Today is the official start of Boston Beer Week. Regular readers of this blog are very familiar with the best beers the city has to offer, but because this feature will be opened up to a larger audience than usual on Boston.com, I wanted to suggest some beers for expert and amateur beer enthusiasts alike. For those of you who just wandered over here, welcome.
Below are 10 beers, all brewed in the state, that you must try this week. A note to my industry friends that these are not the 10 best Boston beers ever, nor is this even an absolute list of the 10 best Boston beers right now. Lots of folks will be drinking beers in the city this week that they've never tried before, and the list is meant to appeal to as wide a range of palates as possible. Cheers.
Backlash Beer Salute (On tap right now at Poe's Tip Tap Room and Bison County):
Recently named to Zagat's "30 under 30" list in Boston, Backlash Beer founder Helder Pimentel is passionate about his beer. He's especially geeked about this one, a big, bitter double-IPA. Intense bursts of citrus hit your nose and mouth, and the finish is bone-dry. If you like bold beer, grab this limited edition while you can. 8.5 percent ABV
Rich and Dan's Rye IPA, Harpoon
Named after the company's founders, this beer has gone from a limited release to a year-round offering. It's become a go-to, with more bite than Harpoon's flagship IPA, a pioneering brew. The use of malted rye adds a little spice, but this one still goes down smooth. 6.9 percent ABV
Notch Session Pils (On tap right now at Stoddards)
A popular question to ask a beer writer usually starts off with something like, "I like Budweiser. What other beers would I like?" Try Notch Session Pils. "Session" is a term denoting a beer low in alcohol, but this Czech-style Pilsner packs more flavor than your usual pale lager. If you're in the mood for local beer but don't want to get drunk, this one's for you. 4 percent ABV
Mystic's Bryan Greenhagen is an MIT-scientist-turned-brewer making small batches of great beer out of a Chelsea warehouse. Mystic specializes in saisons, or farmhouse ales. Vespula Mysticus (right) is a low-alcohol saison brewed with saffron. This one was brewed in collaboration with BlueJacket DC. It's light and refreshing, with hints of banana from the use of Belgian yeast. It's limited, so grab some soon. 4.5 percent ABV
The Tap Sassy Rabbit (On tap right now at Lord Hobo):
Another rye beer, this time out of Haverill. You're not getting a ton of rye flavor here, but there's enough in there to keep it interesting. Instead, this beer is sweeter, with hints of baked bread and caramel. If you're not too adventurous but still want to change things up, go with one of these. 5.6 percent ABV
Night Shift Brewing Somer Weisse:
For the more adventurous, this excellent take on a classic German Berliner Weissbier is for you. Be warned this beer tastes sour, with tart lemon and ginger notes leading to a clean finish. If you like funky beer, this one from Everett's Night Shift is very refreshing. 5.2 percent ABV
Idle Hands Absence of Light (On tap right now at Deep Ellum):
Why shouldn't you expect more great beer from Everett? Absence of Light is a winter offering from the Belgian-style brewer. It's a stout "devoid of anything light" but made up of plenty of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit flavors. Belgian yeast cut through the murk and keeps the beer from tasting too heavy. 7.4 percent ABV
Cisco Brewery Grey Lady (On tap right now at The Baseball Tavern):
Another beer for the crowd who's slowly dipping their toes into craft beer, this Nantucket offering is light and fruity and fun. Subtle spice and citrus are the hallmarks of this not-too-heavy offering. 4.5 percent ABV
Cambridge Brewing Co. Spring Training IPA:
Everything CBC makes is delicious, from funked-up sours to Belgian quads. This seasonal beer is a light, floral, IPA brewed with Ahtanum and Palisades hops, both relative newcomers on the hop varietal scene. Plus you can think about baseball, and the fact that the Red Sox can't possibly be worse than last year.
Pretty Things Fluffy White Rabbits (On tap right now at Canary Square):
Described as "some sort of triple", this hoppy, Belgian-esque beer is the spring offering from the creative Somerville husband and wife team. For a complex, boozy beer, this still manages to be quite drinkable. Be careful with this one. 8.5 percent ABV.