Idle Hands

Bring some local pride to the table this Thanksgiving #MABeer 

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Anything wine can do, beer can do better - so clear the wine glasses and make room for Mass. made craft beer as you set the table this Thanksgiving.

From the buttery stuffing and mashed potatoes, tangy cranberry sauce, flavorful turkey and creamy pies, there’s a local offering that can hold up to any side or dessert you can dish up. 

We unfortunately can’t help you navigate political conversations around the dinner table, or make your in-laws more bearable, but we can help you navigate the craft beer aisle with a list of beers brewed right here in Massachusetts. 

And when all else fails, just change the subject and talk about how great the beer is …

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First Thanksgiving on a Sour Planet!, Aeronaut 
A tart wheat ale, brewed with 180 lbs. of Massachusetts grown apples and exotic cinnamon. A pleasantly refreshing sour with prominent apple pie notes along with warming autumnal spices.

“Gose Well With Cranberries” and “Gose Well With Pumpkin Pie,” Second Wind Brewing Co.
Second Wind Brewing Co., released two beers just in time for Thanksgiving. A split a batch of “Gose Well...” with the first made with pureed pumpkin and holiday spices and the second made with pureed cranberries. Both 4.7 ABV and mildly tart. Available for sale in the taproom only.  

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Kill Your Idles: Crantastic, Idle Hands 
A sour ale brewed with cranberry and blood orange puree then back sweetened with Lactose to balance the acidity. Full of cranberry flavor with just the right amount of citrus notes to keep the beer interesting. The addition of lactose allows for the flavors of the fruit to stand out among the acidic character of the base beer.

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Cranberry Wheat Ale, Stone Cow
An American wheat ale bursting with fresh cranberry flavor and aroma. This trusty Thanksgiving sidekick can hang throughout the entire meal, from first bite to last sip. Especially great for cranberry sauce lovers. 

Goody Two Shoes Kölsch-Style Ale, Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Co. 
This well-carbonated traditional Kölsch is a great partner to Thanksgiving dinner. Higher carbonation helps cut the richness of the turkey, gravy and stuffing and the light body and low ABV won't fill you up, leaving more room for pie. 

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Rising Wind, Moby Dick Brewing Co.
A medium bodied, well balanced German-style, Dortmund/Export lager. What’s a Dortmund/Export lager you ask? As far as German golden lagers go, it breaks down like this: Pilsners are hoppy, Munich lagers are malty, and Dortmund/Export lagers are well balanced. This beer goes well with chicken, turkey and pasta as well as fatty flavorful fish like salmon, swordfish or tuna. 

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Sweet Brown, Castle Island
Castle Island’s limited fall release, Sweet Brown, is a brown ale brewed with sweet potatoes. By including this ingredient, the sweet potatoes are able to provide a rich complexity to the mouthfeel that helps distinctly characterize the beer. Toasted malts also provide deep roasted chocolate and caramel notes that round out the beer and allows it to stand up to any Thanksgiving feast.

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Slumpkin Pumpkin, Somerville Brewing Co.
It’s still Pumpkin beer season. Somerville Brewing recommends Slumkin Pumpkin to pair with dinner and pie. Awarded a Top 10 in the US by Rate My Pumpkins, this beer delights with fresh sugar pumpkin and a tiny hint of spice.

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Storm Door Porter, RiverWalk
When the days get shorter and the shadows longer, the storm door goes on signaling the end of summer. So we meet the season head on with a beer sturdy enough for the harsher weather. Vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks enhance our rich dark malt to create a warming finish to sustain us all until the warmer weather returns.  

With the weather set to bring us the coldest Thanksgiving on record, Storm Door Porter pairs well with roaring fires, full bellies and hearts filled with thanks. Rated the #10 Porter in the country in 2018 by Paste magazine, this beer is the perfect choice for hiding from the weather and relatives alike.

Skwäshbuckle Imperial Porter, Turtle Swamp Brewing Co. 
This beer is named after the linguistic and phonetic spelling of squash, because umlauts are fun. It also shares a surname with Jim Buckle, the New England farmer who grew the 100 pounds of various baking squash that went into this beer. This rich and hearty limited offering is brewed with squash and spices, and pours dark brown with ruby red highlights, foaming up with a frothy, mocha colored head. Brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and clove, the initial sip of this porter is surprisingly light with notes of brown sugar and only a hint of the heat from its 10.7% ABV. The finish releases more complex notes of dried fruit, banana, clove, and hints of pine from the Cascade hops. 

