With so many brews on the shelves, it can be hard to choose. So from time to time, we choose for you. Here is a selection of five — representing a range of drinking experiences — worth getting your hands on right now.
House Lager, Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers
You should be drinking lagers. Brothers Sam, Eric, and Jack Hendler have been convincing Massachusetts residents of this since 2011, when they founded Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham.
Jack’s Abby makes hoppy lagers and sour lagers — they even brew one with peanut butter and jelly. But the brewery’s best lager may be its simplest. House Lager is inspired by the versions found in Franconia, Germany. It’s 5.2 percent alcohol by volume, with a full, malty body and just a hint of bitterness. It’s available this year for the first time in 15-packs of cans.
Proème, Idle Hands Craft Ales
This farmhouse ale wasn’t supposed to be a regular offering from the Malden brewery, but plans change. The beer gets its austerity from a French farmhouse yeast strain, and is then dry-hopped with a focus on Mosaic hops. The final product is bone-dry, with flavors of tropical fruit.
Lush, Frost Beer Works
There’s a beer in Vermont the locals swear by, and it isn’t made by the Alchemist, or brewers Shaun Hill or Sean Lawson. Located southeast of Burlington in Hinesburg, Frost Beer Works makes hop-forward beers to covet. Lush is a super-smooth double IPA made with hops from both hemispheres (the brewery won’t say which), with pronounced flavors of mango and cantaloupe. Founder Garin Frost says he’s flattered by the attention the brewery has received since opening in 2015.
“We are really not trying to make beers that stand out, but rather make great beer,” says Frost.
As with many other desired Vermont beers, you’ll have to drive to the state to get your hands on Lush and other Frost offerings.
Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Founders Brewing Co.
This year’s KBS is different. Released within the last month, the 2017 version of this sought-after beer presents with heavy doses of cold-brewed coffee and rich chocolate. That’s in contrast to last year’s, which was spicier and less chocolaty. Some stores have special release days for KBS, but I recently found a couple of four-packs sitting on a store shelf ready to go home. Make sure to cellar a bottle or two.
Ginger Beer, Bantam Cider Co.
Bantam makes dry, balanced, worthy ciders, so it’s no surprise Dana Masterpolo and Michelle da Silva’s foray into alcoholic ginger beer is a total success. To make the first batch, the Bantam team ground and fermented 1,500 pounds of fresh ginger root. Ginger beer is sweeter than regular beer, but this one is spicy, fizzy, and refreshing.Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen