Ball Square Fine Wines Hosting 6th Annual Grand Beer Tasting

Sample specialty one-off beers like Jack's Abby's 'salsa' pilsner.


Photo provided by Ball Square Fine Wines

On May 5, Ball Square Fine Wines will be hosting its 6th annual Grand Beer Tasting with eight Massachusetts brewmasters pouring their beer, including Will Meyers from Cambridge Brewing Company, Dann and Martha Paquette from Pretty Things, and Ben Howe from Enlightenment Ales. In addition to their current lineup of products, most of the brewers have agreed to infuse a specialty ale in a five-gallon pin, specifically for the event. Although most of the breweries remain tight-lipped about their mystery projects, Ball Square beer manager Nate Kruback divulged the contents of Jack’s Abby’s one-off “salsa” pilsner.

“We wanted to do something appropriate for the Cinco de Mayo holiday, so I went to Russo’s in Watertown and picked up all kinds of weird produce,” Kruback says. “Me and Jeff (Ball Square manager at the Needham location) went to Jack’s Abby in Framingham and tasted through all the beers in their taproom to decide what to flavor or dry-hop. We all decided a blank canvas would be the best to work with, so we settled on their spring seasonal, the Sunny Ridge pilsner. We tasted through all the different fruits, putting bits in glasses here and there, eventually settling on the idea of using a bitter citrus element and a sweeter citrus element.”

Jack’s Abby’s final concoction includes a combination of sweet Dominican oranges, limes, smoked poblanos, and cilantro, which they’ll infuse 30-minutes prior to the event at Ball Square. “All those things are pretty intense, so what we found out was that you can’t infuse them like you would hops,” Kruback says. “It reeks like cilantro, it tastes like citrus on the front, and finishes in the back with just a little bit of that pepper.”

Other participating breweries include Idle Hands, Brewmaster Jack, Notch, and The Tap, who will be pouring their Berliner Weisse, “Intergalactic Acid,” infused with a combination of fruits (Kruback hinted that they might be making their version of a margarita with salt and limes).

Snacks and plenty of beers will be provided at the tasting. The event is free, but Kruback suggests getting there early since Ball Square tends to fill to capacity quickly.

May 5, 5-8p.m., 716 Broadway, Somerville; 617-623-9500 or