Tag Archives | Brewery

Night Shift Brewing

Night Shift Brewing

On a recent trip to Boston, I had a chance to stop by Night Shift Brewing for a tour and tasting, and was extremely impressed. I made sure to hit all of the breweries I could find in the Boston area, and at the end of the day, Night Shift was easily my favorite of the bunch.

If I had to pick a favorite brewery right now, it would be Almanac Beer Co. I think their Farm to Bottle approach is awesome, their branding is spot on, and their beers are flavorful and unique.

I mention Almanac because I was reminded of them when I visited Night Shift Brewing. I imagine them as long lost brewery brothers, living on either end of the United States, and both brewing incredible beers that define what the microbrew movement is all about.

To see why I made the comparison, consider the following:

Almanac adds seasonal ingredients like blackberries, plums, and oranges, sourced from local, sustainable farms; Night Shift adds unique ingredients like habanero peppers, rose hips, and cacao nibs to their beer, giving each a unique and very distinctive flavor.

Almanac just released a Honey Saison; Night Shift has a Bee Tea that’s made with orange blossom honey.

Almanac uses distinct labels that bring each beer’s story to life; Night Shift uses distinct labels that have the ABV, batch #, and bottled on date all written on by hand. (Note to other breweries: Both Almanac and Night Shift put the recommended glass type on the label. This is extremely helpful, and I encourage other breweries to follow their lead.)

I mention all of these factors because, if it wasn’t for the fact that I live on the opposite end of the country from Night Shift, it would easily rank alongside Almanac as my favorite brewery.

Night Shift Brewing was founded by three friends that decided to turn their passion for nocturnal brewing into a profession. They started out in a Somerville, MA kitchen, and eventually moved to a nanobrewery in Everett, MA, just outside of Boston.

The brewery itself is located in a… questionable part of town, and if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you could easily miss it. To get there, you basically drive through a run-down, industrial area of the city, and then you turn down a small alley and keep your eyes peeled for a sign on the door.

Night Shift Entrance

Once inside however, you’re greeted with a beer lover’s paradise, and it’s obvious that the three friends behind Night Shift have a passion for great beer. The bar isn’t huge, the tap handles aren’t outlandish, and the cups are plastic, but the guys pouring your beer are the same folks that spend the rest of their days brewing it, and you get the feeling that they could talk about beer every hour of every day and never grow tired of it. Plus, they’re more than happy to give you a tour of their brewery and walk you through the process they use to bring their unique flavors to life.

Night Shift Ingredients

The warehouse they’re in also houses another brewery, Idle Hands Craft Ales, and there’s room for a few more nanobreweries to move in there as well. I can easily imagine the warehouse eventually becoming a home for the mad scientists of the brewing world, working on wild and crazy beers before unleashing them on an unsuspecting public.

As for the beers that Night Shift had on tap, each one was impressive, and I continued to be pleasantly surprised as I worked my way down the tasting list.

Night Shift Taps

There was Taza Stout, brewed with chicory root and ginger and then aged on cacao nibs from Taza Chocolate, which had an impressively chocolate finish, and went perfectly with the bar of Taza Chocolate we also bought from Night Shift.

Then there was Rose, a Saison brewed with rosemary, rose hips, and honey, then aged on crushed pink peppercorns, which resulted in a fragrant, flowery aroma and a nice, spicy finish.

Then there was Bee Tea, a wheat ale brewed with sweet orange peel and orange blossom honey, then aged on organic, loose, gunpowder tea leaves, which results in orange and honey aromas, a sweet flavor, and an herbal finish that brings the tea side of the beer to life.

Finally there was Viva Habanera, a rye ale brewed with agave nectar and aged on habanero peppers. This beer was no joke, and the habanero peppers added quite a bit of kick to the finish, challenging you to take another sip.

My only disappointment of the trip was when I learned that they don’t distribute outside of the Boston area just yet, since it means I’ll have to wait till I make a return trip to get another taste. I did pick up a few bottles for the trip home however, and packed them in my suitcase for a long flight back to the West Coast.

If you’re in the Boston area, I highly encourage you to seek out Night Shift and take the tour. (Just make sure you get good directions first.) It’s a peek into where I hope the brewing world is going, with bold flavors, passionate brewers, and a fun environment that welcomes anyone and everyone to try a new beer and go beyond the basic brew.

[Night Shift Brewing]

Brewing As Art

Brewing As Art

Check out Brewing As Art, a fully functional, Steampunk-inspired home brew machine capable of making 10 gallons of beer per batch.

Made by Scott Van Campen of New York Custom Fabricators and Mark Zappasodi, a New York area home brewer, it’s not just a brewery on wheels, it’s designed to be a mobile performance-art piece, marrying form and function, art and industry, past and present.

The gravity-fed system starts with a hot liquor tank that pours propane-heated water over another tank of mash. The resulting wort is transferred into a third tank, hoisted by a hand-cranked pulley, cooled, and poured into a glass carboy for fermentation.

[Brewing As Art via MAKE]

Bull & Bush Whole Hop Infusion

Bull & Bell Hop Infusion

Bull & Bush is a Pub and Brewery out of Denver, Colorado that’s taking beer in a brand new direction: Tableside Whole Hop Infusion.

Beer drinkers first select from five different hops:

  • Cascade Hops – An aroma variety, used to contribute aroma to beer. Notes of spice, citrus and grapefruit rind.
  • Crystal Hops – An aroma hop, with notes of white fruit, coconut and banana. Super tropical.
  • Chinook Hops – Used for adding bitterness to beer. Notes of herbs with a smoky, spicy, piney character.
  • Nugget Hops – Used for bittering, but also can have an intense herbal, foresty aroma.
  • Northern Brewer Hops – An English variety used for both aromatizing and bittering. Pine foresty, humusy aromas.

When the beer arrives (any house beer can be infused) it’s poured into a french press, along with the selected hop. Then, after the desired amout of ‘steep’ time, the beer is poured into a regular glass and enjoyed.

According to Erik Peterson, Minister of Progress at Bull & Bush,

Brewers have been dry hopping beers for ages to achieve various desired affects, but the process is time consuming and can be very expensive. We thought Whole Hop Infusion would be a great way to allow beer fans to do some of their own experimenting. It has also turned out to be a great educational experience for people who want to learn more about the beer making process. They get to see, feel, smell and taste actual hop cones, possibly for the first time.

If it works, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this trend get adopted by breweries and brew pubs across the country as they seek to cater to the ever expanding palette of beer drinkers everywhere.

[Bull & Bush – Whole Hop Infusion]

Healdsburg Beer Company

Healdsburg Beer Company

According to the site, Healdsburg Beer Company is an independent and family owned artisan brewery that produces less than 1,000 gallons of artisan cask ales per year using only the finest ingredients in laboriously attended to small lots.

According to Kevin McGee, proprietor and brewmaster of Healdsburg Beer Company:

Our brewing philosophy is grounded in the idea of balance. We strive to create beer that balances the flavors that we find in the malt, hops and yeast and create a layered, nuanced and flavorful beer that is still an easy drinking and friendly pint.

Justin Whitaker, himself a homebrewer and the man behind Powell Avenue Brew, had the chance to catch up with Kevin during a recent brew session, and made a video to share more about his operation, his beers, and a special brew he is making for Mr. Healdsburg.

If you’re interested to see what a successful nano-brewery looks like, then check out this video:

[Via: Bay Area Craft Beer]