When I started writing about beer in the fall of 2010, I thought I knew a lot about the subject. It turns out that wasn't true -- I've learned far more since. I've gotten to know many great people in the craft beer community -- from the people who run big breweries like Samuel Adams and Harpoon to the folks behind great new outfits such as Slumbrew and Notch to the owners and managers of excellent craft beer bars and shops. At the same time, I've had many rewarding exchanges with readers, and learned from them.
And I've tasted some outstanding beer.
Over the past few years, the beer scene in Boston has undergone a mind-blowing transformation. New brewers, crafting quality beers, are setting up shop left and right. The past year alone has ushered in Jack's Abby, Idle Hands, Slumbrew, Night Shift, and others. More are coming on line soon.
For me, though, the journey ends this week.
Less than two years after I began writing about beer, I'm calling it quits. (The reason: I'm leaving the Globe, and Boston, to
play point guard for the Heat take a position with another media company. My colleague Gary Dzen, whose knowledge of beer runs deep, will take over this blog as well as the 99 Bottles column that runs every other Saturday in the Globe.)
It's been a privilege and a pleasure to sample some of the new beers that are constantly arriving as well as the old stalwarts. As I put away my tasting notes for the last time, I thought I'd reflect on the question I'm most commonly asked by beer drinkers and readers: Which one is your favorite?
The truth is, I don't have a favorite. I could go on about the great Belgian ales -- Orval, Rochefort, Chimay, Westmalle, Gulden Draak, St. Bernardus, Piraat, Houblon Chouffe, Pannepot. I could talk about some of New England's finest -- Allagash Four, Baxter Stowaway IPA, Smuttynose Robust Porter, or anything from the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project.
But I don't even really have a favorite style. I love super-hoppy beers -- The Alchemist's Heady Topper, Weyerbacher Double Simcoe, Moylan's Hopsickle, Avery Maharaja, Stone Ruination, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Troegs Nugget Nectar. Yet in the winter I gravitate toward dark, chewy stouts -- Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, Hoppin' Frog D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer, Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti, North Coast Old Rasputin.
So where to begin? And where to end?
With so many great new beers made by Boston-area brewers, it's probably most apt to end right here. Tomorrow I'll give you my list of the best beers that have come out of Boston in the past few years.