Welcome to Last Call Monthly, a column where I compile reviews of my recent favorite brewery and beers. Hopefully, I’ll encourage some of you to break out of your beer comfort zone and try something other than your usual go to. And if not, at the very least I can start referring to my beer consumption as “conducting research”.
Brewery of the Month (1A)
Beers of the Month (2B)
-Danko|Exhibit ‘A’ –
-Boom Sauce|Lord Hobo-
-Arrogant Bastard Ale-
-Sanguinem Aurantiaco|Evil Twin-
Could Use Some Work (3C)
Brewery of the Month (1A):
Favorite/s of the Day: Cranberry Tiger and Werewolves of Cambridge
Lamplighter is the first brewery I feel like I could spend several productive hours at, tasting their wares while enjoying a relaxing environment that can be conducive to both conversation and complete work. Lamplighter Brewing is located in Cambridge, MA, a quick ten-minute walk from the red line stop Central. From the outside, You wouldn’t be faulted for mistaking Lamplighter with a sit-down coffee shop upon a first glance. The layout is very similar to that of a sit-down coffee shop, uncommon for a brewery and while it also features traditional tap room seating that is ideal for large groups, the atmosphere there is conducive to both conversation and work. I could see myself stopping by for a beer or a coffee and working on an essay or report for work for an hour or two, and during my time there (Noon on a Tuesday) I saw a number of people doing just that.
During their early morning hours, Lamplighter does serve coffee, (changing to beer around lunch time) and While I didn’t sample their coffee I can speak to their excellent assortment of unique and exquisite beers. I started with their Funk It Up Flight: Which includes Pressure Drop (Pale Ale), Lion Eyes (Brettanomyces IPA), Yoshimi (Sour Ale w Cold brew coffee!), and Cranberry Tiger (Brettanomyces IPA aged with high bush cranberries).
I would absolutely recommend starting with the Funk It Up flight for your first trip, as it is an excellent way to sample a variety of Lamplighters standard and more unique beers. Pressure Drop IPA serves as a starting point, as it has great fruit notes of kiwi and melon, with a nice pine refreshing finish. Next was Lion Eyes, their brettanomyces IPA, the brettanomyces accounting for the funky flavors and aromas of this IPA. Not my favorite of the day, but it speaks to Lamplighter dedication to ensuring that almost every one of their beers is more unique and memorable than the last. Moving on to what is hands down the most unique beer I have ever had was Yoshimi, their sour beer that is infused with cold brew coffee, a tart, and floral sour. I would encourage fans of sour beers to try it as I guarantee it’s unlike any other sour they have had. It has a very complex flavor that shocks the palette, a sampler being just the perfect portion. An enjoyable and unique departure from any of their other offerings.
I finished up my afternoon with what would be my favorite beers of the day, Cranberry Tiger, and Werewolves of Cambridge. Cranberry Tiger is the best of two styles of beer, that being an IPA infused with properties of wild ale as the beer is aged with cranberries that impart a tangy funk to it. The savory-ness of the IPA backbone leads to a highly drinkable IPA that I would recommend to everyone. While Cranberry Tiger was the last of my flight, I returned to the bar to sample their porter, Werewolves of Cambridge, with robust roasted coffee and dark fruit flavor. Highly drinkable and easily the best porter I have had in some time.
Lamplighter is unlike any other brewery, as they offer the most hospitable taproom I have been too, in terms of providing an environment where you could conceivably get work done while enjoying a pint or flight of their fantastic beers. If you’re in the New England area, absolutely visit them.
Beers of the Month (2B):
Another month, another fantastic and distinctive beer from Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company. Danko a double dry hopped Rye Ale pours a murky burnt orange tint, with a solid two finger head and continually laces the glass, which I find to help its presentation. On the nose, Danko emanates a juicy hop aroma, with notes of peach, grapefruit, orange peel, and a subtle spice. Upon a first sip, the front end of the beer is a creamy concoction of balanced citrus fruit notes that were present in the aroma, but it’s the contrast between the front end and back end of Danko’s flavor that I find to make this a remarkable rye ale. Sweet and juicy up front, Danko finishes with an earthy pine bread malt body, that has a touch of spice that compliments its dry bitter finish. Despite its semi-bitter finish, Danko’s creamy rye body steals the show alleviating that bitterness mere seconds after every sip, coating the drinker’s palate with those sweet fruit notes from the front end of the beer. As almost every beer of theirs, I really enjoyed Danko Double Dry Hopped Rye Ale from Exhibit ‘A’.
Admittedly, I haven’t tried nearly enough of Trilliums vast offerings, and luckily they were offering Cutting Tiles the day that I visited their Canton tap room which just so happened to be at the top of my list. What intrigued me about this beer was that in addition to periodically rotating the type of hops it’s brewed with, raw wildflower honey is integral to its distinctive body and flavor profile.
