Beer Trail Commanders have collected all five Mass Craft Beer Trail regional badges, for a total of 75 brewery visits across the state. They are also awarded an official MBG T-shirt and glass.
Brian Healy is a South Easton resident and craft beer connoisseur that cruised to the number one slot and achieved the coveted title of "Beer Trail Commander" just five weeks after the mobile application launched. Massachusetts is lucky to have a fan like him. Thanks for drinking local.
Mass. Brew Bro. Bob
Bob makes up half of the blogging, traveling, and beer drinking duo, the Mass. Brew Bros. He swept in and took the number two spot in November checking into his 75th brewery at Tree House in Charlton. The Framingham resident can often be found at the latest brewery opening, beer festival or tap room party. Want to know what the Mass. Brew Bros. are up to? Check out their blog under "news" in the Mass Craft Beer mobile application.
Michael Luszcz Jr.
Michael Luszcz Jr. loves Massachusetts Craft Beer. Why? Because it's delicious! He also enjoys the craft beer scene that the Commonwealth has overall and says that meeting and talking to people who are so passionate about craft beer is what keeps him traveling to breweries thirsty for more. The dark beer drinker typical favors Russian imperials and baltic porters, but he wouldn't pass up a good barleywine, sours or anything hoppy. His three favorite breweries to visit are, Amherst brewing (in the Hangar) because he loves the old school arcade and pinball games and self-serve taps, Bone Up, because the flights are served in a muffin tin and you get free snacks, and lastly, River Styx due to is cool underworld theme. Most importantly all three make great beer! We are excited to see where Michael goes next! Keep drinking local.
Benjamin Krefetz started getting into Massachusetts craft beer after a trip to Pemberton Farms' "Pemberfest," showed him a great selection of craft beers offered close to home. He favors Belgian quads and strong darks, but in general gravitates towards darker beers. The avid cyclist used the new mobile app as an excuse to hit the road and revisit breweries all over the state. In addition to nearly 100 Mass. craft breweries, he’s also visited craft breweries in 25 states and on 4 continents. His top three favorite breweries are Night Shift, whose creative offerings never cease to impress him, Lefty's, because he’s a sucker for their graham cracker porter, and Navigation for their milk stout and DIPAs. Welcome to Commander status Benjamin!
Ryan Whitcomb loves MA craft beer because of the variety. He also appreciates how approachable the brewers are about their craft. As a home brewer, he likes to learn as much about the process as possible. He’s been enjoying the MA craft beer scene’s rapid expansion and says that the MBG’s new Mass Craft Beer Trail mobile app helped to jumpstart his desire to get out and revisit each of the breweries to see what’s new. His top three favorite breweries are Moon Hill at Gardner Ale House because its everything you’d want in a brewpub for quality of beer and food, Stone Cow, for its awesome farm-to-glass atmosphere and concept, and Springdale because well, the barrels – oh so many barrels! His perfect pint of the moment is a Chunk Norris either the original, or one of the barrel aged iterations. We'd have to agree that its a mighty tasty pint. We salute you Commander Whitcomb.
Dmitriy Arkannikov moved to the US from Russia in 2001, and is a sergeant in the MA National Guard and works full-time for the town of Lexington. He got into craft beer when he started volunterring at NERAX back in 2012. He quickly fell in love with everything local. He feels fortunate to live in a state with more than 150 breweries that offer great variety and quality. He feels that Massachusetts beer, cider and distilled beverages are simply the best. His favorite breweries of the moment include Drunken Rabbit, Fort Hill and Jack's Abby. He enjoys House Lager for its "anytime drinkability," he says, but also loves sours and stouts. The avid traveler also likes to drink around the world and says that he's drank beer in 28 different countries! Welcome to Commander status Dmitriy!
