The Hoppy Spirit Of Boston

The Hoppy Spirit Of Boston

When Beer becomes Whiskey


7.2/10
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The wicked Beer Whiskeys of Boston Harbor

On the heels of the Craft-Beer monster that in recent decades dominated pub spigots and posh groceries comes the age of thrill-seeking distillers who know good hops and barley when they see them. The result is a class of spirits made from craft Beer, that lovingly lends its bold flavors and layered aromas to a product so evolved you’d think it spends its weekends on a transcendental meditation retreat.
 
At the helm of this convention-shattering development is none other than Rhonda Kallman, a pioneer of the Craft-Beer movement who earned her stripes as a co-founder of category giant Samuel Adams. Hooked on the adrenalin rush that only a slew of shiny new tanks and a vault of iron-hooped barrels can bring, Kallman renovated a 19th-century mill building on Boston Harbor and aptly named it Boston Harbor Distillery
 
A self-proclaimed lover of almost any alcoholic beverage on earth, Kallman is no poser. Perched on the leading edge once again, she saw the authentic potential of a craft Beer laden with complex characteristics—citrus, spice, ginger, clove, hops—as the foundation of an unexpected kind of Whiskey-like spirit. After all, Whiskey is distilled Beer without the hops. Her bonds with her alma mater are so tight that she uses Sam Adams Beer varieties to make award-winning, one-of-a-kind spirits called Spirit of Boston.
 
We’ve got such a mad crush on Boston Harbor Distillery’s tenacious tumblers that we’ve dedicated an entire Tasting Box to them alone:
 
Double Black Lager is as it sounds: a broody mix of malty and sweet with a rich flavor profile that’s double the fun. Get it?
 
Ella Blanc India Pale Lager—the hoppiness of an I.P.L. marries the crispness of a lager to yield bright tropical and citrus flavors deriving from new varieties from Australia and Germany.
 
Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout amplifies the spices used in its Beer, including ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Santa suit optional.
 
Smartass Corner
 
Lay some of slick facts on your boss the next time you go out for drinks . . . and get promoted a day later:
 
1) Multiple choices: In Brewhiskey speak, what’s the wash? a) the concrete trough where a brewer scrubs her hands after nosing a nascent spirit; b) the liquid that develops between fermentation and distillation, also known as “distiller’s Beer”; c) the spot in the harbor where Bostonians launder their Brady jerseys.*
 
2) Yo! Don’t knock the politics, bro. Craft breweries are the reason federal excise taxes are lower, which means consumer prices are lower. Plus they made sure that  breweries, wineries, and distilleries would have the freedom to distribute all of the stuff we love all of the time. Well, not all of the time.
 
3) What word denotes an element of the distilling process yet sounds like something you might have removed from your foot? Wort. And it refers to the combination of fermentation ingredients including big boys yeast, grain, and water.
 
4) What is it with 1984? Boston Harbor’s spirits are bottled at 84 proof in part because the Boston Beer Company (Rhonda Kallman’s alma mater) was founded in 1984. And then there’s poor George Orwell. If he’d just downed a couple of pints of Sam, George wouldn’t have been so bloody depressing in his novel by the same name.
 
5) Boston Harbor Distillery puts the swanky in Whiskey Joint. Douglas Fir post-and-beam construction, 40-foot ceilings, and more than 100 windows through which fans can ogle. Up there they call it Booze Envy.
 
6) True or false? Back in the day, when sales were slower than a snail’s daily commute, Boston Beer Company Founder Jim Koch, who recruited Kallman as his co-founder, would pack a suitcase full of Beer and work the neighborhood, door to door. And you thought that technique was reserved for paint brushes and encyclopedias.
 
7) What a rip-off! Jim Koch got the recipe for Sam Adams Boston Lager from his great, great grandfather. We assume Great, Great Grandaddy didn’t put up a fight.
 
8) With barrels of money between them, funny guys John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. Rockefeller sent Carnegie a cardboard vest to make fun of his poor childhood. In return, Carnegie sent a fine Whiskey to Rockefeller, a devout baptist who had given up drinking. 
 
