During a recent trip to Boston, Massachusetts, I discovered one of Boston’s best-kept secrets, a rooftop bar with stunning views of the Boston skyline. In this episode, I recap my experience staying at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston – Cambridge and visiting Over the Charles Rooftop Bar for the first time. I also sat down with Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers to learn more about their family-owned brewery specializing in craft lagers.
A special thank you to DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston – Cambridge for hosting my stay and Jack’s Abby (especially Mandy) for joining me on the podcast.
Danielle Desir: Years ago my mom and I made this promise that we would go on at least one vacation together every year for several years in a row. We kept up that promised we traveled to Bermuda actually one of my favorite travel destinations in the world. Italy and many more places. We were on a roll. However, life got busy and we stopped going on our annual mother daughter trips. The pandemic happened and you know how that went. But as travel restrictions ease up in the states, mom and I started daydreaming about potential places that we could go together, boston felt just right. Boston is about two hours away from home, making it an easy dry for us. We planned our mother daughter mini getaway and stayed at Doubletree suites by Hilton hotel boston Cambridge. Although our trip was short, I'm really glad that we took the time to reconnect with each other. We both desperately needed a change of scenery and after the trip, mom said she felt the same way she really enjoyed our trip. But unlike other trips are getaway was centered around the hotel, which offered plenty of amenities for a one night stay including access to a hot tub, pool restaurant and a rooftop bar with what I believe is one of boston's best kept secrets. We're so occupy that we spent very little time exploring Cambridge and that's okay. So if you ever find yourself in boston do not miss staying at Doubletree suites by Hilton Hotel boston Cambridge and head over to Over the Charles Rooftop Bar right on the 16th floor, enjoy a laid back atmosphere while taking in stunning views of the scenic Charles River and the boston city skyline at the rooftop bar. Make sure you grab a locally crafted beer from Jack's Abby Craft Brewery known for their award winning lagers featuring locally grown ingredients and traditional german brewing standards. Speaking of Jack's Abby, I had a chance to sit down and chat with Mandy who shared lots of information about the boston based family owned and operated brewing company.
Mandy (Jack's Abby): It's an amazing story of a family. Um So it was started by three brothers, but more specifically Jack. So Jack is a real person, it's not um a character that we came up with, he's a real person, you can go out to the brewery any day that we can find him there. Um So Jack and his two brothers decided to found this brewery 10 years ago, we just celebrated our 10th anniversary. Um The brothers growing up had worked in family businesses, their whole lives. Uh Their family owned an ice business in new york was the top ice business in new york city. Um So they grew up working hard and they had always dreamed of owning a family business together. Jack went to school for brewing, He studied in Germany. Um So when the opportunity came to start his own family business, this was the perfect option for him. Um, so he worked his way up through the ranks and other companies um, in other growing opportunities and finally said, I'm ready to do this on my own. So the day that he decided that he called his two brothers, eric and Sam and said, let's do this, we're ready to start our own company. Um so that was 10 years ago and now we have grown into um, the amazing company that we are today, but it is still fully family owned and operated. We are a small team, but we're very close, we like to think that we're all part of the bigger Jack savvy family um and literally any day of the week that you go out there, you can find the brothers, they're, they're not just wandering around being celebrities, they're brewing the beer there, cleaning the bathrooms, they are really so hands on when it comes to owning and operating this awesome brewery. So for those who have never been to the brewery, can you give us like a visual of what we can expect when we actually walk in. So it's important to know that not only do we love our beer, but we also love our beer hall, our beer hall is really a major source of pride for us. We've created a great dining experience that is incredibly family friendly. We've partnered with local farms around us, more specifically Volonte Farms is one of our big partnerships, so we source as many local ingredients as possible because we want to be a supporter in Massachusetts. Um, you can come out any day that we can find families, they're enjoying themselves. We have a gorgeous outdoor patio space now. Um, the food is outstanding. I will tell you obviously I am biased, but the food is really amazing. Um, our, our pizzas are incredible. We use a delicious starter yeast to create amazing sour dough pizza that is really sort of are the best thing that we do. Um, but definitely we have some incredible wings. Um, and you can try our entire beer selection while you were out there. All of our specialties, all of our experimental beer and all of our delicious core products that everybody knows and loves.
