Discovering New Eats & Craft Beers!

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One of the most exciting things about being a food writer and blogger is discovering new (to me) restaurants and craft beers. It’s so refreshing to come across chefs and brewers who are passionate about what they do — so passionate that their love for their craft is basically all the marketing they need.

Two recent discoveries I made in both the local food and beer world are Journeyman restaurant in Somerville’s Union Square, as well as Portico Brewing Company, who currently brews out of Watch City Brewing Co. in Waltham. Both discoveries are obviously quite different, but have the same goal in mind: a quality, delicious product with a heavy emphasis on community.

My fiancé and I recently dined at Journeyman for our anniversary, and what a special dinner it was. Tucked away in Union Square – trust me, it’s off the beaten path — Journeyman is truly a hidden gem. Their ever-changing menu features five to seven courses with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. Each tasting menu is geared toward either omnivores or vegetarians, and a beer or wine pairing for each course is available for an additional cost. The price tag for such a meal is not cheap, but the experience is a rich and memorable one. It’s clear that each dish is crafted with a strong attention to detail, and the use of fresh, quality ingredients is apparent in every bite.

Photo source: Anne and Ray/Flickr

My favorite way to wash down a delightful, relaxing dinner is with a locally brewed beer. After trying Portico Brewing Company’s brews at a few recent beer festivals, I’m convinced I’d wash down a meal with their beer any day. Named after one of the oldest and most common architectural features in the world, Portico was founded by three local guys — Alex Zielke, Alex Rabe, and Ian Chester — with backgrounds in areas such as home brewing, biotechnology, and marketing. Currently, their beers are only on tap in and around Boston, but the guys hope to open their own brewery in June of this year.

Photo source: dig Boston

While Portico currently has 13 beers in the works, their first release was the Fuzzy Logic, a traditional German beer with hints of citrus. I first sipped this beer when the weather was warmer, and it was incredibly refreshing, with slight notes of sweet fruit on the tongue, and a delightful floral aroma. But the best part about Portico isn’t just their beer — Zielke, Rabe and Chester are all passionate about building a more supportive beer community here in New England (and beyond), too. Cheers to that!

While it’s fun for me to discover any new restaurant or beer, it’s even more exciting when those restaurants and beers have a local focus. And when you can taste the passion behind every sip and bite, you know you’ve found a quality product.

Michelle Collins is a freelance food writer and blogger based in Somerville, Massachusetts. You can read about her budget-friendly eats at www.theeconomicaleater.com, and follow her tweets – mostly related to food and craft beer – at @MichellePC

Lead photo by Johanna Bobrow.