Night Shift Brewing, a craft brewery located in Everett. Even though their beer generally isn't sold outside of Massachusetts, numerous beer lovers from other states are also aware of and enjoy their beer. At the Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet in Melrose, where I work part-time, I see the popularity of Night Shift beer as it doesn't stay long on the shelf.
Though I'm not really a beer lover, I took the opportunity last week to attend, as a media guest, a tour and tasting at the brewery. I wasn't hopeful that I'd find a beer I enjoyed, but I was willing to check it out anyway and see what I might find. To my pleasant surprise, I found two beers that I actually liked, one which impressed me so much that I bought a couple bottles to take home.
Night Shift Brewing extend back to 2007, when three friends, Michael Oxton, Michael O'Mara, and Rob Burns, engaged in home brewing in a kitchen in Somerville. Their passion for home brewing grew, and they referred to themselves as "Night Shift" as that is when they did most of their brewing as they all worked day jobs. Eventually, in 2011, they started construction of their first commercial brewery on Charlton Street in Everett and it opened in March 2012. They quickly outgrew this spot and in May 2014, they opened a new brewery on Santilli Highway in Everett. Current plans include the production of 10,000 barrels of beer this year.
Gose (pronounced like "Gozer" the evil, god-like entity from the original Ghostbusters movie) is a style of beer that extends back at least to the 16th century, though some claim its lineage is even older, where it is invented in the German city of Goslar, from which it acquired its name. Over time, the style became extremely popular in the city of Leipzig, leading to the construction of over 80 Gosenschänken, Gose taverns. The style died off after World War II but has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, including the production of numerous Gose beers in the U.S.
Usually, Gose is a top-fermented sour beer, brewed from at least 50% malted wheat, with the addition of some coriander, and usually has only a 4%-5% ABV. They generally do not have a prominent hops flavor and taste sour because of their inoculation with lactic acid after the boil. Gose commonly has a tart lemony taste with an herbal element and briny aspect. The briny aspect sometimes comes from the addition of salted water. Within the U.S., breweries across the country have been creating their own Gose-style beers, putting their own spin on it, including some which are hoppy or flavored with other substances.
Island Creek Oysters. Beer brewed with oysters? Yes, and they are not the only brewery which has done so. The Harbourside is a traditional Gose in many ways, being a top-fermented wheat beer and a 3.6% ABV. However, instead of adding sea salt or salted water, they produced the batch with the addition of about 350 live oysters to the wort a few minutes before the end of the boil. I found this beer to be crisp and refreshing with a bright lemon taste, mild coriander spice, and a strong briny element which I very much enjoyed. It made for an excellent summer drink, sour and salty, and lacked the bitterness I find in many there beers. And with its low alcohol, you could drink plenty of this on a nice summer afternoon. I think this beer would pair well with seafood dishes too!
It certainly qualifies as the best beer I've had this year and sets a high bar for any other beers I sample the rest of this year. Even if you think you don't like beer, you should taste the Harborside as it may change your mind.