Ken Whitcomb is a longtime #MABeer enthusiast who started getting into the craft beer scene when Sam Adams launched into the market in the early eighties. His frequent trips to Red Bones BBQ in Somerville also broadened his horizons and palate with their ever rotating selection of craft on draft as the market began to expand. Even though he’s lived in Massachusetts his entire life, visiting breweries around the state has brought Ken to so many new places, he says. His favorite breweries in Massachusetts include Moon Hill / Gardner Ale House (where he’s been a mug club member since the program’s inception!) along with Wachusett and Springdale. He loves the flavors and creativity offered through the variety of styles. His favorite beer of the moment? A Tiramisu Stout that he tried at the Wachusett Stout-A-Palooza. He hopes he’ll see that one come back to the line-up again. We do too Ken - sounds delicious! Welcome to the family Beer Trail Commander - thanks for drinking local!
John B., who hails from Whitman, Mass., was first introduced to craft beer while running a number of road races and obstacle courses in the state. The prize at the finish line was often a medal and variety of local craft beer, including IPA’s, which are now his favorite. He uses the MBG’s new mobile app on his quest to find his new favorite IPA of the moment and travel to different breweries. His favorite breweries to visit are 10thDistrict, due to the friendly service, great beer and close proximity to home, along with Night Shift and True West. He loves #MABeer due to the wide variety of flavors and styles offered and the way the individual brewers put their spin on each brew. He also loves that he can bring friends and family along for the journey. Cheers John!
Our very first lady commander! Susan who hails from Marlborough, Mass. started getting into craft beer while helping her husband homebrew and traveling to breweries across the U.S. and internationally. She loves the new passport program because it keeps her up to date on industry news, events and new brewery openings, she says. Her “Go To” list of breweries includes: Springdale because of the variety of sours, Down the Road Beer Co. for their Cranberry Blood Orange Feyborn Berliner Weisse and all the pinball machines, and Medusa Brewing Co., because it’s in her neighborhood. She’s a sour, kolsch and cider drinker primarily, and her favorite beer of the moment is Aeronaut Brewing Co.’s Passionfruit sour planet. Welcome to commander status Susan. Cheers!
Robin & Keith Millea
The couple that tours breweries together, stays together. The MBG welcomes its first Beer Trail Commander Couple! In their own words:
"We had a great time touring around MA together, visiting towns we probably never would have went to otherwise. We enjoyed the incredible variety and freshness of the all the craft beers we able to sample. Our favorite summertime brewery is Buzzards Bay Brewery. Not only do they have great beers, but their outdoor space is incredible. They always a good band playing along with their delicious Cheese Truck, fresh oysters on the half-shell and farmer's market. We can't say enough about our beer tasting at Flying Dreams Brewery. Loved them all! Especially Pond Jumper. Best new brewery close to our home has to be Purgatory. Great beer, awesome taproom and rotating food trucks. Favorite style of beer is IPAs. Really loving the hazy NE IPA at the moment. Thank you MBG for helping us navigate MA craft brewing. It was fun!"
Geoff & Lisa Hodge
Geoff and Lisa rediscovered their love of craft beer a few years ago and have been enjoying weekend trips around Massachusetts to conquer the MBG beer trail together. They're both fans of less hoppy, malt-forward beers, with Geoff having a particular love of bourbon barrel-aged and Belgian brews, and Lisa favoring Scotch ales, wee heavies, and English old ales. Their favorite breweries include Jack’s Abby, River Styx, Medusa, and Bad Martha, and of course, 3cross Fermentation Cooperative, which they joined as member-owners because of the great people there and the good work that they’re doing for the Greater Worcester community. They say that exploring the MBG beer trail as a couple has been a wonderful opportunity to spend time together, visit hidden corners of the state, sample an amazing variety of MA beers, and meet other people who are also passionate about craft beer.
Donald loves the quality of MA craft beers -- from the variety, to the styles, and the local freshness -- he says you can’t beat the selection offered in our state. “They aren’t mass produced and it shows,” he says. “You can tell they take pride in their products.” His favorite breweries include Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Co., Castle Island, and Jack’s Abby. He’s an IPA fan and enjoys beer with big hoppy flavors. You can often find Donald enjoying a Hair Raiser from Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing, which is his favorite beer of the moment. Cheers to you Donald. Thanks for supporting MA Beer!
