Friday, August 3, 2018

Brewery Reviewery: Widowmaker Brewing (Braintree, MA)

It's that time again.  Time to sample some locally brewed suds and craft another Brewery Reviewery!

Last weekend my friends and I took a gander at the South Shore's newest purveyor of craft beer, Widowmaker Brewing in Braintree, MA.  Being local residents we'd heard about this place for months (They finally opened in October), so it was a highly anticipated visit.

Widowmaker is located at 220 Wood Road in Braintree, and their simple, no-frills approach to brewing is reflected in the taproom space.  The venue has an industrial warehouse feel, with long wooden tables and benches scattered about the room, and seating both at the bar and against the walls.  Dispensers at one corner give out Cheezits and pretzels for a palate cleanser in between tastings, and in the evening they'll sometimes have pizza, plus you'll often see food trucks outside.  The table seating includes little games and puzzles for an icebreaker, or to keep your brain occupied when drinking alone.  There's also plenty of merch available if you're a fanatic and need a T-shirt or a glass (I'm partial to the goblet-style tulip glasses myself).

Overall the space is fairly barebones, but still comfortable and inviting.  They could use a few more tables, as the seating is a bit scarce for a room that big.  Fortunately it wasn't mobbed on a Saturday afternoon, so we had plenty of room to sit.

But how's the beer you ask?  Well, let's dive in and drink our way out, shall we?

I tasted six of the eight available beers (not sure how often they rotate flavors), and enjoyed most of them quite well.

Ecstasy of Gold, American IPA, 7.2% ABV: Hazy, light-copper coloring and a pungent fruit aroma when poured.  Balanced fruit taste with a sweet, malty backbone.

This one is just as it sounds - hops-forward with a bit of a floral, fruity taste/aroma.  I'm not an IPA lover but this is pretty enjoyable.

50-Year Storm, American DIPA, 7.8% ABV: Vaya con Dios!  50-Year Storm pours a hazy gold with a thick white head.  A well-balanced beer with floral notes upfront and a grapefruit finish. Australian hops and lots of them!

Gotta love a good Point Break reference.  This one is more balanced than Ecstasy, with the hops coming across more subtly and a bit of a creamy texture.  Not bad at all.

Greenbush Pale Ale, 6.8% ABV: Greenbush pours a golden haze and emits an instant passion fruit aroma.  What started as a single-hop Mosaic pale ale has evolved over time, but still remains over 80% Mosaic.  A dry finish to one of our of favorite offerings.

Another pale ale, this one also has a pretty well-balanced flavor and the fruit helps temper the hops.

Donut Shop Coffee Stout, 6.5% ABV: The flavor of Donut Shop is multi-layered.  It pours a thick, caramel head with an aroma of dark coffee and hints of chocolate and roast.  At initial taste you get sweetness up front and a nice silky mouthfeel, rounding out to a subtle coffee finish.  Cold Brewed by Widowmaker Brewing, using roasted beans from Red Eye Coffee Roasters: 3 Otis Street in Hingham MA

This was my favorite of the day.  A moderate coffee-forward flavor but still pretty light on its feet.  It's odd, I'm not a coffee aficionado (I drink it at work because it's free and refuse to ever pay for coffee) but I love coffee stouts.  This had richness and complexity but didn't feel weighted down like a really heavy stout can.  Highly recommended.

com-RAD, Russian Imperial Stout, 10.1% ABV: We decided to have some fun with Donut Shop and see if we could bring the smooth creaminess of our in house favorite to a big textured Russian Imperial. Utilizing additional hops, Belgian Candi syrup, lactose and of course coffee, we could not be more pleased with the results!

Similar to the Donut Shop, but a bit smoother with notes of cocoa, and again surprisingly light, especially for an Imperial Stout.  My second-favorite.

Old Oaken Farmhouse, Saison, 8.1% ABV: Our Best of Boston Award Winner, this beer is a hybrid of a Belgian Saison and a hoppy American pale ale. Old Oaken pours with a big foamy white head, strong carbonation and a bright golden color.

This was essentially a Belgian IPA, with the White Labs-style yeast flavor in the front and the hops bringing up the rear.  I generally prefer a straight-up Saison, but this wasn't too shabby.

All in all, Widowmaker offers a relaxing, simple beer tasting experience, and while I might suggest adding a Hefeweizen or a basic Belgian offering, there's a fair amount of variety on tap so far.  They do trivia on Thursday nights and food trucks Fridays and Saturdays.  Check it out!

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