Boston Magazine – Beer is the New Wine

This month’s Boston Magazine has a great article about the craft beer scene in Boston. You can pick it up on newsstands now, or check it out online.

I personally think that some key beers/breweries are missing from the piece…Wormtown, Alchemist, Hill Farmstead to name just a few. That said, you all know that I’m the last guy that would ever says something like “your favorite list is wrong because it doesn’t have my favorite beer on it”. As I say all the time, there is no such thing as a wrong opinion when it comes to beer (or anything else for that matter)! I do concur with some of the beers in the piece; it’s great to see Pretty Things, Notch, Allagash, CBC and Maine Brewing represented. If you were generating a top 15 New England beers list, what would be on it?

I was interested in some of the story behind the article and so I did a brief Q&A with the associate food editor of Boston Magazine, Leah Mennies. Check it out below!

LIBA: What inspired this article?
Leah: Obviously, beer has long been of interest in the Boston area–we have Sam Adams and Harpoon as living proof of that. But what’s emerged much more strongly, in the past few years in particular, is the focus on hyper-local craft breweries like High & Mighty and Mystic Brewing, and even more recently Slumbrew and Night Shift. Pretty Things beer, one of our big winners in the feature, I think is partly responsible for this upswing– they have had success on a national level, and I think people have taken notice. We figured it was about time to give all of these fantastic brewers (and those in the local industry) their due!

LIBA: In Boston, what are some beer trends that you notice?
Leah: As a city, we’ve begun to pay very close attention to where our food comes from. It was only a matter of time before that extended to other things that we consume, like wine, cocktails, and of course, beer. A term that makes me shudder but I think is emblematic of this is “garden to glass,” something that’s being used to promote cocktails made with local produce and herbs.
Brewers like Notch and Peak Organic are certainly paying attention to this, and I’ve noticed that more and more they are using hops and malt from local farmers, like Valley Malt and Four Star Farms. Additionally, I think consumers have begun to pay more attention to the entire ritual of beer drinking–the glassware they drink out of, the food they pair it with, the stories behind the beer.
On the flip side, though, and something we didn’t really delve into in this feature in particular, is the rise of super-casual, cheap, canned, throwback beers. Genny Cream, Miller High Life, even Natty Light is being served at restaurants looking to inject a dose of fun to the menu. Narragansett has never been more popular–and I’m a huge fan of their basic lager. So great with anything fried!

LIBA: Why will my readers be excited to read this article in Boston Magazine?
Leah: I think your readers will be excited to read this feature because it is a hugely comprehensive guide to consuming beer in this town–there’s something for everyone. If you’re newer to buying local, there’s a guide to the 15 best local brews arranged by type of beer. If you’d rather go out than hit up a package store, there’s a chart detailing the best beer bars in town. If you’re more of a gourmand, there’s picks for awesome dishes that use beer as an ingredient. For the travel buff, there’s three different specially-designed local “beer-cations.” And, of course, let’s be honest: It’s about BEER! How can you not get excited?


Author: Joshua Dion

I write about beer in an un-intimidating way, welcoming beer lovers of all experience levels.

1 thought on “Boston Magazine – Beer is the New Wine”

  1. My issue with the list is that it specifically says “New England”, yet it’s obviously got an extreme Boston-area bias. Now, sure… it’s all opinion and it is Boston Magazine. But, IMO, you can’t have a best of New England list without Hill Farmstead (one of only a few of what I would consider world class breweries in the northeast, which is not to say the others aren’t good… I rarely drink beer from what I would call world class breweries) or the Alchemist (Heady Topper is easily the best IPA in the east, if not the country) or Lawson’s.

    The other thing I take issue with is the “session ale” category. What is a session ale? That can be argued many different ways, but it looks as though they just picked a good beer that couldn’t really fit into any other category (though it looks like it should be in the pale ale category). Generally speaking, though, when the term “session ale” is brought up, it makes people think low alcohol. In England, that’s beer with about 3% ABV, allowing you to drink a ton of beer in a “session” and not get too drunk. We don’t have many beers that low in alcohol here, so it tends to be beers that are about 4.5%-5.5% (the upper end of that is pretty high to have a lot in a session).

    I suppose if you’re looking for a list of good beers to try in the Boston area, it’s a pretty good list (though Wormtown and New England Brewing are definitely glaring omissions). But would I call it a true “best of” list for all of New England? No way.

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