Boston is the capital of New England, a region with an extremely high concentration of craft beer drinkers, but always lagged behind as far as high quality breweries. Cities like Burlington, VT and Portland, ME have many more excellent craft breweries. There are a number of reasons for this, including the prohibitively high cost of real estate in Suffolk county and the surrounding area as well as local giants Sam Adams and Harpoon Brewery. However, since the summer, a number of new breweries have emerged and there are even more on the horizon.
Backlash Brewing is a new contract brewed company, which seems like the new business model for MA brewers, due to high real estate cost as well as the success of Clown Shoes and Pretty Things. These guys are apparently brewing at Paper City Brewery in Holyoke, out in Western Mass, but distributing mainly in the 617 area for now, due to limited supply. Their first beer was Groundswell, a Belgian Pale Ale, and their second was Convergence, a saison. I am hoping these guys do well, but I do not love their aesthetics, like the brass knuckles and the Russian Riveresque "Convergence" name. I am a sucker for wax sealed bottles and the price points seem reasonable based on the quality.
Mystic Brewing is a production brewery located in an up and coming area of Boston that is still a bit industrial, Chelsea. These guys seem to be the most ambitious of the new breweries, offering a Founder's Club, aiming to compete with places like The Bruery in LA. They are currently brewing and distributing their Saison, which already has 25 reviews on BeerAdvocate (B+ rating) and several other beers are in the near future. I am excited to try Entropy, which is a high ABV brew that should be complex and exciting.
Idle Hands Brewery is another brewery a little bit northeast of Boston, located in Everett, another industrial area. They had a bit of an issue in getting their license, including the big issue with farmer/brewer licenses, which could have drastically affected the scene for small craft breweries in the Bay State, but ultimately was resolved favorably. They call themselves a "nanobrewery" and like both Mystic and Backlash they seem to be focusing on Belgian styles. Their two beers that I have seen offered so far are Pandora and Patriarch. These guys are currently only doing growler fills ($10 + $5 for the glass) at odd hours. Be sure to follow them on Twitter for more info. I expect 22oz bombers in the near future.
SlumBrew is based out of the Somerville suburb that is the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhood near Boston. Based on the colloquial nickname "Slummerville," hence SlumBrew. These guys are about to have their first tasting on Friday Oct 28 at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA. I really like the website, which obviously does not affect the quality of the beer, but it certainly suggests that they are thorough, which bodes well for the brand. I heard that they are contract-brewing at Mercury in Ipswich and I am sure they would be happy to be as successful as Clown Shoes has been with a similar model, as well as receive the additional Somerville boost.
Trillium Brewing has not officially opened, but it is on the horizon. The brewer wants to brew and open a brewery in Fort Point, and Boston is home to lots of yuppies, granola eating hippies, young professionals, and academia. This is the perfect hotbed for an innovative microbrewery. I will add more info as it emerges, but based on Trillium blog entries, this new brewery will focus on Belgian styled beers and ales, like many of the other new breweries.