David Hanks was Originally introduced to craft beer while working a summer job slinging suds. From there he discovered small local breweries that offered a flavorful variety which led to his exploration of the Massachusetts craft beer scene. The flavor and quality quench his thirst but he also enjoys supporting local businesses that help our state’s economy grow and thrive. His favorite breweries? Wachusett Brewing, Flying Dreams and Slumbrew. David enjoys New England IPAs, lagers and darker beers but says he’s always open to trying something news. “My favorite beer is Wachusett’s Mass Soul because they create variations off of their original recipe,” he says. “Good beer recipes never disappear because someone will continue the tradition by acquiring the recipe and giving it new and continued life.” Thank you David, for being a Master Massachusetts Beer Taster! Keep on touring!
Nat Alderman spent four years in Germany as a kid. Every town had its own brewery (and the beer was cheaper than Coca-Cola). Twenty-three years ago IncrediBREW opened a brew-on-premise in Nashua, NH. He became a regular and rediscovered that fresher is better. Nat loves the great variety among the Massachusetts brewers: German lagers, Belgian saisons and abbey styles, English pub ales, and New England IPAs. While some brewers are consistently producing the same good brews and others change their brews from batch to batch, he says all are worth trying. His favorite styles influence his choice of favorite breweries – from Medusa Brewing Co., for its Sir Terry and Blighty, to Jack's Abby/Springdale thanks to Smoke & Dagger, Red Tape and Kellerbraus, to River Styx for its stouts, saisons, and IPAs. What can you find in Nat’s glass? Springdale Supporter Scarf - best described as a tailgate ale, brewed in collaboration with the Midnight Riders. Keep lifting those local pints Nat! We are grateful to have you as an official Beer Trail Commander. Cheers!
Jillian Farrell hasn’t always been the Beer Trail Commander you see in her photo. It wasn’t until a move to Western Mass and a taste of New City Ginger Beer before she discovered just how brilliant and fun beer could be. For Jillian, becoming a Beer Trail Commander was about more than beer. Together with her love, JP Reardon, she fell in love with every nook and cranny of Massachusetts - who knew the North Shore had so much to offer? Jillian’s favorite breweries include Drunken Rabbit, Homefield Brewing, Medusa, Barnstable Brewing, Barrel House Z, Lord Hobo, and the list goes on and on. Each one provided a unique experience and a variety of funky flavors. When it comes to taste Jillian loves hefeweizens, a good berliner weisse, and any beer that rested on a fruit. The Barnstable Brewing Hefeweizen is currently her #1, but she can’t wait to keep tasting and see what tops it!
What started with a bachelor party beer tour, Massachusetts breweries evolved into long distance cycling destinations for JP... but when his girlfriend, Jillian Farrell, casually suggested becoming Beer Trail Commanders it became a combination grand tour and masterclass in all things Massachusetts and beer. JP loved planning strategic trips to hit multiple breweries along with local art museums, historic sites, and even though it was a tough loss, the Celtics-Cavaliers game 7 at the TD Garden. Having to pick only a couple breweries as the best is like having to pick which sip of beer is most satisfying, but his top tier of breweries, in no particular order include Abandoned Building Brewing, Drunken Rabbit, Homefield, Medusa, River Styx, all of the breweries in Everett, Winter Hill, Barnstable Brewing, Castle Island, Barrel House Z, Lord Hobo, and Brewery Slivaticus, but you’ll have to go to them to find out what makes them special. JP has a tendency for juicy NEIPAs and DIPAs during the summer and dark stouts in the winter, but is always impressed by thoughtful experimental brews. He is currently still dreaming of Barnstable Brewing’s outstanding Vanilla Milkshake IPA, but he does have one of Amherst Brewing Company’s “Jessica” left in the fridge that he is reverentially waiting for the perfect moment to enjoy.