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Trappist Holiday Ale, Spencer Brewing Co.
Mahogany in color, wholesome in body, lightly spiced, a heart-warming feast day ale from our table to yours.

MA Breweries Raise Awareness and a Pint to Support Veterans

Joining the Black Ale Project to start an important conversation over a beer

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Former Marine and non-combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War, Dave Pappas, 47, is partnering with breweries across Massachusetts and the country to support the Black Ale Project, a craft beer initiative to raise money and awareness on behalf of U.S. war veterans.

Pappas, a craft beer lover and former blogger, is tapping into the power of the Massachusetts craft beer industry to support this cause close to his heart. The Black Ale Project, founded in 2015, isn’t a charity organization itself but serves as a conduit to support existing veteran charities. The idea is simple: breweries brew a special dark beer and donate all or part of the proceeds to a veteran charity of their choice.

Bay State breweries Medusa Brewing Company, Wormtown Brewery, and Stone Cow Brewery have already collectively raised more than $11,000 for the New England Center and Home for Veterans, Veterans Inc., and the Boston chapter of Pets for Vets. Castle Island Brewing Company, Idle Hands Craft Ales, and True West Brewing Company currently have their Black Ale Project beer for sale in Massachusetts and will donate to their selected veteran charities once the beer sells out.

“This project was not designed to place a heavy financial burden on the participating breweries, so they choose how much they will donate,” says Pappas. “Whether it’s 100 percent of the proceeds or a dollar a glass, we just ask that breweries be completely transparent with the consumer in regard to their contribution.”

Pappas does not handle the money at any time during the process; each brewery writes a check and delivers it directly to their chosen charity. He will provide a list of local veteran nonprofits that have been vetted by Charity Navigator upon request, and hopes that breweries keep in touch and build long-lasting relationships with these local organizations.

“Every glass of beer poured starts a conversation about the struggles our veterans face,” says Pappas. “Suicide, mental and physical health issues, homelessness – these are topics we want people to talk about and ultimately do something about.”

Massachusetts breweries joining the cause this year include Brewmaster Jack, Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company, Brazo Fuerte Artisanal Beer, Barrel House Z, Henry & Fran Brewing Company, and Bone Up Brewing Company. Wormtown Brewery is also planning a second release later this year.

“We are proud that so many of our Massachusetts breweries are signing onto this project and working to provide support to our service men and women,” says Katie Stinchon, executive director of the Mass Brewers Guild, a nonprofit organization that protects and promotes Mass craft breweries. “Massachusetts craft breweries care about their communities and the ways in which they can make them stronger. We are grateful to the Black Ale Project for bringing this mission and message into tap rooms, backyard barbecues and homes across the Commonwealth and country.”

Supporting the Black Ale Project is easy: buy a beer, help a veteran. For more information, visit blackaleproject.org.

Mass Brewers Guild Hosts two events to Celebrate #MassBeerWeek

BOSTON & HUDSON, MA | This year, the Mass Brewers Guild is working in conjunction with the folks at BeerAdvocate to host and promote Mass Beer Week. 

Power Beer Fest, Saturday, April 29, will kick-off the weeklong celebration of Massachusetts craft beer with more than 60 Mass brewers under one roof – the largest gathering of MA Craft breweries in festival history.

Mass Beer Week will focus exclusively on Massachusetts brewers, their beers, and supporting the beer community.

On Monday, May 1, hosted in partnership with the Rail Trail Flatbread Co. - MA Brewers will take over the taps for a meet the brewer style event and a line-up that’s not to be missed.

Head brewers and owners from Brick & Feather Brewing Co., Castle Island Brewing Co., Idle Hands, Jack’s Abby, Lamplighter Brewing Co., Medusa Brewing Co., Night Shift Brewing and Wormtown will be onsite to raise a pint and mingle, and a special offering from each brewery will be opened every half hour.

The Rail Trail Flatbread Company, one of Massachusetts most renowned beer destinations, is an associate member of the MBG and supports its mission to protect and promote craft brewers and breweries across the Commonwealth. 

The event will be held from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Pay as you consume. The Rail Trail Flatbread Company is located at 33 Main St., Hudson, MA 01749.

For more information about the Mass Beer Week, visit MassBeerWeek.com.