Last night I happened upon the news that Pretty Things Beer and Ale would be selling its last batches of beers over the coming months. Though I certainly didn’t know them well, I had a few brief encounters with the wonderful duo behind the unique brand with distinctive beers. The first time, Dann and Martha were pouring their beers at the Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA where I would occasionally go for cheese and imagine what it would be like to own a joint like that. I learned about Jack D’or, which was like nothing I had ever tried. I was gleeful that “reps” from the brewery happened to be where I was on a random Saturday afternoon. Little did I know that the “reps” were actually the entirety of the company at the time. The charming and humble couple told a bit of their story as I sampled their delicious beers with the whimsical labels. It was also interesting that they seemed excited that they were in the company of another brewer. The sole proprietor of High & Mighty from western Massachusetts was also offering samples. This was a moment I remember for having established my understanding of the fellowship among small breweries—a thrill for a fan like me and one that would echo across festivals, readings, and brewing collaborations.
Sometime later, I went to a party hosted by Pretty Things at the now defunct Other Side Café. Once again, the hosts were not only gracious and friendly but their presence was the center of an awesome night out. Even though the place was vegetarian and filled with fully committed hipsters, people couldn’t help but smile. Sometime even later than that, an incredible sharing session resulted in a chance for me to try the Confounded Mr. Sisyphus. This again was like nothing I had sampled previously. I always hoped it would be brewed again. It is no small feat for two folks to create something that you can associate with great times in your life. They may never really know that impact but I am sure they have had many of their own impactful moments throughout their brewing years. I am sure whatever is next will be great, and plenty has been said of the sadness of their moving on. But when it comes to love, I say pile it on. Our Finest Regards to Dann and Martha and may they return to brew for us again.
With that, I recommend three to try while they still exist:
- Jack D’or ushered in a wave of American Saisons and for that alone, they deserve a hall in the great beer hall of fame. Besides being a trendsetter it is a lovely beer that I got to call “a local” for a while.
- Our Finest Regards is an English-style Barleywine that is better than the beers that inspired it. Quite funny how we started calling these originally English styles “English-style.” America!
- Baby Tree is not like any other Quads I have had. At this point, I know I sound repetitive about the matchlessness of Pretty Things beers. Not my fault. There may be no other brewer more effectively putting a spin on tradition to create something new.