Welcome to the Boston Better Beer Bureau, our latest incarnation of the trusty suds reporting we’ve done at DigBoston ever since people referred to beer as suds. Really, we remember the days when we’d spend half our checks on fancy German bottles just so that we could review them, whereas these days breweries from all around New England kindly send us samplers and stay in touch. The BBBB is a new attempt to return that love, all while sharing more news about the innumerable microbreweries and pubs among us.
There are many things that technically distinguish a craft beer from common swill. Not just the label artwork and the ticket price, but quality and cost of hops and other pieces of the puzzle as well.
Beyond those hard tangible factors, there is also something tougher to describe, an aroma that leaps from the mouthpiece of a newly opened can and tickles nostrils. No matter how bitter the beer, the sensation’s always sweet and lures you in like steam emerging from a turkey platter in an old cartoon. Once you sniff it, you gotta have it.
City of Presidents American Pale Ale, a limited editing prize from Widowmaker Brewing that’s available in Quincy Center bars from now until the debut batch is finished, has that sort of undeniable appeal. It’s basically the best version imaginable of the domestics that dominated through the ’90s—and with packaging that’s patriotic enough to make cans of Bud original look like official Kremlin propaganda. The Braintree-based Widowmaker may have earned its initial rep with remarkable brews sold in hand-labeled growlers, but the illustration of our Founding Fathers rocking shades outside of Quincy City Hall may be an indication that the skins will soon match their impressive product.
In its words, the brewer brands this pale ale as “a complex, easy-drinking all-American craft beer.” On one hand, that description sells it short, since there are several nuanced notes to be appreciated; at the same time, it’s accurate, since it really has cleverly twisted some classic ideas.
“This beer celebrates the history of a great American city and pays homage to downtown Quincy’s rapid rise as one of the region’s most dynamic new dining destinations,” said head Widowmaker brewer Ryan Lavery.
Whether you embrace the legacy component or are simply searching for strong beverages, this exclusive number should make your priority beer list. Served cold, it’s a craft piece that can convert friends who claim to not like interesting pours because they are “overly bitter,” or “too hoppy,” or whatever the remaining anti-micro stragglers are saying these days. And this Widowmaker has a warm side too; for flavor spectators, as the ale approaches room temp, it releases extra brilliance in its framework, and in doing so reveals a perfect spiritual blend of newjack IPA varieties and all the mead plus any other syrup signers of the Declaration of Independence were coiffing.
All that considered, this special Quincy pale ale deserves a much longer run, if not permanent retail and restaurant status, on the South Shore and beyond.