9) In 1830, the average person over 15 years old drank 88 bottles of Whiskey per year. That’s one bottle every 4.2 days. And you thought you had a problem.

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Moonshine Whiskey is distilled from a varied mix of corn and sugar and is aged in Mason jars and jugs for the length of time that it takes the customers to get home.

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Ratings & Reviews
Member Reviews and Ratings of The Hoppy Spirit Of Boston
Justin
Justin,
This is a fun selection of whiskey. The distinct tastes from the style of beer are evident in the flavors of the whiskey. Definitely recommend trying this unique tasting collection and I would buy a bottle if I saw it in a local store.
 
Chris
Chris,
All three of these tasters were very good. My favorite was the Ella Blanc India Pale Lager, it was great. Very drinkable just on the rocks and I think I’m going to buy a bottle of it. My second favorite was the Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout. I could really taste the cinnamon and vanilla, and then the spicy came in at the end. Finally, the Double Black Lager was to me my least favorite. On the pour I could really smell the chocolate and caramel, but when sipping it I got more of the smoke and toasted flavors which wasn’t what I was expecting. Overall this is a great taster box and one that I would recommend without a doubt.
 
Nicholas
Nicholas,
More gimmick than substance. Cool Concept but I wouldn’t actually buy a bottle of their whiskey.
 
Antti
Antti,
An interesting experiment of beer turned into Whiskey! Slightly better than turning water into wine?
 
Aaron
Aaron,
really enjoyed each of these more than i expected. would definitely buy again. so unique.
 
Eric
Eric,
Enjoyed Double Black Lager and Ella Blanc India Pale Lager. Was less interested in the Merry Maker Gingerbread Stout but, then again, I am not a ginger fan.
 
James
James,
The double black lager and the blanc pale where 10 stars so good. But the merry maker left a ginger after taste that was not good on my palette.
 
Adam
Adam,
All of them were amazing. Incredible
 
Jimmy
Jimmy,
Absolutely wonderful!!! Will be buying more.
 
Nicholas
Nicholas,
Interesting notes, can definitely tell they tried to implement some hoppy, beer flavors. Glad I tried it, glad I didn’t buy a bottle of it.
 
Joel
Joel,
Amazing. Great taste, smooth.
 
Mason
Mason,
Black Lager was ok (wouldn't buy a whole bottle), but the rest were gross. Disappointed in this box, pass on it.
 
Preston
Preston,
Had high hopes for it since it was something different and i am also a huge beer fan, I think I hyped myself up too much for the box, kind of a let down.
 
Gabriel
Gabriel,
I really liked the double black lager bourbon. Smokey and full bodied. Smooth and warm.
 
Christopher
Christopher,
The flavors of the Double Black Lager and the Ella Blanc both definitely went to the roots of the what their sister beers would bring out. Enjoyed both but the Ella Blanc was my favorite. The Merry Maker has a quick pleasant initial taste that quickly goes downhill. Whatever “spice” that is the predominant part of the taste wheel is overpowering and quickly takes away from that fleeting flavor. This box definitely has me wanting to visit this distillery in person when we get back to a normal world as I’d love to see how they actually infuse the flavors in the process.
 
Bryan
Bryan,
Very interesting to get different flavors you’re used to tasting in beer, but with whiskey. The flavors come out very well.
Bryan
Bryan,
Meant to rate it 9/10
Eric
Eric,
Was okay I think I was expecting more. Overall a nice experience, however don't believe I would make it a regular or add to my bar.
 
Chris
Chris,
Interesting flavors in all three. All pretty good!
 
William
William,
All three of these were really great. Balanced but still flavorful. And they were very distinct from one another.
 
Brett
Brett,
As a craft beer and whiskey fan, this did not disappoint!
 
Rex
Rex,
Great tasting experience. The Ella IPL was fantastic.
 
Elena
Elena,
I was excited for my first tasting with friends and this box completely disappointed.
Chip
Chip,
have you tried other sample boxes? I think of giving a gift to an experienced Whiskey/bourbon lover.
Michael
Michael,
Different
 
Nathan
Nathan,
Uo
 
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