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Hoppy Boston's Beer Thoughts and Links: September 2021

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Beer Thoughts September 2021Hoppy Boston

Another month in the books, another slightly late roundup of all the month's beer news from me! One new non-review article from me this month: the pandemic has sucked but there is one beer-related silver lining, the proliferation of beer gardens at local breweries. I for one am hoping many of these outdoor spaces stay open long after the pandemic is over.

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Definitive AleHoppy Boston

Popular Portland brewery Definitive Brewing suffered a brutal loss this month with the sudden passing of co-founder Dylan Webber. He was a big part of the local beer scene, Webber was previously the first head brewer at Mast Landing, and it was great to see the outpouring of support by Portland area breweries and beer fans. My thoughts are with his family and friends during this terrible time.

I am a sucker for beer awards festivals, where breweries enter their beers to be blind tasted and judged by experts and then awards are given for the best. I realize that these awards don't mean a ton, I doubt people are flocking to a brewery because they won a medal at some festival, but it is still cool to read through the lists of winners. A couple big ones dropped this month, including the US Beer Open, which featured a few local winners. A smattering of local breweries also picked up hardware at the Great American Beer Festival, including Allagash, which was named mid-sized brewery of the year.

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Night Shift DynastyHoppy Boston
Night Shift Distributing is shutting down and selling the distribution rights to some of it's profile (including the Night Shift brand) to a larger distributor. While I understand some of the struggles involved with running a small distribution business and competing with big distributors, and I can appreciate the need to maximize and scale their business, this move is also screwing over a number of small breweries that were being distributed by NSD. Night Shift Distributing attracted these breweries by selling them on a distributor that was run by a craft brewery and knew the needs of craft brewers, so leaving these small breweries out in the cold, with only a few weeks to find a new distributor, during a pandemic, is really poor form.
Jeff Alworth has published an updated version of his quintessential book The Beer Bible. If anyone in my life is looking for a Christmas present idea, well....hint, hint.
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Baxter Brewing HayrideHoppy Boston

A chemistry student at Bates College in Lewiston is helping Baxter Brewing do quality control checks on their beer. I wish I had that opportunity as a chemistry major in college, it would have been a very cool project!

Many Cambridge area residents were distressed when popular watering hole The People's Republik shut down. Now a group of former employees are opening up a new spot nearby called New Republik, with many original staff members on board plus menu and decor inspired by the old space.

It's been a few months, but I finally have a new Clickbait Article of the Month! If you want to win this "award" here is a good formula; a "best of" listicle, highlighting a popular style (like NEIPA), and covering an area where that is way too large for any writer to possible taste even a small fraction of the potential beers (like the whole USA). Congratulation to Vinepair on hitting all of those marks with their Best Hazy IPA's you can buy year-round article.

That is all for this month, hoping everyone is enjoying the fall weather and some awesome fall beers. Thanks again for reading Hoppy Boston and following/liking/commenting/sharing on social media!

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Hoppy Boston is a website and series of social media accounts that highlights the great craft beer being produced in New England. Articles include beer reviews, brewery profiles, industry news and notes, and much more.

Boston, MA
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Tree House Brewing Doubleganger Double IPA

I think it is crucial for every brewery to have a "calling card" style, a beer style or set of styles that they consistently excel at. If your brewery make awesome pale lagers, saisons, or sours than fans of that style will become regular customers, and will eventually try the other beers you create. While the vast majority of local breweries make NEIPAs, and a shockingly large number make more versions of this style than all other beers combined, there are few that make them consistently great. With the need to constantly rotate in "new" IPAs even some quality breweries have duds in the mix or struggle to maintain quality batch-to-batch. While Tree House brews beer in a variety of different styles, NEIPAs are their calling card, people aren't waiting in line just to buy their brown ale or ESB. I have been especially impressed with Tree House's double IPAs, they make a massive number of different DIPAs and many are exceptionally well done, hitting the right balance between huge hop flavor and easy drinkability for a big beer. I am clearly not the only one who enjoys what Tree House is putting out, in addition to their massive expansions at their Charlton brewery they are opening two new locations in Deerfield and Sandwich. One Tree House DIPA I grabbed on a recent stop at the brewery was Doubleganger, a massively hopped version of Doppleganger (which is the imperial version of Alter Ego, one of their popular "single" IPAs). Tree House Doubleganger is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz cans.

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