Kern’s appreciation for craft and local beer started while in grad school in Ithaca, NY and further developed as a regular customer at Redbones after moving to Boston. He really didn’t start visiting breweries regularly until a few years ago when Aeronaut opened up down the street from his apartment. The MBG Beer Trail served as a good excuse to get around to parts of the state he may not have visited otherwise. He enjoyed sampling the wide variety of beer available. While Aeronaut is still his favorite local brewery, he also likes to visit Springdale/Jack's Abby for both the beer (especially sours) and the food at the beer hall, and Bone Up for their takes on traditional ales and regular cask releases. While his favorite styles are sours and British-style ales he’s also developed an appreciation for IPAs while trying the ones brewed at Aeronaut. What’s in his glass these days? Aeronaut's Imperial Galaxic Cirrocumulus IPA is his go-to when it's on tap at the brewery, and he usually has a few cans of Jack's Abby House Lager in my fridge at home. Cheers Kern!
Andrew Razov caught the craft beer bug four years ago after traveling to breweries with his brother as a way to explore different towns across Massachusetts. They saw it as a fun way to visit different places, learn about the brewing process, and enjoy a variety of different beers. Andrew says he particularly loves the close community aspect of the craft beer scene as well as the thriving growth. His top three favorite breweries are Springdale, Exhibit ‘A’ and River Styx. He enjoys New England IPAs as well as sours. His favorite beer of the moment? Dog and Pony show by Notch Brewing that fits with the current the fall vibes. Welcome to the Beer Trail Commander family Andrew!
Drinking local is super important to Elizabeth O’Neill, who is currently a part of the MBG family and employed at Turtle Swamp Brewing Co. She believes that the local beer culture is about a lot more than the beer itself. In her own words: “It’s about community and relationships in addition to the physical beer - all these things go together, and I’ve been lucky to work at a place that values all this.” Her New Year’s Resolution for 2018 was to visit at least 100 breweries in MA, and she’s almost there. She says the journey has been super exciting and taken her to many places she would never have otherwise have gone to. We can’t wait to count you among our Beer Trail Conquerors Liz - keep touring and tasting, Thank you for all you do to elevate #MABeer!
It all started in 2013 when I was living in Western MA, about half an hour from this small shack of a brewery in Monson called Treehouse. My girlfriend, Alison and I were looking for something to do on a Saturday. We stumbled upon the MA Brewers Guild passport listing a bunch of breweries in in towns we’d never heard of. That day, we found an activity we both loved: finding great beer in weird spots around the state we’d never been to before.
Massachusetts is home to so much variety, which is why I love the craft beer here so much. We’ve tried many fantastic IPAs (Treehouse’s ‘Julius’ stands out), but my favorite beer remains a great session or well-balanced Pilsner.
By far, our favorite place to sit out and enjoy a casual beer is Notch Brewing Co. in Salem, where the views of the water and never ending parade of dogs makes it a great weekend afternoon spot in the summer.
Welcome to the team Beer Trail Commander Brian!
Dana Miller began his adventures into craft beer when he was introduced to a variety of Samuel Adams beers. Early in 2018, Dana and his friend Alan Matta, who has also earned the title of Beer Trail Commander, decided to explore the Massachusetts Beer Trail. “We thought we would visit a few here or there – maybe 10 – 12, primarily in the Southeast and Metro Boston Regions. We had absolutely no expectations to go as far as we did, but yet, here we are!” Dana enjoys MA Craft Beer because of the varieties available and the care and passion local brewers have for their craft. His three favorite breweries have been Samuel Adams in Boston, Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham, and the Ipswich Ale Brewery in Ipswich, all for their variety of beers on tap that he enjoys. He tends to like beers on the malty side but also enjoys many of the sour kind as well as the German-style beers. Dana’s favorite beer at this moment is Samuel Adams Sam ’76 on tap. Welcome to the wall of heroes Dana!
