What's Brewing: Old Powderhouse Wheat Wine Ale

Mystic Brewery's latest release was inspired by New England's thirst for independence.

Photo courtesy of Mystic Brewery.

Powder House Square may seem like an unlikely monument to inspire the creation of a new craft beer — after all, Somerville’s Old Powder House, a former grain mill, went down in history when it was seized in 1774 by the British for its contents: 250 barrels of gunpowder, which in turn incited the Powder House Alarm (read: 4,000 angry locals preparing for battle).

But for Bryan Greenhagen, the founder and brewer at Mystic Brewery in Chelsea, New England’s thirst for independence was the perfect source of inspiration for his new wheat wine ale: Old Powderhouse. “It seemed like a great name for a very strong beer made with Massachusetts wheat, ” says Greenhagen. It’s the first in the brewery’s 24º series, inspired by Belgian abbey brewing traditions.

Old Powderhouse pours cloudy with tight carbonation and a bright, coppery orange color. It smells hot—which isn’t surprising given that it’s 11 percent ABV — but a subtle bitterness is followed by traces of sweetness. It’s dry and drinkable — but will only get better with age.

The brew hits Cambridge Common tomorrow — the first keg gets tapped at 6 p.m. “It looks primitive,” says Greenhagen of the beer. “There’s tons of protein in the beer from being 55 percent wheat; there is a whole acre of wheat in it. But the aroma, texture and flavors are amazing.”

6 ? 9 p.m., Wednesday, April 11, Cambridge Common, 1667 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617- 547-1228, cambridgecommonrestaurant.com.