I love lists.
Lists almost always elicit debate. Everyone has opinions and people want you to know why your list is wrong.
I was excited to see the latest issue of Boston Magazine dedicated a large portion of its magazine to beer this month – I recommend picking it up.
One of the articles they have is they pick “The 15 Best New England Microbrews,” and they do a really good job. However, I disagree with some picks, so I’m going to give my picks. The list will feature only New England beers available in bottles. Boston Magazine’s pick will be listed first as “BM,” and my pick will follow as “MINE.”
1. Farmhouse Ale/Saison.
BM : Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project’s Jack D’or.
Mine: Mystic Brewery’s Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Fermented Saison.
Both are excellent beers, and you can’t go wrong with either, but I like the flavors the barrel imparts on Mystic’s saison.
2. Imperial/Strong Ale.
BM: Cambridge Brewing Company’s Audacity of Hops.
MINE: The Alchemist’s Heady Topper.
Heady Topper is just a personal love right now. I can’t get enough of this imperial IPA.
3. Pale Ale
BM: Berkshire Brewing Company’s Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale.
MINE: Maine Beer Company’s Peeper Ale.
Peeper Ale smells so good, it just makes you want to drink one after the other. That’s a good quality for a beer.
BM: Slumbrew’s Porter Square Porter.
MINE: Berkshire Brewing Company’s Coffeehouse Porter.
Berkshire’s Coffeehouse Porter is a New England classic for good reason. It’s darn tasty.
5. English Pale/Bitter Ale
BM: Shipyard Brewing Company’s Old Thumper
MINE: McNeill’s Extra Special Bitter.
McNeill’s beers can be fantastic, and this is one of those.
6. Belgian-style Tripel/Quad
BM: Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project’s Baby Tree.
MINE: Exact same pick
Great beer, great pick
7. Brown Ale
BM: Ipswich Brewery’s Dark Ale
MINE: Peak Organic’s Brown Ale
Two excellent beers, but I have to give the nod to Peak Organic’s Brown Ale.
BM: Maine Beer Company’s Mean Old Tom
MINE: Wormtown’s Sweet Tats.
If you follow my blog, you know I love Sweet Tats. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla etc. Mmmmm….
9. White/Wheat Beer
BM: Allagash’s White.
Another great pick. Hard not to pick Allagash.
10. Amber Lager
BM: Cape Ann’s Fisherman’s Brew.
MINE: Magic Hat’s Vinyl.
Both are really good, easy drinking brews, but Vinyl finds its way into my fridge better.
11. Session Ale
BM: Baxter Brewing Company’s Pamola Xtra Pale Ale.
MINE: Notch Session Ale.
Session is not really a style, so I just picked the low alcohol beer I drink most awesome from New England.
12. India Pale Ale
BM: Smuttynose Brewing Company IPA.
MINE: Maine Beer Company’s Lunch.
Maine Beer Company does nothing but fantastic beers. This is one of Maine’s best.
13. Amber Ale
BM: Opa-Opa Brewing Company’s Red Rock Amber
MINE: Maine Beer Company’s Zoe.
A repeat of #12. If you see a Maine Beer Company label it because the beer will be awesome.
14. Pilsner/Light Lager
BM: Notch Brewing Company’s Pils
MINE: Samuel Adams Noble Pils
I usually buy singles, and rarely buy six packs. I’ve already bought two sixers of Noble Pils in less than two weeks. That means it’s good.
15. Fruit Beer
BM: Magic Hat Brewing Company’s #9
MINE: Cisco Brewer’s Pechish Woods.
Cisco’s Wood Series of beers are some of the best in New England. This one is made with peaches and is phenomenal.
OK, now it’s your turn to judge. What do you think of the two lists? Which beers would you add or take off the list? Let me know.