In his own words:
“I discovered the app at the Black Hat Brew Works in Bridgewater with my wife in January. Reached out to a friend Dana Miller (also a recent Beer Trail Commander & Conqueror) and thought it might be fun to visit a couple of local of breweries each month with our wives (in fact, they too visited each brewery but did not use the app to track!). The goal of two or three a month lead to a number of Saturdays visiting breweries in all five regions, a couple of weekend trips to Western MA to get the Western Pioneer badge and culminated in a total of 102 different breweries visited during 2018.
Best thing about the app was finding nearby craft breweries and having the chance to sample the subtle taste differences each brewery put into their offerings and to try different styles. The app also allow us to see many small towns we normally would not have visited and enjoyed how many breweries were housed in old mills or restored buildings, retaining the old charm and history.
My favorite breweries are Widowmaker Brewing, Northampton Brewery and Fort Hill Brewery. Each offers a different experience (size, games, dining and scenic views) as well as a wide selection of brews. While I started out favoring lagers, my taste has migrated more to stouts and brown ales, with my favorite at the present time being the Donut Shop Coffee Stout at Widowmaker. Looking forward to more breweries to conquer in 2019!”
Thank you for loving and supporting #MABeer Alan!
M2 & JOANNE M.
Mike, a business owner in NH, and Joanne, a MA school administrator, reside in Holden. They have turned a hobby into a craft brewery passion and have enjoyed visiting all 147 breweries (listed thru January’19) together over the past year. They discovered the MBG APP at 3-Cross last February, and have used the Mass Craft Beer Trail as their compass to plan fun weekend trips to stay at B & B’s and enjoy the unique culture and characters of the craft beer community throughout the state.
They tend to favor Hazy, Double IPA’s, Imperial’s, NE Wheat, and smooth Stouts. The hoppier the better!
They have favorites in each of the regions, but particularly enjoy the Cape & Islands, Central, and Western MA. Some highlights (in no particular order) include Bad Martha’s, Moby Dick, Greater Good, Barrington Brewery, Lefty’s, Wachusett, Wormtown, Fort Hill, Medusa, Westfield River, Lord Hobo, Moon Hill, and of course, Treehouse. Beer. Food. Music. (in that order)
Along with meeting very approachable brewers throughout the state eager to share advice, and fellow Beer Commanders touring the trail, they learned many aspects of the brewing process culminating with a great experience brewing their own IPA (7.5% ABV) at Barleycorn’s in Natick.
In his own words:
“I first got into craft beer in 2011, when I was living in NJ. I read about the craft beer scene in Vermont; and decided to drive up with my friends Jeff, Nancy, and Leslie to complete the Vermont Brewery Challenge. Since moving up to MA a little over 2 years ago, I have been trying to visit as many breweries as possible in both MA and NH, with a goal of completing brewery challenges in all 3 of the northern New England states.
My favorite types of beer are stouts, German style wheat beers and dunkels, as well as Belgian style Tripels and Dubbels; but I generally enjoy most styles. Some of my favorite breweries in MA have been Winter Hill Brewing, Cambridge Brewing Company, Down The Road Beer Co, Medusa Brewing Co, Turtle Swamp Brewing, Exhibit A Brewing Co, and Barrington Brewery and Restaurant. They all provided a great combination of amazing beers with friendly service in unique settings. Down The Road's spacious warehouse setting with a quirky collection of furniture and pinball machines differs entirely from Turtle Swamp's smaller setting with a cozy upstairs lounge, or Great Barrington's rustic restaurant setting with a great collection of international beer cans and steins; yet each of these 3 were equally enjoyable to visit. My current favorite beer would probably be The Cat's Meow from Exhibit A, one of the final beers I had on the last segment of this brewery challenge. I also really enjoyed the Sgt. Pepper from Cambridge Brewing Company, which was one of the first MA beers I tried after moving up here, and just about anything that Winter Hill makes. Thank you to Laura for letting me drag you along to so many breweries!”