Danielle Desir: So you brew laggers and only laggers. How did you decide to just specialize in lagers and what does that mean?
Mandy (Jack's Abby): Sure. So 10 years ago when the brothers decided to open this brewery, Jack in studying in Germany really fell in love with the concept of lagers. Um, we always joke that Jack is a glutton for punishment, lagers are difficult to brew. Um, they take much longer. They brew at cold temperatures rather than hot temperatures, which is what ails brew at, they take much, much longer to run through the system. It just, you've got to love lagers to create great lagers. Um So for him to, to decide that he wanted to differentiate himself by creating a brewery founded on lagers. It seemed like an amazing task to take on. It was a pretty major challenge. Um but leave it to Jack two different differentiate himself and to really build a brewery based on lagers, which is something that is not common. Actually lagers are my favorite in addition to pale ales. So that's a favorite. All right, so I think what's also unique is that you offer a dining experience, like you said, there's extensive food menu as well.
Danielle Desir: So what would you say would be your favorite pairings between your beers and like the food that you offer?
Mandy (Jack's Abby): Sure. So if we're talking about my favorite food pairing out of the brewery, this is actually my favorite season. We're heading into the fall season which is october 1st season. Um This is when we brew my favorite of our Jack's abby beers, which is copper legend. It's a traditional Bavarian style marzen, which means it's a malt forward beer. Um It is, it is exactly what you would drink if you traveled to Germany to participate in Octoberfest. So we create an amazing beer hall experience at this time of year, we transform our beer hall into a huge Bavarian style beer hall, you can come in and get the most delicious giant pretzels with beer cheese that we create using our own copper legend beer, it is outstanding. It gives you the real experience of being in Germany without ever having to get on a plane.
Danielle Desir: I am ready to sip on some lagers now what can we expect on the menu and maybe some of your favorite beers as well?
Mandy (Jack's Abby): Sure. So I'm going to shout out my personal top three favorites. Number one we've talked about already Copper Legend um delicious malt forward, traditional Bavarian style marzen. So you get some of those sweet notes but not overly sweet. It is a very delicate sweetness. Um you can drink a leader of this beer. It is lower in alcohol, not necessarily low alcohol but it is lower in alcohol. So you can enjoy a large portion of it as you would traditionally in Germany. Um That is one of my absolute favorites. My second favorite would be blood orange wheat. I know that there are a lot of fruit beers out there on the market, but this is my favorite because we try to keep all of the flavors as natural and organic as possible. Um We've really embodied the true flavors of blood orange. When we develop this beer, we were still squeezing our own oranges fresh in the kitchen every day to introduce this into the beer and it is a rattler rather is a style that's not super well known in the States but it is very common abroad and it is a beer that is mixed with fresh fruit juice. So specifically we do use a delicious blood orange wheat for this. Um it is an absolutely fantastic beer and that is in a low alcohol beer. It's a 4.2%. So you can really enjoy it not only on a hot summer day but throughout the winter if you just want a taste of summer. My favorite beer from Springdale, which is our sister brewery right next door to Jack's Abby. Worth visiting if you're in the area is our India pale ale. Is that our Springdale I. P. A. It is so well balanced. I'm not a huge fan of hop bombs which is something that is so happy and bitter. It makes you pucker. Um I like a really well balanced I. P. A. And I'll tell you this is I think the most well balanced, smooth palatable I. P. A. On the market, it's a hidden gem. If you see it out there I would grab it. Excellent. That was all sound delicious, very delicious. Now let's talk about pairing. So I'm heading over to Over the Charles Rooftop in a bit. Um And we're going to be tasting some of the beers and also eating and dining as well. So what would you pair uh in terms of food and any of the drinks from Jack's Abby. So if you are just starting out in the world of Jack's Abby lagers, you've got to start with house lager. It is our entry level most delicious lager. It it gives you the purest sense of what a lager is. It's well balanced, it's beautiful, it's refreshing, it pairs with absolutely anything. Um It is meant to be a great entrance into the world of craft beers if it's something that, that others are not comfortable with the world of craft beer is certainly um there are a lot of lagers on the market that are mass market. Um I'm not going to name any of them, you know them but um certainly if you are interested in getting into the world of craft lagers, house lager is a great entrance to getting into craft lagers. Um house longer will literally pair with any food in the world. But I will tell you if you were visiting Over the Charles, I would definitely pair them with wagyu beef sliders. I find the house lager and burgers is the way to go and man get a wagyu beef slider in front of me and I'm going to order to three orders of those.
