An outstanding mix of low-ABV beers for all-day drinking. Plus bar pizza.
I’m sure that neither of these vaunted craft beer institutions will be thrilled by the comparison, but Castle Island Brewing Co.’s sweet and spacious taproom in Southie definitely feels like the Night Shift digs in North Station, another favorite of mine. I mean nothing ill by that, but am rather noting that spaces like these are where fine breweries are headed; it’s a less-than-cozy beer hall that is nevertheless inviting and comfy with its giant high-tops, murals, and infinite taps, but it’s also a place you can hose down at the end of the day. It takes an old ass like yours truly to remember, but it wasn’t very long ago when almost all of the large joints for smashing big brews were in Allston or Faneuil Hall, and the reason some of us remember that so vividly is because of the smell that such arrangements ultimately produced. It’s still with us, stuck in our drunken subconscious.
But I digress. Now, about the beer …
As you might expect for someone who writes about booze, I have a drinking problem. So there aren’t many low-ABV friends in my playgroup, if you catch my whiff. But since I was out on the town for an entire afternoon and evening when I happened to get marooned at Castle Island last week, the prospect of burying a few 3.8% hazy pale ales seemed prudent. They call that particular lowball Everyday Fighter, and I will certainly be back for more hours-long lightweight scuffles. Sweet without that candy-shop appeal, this stuff is the new milk for your breakfast cereal. And it’s not the only reasonable gem on the menu.
In what I’m inclined to call an excellent move on their part after spending a few hours sampling from their vaults, Castle Island seems to focuses on lower ABV offerings in its taproom—Chair, their hoppy table beer (3%), Coral Moon, a dark German Lager (4.8%), Cosmic Cordial, their sweet cherry sour brown ale (4.3%). But who the hell is to say we can’t still have tons of fun or sip interesting things on the low end of the scale? Not me, that’s for sure, not after this most recent trip to Southie. Every one of these numbers deserve a chef’s kiss.
With a kickass bar pie via their in-house pizzeria Bardo’s in my gut—“from the family who brought you Lombardo’s in East Boston and Randolph”—I finished off with their Southie Bae Rosé, not to be confused with the wine of that name. Rather, this joint, brewed in collaboration with the local mongers from Wulf’s Fish, is a “rose hued German ale brewed with the shells of South Bay blonde oysters to impact a minerality for a crisp and clean drinkable ale.” Mission accomplished.
It didn’t taste like shellfish, but considering how every beer I sipped at Castle Island was a hit, I’d still be more than willing to give it a tilt if it did.
Citizen Strain/Grain is an amalgamation of a bunch of us who, in addition to the hard and oftentimes depressing journalism we report for the Dig, also enjoy sampling and writing about the various beers, spirits, and cannabis products that vendors from near and far send our way. If you want us to check out your product, please contact us at email@example.com.