works – Boston Double IPA (MA)(7.5% ABV) is a decent Double IPA with hint of grapefruit, resin, and mild malts in the nose and a similar taste that was balanced and not overly hopped to burn you out.  4.10 /5 Rating.
  • Beer Works – Boston Bunker Hill Blueberry Ale (MA)(4.8% ABV) well, was your typical blueberry wheat ale..refreshing for the heat but nothing more than normal blueberry wheat ale garnished with…wait for it….blueberries.  3.43 /5 Rating.
  • Beer Works – Boston Summer Works Saison/Farmhouse Ale (MA)(5.0% ABV) had an average yeasty, lemony, white pepper nose and taste.  I love saisons, especially on a hot day but this one kind of got over powered by the yeast and not enough flavor or spice character.  3.53 /5 Rating.
  • Beer Works – Boston Mayflower Maibock (MA)(ABV unknown) All I can say is Maibock in July?  I asked our server if it was leftover and stumped him with my odd question.  Anyways, somewhat flat taste with a caramel and sweet malts nose and taste.  Maibock in July…enough said.  3.48 /5 Rating.

Overall, we had a great trip and hit a bunch of different Boston beer spots and even sampled some of the local flavors (for better or for worse) but when in Rome…

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