Danielle Desir: Sounds delicious. Now, what do you think that Jack's Abby's wants to be remembered for? So either you know folks who are coming in the door for the first time or like years down the road, guys celebrate your tenure anniversary. Congratulations. So what do you think that they want to be remembered for?
Danielle Desir: I'll tell you, I mean I'd be, there's so much we want to be remembered for, we want to be remembered for are are amazing hospitality when you come out. We want you to feel like you're truly getting the Jack's happy experience. We want you to feel like a friend when you leave. Um we obviously we want to be known for um growing this business from the ground up. We want to be known as a small family business, but ultimately what we ultimately want to be remembered for incredible craft lagers at the end of the day, I want to, I want to believe that we helped to put lagers back on the map. I think lagers had fallen off for a while. Um I think that you'll still meet a lot of people who say, I don't, I don't like lagers, I don't drink lagers and I always say try these lagers, I think you're gonna change your mind when you realize that they are so flavor forward. They are so robust in terms of what they bring to the table. It's a whole different experience. So don't write off lagers, I think that we are reinventing lagers.
Danielle Desir: Well said, I love that. Okay, that's awesome. So Mandy. This is a personal question. So what would you recommend to someone who has come to boston for the first time and they want to check out the city and they want to make sure that they're having an incredible experience.
Mandy (Jack's Abby): Oh my God, how long is this podcast do we have three hours. So um I've lived, I've lived in Boston for 18 years now and I still love to explore the city like a first time traveler. My favorite things to do in beautiful weather um anytime between May and October, I like to go down to the Boston Public Garden and take a ride in the Swan boats with my daughter and with my husband. The swan boats are so cute, they're so quaint and it gives you a real boston feel. Um certainly once you're done I would head over and grab a duck boat tour of the city. The duck boat drivers are so funny. They give you a really good sense of not only history, but all the fun that the city has to offer. And lastly, if you really have time for a bigger tour, go on a brewery tour of Boston. There are so many incredible breweries out here. We believe in collaboration over competition. So Jack's has put a lot of time and effort into supporting everyone in this beer industry and there is room for all of us. So if you're here, go visit all of the great breweries that massachusetts and boston have to offer. You will not regret it. There are some incredible breweries out here.
Danielle Desir: Excellent. Now how can we connect with you online and do you do any deliveries out of state by any chance?
Mandy (Jack's Abby): We don't currently do deliveries out of state and I want to say that that is the bummer summer puritans of Massachusetts keeping us on lockdown from sending the fund abroad. However, we are currently available in all states from Maine down through New Jersey. So pretty much anywhere on the Upper East Coast. You can find Jack's Abby. Um, we are, you know, you never know where we might expand to next. I know that we're not trying to expand too fast, but those are the areas you can find us for now. Um, and in terms of finding us online, visit us at Jack's Abby dot com. You can see all of our current offerings for beer. You can see where to join us. You can, you can use our beer locator to find where your beer is in your hometown. Um, but please come out and join us. It's gonna be a great time.
