Last night, I went to the Sunset Grill & Tap in Allston, one of my favorite places, home to 112 taps and 380 microbrews, and I left wondering why I don't go there more often.
It was a friend's birthday, so we were expecting a bunch of people, which always lights a fire under me to try and be the best drinker at the table. I didn't see what everyone was drinking, but I think I did a pretty fair job. I started with a Victory Golden Monkey, a really tasty 9.5% beer, on tap no less (even the Publick House only has it in bottle.) It's a smoothy. Definitely make it your business.
When my competition arrived (the guest of honor's boyfriend, and the only other person that I knew in attendance who could possibly be a better drinker than I), he approved of my choice and suggested a beer I had never heard of: Harpoon Leviathan Triticus. The Triticus checks in at 14%, so high that they will only pour you 8 ounces at a time (barely a glass), but that's okay because this beer needs to be sipped like a fine Scotch. It tastes almost like chocolate syrup. I don't really know how to describe it, so I'll let their website:
Latin for "wheat," Triticus is a strong and dark wheat wine-style ale that
boasts 14.3% alcohol-by-volume. The blend of 50% wheat malts, including
caramel and chocolate, provides color and depth of flavor. Complex hopping
and dry-hopping lends a delicate spiciness and just enough balance to
complement its strength. Once brewed, the Triticus was transferred to
50-gallon bourbon barrels and aged at the brewery for over 2 months.
It certainly tasted like it's been waiting for two months to be enjoyed. There are obviously a lot of beers I have never had, but for me to have never heard of this beer, and from a brewery right in my backyard no less, is crazy. It is probably the highest AC I've had in a beer, and that is saying something. My competition was right, and he certainly didn't mess around, drinking three of them. I have to say, although I loved it, this is not your Daddy's beer. This one is for serious beer drinkers only. Anything with that much alcohol is not to be trifled with. but if you think you can handle it, give it a whirl.
I switched to the St. Bernardus ABT 12 next (I have a funny thing when I go to a place like the Sunset, where I don't like to get the same beer twice. Seems wrong when there's so many choices.) at 10.5%, it is the highest alcohol content of any of their beers, dark, fruity, and to quote their site, "the absolute top quality in the hierarchy of the St. Bernardus beers." That is saying something, because they have an excellent Tripel.
For some reason (I guess that's just what you do on these occasions), we left Sunset (after paying a ridiculously large bill) and went to the White Horse Tavern, a nice establishment, especially if you like pool (which I do not), the only problem is that the selction is obviously not what it is at Sunset. I was able to get Sam Adams Octoberfest, which I consider the best Sam has to offer and is sort of like drinking eggnog on Christmas. You can't go a fall season without having a few Octoberfests. I had two, plus some lame, cheap free shot that some girl was handing out. I also signed my life away for a cheap Zippo, which I may live to regret, but they always look so cool in the movies that I just couldn't resist.
Anyway, point is, the White Horse is fine, but nothing stacks up to the Sunset for selection and quality beer. The food is pretty good too. My only problem is that the crowd is usually pretty young, so if you're not into that, try going on an off night or during the day. And parking around there sucks, but if you're there to really enjoy yourself, you shouldn't be driving there anyway.
So go and drink yourself silly.