Hung out in the Kendall Square area last night with a couple of buddies. The neighborhood has become Boston's beer capital. While there, we:
* Popped into Cambridge Brewing Co. for food and beverages. The brewpub has a particularly strong lineup of beers on tap right now, including Mind Left Body, a "session IPA" that has an alcohol content of just 4.25 percent by volume (I do believe that's the lowest ABV India pale ale I've ever had), and Able IPA, a Belgian-style IPA with a strong body and extremely robust hoppiness.
Today CBC puts its Great Pumpkin Ale on tap. And there is a great news about the Great Pumpkin: Cambridge Brewing Co. has bottled the beer -- the pub's most popular seasonal brew -- for the first time. It is, in fact, the first beer of any kind that CBC has bottled.
While there last night, I chatted with CBC brewmaster Will Meyers, who had just returned from Ipswich, where Great Pumpkin Ale was bottled that afternoon. (Meyers posted some photos of the process via his Twitter feed.) Everything went smoothly, he said, and the 22-ounce bombers will begin showing up in local shops around the middle of next week. He had planned to distribute only inside Route 128 but kept getting calls from liquor stores farther away that wanted to carry Great Pumpkin. Now it appears the beer will be available roughly within the Route 495 belt.
I've got a bottle and plan to crack it open this weekend. I'll report back with a review soon...
* Poked our noses into Meadhall, which appears to be going gangbusters despite some fairly negative reviews over the summer. On sites like BeerAdvocate and Boston magazine, people have complained about the food portions, the prices, and the service. (To be fair, reviews on Yelp have been more mixed.) Yet because of the monstrous beer selection (there are 110 taps), the place is never empty.
There is, however, at least one sign of tension: Jim Sklaver, former chef at the Publick House who was running Meadhall's bar, has left, only four and a half months after opening the place. According to his Twitter feed, he "parted ways" with the owner. (He later told me there had been disagreements over his role as bar manager.) Another problem: Meadhall's website still says "Site coming soon," as it has since before the place opened in April. Memo to Meadhall: It's a smart idea to keep your website updated with your current list of beers of tap.
* Stopped in at Lord Hobo to try some rare Belgian ales. In anticipation of the Belgian Beer Fest, being held this weekend at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, Lord Hobo has an epic lineup of Belgian beers on tap, including many that I've never seen on draft anywhere before.
I'm a fan of the young Belgian brewery De Struise Brouwers, so I tried a couple of its beers that I hadn't been able to get ahold of before -- Ignis et Flamma (a Belgian IPA) and St. Amatus (a quadrupel). Both were sensational. If you like Belgians and can get over to Lord Hobo before the week is out, it's worth the trip.
About 99 Bottles