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.
If you’re a beer nerd in the Greater Boston region, then you may have made a pilgrimage to Mystic Brewing on a Friday afternoon or evening. The place can get quite nuts, what with its releasing something new and tasty at the end of every week. Knowing this full well, we visited on Thursday, when the place was still a scene but when we could enjoy the Chelsea beer hall’s quaint vibe.
The room comfortably fits a few dozen drinkers and features a spread of board games and accoutrements that smaller breweries are required by law to have these days. A simple partition splits up the barroom and the brew-making facilities, kind of like a ghost town in the Wild West—only behind this saloon’s facade they are concocting products that are much more refined than your grandpa’s moonshine.
We launched with the Tropical Chelsea IPA, a local classic of sorts that makes for a clever fool’s errand to sip. We mean that in a good way, but really, if you have a full day of meetings lined up, don’t chug this deliciousness for breakfast. You see, Tropical Chelsea is one of those expertly engineered double IPAs that waterfalls into your throat if you let it. The hops are mosaic, citra, and galaxy, and the takeaway is splendid, even refreshing—not just for a hoppy double, but for any micro. There’s something of a boomerangish bite that may fondle your palate for a span of seconds following your swig, but it’s really rather pleasant, far more of a bonus than a burden. To use the word “aftertaste” would do it disservice.
As for other picks, Mystic’s trademark Table Beer, a 4.3 percent alcohol day brew they call an “everyday,” is far more refreshing than, say, Gatorade, and is ideally suited for pleasing the crowd at any party, whether there are beer snobs in the house or not. Mystic uses this term “table beer” a lot, not just as the proper name of this flagship. While the branding may do something of a slight disservice to their more dynamic offerings, we appreciate and understand the sentiment that these are products you can totally enjoy without thinking too hard about them.
Until we really dig into its great saisons, which begs for a further upcoming column entirely.