CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> Cisco's

Previous Pint Pleasures - April 4, 2011

guinness eileen

Cisco's Brewpub, Terminal B, Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts

Yes, I know I promised last time that I was done writing about my Pacific Coast brewery tour of last August, and I am. I have lots of new discoveries to review in and near Sheffield. But seeing as how my gruelling 24-hour return journey from Seattle to Sheffield took in 3 flights, 3 train journeys, and 2 car rides -- with changes at Sea-Tac, O'Hare International in Chicago, Logan International in Boston, Heathrow, Paddington Station, St Pancras Station (where I caught my train with only 30 seconds to spare), and finally Sheffield Midland Station, I feel that one of the two highlights of that epic trek deserves a column. And the only reason I'm not reviewing my astonishingly close view of Mt Rainier above the clouds is because it has nothing to do with beer.

The other highlight was at the airport in Boston, where I had a 5-hour layover on the way to Los Angeles and another 5-hour layover on the way back from Seattle. I was delighted to discover Cisco's Brewpub located just around the corner from my departure gates on both visits.

Cisco's is on a corner of the American Airlines side of Terminal B. It's a typical open-plan airport pub with a clean and simple zigzag of bars, giving the impression of a slightly Escher-esque Edward Hopper diner. There are black and white photos on the walls and 3 large flatscreen TVs, 2 which were showing rolling sports news and one showing rolling weather reports. On my first visit I picked a spot along the zigzag and ordered a pint of Bailey's Ale (7.5% ABV, Cisco's Brewery, Nantucket, MA), a pale mildly hoppy ale reminiscent of an American classic, Anchor Liberty Ale. My "large" pint, aka an Imperial pint, cost $8.00, but as this is an airport one must always expect prices to be higher. I quickly joined into a conversation with the local barmaid and the English chap sitting next to me about why somebody would come into a brewpub and ask for a Bud, which had just happened. It turned out my English neighbour was an expat who had lived in Washington, DC just a year less than I had lived in Sheffield, and he was well aware of Sheffield's reputation as a cask ale haven because he went to the University of Sheffield. This just proves what a small world it is, even in the ever expanding world of American brewpubs.

Cisco's Brewery was started in 1992 by Randy and Wendy Hudson, a baker and a home brewer respectively. They moved into the loft over the Nantucket Vineyard Winery, with the majority of their operation taking place outdoors in the back yard. By 1996 they had moved into a new building, and in 2000 the co-owner of the winery started the Triple Eight Distillery which produces high proofed spirits including Notch ("not Scotch") whisky and organic corn vodka.

As I sipped my pint I noticed a triple 8-ball logo all over the pub, on the walls and the beer mats and the napkin holders. And then I spotted a colourful row of Triple Eight bottles on a shelf and wondered what they were. I soon found out the red bottle was cranberry-flavoured vodka, the yellow was vanilla-flavoured, and the purple was blueberry-flavoured.

I watched the barmaid serve a meal to a customer. The food looks very good although the portions are massive. Obviously I'm back in the US of A, Land of Huge Servings.

Three weeks later, on my flight back to the UK, I stopped again in Cisco's for a leisurely pint. This time I had a pint of Indie IPA (6.5% ABV). Perky and grapefruity with a good dose of Summit hops, this was just what I needed to wake myself up midway through my long travel marathon. As I sat listening to the locals chat I was reminded of my experience three years ago in O'Hare Airport at the Prairie Tap where I happily sipped a pint of Midwest microbrew while listening to the charming Chicago accents. The difference this time was that this time the accents were Boston and the beer was like a Pacific Northwest IPA. While I pondered my travel-induced confusion I could have sworn I saw David Crosby in the corner eating a burger and a massive plate of steak fries. It was probably just a hallucination caused by travel exhaustion -- seeing David Crosby, that is. I'm sure the massive plate of steak fries was real.