Getting Your Hands on Trillium Brewing Company's Crazy Hazy IPAs AT FORT POINT

My mission was simple. Get to Boston acquire the beers. Get home without drinking them all. 

Why the mission? I, like every craft beer drinker recently, have heard SO MUCH about this East Coast IPA (also called the NEIPA or North Eastern IPA). It seemed to be like The Alchemist's Heady Topper by sweeter. No like a pale ale, just cloudier. It's harder to make than a West Coast IPA. No, it's for lazy brewers who don't filter. I'd heard to many contrasting opinions and read about one too many think pieces. Trillium consistently came up as an example for a brewery that was in the North Eastern IPA game for the technique, not the trend. 

Trillium Brewing Company's Scaled IPA fresh and hazy off the tap.

Trillium Brewing Company's Scaled IPA fresh and hazy off the tap.

So back to the mission: the get to Boston part was easy. JetBlue has amazing sales on tickets from NYC. $40 each way? Don't mind if I do!

I stayed at the Boston Seaport Hotel (which by the way was fabulous) located just a short walk from Trillium's Fort Point location. It's denoted by a small chalkboard sign out on the sidewalk and the entry is on the side of the building. I walked by a few times so keep your eyes out!

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The Fort Point location is really more of a shop than a taproom. There is no consumption allowed onsite, but there are growler fills, cans, bottles and stacks of merch. 

If you're in Boston for business, or on a trip with people who don't want to spend hours with craft beer, the Fort Point shop is perfect for you. It is truly an in-and-out experience, even if there is a line. The cans aren't too heavy to carry around if you're being a tourist for the rest of the day so there's really nothing holding you back. 

We left with what seemed like a pallet of cans and two bottles. Plus a set of snifters and a tshirt because c'mon that flower logo is so great! It was hard to leave behind the zip up sweatshirt but suitcase space required me to make decisions. 

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Even with this smashing success, my Trillium experience in Boston wasn't over yet. First, I still had to taste the product!! And we still had to head out to Canton. I'll get to that in the next post. 

Tips for a Trillium Brewing Company, Fort Point visit: 

  • Bring something to carry your cans and growlers in. They give you a box but that's not ideal if you plan on exploring the city for a little while.

  • Row34, which has my favorite lobster roll in Boston, is right next store. Row34 also serves a well-curated selection of local and international craft beer and a raw or cooked seafood menu to die for.

  • City Tap House is kitty-corner from Row34. If you're looking for a big ol' beer list, more of a nightlife scene and some interesting twists on bar-food standards this place is worth a stop. When I was there they were working to get Trilium on tap, so keep an eye out for that!

Boston Brewery: Trillium Brewing Company at Canton

By the end of this post you'll be ready for the perfect visit to Trillium Brewing Company's Canton location because you'll know what to expect and how to set yourself up for the most fun!

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Trillium Brewing Company has two year-round locations in the Boston area: One at Fort Point, and their main location outside the city in Canton. My visit to the Fort Point shop left me wanting more from my Trillium experience. So I booked a very long uber out to Canton. 

Canton is a pretty quintessential north-eastern suburb. Big houses, snow covered yards, novelty mailboxes, everything you would expect. I was pretty surprised to find that the Trillium Taproom was tucked in this neighborhood. 

Pulling into the parking lot I was met with lots of dudes carrying boxes of cans out to their cars.

“Uh oh, the beers all gone!” one joked with me. Judging by the packed parking lot, I almost believed him.

I continued on past the retail door to the taproom door and wowza - look at that line. Upon walking through the door you all but collide with the center of the line to order beer by the glass. I took my place wayyyy at the back and suddenly wished I had brought a book - or at the very least that I had more phone battery. 

As the line inched forward I passed many groups huddled around barrels or leaning on the small bar that ran along the wall. There is not much in the way of seating in this taproom. I then past the “food truck of the day,” severing oysters, but at 3pm there were not many takers for their fresh-ish shellfish sitting out on ice. 

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Finally, I came into view of the tap list which was extensive and offered more options than the Fort Point location. The GABF medals dangling from the board were an obvious reminder of the quality that made the line so. so. long. 

Ordering was efficient and by the time I swiped my card I had a beer in my hand. The perfect beer in hand for getting back in line - ha! Is it just me or does a line move faster when you have a drink involved. I got the Double Dry Hopped (DDH) Summer Street for the line and it was a perfect waiting beer. Light, floral, and fruity, not too heavy of a mouth feel and a clean finish. No wonder this place is so crowded! 

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By the time I made it to the registers again, I had a plan. I wanted to order three very different beers. Again, a quick ring up and this time I found myself a spot leaning against the divider between the “taproom” and the active brewery. 