Welcome to Commander level Steven! We are glad you are here.
In his own words: I started drinking local beer shortly after my 21st birthday. Going through the typical college experience, I was familiar with all of the main stream big brewery options, and felt that the pale yellow fizzy options didn't have great complexity or flavor. They were great for a tailgate, but not for sitting with some friends and having a good time watching a game or hanging out. Fortunately we had Samuel Adams available in most bars and restaurants, along with a few other beers that aren't around anymore (Pete's Wicked Ales, Tremont IPA, the original Ipswich IPA). In many ways, I grew up drinking craft beer, and as more local options became available, I started drinking those on a regular basis. There are many things that excite me about MA Craft Beer, but the top one is having that local community experience at the taprooms. Bog Iron in Norton is a great example of how a small brewery and taproom becomes a local destination, where people come to hang out and enjoy good beer. Belgians, Pale Ales and Marzens are my favorites. with favorite beers ranging from Notch's Infinite Jest, and Jack's Abby's Shipping out of Boston being a very close second.
Thank you for supporting MA Beer Brian!
In Her Own Words:
I started drinking MA craft beer not long after I turned 21, but, I definitely stuck to ciders and citrusy/fruity IPAs. It was about 18 months ago that I started to venture into things besides my trusty sweet tipples (thanks to my partner Brian, also on this list ), and I haven’t looked back! Last year was the year of the stout, and this year, I’m attempting to branch out into pale ales!
I love MA craft beer both for the amazing creativity, but also the stories of how the breweries came to be, especially in the small communities across MA. So many of the serve as the local watering holes, and I love meeting people who also enjoy good beer. Top breweries for me right now are probably Bone Up (love the snacks, the variety of brews, and the space) and Barrel House Z (the first beer I ever had there, Adeline, convinced me that stouts were the bomb, and I have yet to have a beer there that doesn’t top my list!). True to my 21 year old self, I still love the juice bombs, but I’m just as likely now to throw a darker beer into the mix. MA craft beer never ceases to amaze and surprise me and keep pushing me to try new styles and places!
So glad we could covert you into a beer lover, Serrie! Welcome to the #MABeer community.
In his own words:
Me and my girlfriend Lauren (who I alsocompleted the passport challenge with), have done two brewery passport programs in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, Michigan where we became “brewsaders,” starting the never ending quest for the perfect brew. I love the sheer amount of breweries there are to try in Massachusetts. My top 3 favorite breweries include - 1) Tree House, it is like the Disney land of brewery locations — great beer and great facility 2) Widowmaker, BEST shuffle board table I have played on in my experience so far. A lot of fun activities and a fun space to knock back a few pints 3) Samuel Adam's, being from Michigan it is the tourist in me for the novelty factor. Favorite style of beer - Coffee style, Porters and Stouts. They pair well with any event. But the best part about taking on the MBG’s Mass Craft Beer trail was getting to complete the adventure with the love of my life as well as becoming a Beer Trail Commander.
In her own words:
Touring Massachusetts with my best friend, who happens to double as my boyfriend, was an amazing experience! We are lucky enough to have careers that take us around the country and I find that good local beer is the best way to experience new places. My personal favorite beer style is anything sour, but a good wild ale or saison will do in a pinch. River Styx's Sour Patch Tart Ale is just one of the many memorable & delicious beers I tried, and their beer selection is just diverse and interesting enough to please a crowd while impressing even the snobbiest of beer-lovers.
Having been to MANY breweries across five states, I have to say that Massachusetts is something special. Though we are moving away for now, the memories of exploring new places and trying about 400 new brews is something I will not soon forget. A huge thank you to all the breweries who hosted us and the MBG affiliates who helped us turn a hobby into a lifelong passion.
A huge thank YOU right back atcha’ from the MBG family for supporting our breweries and small business. Cheers and safe travels on your next journey!