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TGIF Craft Beer Salute of the Week

Hyper-Local Craft Brew TastingGreetings from the Hyper-Local Craft Brew Tasting at the super cool, Arts at the Armory in Somerville. If you missed Saturday’s event, make sure to check out the Armory’s twitter feed for their next one. This tasting was truly one of the more memorable in the area mixing established microbreweries like Cambridge Brewing Company, Sam Adams, and Narragansett, up-and-comers like Somerville’s own Slumbrew, and the “so happy we’ve just been introduced,” breweries like Nightshift Brewing.

I tried two exceptionally interesting beers at the tasting and wanted to highlight them in this week’s Salute. The first one comes from Nightshift, a brewery with roots in a Davis Square apartment. The three founders, Robert Burns, Michael O’Mara, and Michael Oxton moved to what they describe their nano-brewery in Everett when their homebrewing hobby turned into a viable product that people were demanding. At the Hyper-Local Craft Brew Tasting, Nightshift had three beers on tap, but the one I was really curious about was their Viva Habañera, a Rye ale brewed with agave nectar and aged on habañero peppers. If you’re an adventurous beer drinker, this one is for you. This delicious infusion is only available on tap at some local bars right now, like Somerville’s Independent, Flatbread Pizza, and Red Bones. However, the trio’s website tells me bottles are available at our highly recommended and favorite beer store, the Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont Center, so be sure to stop by there if you want a sixer to take home.

Speaking of taking things home, I returned from the event with a nice new nugget of knowledge thanks to Cambridge Brewing Company’s brew master Will Meyers. Meyers introduced me to a rare kind of beer that the CBC is currently brewing called Weekapaug gruit. For those of you who like to blend beer and history, this is certainly the beer for you. A gruit is basically the receipt for what beer was like during the middle ages, an unhopped herbal beer. Meyers explained that back in the days of feudalism and Visigoths, folks mainly brewed beer with whatever was on hand. Since hops weren’t as abundant as they are now, people brewed beer with herbs and spices that were readily around.

My main piece of advice with this beer is to drop all the expectations you have of what beer should taste like before you take your first sip. The CBC’s interpretation of a gruit tasted like a brew that would be delicious to pair with sushi: it had a very mild body and was lightly effervescent. I could even taste some ginger in there, and sure enough, Meyers told me he added ginger to the sweet gale, yarrow, wild rosemary, Labrador tea, licorice root and nettles that his gruit is brewed with.

That’s it for this week’s TGIF Craft Beer Salute. Whatever it is your filling your glass with today, cheers to you!

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