Cutting tiles pours a distinctively cloudy orange, with little to no head and only slight lacing. It really looks more like an orange juice than a beer at a first glance. It has a distinctively earthy mango flavor up front, complemented by more subtle notes of fresh grass, cantaloupe and very apparent citrus zest on the nose. Now, the phrase “Dank” is thrown around to describe juice bomb New England style DIPA’s, Cutting Tiles being the very essence of this. A dank juicy body up front with next to no bite yet features a good amount of hops that burp into the back end of the beer. A sweet and savory mix of tropical fruit notes, such as pineapple, mango, peach, cantaloupe, honey, and light floral notes. This beer almost gets lost in its sweetness but the earthy malt base keeps the sweetness in check nicely. Cutting Tiles finishes with a slight piney aftertaste, complimenting the beers smooth and refreshing juicy fruit notes throughout.
The only real downside to the beer is that it is one of the lighter DIPA’s I have had, no doubt due to the inclusion of Honey being so prominent in the brewing process. I wish there was just a tad more bitterness to balance out the sweetness, but this is one of my favorite Trillium beers to date.
Lord Hobo’s flagship beer, Boom Sauce India pale ale serves as a very drinkable and truly unique IPA. On the nose, Boom Sauce has heavy scents of bread, caramel, pine, and just a hint of apricot/ grapefruit. Pouring an unfiltered amber body with a fair amount of head retention, Boom Sauces caramel malt base is unlike any other IPA I have had. It’s definitely one of the thicker IPA’s I’ve poured, which results in very robust caramel biscuit infused with citrus tropical fruit notes of grapefruit, papaya, and oranges. The light bitter pine finish helps to balance out the sweetness of this smooth, thick and creamy IPA. The mouthfeel of this beer really can’t be undersold, fluffy and creamy like a milkshake, that coats the drinkers pallet in deliciously dry earthy caramel. My can of Boom Sauce was maltier than hoppy, something friends have told me they’ve experienced the opposite of, but regardless, I found Boom Sauce to be a perfect introduction to Lord Hobo and their distinctive brews.
Even before cracking the can, Arrogant Bastard Ale’s can emanates arrogance. The can’s smirking gargoyle sneers at the drinker, the slogan “you are not worthy” challenging them. Luckily for the patrons, the talented brewers at Arrogant Brewing Company back that arrogance up with flavors as impactful as their artwork. Pouring a dark brown body with lots of clingy lacing head, Arrogant Bastard Ale’s look and smell are very reminiscent of a nut brown ale. The body features a delicious concoction of roasted nutty caramel malt, sweet raisin, subtle cinnamon/nutmeg, and finishes with a pleasantly warm alcohol bite. The body is thick, chewie, and creamy like that of a Guinness, but featuring a distinctive nutty booziness giving it a vastly unique and complex flavor to that of Guinness. This beer warms you up and provides a rich nut brown ale flavor that’s hard to rival, ideal for drinking on cold and rainy days.
I used to be under the incorrect assumption that low ABV was a sign of low-quality flavor. Clearly, this young grasshopper has much to learn when it comes to craft beer, as this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sanguinem Aurantiaco from Evil Twin Brewing Company serves as evidence of this, by providing a wonderfully vibrant and refreshing sour ale at a mere 3.25% ABV. Pouring a light orange hay color with a quickly disappearing head, Sanguinem Aurantiaco has the lovely flavor profile of blood orange, light citrus fruit, with a light malt finish that helps to balance out the puckering lactic sour tartness. Light bodied and medium carbonation make this an easily sippable sour, yet you’ll want to savor ever sip of it. I was worried that by incorporating oranges it would make this an overly sweet sour, yet Evil Twin balanced it flawlessly it an absolute must have for sour ale enthusiasts.
Beer of the Month:
(Citra) Cutting Tiles – Trillium Brewing Company
Could Use Some Work (3C):
This would have been a drain pour for me had I not ordered it on tap at Lord Hobo’s Cambridge Taproom. I kept my dissatisfaction to myself, drank half of it before deciding it was time to be on my way. This was coming off of sampling two of Lord Hobo’s other fine beers, their IPA Boom Sauce and DIPA Consolation Prize. I figured I would sample one of their lighter beers that purported to offer a sessional IPA heavily influenced by dry hopped Citra hops. This beer has a flavor profile that I am regularly a fan of, as it has tropical citrus fruits of lemon, peach, and piney on the nose, but it had an overwhelming harsh hop note that didn’t agree with me. So much so that that I’d question referring to Hobo Life as sessional, let alone drink a pint at a time.
I can appreciate that Lord Hobo is expanding their portfolio, an already impressive one, but Hobo Life was a disappointing step backward.
- I have settled on my review format and moving forward will only review one beer of a particular style. As I only review five beers per monthly blog, I want to pack as much variation into every month.
- Expect even more frequent (shorter) beer reviews on my Instagram (@KriegsMachine92). Previously these Instagram reviews were far too long and not conducive to mobile-friendly reading. No one wants to read a novel on Instagram.
- As summer approaches I’m planning on taking more day trips to breweries located around New England. Next Month, I’m planning on visiting Notch Brewing Company & Clown Shoes.
I’m always looking for beer recommendations so leave a comment below. In the meantime, if you want to keep up with what I’m pouring or see more frequent mini reviews, you can follow me on Untappd (KriegsMachine) and Instagram (KriegsMachine).
Thanks for reading and be sure to check back next month!