CAMBRIDGE BREWING CO. (CAMBRIDGE)
Arquebus (10.75% ABV)
This barleywine is named for an a 15th-century firearm — and sure enough, it packs a wallop. At almost 11 percent ABV, the Arquebus is meant to be sipped, not guzzled, which makes it perfect for whiling away a lazy, hazy summer evening. Almost more of a dessert wine than a beer, the full-bodied Arquebus is sweet and floral, but not cloying. The complex bouquet opens up to reveal hints of apricot, peach, honey, and notes of something akin to a good sherry. Like a good wine, it pairs well with strong cheese — gorgonzola, perhaps — the addition of which provides a pleasantly sharp contrast to the floral base of the drink. Savor this one.
Where to find it: Cambridge Brewing Company, One Kendall Square, Cambridge | 617.494.1994 | cambridgebrewingcompany.com
PRETTY THINGS (SOMERVILLE)
Jack D'or (6.5% ABV)
Pretty Things is one of our favorite local breweries; and Jack D'or (pronounced "door") is one of Pretty Things' most popular beers — and for good reason. Jack D'or is a mature beer, brewed with four different hops, and you can taste notes of every one. Though it's available year-round, this saison has all the attributes we love in a go-to summer beer: crisp citrus notes, robust and full flavor without any heaviness, and just a hint of spice to set it apart from, say, an Allagash White or a Sam Summer (though we love 'em all).
Where to find it: Yard House, 126 Brookline Ave, Boston | 617.236.4083 | yardhouse.com
NIGHT SHIFT (EVERETT)
Somer Weisse (5.3% ABV)
Night Shift, a young brewery out in Everett, was founded by three good buddies in a Somerville kitchen. And you can practically taste both the fun and the grassroots spirit in their innovative brews. Somer Weisse, their take on a Berliner weisse, is no exception. The sour wheat ale is brewed with lemongrass and ginger, and the spicy, herbal notes play enticingly off one another, to interesting ends. Another plus? The boost in ABV, as compared to similar beers — a quality we like in a summer brew.
Where to find it: Journeyman, 9 Sanborn Court, Somerville | 617.718.2333 | journeymanrestaurant.com