BrewReview: Night Shift Brewing
Updated: May 29, 2020
By: Steve Solito
Night Shift Brewing - Everett, MA.
BeerSeeker on the Job: Steve
Most of us have roommates or a group of friends that we routinely drink beers with. Personally, I had roommates to do so with for a long time. If you include my college days, I had roomies for nine years, and we drank many a beer together. And although we talked about it often, one thing we never did was make our own beer! It seemed like a tall task that none of us had the time, nor experience to make happen.
If you’re feeling the same way that my former roommates and I once felt, let Night Shift Brewing be your inspiration! Founded by three friends that had a shared hobby of home-brewing beer over a decade ago, Night Shift has come a very long way. A group that simply home-brewed at night (you know, during their “night shift”) in order to share their creations with friends and family when they had the time to do so, Night Shift has become a go-to craft brewery in the greater Boston area just a little over a decade removed from being a home-brew experiment.
Here in 2020 there are a number of ways you can enjoy the wonderful creations of Night Shift. First of all, they distribute their beer throughout Massachusetts, but I highly recommend trying out one of their locations. Home base for Night Shift is in Everett, Mass., just outside of Boston. Carved into what appears to be an older factory building, Night Shift’s main locale boasts two beer halls, each with a bar of its own, as well as some solid outdoor space (with string lights... I am a sucker for string lights). Having outdoor space also means that Night Shift is dog-friendly! Bring your furry friends along.
Don’t feel like leaving the confines of Boston and venturing out to Everett? No problem! Night Shift recently opened a new location right next to Boston’s North End. I won’t lie, I haven’t been there, so I can’t provide any feedback on the new taproom. BUT I can tell you that the beer gardens they’ve opened along the Charles River in Boston during the warmer months are MONEY.
You can choose from Night Shift’s “Owl’s Nest” Esplanade or Allston locations to sip brew along the Charles on a warm summer evening. This is a big deal in Boston. Beer gardens are not the norm here. And I can tell you from personal experience, the length of the line to get into the Esplanade location on a Friday night proves how unique an opportunity this sort of experience is for Bostonians.
Expansion for Night Shift wouldn’t be possible without great beer. In the end, that’s what we’re here for. Before I pick out a few for you to sip for yourself, I had a brief but noteworthy chat with one of the employees while I was there. They mentioned that at times they have only eight beers on tap. Well right now they have roughly double that including five new releases in total, two of which I came away absolutely loving.
Pretzelbier (Amber Lager) 5.5% ABV
Brewed with brown mustard seed and kosher salt
Freshly baked pretzel
The double-take is essentially the beer we were pleasantly surprised with. One you try because, well, you’re a BeerSeeker and it is your obligation to try no matter what your initial judgement is, and leaves you thinking, “DAMN I need another one of those!”
As the name, ingredients and tasting notes imply, Pretzelbier somehow tasted like a pretzel. A damn good pretzel! The mustard seed and salt definitely shined through in the initial sip, followed by a subtle sweetness that lets it go down easy. Pretzelbier is one of the more unique twists on beer that I have come across. For me, it’s not the most sessionable beer, but that’s not something I let cloud my judgement on any brew. This is a beer to enjoy patiently, one at a time with a unique initial flavor followed up with an easy finish.
Birthday Beer (New England Double IPA) 9.4% ABV
The name Birthday Beer is significant. I went to Night Shift for this BrewReview on President’s Day. In honor of Mr. George Washington himself, we have an amazing Double IPA. This beer defied everything I thought it would be. The tasting notes would have you believe it’s fruity. The fact it’s a double IPA with an ABV of 9.4% would have you believe that, even if it’s great, it may not be that drinkable. I’m here to tell you it blew my expectations out of the water.
The Birthday Beer does come with some hints of sweetness to it, but it is perfectly balanced with the hoppiness you’d expect from a double. Maybe that’s the reason I would never have guessed it was so high in alcohol content. I could have exclusively stuck to the Birthday Beer today without a second thought which, for me, is not normally the case. This brew was not heavy in any way and had just the right combo of fruitiness and hoppiness to go down smoothly while really getting the job done to have a good time. We’ve joked about our favorite IPAs of all time here at BeerSighted as if we’ve made a list. Well when I do make a list, this one will be on it.
GO TO NIGHT SHIFT. DRINK THEIR BEER.
There isn’t much more to say. It seems like there has never been a better time to get on board. More brews than ever, unbelievable new releases and new, unique locations. The place is popular here in the greater Boston area and I truly believe it’s only a matter of time before they expand their reach to the rest of New England and beyond. Don’t wait for them to blow up. Get involved now!