In Memoriam: Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project

Massachusetts brewing company, Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project announced they were ceasing operations on Tuesday. Some were shocked, but followers of the brand should not have been. The company was purposely called a “project” instead of “company” because projects are by definition not permanent. As a fan, it was a day I knew could happen at some point, but was saddened that it happened now.

Pretty Things was my favorite Massachusetts brewer. Every year I would always grab a bomber of Fluffy White Rabbits, Our Finest Regards, American Darling, and the rest of their beers as they were released. I also loved their Once Upon a Time series of historical brews they made in collaboration with brewing historian Robert Pattinson.

After hearing the news I stopped in at Bogie’s in Beverly to pick up some of their beer. A year or so ago the owners of Pretty Things Dann and Martha Paquette hosted a tasting of Pretty Things on a Thursday night. They then stuck around for Bogie’s regular Thursday tasting with Bogie’s patrons, and bought some beer to take home. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there, but everyone who was had noting but great things to say about Dann and Martha. I’ve seen similar stories online in the past couple days. That will make their absence in the local craft beer scene felt even more.

I was thinking about why I loved their beer so much. I think my brewing on a much smaller and inferior scale is not dissimilar their approach. We both brew the beer we want to make and to drink. Like myself, Pretty Things brewed a wide array of styles. Their beers were unconventional, while still being traditional. Instead of throwing in weird and exotic ingredients into their beers just for the sake of being weird and exotic, they would push boundaries by doing things complicated multi-step decoction mashes and combining traditional ingredients in nontraditional ways. Their flagship Jack D’or saison is a traditional saison with American hops. Saint Botolph’s Town a brown ale, uses both a German and British yeast, while Fluffy White Rabbits uses English malt in a tripel.

As a brewer, beer drinker, and nerd, I love when a beer or a brand can teach as well as entertain. Enjoying Pretty Things’ beer did all of that. They also demonstrated that you can brew traditional beers that are truly excellent. I can only hope the eclectic, mostly traditional beers that I brew will compare to theirs.

Dann has been involved in craft beer for over twenty years. Hopefully him and Martha will come out with a new project of some kind at some point in the future.

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