I tried, Trillbomb!, DDH Scaled, and the Free Rise Nelson. They were all great and definitely in the style of Trillium. The IPA was sweet and ended with the gypsum bite I have found characteristic of East Coast IPAs. The stout was big and strong with a potent nose of Bourbon. The free-rise, while slightly funky was more of a pale ale than a saison. 

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After considering another trip to the back of the line, I decided against it and summoned yet another car back to Boston. I had fun and I learned a lot. 

Is the trip to Trillium's Canton Brewery Worth It?

I pondered this on my long ride home from Canton - still thinking about that zip up sweatshirt I decided not to buy again. I think the answer is it depends! Boring...but true. 

If you're a big beer fan that doesn't mind standing for a while Canton is the only place that you're guaranteed to try several Trillium beers in one spot. You can even skip Fort Point and just head to Canton for both your beers on tap and to-go. 

If you have someone in your group that needs to sit down, this might not be great. You can hope for a friendly stranger to give up their seat, but I don't gamble on friendly strangers often. If you are on a trip to see Boston - it's a tough call! Canton is quite a way out of the city and there are many great locations in Boston that carry all kinds of beer and have a little more scenery, plus you can go to Fort Point for your to-go beer needs! 

Tips for visiting Trillium Brewing Company at Canton:

  • Check the food truck for the day. I wasn’t about to eat oysters. I wished I had a meal in me or a snack so I could go on sampling.

  • Expect a line. It’s not a let down if you’re expecting a wait. Bring a friend, or three and wait together time flies when you’re waiting in line with a beer in hand.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. As someone who doesn’t follow this rule in my day-to-day life it’s worth putting in here. You’re standing on concrete and, yes, you’ll be standing.

  • Bring your pup if you want! There were several dogs in the taproom when I was there and they definitely provided some entertainment while waiting in line.

  • Don’t drive or dedicate a driver. Their stouts are great, you’re going to want to try them, and trust me, one is enough to knock you on your butt.

  • You can get cans, bottles and merch to-go! While the major attraction of the Canton location is getting to sample multiple of the famed breweries beers, there is also a line for to-go items.

Are you headed to Trillium or the Boston area? Find @beerswithmandy on twitter. I love nothing more than talking about beer trips! 

How This "Beer Thing" Got Started

Ok, if a human could have an FAQ section (can we?) this is my number one. "How did you even get into beer??" so it just fits. My very first post is the answer to this question. 

I have enjoyed eating and cooking my whole life but I truly fell in love with the idea of what food could be as the hostess of The Lonesome Dove, Tim Love's restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas.

Every week or so the whole staff would get to try the new items on the menu and at nights sometimes the pastry chef would share leftover desserts with us. It was the first time I tried many things, including rattlesnake and kangaroo. It was also the first time I met people fully dedicated to food. Not just the chefs, but the entire staff was totally committed to  providing unforgettable meals and food experiences. Working among them taught me what food could be and inspired me to try everything and attempt to replicate it when I can. 

A true passion for beer came later in my life. I had never been a fan of the light American lagers I was offered at tailgates and I sort of wrote-off beer as a way to get drunk on the cheap (not something I was so interested in.) I can point to three specific beers that changed my view forever. The first is Magic Hat #9. I now think of this beer as totally tame, but the first time I tried it I was home from college and share one with my dad. "Woa," I said, "this is beer?" Naturally, he laughed at me inquiring what else it could be. I had never tasted a beer that had fruit and bread flavors. I wanted to try more. 

June 2010. My hair was too blonde and Golden Monkey was too good.

June 2010. My hair was too blonde and Golden Monkey was too good.

Back in Texas I tried out my local breweries and random things I spotted at the liquor store. I found these far more enjoyable than those tailgate beers, but still nothing too thrilling. Once again, back in Pennsylvania, I visited Victory Brewing and tried Golden Monkey, a Belgian Tripel style brew. I was floored by the aromas, flavors, carbonation, and even the appearance of the beer. My father and I talked with the waiter for a long time about the beer style and what else to try.

January 2017. A little freshen up in the Victory branding still lookin' good.

January 2017. A little freshen up in the Victory branding still lookin' good.

After this brewery tasting...I really went nuts. No beer was too strong, too dark or too hoppy. I would occasionally go out of my way to special stores to find new beers. In 2013, I went to Monks Cafe in Philadelphia and tried the Guez from Drie Fontinien. I can specifically point to this as the moment I went from curious to obsessed. I couldn't understand why a beer would taste so sour, and be so 'rare'?

Well I spent a long time researching, eventually going all the way to Belgium to find the answer. This journey led me to where I am today, making beer, studying for my Cicerone exam, and traveling far and wide to try beers at their freshest and best. I'm so happy you're here with me!

Do you have a specific beer that changed the way you drink - or make beer?! Share in the comments!