Wander into Boston Beer Alley, the new bottle shop that opened within Boston Public Market on Sept. 11, and you’ll most likely find Tony Rodriguez ready to talk your ear off about beer. The shop’s general manager became a fan after getting his start as a barback at the now-closed Common Ground in Allston, then served as beverage director at beer haven Fort Point Market and, most recently, GM at Boston Beer Alley.
“I just became a madman talking about beer with customers,” he said.
There’s plenty to talk about at BPM’s newest vendor, located next to flower shop Field & Vase. The store specializes in New England breweries, cideries, and distilleries, and receives around 20 new products each week. Boston Beer Alley’s Instagram is updated regularly with photos and descriptions of new arrivals, giving customers a look at the juicy IPAs, floral gins, and dry ciders that have just arrived.
To get a sense of what’s good this season, we spoke with Rodriguez about his favorite fall beers, ciders, and liquors that are currently stocked at the shop.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Apple of My Chai, Far From the Tree Cider
“Right now for cider I’m excited about Far From the Tree [Cider]. They’re from Salem, Mass. They just released their Apple of My Chai; it’s their dry-hopped cider with chai spices. The beauty behind this beer is that it’s not your typical fall cider — this one has more of a balance of apple, cinnamon, spices, and a really subtle dry finish. It gets a lot of positive feedback from all of our customers.”
Autumn Gin, Short Path Distillery
“For distilleries, we’re really excited to be working with Short Path Distillery. They’re from Everett. They just released their Autumn Gin that’s made with orange peel, juniper, cinnamon, star anise, galangal, lemon peel, and coriander. We love how smooth it is.”
Distant Wind, Stellwagen Beer Co.
“Another brewery for the fall we’re excited about is Stellwagen out of Marshfield, Mass. It’s an upcoming brewery that’s been around for almost a year and a half. They just recently released their porter called Distant Wind; usually stouts and porters are people’s choices come fall and winter. This beer has taste notes of coffee, chocolate, and espresso beans.”
Gunner’s Daughter, Mast Landing Brewing Co.
“Another beer I think people are going to love is from Mast Landing; they’re out of Westbrook, Maine. They just released a batch of their milk stout brewed with natural peanut butter flavor called Gunner’s Daughter. We love this beer; we can’t seem to keep it in stock. As the weather cools down, this is the most approachable beer for people who are just getting into beer or looking for something easy to drink, because it literally tastes like Reese’s Pieces and waffles. You’ll be sitting there trying to imagine how they put that flavor into a beer.”
Konstantin, Schilling Beer Co.
“I tend to drink darker lagers — a lot of people usually do once the weather cools down, so [another brewery] we’re excited about is from Littleton, New Hampshire: Schilling. They make this Märzen lager called Konstantin. It’s so approachable. It has taste notes of malt, toast, bread, a crispy finish. We’re happy having these guys here, because they are making some of the finest lagers coming out of New Hampshire.”
Maple Bourbon Whiskey, Smugglers’ Notch Distillery
“The other distillery I’m excited about for the fall is Smugglers’ Notch Distillery. They just released their bourbon whiskey that’s blended with 100% pure Vermont maple syrup, and it’s really good. It’s not overly sweet on the maple front, because there’s hints of vanilla, tobacco, and cinnamon to balance off the sweetness. It’s good for a sipper. As the temperature starts to fall into the 40s and 30s, [this is] good to drink on a Saturday afternoon.”
Pumpkin Blend, Downeast Cider House
“The other cider I’m happy [about] is Downeast’s Pumpkin Blend. A lot of people know that one, but it’s so easy to drink. It tastes like pumpkin pie in a glass pretty much. If you’re [a fan] of pumpkin beer in general, that’s probably my number one choice, because it’s light in alcohol so it’s just easier to drink.”
To score one of Rodriguez’s picks, swing by Boston Beer Alley at the Boston Public Market. On Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m.–6 p.m., the shop holds free tastings highlighting its newest products. Who knows — you might discover your new favorite fall sipper.
Boston Beer Alley; 100 Hanover St., Boston; Mondays–Saturdays from 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; bostonbeeralley.com