87 Santilli Highway
Everett, MA 02149
Pfaffenheck is a German-style brew made by Night Shift Brewery in Everett originally to celebrate Oktoberfest, but because of its popularity is now available year-round – as it should be. Pfaffenheck is a light Pilsner with a bright color and taste, and best of all, it has a story behind it. The beer was made to honor a bet made by the brewery’s co-founder, Rob Burns, and is named for the Bavarian town from which his family hails. Night Shift brews many other German-style beers, notably Furth, a hefeweizen yeast beer with an aroma of cloves and bananas, and Oldenburg, a Marzen-style lager that is on its “special guests” list of seasonal beers. Night Shift has a lengthy list of other special guests and “rotators” along with its regulars, like Pfaffenheck, and almost every night there is something special going on at its taproom – outside of which are always parked one or more food trucks.
Hop Hop and Away
Aeronaut Brewing Company
14 Tyler St.
Somerville MA 02143
As the name indicates, Hop Hop and Away is Aeronaut Brewing Company’s hoppiest India Session Ale, and from September into the fall it is always on tap. Aeronaut, like many of the other craft brewers on the other side of the Charles from Boston proper likes to experiment, which results in such unusual brews as its Passionfruit Sour Planet (a fruited Berliner weisse) and Saison of the Western Ghats (a French saison). These and its other staples such as Northfield Red, Orangutan Skies and the ever-popular A Year With Dr. Nandu (an India Pale Ale, of course) are available to go in four-packs, but are best enjoyed on site, especially on a fall night where a local band sets the mood.
Great Pumpkin Ale
Cambridge Brewing Company
1 Kendall Square, Building 100
Cambridge, MA 02139
A very popular fall mainstay, Cambridge Brewing Company’s Great Pumpkin Ale is made with so many pumpkins (150 pounds per batch) that it comes out with a distinct orange color. Cambridge’s brewers add traditional autumn spices to enliven this harvest-time beer, but after a pint or half pint of Great Pumpkin, it is a good idea to sample some of whatever else is on tap. Cambridge Amber with its lovely red hue and malty caramel taste is a delight, and for those who want a meal in a glass, the Charles River Porter is a thick, rich, full-bodied beer with strong hints of toffee amidst its heavy hops.
Slumbrew aka Somerville Brewing Company
15 Ward St.
Somerville, MA 02153
Although it will always be famous for its one-and-done Chainsaw Maidens from Hell which it produced in 2015 in honor of the latest version of the film of the same name, Slumbrew (aka Somerville Brewing Company) continues to astound locals with its delightful brews – especially those it crafts for the chilly Boston autumn. Among the seasonal favorites is SeasonALE Creep, which Slumbrew describes as a “Belgian-style saison brewed with light pilsner malts, wheat and galaxy hops.” A pumpkin beer with a little purple monster on the label, this brew is a very popular fall treat, but one best enjoyed as part of flight which might include Gose Resolution (a German sour ale with citrus) and Naked Hopularity, a Black India Pale Ale IPA.
Slumbrew not only makes great beer, but in addition to its brewery and taproom on Ward Street it also has a family-friendly outdoor beer garden in Assembly Row, a new group of upscale shops and restaurants (including Legoland and a big AMC movie theater). When the weather turns wet or cold, Slumbrew’s team raises a heated tent over the garden – which is a welcome haven for shoppers and movie-goers. The garden serves the best of the brewery, along with soups, sandwiches, hot pretzels and their own take on mac and cheese – known as elbows and cheddar. They also have live music on the weekends.
174 Williams St.
Chelsea, MA 02150
Billed as a “rich, warming porter to help survive the brutal northeastern winters,” Mystic Brewery’s The Hum is all that and more – the “more” being its 7% APV (alcohol per volume). Subtitled “A Low-Frequency Porter,” The Hum is indeed a grand beer for a cold autumn or winter day or night. The Hum is one of the most requested beers made by this brewer on the Boston shore, which says its beers all have a touch of salty sea air to them, but even at 7% it is a comparative lightweight to Mystic’s Bonus Life Double IPA, which at 9.2% APV packs as much of a wallop as any nor’easter.