I knew where I was heading but I just didn’t really have logistics dialed in to the extent that my Taurean brain could relax with so I rediscovered my email and confirmation from the plane company (I imagine calling something a plane company would require you to think about a factory where planes are born – that’s at least what I’m going for so if that’s where your mind went then I win) and went from there.
Turns out, I was leaving very early in the morning from Boston’s Logan Airport (that’s where the planes go after they’re taught to fly by their parents forcing them out of trees) so I could either leave Vermont at, like, one in the morning to drive there OR I could leave my truck in New Hampshire, take the bus down the night before and get a hotel, arriving from somewhere close the next morning. Well, I had recently just discovered Lyft (not Uber) and wanted to use it so I chose to go down the night before and stay in a hotel. I knew the next week or so wasn’t going to come with sleep so I also figured that getting a hotel and spending the night would be the intelligent choice. Also, when looking for a hotel that didn’t exceed what I wanted to pay birthed the aspect that Everett, Massachusetts had one that matched my needs, the light bulb of remembrance suddenly had its’ electric spark: I know a brewery in Everett.
Since this whole trip is about something completely aside from beer but I am tasked to actually make it kind of about beer (if you want to know what this trip was all about, click HERE and there’ll be another blog post about it once I completely and fully comprehend what exactly happened – but, until then, that’s what I was in the area to do), it was only natural to start my journey off with a place that I’d never been but knew their beers very well.
Night Shift Brewing is in Everett, Massachusetts.
After checking into my hotel and acquiring my first of many Lyft rides (I will not name names but all of you out there that I hitched a ride with are forever in my favor) I made my way to the tasting room of Night Shift, complete with a notepad and paper and took this picture after I had ordered my first flight:
For the sake of letting you know that I was A: using a car service and not driving a vehicle myself and B: also drinking other beers that evening before I returned to my hotel of slumber I am going to cover the beers that I sampled as part of my “these are the beers that would appeal to me, the consumer, when I first look at a board full of different beers that are available for me to try.”
Obviously, I went with the Pilsner, Pfaffenheck, first. It should be noted that I love Pilsners (did you know that?). Well, theirs is lovely. A lot of good bitter hops up front with a nice, clean finish. The bread aspect that might be present in German styles (I’m assuming that it’s in the German Style since there was also a German looking representation on the board (colours)) was present with a nice mineral aspect that I really enjoy. Overall, the cleanliness sets this one apart. And although they aren’t really known for their Pilsners (they had a bottle release the day I was there for a Porter and people were coming in waves to get it and get going), this was a refreshing introduction.
I went back and forth in between their Ever Weisse, a kettle sour/mix fermentation ale with strawberries to use it a little as a cleanser and it was perfect for that. Not overly sour, this one straddled the line between the what you’d expect from a Berliner Weisse and a Mixed fermentation product (sorry for the use of product); the mustiness of the lactobacillus was present but was also joined by the tart pucker form the other yeasts. The mixture of strawberry in there was a nice touch. When I first began my brewing career, the man (men) who taught me, who I apprenticed under, told me that strawberries have no place in beer. I have simply found that not to be true in the years since as I think the seed of the fruit lends itself to the tart nature of these beers. When adding strawberries I don’t think about the fruit itself or the juice that comes into your mouth; I think about the green stem and the fuzz on the outside, the seeds you get to eat again after extracting them from your teeth minutes later.
Another beer in that sampling was their Whirlpool, which I’ve had before in canned version and this was pleasant to actually try on tap. My understanding of the way in which these (this) beer is made is that there are no hops before the very last portion of the brewing of it, just before you chill the wort prior to the introduction of yeast and the awesomeness that is a single cell organism eating sugars and farting a part carbon and two parts oxygen with a stench of alcohol. So, all of the hops that are used are in the “whirlpool” section. That tends to be the good dose of the hops that will add aroma to the beer and, as experiments (and this beer is no exception) will show, even though the hops are only coming in contact with the wort for a shorter amount of time than hops that would typically be for bittering the wort, there still is a bitterness that comes through to balance the malt profile. So, overall, this was awesomely drinkable with a huge hop nose; right on target for what I’m assuming they’re going for and what the customer requires.
Lastly (I did mention that I had more beers than just these – mostly went back to their Pilsner and had a full version of their Morph #49 (keep reading) – but these are the ones I took notes on) I tried the Morph #49, a roundtable IPA (New England Style) that showcases different hops and is ever changing. When I was there they had three different Morphs on tap. This one employs one of my favorite hops, which is why I was drawn to it. El Dorado is a hop that I’ve seen made into a Single Hop IPA/Pale Ale with great success. Mostly, people will describe this hop as “fruity” (which I despise – a tomato is a fruit) but, digging a little deeper into your own palate, you’ll find more of the pear fruit and the skin of a lime with this hop. This was no exception. I enjoyed this beer a lot. In my notes I put “yum.” I’m glad that I stopped myself from saying “yummy.” I don’t like the word “yummy.”
The one thing I didn’t do was to partake in the food truck of the day going on outside of the taproom. I probably should have but I didn’t.
This has been the first installment in the “Kevin actually leaves the Beast Coast and goes away” blog posts. Keep in mind that I ultimately end up in San Diego in the state of California. Funny fun time await, stay tuned.
But, until then, cheers friends.