Let's face it: No matter how well-versed one is in the world of craft beer, opinions on what's great and what isn't are truly subjective. There's no right or wrong.
That said, here's a list of 10 of my personal favorite beers from the commonwealth. To be clear, no one's declaring them "the best." Rather, they're my go-to brews, ones I keep going back to time after time, or beers that I'm currently enjoying on a regular basis (perhaps even right this second).
The beers are being kept to brews that can be acquired at a reasonable cost and with just a bit of effort. In other words, there won't be Samuel Adams' Utopias and it's $200 price tag here (though it is an interesting beverage to try at least once, if you have that kind of money).
And beer snobbery be damned. Some of the easier-to-find brews can be every bit as tasty as their limited-edition brethren. While some listed here are seasonal and special treats, others are readily available year-round. In no particular order, here are 10 Massachusetts beers that are, in my very humble opinion, worth seeking out.
Cuppa from Lamplighter Brewing Company (Cambridge)
This British pale ale features one of my favorite companions for beer: coffee. Cold-brew coffee, to be precise. The flavor is malty and full of coffee, balanced with some earthy hops. This is a tasty brew that goes down smooth.
Nectar of Aristaeus from River Styx Brewing (Fitchburg)
Often, one IPA will blend into the next, with no real distinction.
Coffehouse Porter from Berkshire Brewing Company (South Deerfield)
The first beer ever to floor me. Having this on nitro at the Gardner Ale House years ago turned me on to the wonders of dark beers. Rich and creamy in its nitrogen-infused incarnation, it combines the flavors of perfectly roasted coffee melded with the malty goodness of a well-crafted porter.
Octoberfest from Wachusett Brewing Company (Westminster)
Wachusett's flagship Country Ale is tasty, and the brewery is well known for its Blueberry Ale, but this is the beer I eagerly wait for every fall (or late summer, as it is). The first seasonal beer I ever fell in love with, Wachusett's Octoberfest is caramelly and rich, robust with just the right amount of sweetness.
Haze from Tree House Brewing (Charlton)
People stand outside this brewery -- which doesn't distribute its cans to retailers -- just to grab a case or two of the various top-notch brews it comes up with.
Be Hoppy from Wormtown Brewery (Worcester)
More citrusy hops, but this time backed by a piney bitterness that balances Wormtown's easy-to-find Be Hoppy. It goes down easy and will put a smile on your face, much like the one featured on its bottles, cans and taps.
Double Dry Hopped Fort Point from Trillium Brewing Company (Boston)
Take Trillium's delicious Fort Point pale ale, add a hefty dose of citra hops and what you get is this tropical-tinged treat. Heavy on pineapple notes and a nose that will transport you to warmer climates. Really, any beer from Trillium is worth a try.
You Enjoy My Stout from Cambridge Brewing Company (Cambridge)
There's chocolate and oak-y vanilla, notes of espresso and malty goodness. And being aged in barrels and boasting an ABV of 10.5 percent, it won't take too many of these to start feeling warm and toasty.
Vanilla Barrel Aged Framinghammer from Jack's Abby (Framingham)
Vanilla, barrels (bourbon or wine, take your pick) and dark beers are a recipe for delightfulness. This Baltic porter comes in several rotating varieties, but this one is my favorite. Subtle vanilla gives way to a chocolatey sweetness.
Saison Renaud from Mystic Brewing (Chelsea)
Originally, I bought this farmhouse ale since it featured my wife's maiden name. Turned out to be a good decision (both the beer and the wife). Clean and crisp, it's an excellent example of what a saison should be. It has the expected Belgian spices, a bit of a peppery flavor, and the yeasty characteristics of a good farmhouse ale, as well as light apple notes.