Danielle Desir: After chatting with Mandy, I met up with my mom for our scheduled dinner date at Over the Charles Rooftop Bar. Here's what you can expect at the entrance.
Staff at Over the Charles Rooftop Bar: All right, well, welcome to over the Charles. I'm going to point out a couple of things before I get you guys set for tonight. Our bathroom is through room 1604, right around the corner there behind you. You're gonna find the QR code that has our menu for tonight. We're probably partnered with Jack's Abby, which is a local brewery based out of Framingham mass. Known for their lagers on the menu. We have tasty menu tonight, we have two lagers. We have a Octoberfest and a sour if you like sour beers. This is the beer for you. If you don't next hours maybe try something else drink special. Tonight is the absolute bliss on the Charles, which is absolute watermelon. Petri snaps triple sec, O J, cranberry juice and pineapple juice. He served by the glass for $13 or by the pouch like an adult capri sun for $25 entree special. Tonight is the pretzel rods. They come three in an order served Bavarian style. They come over Jack's abby spicy mustard at Jack's abby uh cheese sauce and a chocolate cream cheese dipping sauce for $14. You folks are staying in the hotel tonight so we don't have to go about parking in terms of Mass Square. We do require that you wear your mask at all times even outdoors if you're walking around when you're actively eating or drinking, you do not have to wear a mask cover again. If you're walking around we do have such as a man, uh, that is it for me, uh, we're going to go ahead and get you sat at your table.
Danielle Desir: We were then shown to our seats where we were given the food and drink menu. I decided to go with the lobster roll, which pairs well with the house lager and my mom ordered the traditional margherita flatbread with a glass of chardonnay. Our server overall was attentive and checked in on us Often I do however, recommend getting to the rooftop early so you can snack a table towards the view again. The view is amazing and you don't want to miss it. Throughout the course of the evening we watched the sun set over Boston, we laughed, we google's, we ate and we had such a great time. If you're in boston and you're in the mood for drinks and a spectacular view, head over to over the Charles Rooftop Bar and when you snap your pix tag me on instagram @thedanielledesir. A special thank you to Doubletree Suites by Hilton hotel boston Cambridge for the warm welcome to boston and for Jack's Abby for making this episode possible. All the links will be in the episode as well as some of the photos I captured from the rooftop and my hotel room which had a beautiful view of the Charles River as well. Now, if you enjoyed this episode, you'll love my other destination foodie beer, wine enthusiast in episodes like episode 75: LIVE from Bad Martha Brewery in Cape Cod Massachusetts an episode 86: 5 reasons to visit Rochester, New York.
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Bostons’ Best Kept Secrets: Brews & Views
In this episode, discover:
- [2:00] Why a hotel full of amenities can be a great getaway
- [2:45] How Jack’s Abby got its start
- [5:00] What you can expect when visiting the Boston brewery
- [5:30] Why Jack’s Abby specializes in craft lagers
- [6:50] How the brewery celebrates Oktoberfest
- [7:40] Some of the Jack’s Abby lagers you should try
- Copper Legend (August – October Release)
- Blood Orange Wheat (Radler)
- House Lager
- [12:15] Recommended things to do in Boston
- [15:45] The one thing to keep in mind when visiting Over the Charles Rooftop Bar
Over the Charles Rooftop Bar
On the 16th floor of DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston – Cambridge, Over the Charles Rooftop Bar offers a laid-back atmosphere where you can take in panoramic views of the scenic Charles River and the Boston skyline.
Note: When booking Hilton hotels with third party sites like Booking.com, you cannot earn Hilton Honors points or redeem Hilton Honors discounts.
Website: Over the Charles Rooftop Bar on Open Table (for booking reservations)
Over the Charles Rooftop Address:
400 Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02134
Founded in 2011 by three brothers, Jack’s Abby brews lagers, and only lagers. Located in Framingham, Massachusetts, their mission is to create distinctive lagers featuring locally grown ingredients using traditional German brewing standards.
Find Jack’s lagers near you using the Beer Finder.