One night, as Harpoon brewery founder Dan Kenary ate dinner at Davio’s in Boston’s Seaport district, he and the restaurant’s owner, Steve DiFillippo, got talking. Davio’s already has five of its own proprietary wines on the menu. So maybe it was time to add a custom-made beer, the longtime friends mused. It wasn’t long before the two were working on concepts and Kenary was brewing up test batches. DiFillippo wanted something distinctive, with some Italian flair, that would pair well with food.
The beer that emerged is a blood orange IPA that is quickly becoming one of the restaurant’s most popular beers. The beer comes served in tall pilsner glass that showcases its coppery golden color and lightly hazy appearance. The aroma of citrus is evident, and the orange of its name becomes even more apparent when you sip. The overall taste is hoppy and slightly bitter, but these notes are never overwhelming, making for a very drinkable beer that doesn’t compete with your meal.
“People love it,” says DiFillippo, a Lynnfield native and current Gloucester resident.
The new beer is available on draft at all 10 of Davio’s locations in Boston’s Back Bay, the Seaport neighborhood, Foxborough, Chestnut Hill, Lynnfield, Braintree, and Logan Airport in Massachusetts, as well as King of Prussia in Pennsylvania, The Colony in Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. There are also plans to sell growlers of the beer to go, where laws allow.
It is delivered to the restaurant in small kegs, so each pour is super-fresh. And the Lynnfield location, at least, is going through a lot of those kegs, says general manager Jennifer Schubert. The warmer weather, in particular, has people drawn to the summery, citrusy flavor.
“As soon as the patio opened, we started flying through it,” Schubert says.
The new beer will not be the end of Davio’s proprietary drinks. DiFillippo is already dreaming of custom-branded vodka and gin, he says. But he will take his time, and won’t let anything hit the shelves until the product is just right – the same deliberation he showed in developing the wines and beer.
“We’re not going to do it just to do it,” he says. “It has to be really special.”