We’re in the golden area of craft beer, especially in the local scene. There are more than one hundred breweries within Massachusetts nowadays cranking out beer that will make your weekends – and life in general – more adventurous. Gone are the days when hop fans were more than eager to trek to Vermont or Maine to get some of the best IPAs made in New England. For hoppy beers – and even sours, dark beers, ciders, and the like – out of state breweries are starting to lose a bit of their shine in your local Massachusetts beer aisle.

Here are five local breweries (and some of their best-selling beers) that should be on your radar this summer and beyond.

Mystic Brewery

Mystic has been curating an excellent list of Belgian styles, sours, unique saisons and IPAs for years. More recently, they debuted a triple IPA called Post Apocalyptic Xanadu, which clocks in at 10% ABV. These guys are consistently putting out phenomenal double IPA’s that are flying under the radar but can match up against the big dogs like Trillium and Treehouse. For my money, Xanadu is in the running for one of the best IPAs of 2017 – a tropical fruit juice bomb filled with pineapples, papayas and mango flavor upfront that drinks much smoother than its heavy alcohol content might lead you to believe. While they’re not canning this particular beer yet, you might be lucky to find it on tap at several amazing beer bars like Row 34, Deep Ellum, or Gingerman in Boston. And, of course, you can head to their Chelsea taproom to try it and all their beers straight from the source. 

 

Cambridge Brewing Company

CBC has been one of the founders in the local beer scene since 1989 and were the first to dig their hands into Belgian beers brewed in America. Recently I’ve come across one of their new beers, Hendrix sour blonde ale, brewed with cucumbers and aged in gin artisanal barrels, which clocks in at 6% ABV. It’s a complex sour experience from the beginning as the gin flavor takes effect, then balances well with fruity flavors of cucumbers, Hibiscus, citrus and limes that blend together with a touch of spicy juniper. Overall it’s a unique take on a sour style beer that’s easy to approach where the acidity and tartness won’t overwhelm you. You can find 750ml bottles of Hendrix available in most bottles shop around Boston.

Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Company

Exhibit ‘A’ is newer to the scene but already making a serious impact. Check out their thirst-quenching and popular German Kolsch called Goody Two Shoes – a 4.5% ABV smooth-drinker featuring Weyermann pilsner malt, valley malt warthog wheat, Valley Malt Vienna Malt and hopped with Tettnanger and Mandarina Bavaria hops. It’s very drinkable and true to the style where biscuit, pilsner toast and bread malt shine so well and soothe the palate toward a light fruity hop bitterness on the end. (Not for nothing, BeerAdvocate ranks it a solid 100.) This is one of the best beers on the market and perfect for summer time. You might see it in couple of bottle shops throughout Boston but it’s hard for beer buyers to keep in stock because the demand is huge.

Aeronaut Brewing Co.

It seems like every brewery nowadays is making a New England style IPA as it continues to be on fire across the country. You got to love that Aeronaut brewing has decide to get involved in the game with their own New England Style IPA, Double Hop Hop Double IPA. This 8.4% double IPA hits your nose with an amazing smell of tropical fruits. It pours like orange juice in a cup. I’ve already crushed a couple of cans of this juice bomb in a week because I couldn’t get enough of the papaya, mango, citrus, candied melon and bubblegum flavor this beer offers – if I were you then I would get myself down to Aeronaut Brewing and find the same experience I’ve had with this remarkable beer. While your down there also try the Robot Crush pilsner and 3 Years with Dr. Nandu, a brand new double IPA that’s equally as delicious.

 

Lamplighter Brewing Co.

Open for just about a year, Lamplighter is shooting on all cylinders cranking great beers, most notably Birds of a Feather, their 6.7% ABV IPA. It has a yellow hazy appearance, with an aroma that pangs of some of the most sought-after IPAs around. Cans of this amazing IPA are starting to fly off shelves; luckily the great folks at Lamplighter Brewing are working hard to keep up with demand. Also, if you haven’t already, definitely check out the killer Cambridge brewery and taproom where you’ll find other worthy contenders like Rabbit Rabbit, Pressure Drop, and Lucid Nonsense.

Tony Rodriguez runs Fort Point Market, one of Boston’s best bottle shops and named among the top “Best Places for Beer” by RateBeer for 2016 | Featured image via Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing Co.