Three Massachusetts Beers to Try

A few local breweries take home prizes at the Great American Beer Festival.

Photo © Brewers Association

This past weekend, Denver hosted the 31st annual Great American Beer Festival, the preeminent beer festival in the United States. Nearly 600 breweries poured more than 2,700 types of beer for 49,000 attendees at the Colorado Convention Center. It’s Beer Heaven. (Seriously, if you like beer, you need to attend at least once in your life.)

And while the beer tasting is fun for attendees, the breweries are there to win the prestigious GABF medals. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded in 84 beer styles, everything from Bohemian-style pilsner to barrel-aged, strong beer. Winning a medal provides enormous recognition for small breweries, attracting new drinkers and new bars interested in carrying winning ales and lagers.

While the rest of New England mostly disappointed—no brewery from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, or Rhode Island won any medals—Massachusetts, thankfully, represented. Cambridge Brewing Company won the silver for their Heather Ale (herb and spice beer category), Jack’s Abby won the bronze for Smoke & Dagger (smoke beer category), and Cisco took home the gold for Lady of the Woods (wood- and barrel-aged sour beer).

While I’ve tried CBC’s Heather Ale and Smoke & Dagger from Jack’s Abby, I’m going to have to find a bottle of Lady of the Woods from Cisco. Often utilizing wild yeasts, sour ales are an old-fashioned Belgian style. They’re also one of the hottest beer styles being brewed these days, so it’s even more impressive that Cisco won the gold.