Battle Road Brewing has been a long time coming. Business partners Scott Houghton and Jeremy Cross have 35 years of industry experience between them, but when they ventured out on their own to start their own company in 2007, the economic recession hit. Their own brand would have to wait for the time being.
Battle Road is finally off the ground and selling beer in Massachusetts, a state the company celebrates with its mission statement. Tapping into the region's rich history, each beer they brew will revolve around an event in the Revolutionary War.
"The branding comes from our love of history and our desire to tell the story of the birth of our nation through our products," said Cross.
The brewery's first beer is 1775 Tavern Ale, a pale ale with a back story.
"We named it this because every great story starts with a beginning," said Cross. "April 19, 1775 was when 'the shot heard 'round the world' rang out and started our fight for independence from Britain's rule."
Battle Road is just starting out as well. Their website is currently a work in progress, as is a list of places to get the beer. I found some at Social Wines in South Boston, and Cross and Houghton promise to have a more complete list soon. (Update: I've been told that the beer is available in about 75 locations statewide, including the Boston Wine Exchange, Foodie’s Urban Market, Social Wines, the Hub, Blanchard’s, and Martignetti’s). The duo has experience at Salem and Boston Beer Works, where Houghton used to be head brewer. With that knowledge in their back pocket, they took liberties with their first beer, not adhering it to any particular style.
1775 Tavern Ale pours a dark amber with a head the color of the fringe on a faded army uniform. The beer is a little hazy, not unlike my knowledge of the American Revolution.
The nose provides the first hint that the brewers aren't ready to fall in line. It's malt-forward, with just a twinge of hops. The first sip suggests a beer that's sweeter than both an American Pale Ale and a British one. Biscuits are balanced by herbal hops, but this beer almost drinks like a lager. The finish is bright, with subtle spice inviting you back for another pint.
The duo has several other beers on the way, including Barrett's Farmhouse Ale, named, according to Cross, "after the farmhouse where the American rebels were hiding a cache of weapons. It was discovery of these weapons that sent the Red Coats to Lexington and Concord (along the Battle Road) to disarm the Patriots." The next two beers will be Lexington Green India Pale Ale and Midnight Rider Tavern Porter.
It's a great concept for a brand, and the beer is good enough to back it up. 1775 Tavern Ale retails for around $7 for a 22-ounce bottle. If you pick some up, let me know what you think.