No clever post title or deep theme this time, just a review of a brewery with a particular slant on what they like to do.
Jack’s Abby is based in Framingham, MA, and at the heart of the operation are the three Hendler brothers: Jack (brewing), Eric (finances), and Sam (sales). (Note: I really want to spell their name “Abbey” based on the assumption that they are referring to a building that would provide somewhat secluded housing for a religious order. That would be consistent with the medieval theme that seems to come through in their label art. The first page of searches for “define Abby” either gives me the diminutive form of “Abigail” or else tries to re-direct me to “Abbey” which doesn’t help. Not sure why this bugs me so much, but I also subscribe to the principle that you can’t tell people how to spell or pronounce their own name, so I just have to get over it.) Jack and his brothers are strongly committed to producing lagers rather than ales, so although they are often pushing the boundaries of lager, they have made a commitment to the colder and more lengthy fermentation process that I described in an earlier post that discussed the distinction between lagers and ales.
I was inspired to give Jack’s Abby a try on the basis of a recommendation from loyal readers Elizabeth and Alan who had one of their beers during a visit from their South County home to the Boston area, and as usual when trying something unfamiliar I went for a mix pack with four of their beers.
The one that was recommended was the Smoke & Dagger black lager. The web site describes this as somewhere between a schwarzbier and a smoked porter, so a little lighter than a stout but with lots of smoky and chocolatey flavor notes–a nice beer for a winter night, though it’s available year-round. And even though it’s a lager, I felt like it ought to be served in a glass that provided more surface area to release the flavors, as pictured at left.
If Jack’s has a flagship beer (at least it comes up first on their web page), it might be their Hopounius Union, a lager that uses citrusy West coast IPA-style hops, so they describe it as an India Pale Lager. The accompanying photo shows that this one has a little darker color than a typical lager, and I thought it had a nice flavor profile.
The other two beers in this mix pack were a lower alcohol session lager called Jabby Brau and their take on a Blue Moon style wheat beer with spices that they call Leisure Time. The former was fine but nothing special, and the latter is still not my favorite style, but this was better than some, and the web site says they use lemongrass and chamomile in addition to the usual orange and coriander in this style, so something a little different at least.
Next up are a couple of interesting specialty dark beers and then I will be diving into the Tröegs mix pack to see what they have to offer. Cheers!