Friday, October 30, 2009

The Beer Works in Lowell, MA

While in the Boston area on business, I had the opportunity to check out The Beer Works at their Lowell, MA location. I was travelling that day with Scott, my company's manufacturer's representative in the area. Scott was kind enough to take my picture in front of the old brick building of the Beer Works before we entered after a day of selling.

With plenty of interesting beers on the menu we, started off with sampler flight consisting of four beers of our choice from the fourteen house beers listed. We found those beers pretty good enough, so we decided to sample four more with dinner. After that, I really wanted to sample a few more, or have a least a pint or two of my favorites. But Scott, who was doing the days driving, was clearly pacing himself to drive home, so I figured he would appreciate if I restrained myself, too. Of course, dealing with drunk factory sales people is part of any manufacturer's representative's job description. But my sixth sense tells me my company's management would be less than enthusiastic about one of their sales people getting shit-faced on a sales trip and posting the story on the Internet, so it's probably a good idea I stopped when I did.

Anyway, I was fortunate that Scott knew a lot about beer. And while two sales guys together are rarely at a loss for words, it was a lot of fun chatting away about the beers we drank that night, as well as some of the other beers we've had in the past. If I would characterize The Beer Works beers, they tend to go for the maltier session styles, and create something very drinkable, yet flavorful, with a few interesting wrinkles. Here's a run down on what we tried that night.

A really solid Octoberfest beer. Very fresh tasting, with a little caramel tasting malt, and well balanced herbal hop bitterness at the end.

There's a very noticeable level of pumpkin and pumpkin spices like cinnamon and clove in this light ale. It's pretty noticeable, but pretty well blended. They almost over do it, in my opinion, but in the end, this works pretty well.

Red October
I'm going to resist saying something "clever" like, "I'm sure glad I hunted for this Red October" or some other lame movie tie-in. But hey, this was another solid beer, being rather malty and rich with a little roasty, toasty malt. What resulted was very smooth and drinkable.

Dye House IPA
Have you ever gone out on a first date was someone and found her restrained, nuanced, with a character hard to identify, and were intrigued enough to go on a second date, only to finally realize that this "subtle sophistication" was her really not being all that interesting or alluring? Well, this beer did that to me, as I had a second sampler of this, thinking I missed something on the first go around. I hadn't. It's light, a little resiny and that's about it. It's a lot like the local Harpoon IPA. Except for Harpoon IPA is really enhanced by a floral component in the hops, which the Dye House IPA seems to totally lack. I've been out on the East Coast for only two days, and already I need a West Coast brewer to hit me in the face with a bunch of hops.

Milk Stout
Another smooth Beer Works offering, and yes, milky tasting, too. Nice little dark roasted malt bitterness at the end. It's another subdued beer, very easy drinking, and that's a good thing.

Kentucky Common
This was Scott and my favorite beer of the night. It's a Common aged in Bourbon barrels. Another smooth tasting beer, with a very noticeable woody taste, and a dry finish. You might think this would be a highly complex tasting alcohol bomb, but it checks in at around 6% abv, and has clean, uncluttered taste. We both found this very unique and memorable. I've said it before and I'll say it again, beers like this that make visiting places like The Beer Works worth the effort.

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