Tom Mansell: Cambridge Brewing Company Arquebus "Summer Barleywine"
Nestled among the biotech firms in Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA is a huge beer geek den known as Cambridge Brewing Co. I went on a recommendation from our own Bryan Calandrelli, who unsurprisingly nailed this reco. They serve about a half dozen house beers, with a long list of seasonals as well.
Many of the seasonals were outstanding including a floral heather ale and a spicy rye IPA.
The one that impressed me most, though was the one I saved for dessert: their Arquebus "Summer Barleywine."
This is the most vinous beer I have ever had. It's right up there in complexity, and finish with Russian River's line of strong sour beers. Aged in French oak barrels for a year and served still, it explodes with white grape, pineapple upside down cake, and stone fruit -- we're talking fruity esters out the wazoo.
A hint of toasty oak and balanced acidity on the palate give way to a long, cinnamon spice finish makes this unique beer a genuine pleasure in every last drop.
At 14% it's a bit alcoholic, but I ended up savoring it as I would a port or sherry.
If you're in Boston, you've gotta find this place and try this beer. Flights are just $2/sample (i.e., a steal).
David Flaherty: Rully, La Chaume, Jacques Dury, 2006, Côte Chalonnaise
On the nose, a mesmerizing blend of aromas tantalize you closer while only hinting at the full spectrum to come on the palate. Notes of nuttiness, lemons and buttery apples greet your mouth seductively as a refreshing backbone of acid wipes your mouth clear.
But oh that finish. It may not have the days-long finish of a Meursault or a Puligny-Montrachet, but the Rully doesn't let up quickly.
I sunk into the couch like Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting. It's that good.