As I mentioned last week, I decided to volunteer at the Beer Summit's Winter Jubilee this past Friday. If you have been to one of their events, you know how much fun they are. The same is definitely true for those volunteering.
My buddy Joe and I got to the Park Plaza's Castle around 4:45pm, and found our way inside. Surprisingly, the guy in charge of delegating the chores for the evening recognized me from the blog, which I thought was very cool. We were lead to the coat check area, where we would spend the first hour and a half of the night with Sister T.
Now, on the Beer Summit's volunteer sign up sheet, they ask if you know Sister T. I had no clue who Sister T was, so I naturally said no, but that I was intrigued to find out who she was. Well, to my surprise, she was a legit Nun at one of the local churches and has a great personality. Once the guests started to arrive, she became pretty militant as she said she would. Fortunately, there were donation jars where people would toss in a few dollars to check their coats. The proceeds were to help those in need in Haiti. I don't know what the total tally was, but the last session was pretty successful.
Anyway, after a while on coat check, Joe and I were told to have a little fun, walk around and taste the local brews - which is what we did.
There were over 50 breweries from all over the place on Friday. Although we didn't get a chance to sample all the brews, we did get to have our full share. Tom and TJ from Cape Ann Brewing were there, so I decided to introduce myself and Joe - who is also a main player in the Cure Me I'm Irish event coming up. We chatted for a few minutes with the guys, while trying some of their Vanilla Coffee Stout. It is hard to explain how good this beer is! They actually draw the beer through a container of vanilla beans, which gives a nice smooth body to the beer.
Joe and I hit a few other booths, including Berkshire Brewing Company, The Haverhill Brewery, Southern Tier, and Watch City Brewery. After spending about a half hour touring the floor, we were tapped to help out with the concessions. Joe manned the cash register, and I helped serve about 100 hot dogs and 50 pulled pork sandwiches in about an hour. People were hungry, and the food was just the thing to satisfy the guests (and help).
After getting relieved from food duty, we got ourselves a bite to eat and decided to hit more booths for some more samples. We stopped at the Wormtown Brewery booth. Honestly, I don't remember which beer I tried, but it was very, very good. To me it had hints of coconut, and although they have a coconut porter, this wasn't it (I should have written it down).
Just around the corner from Wormtown was High & Mighty Beer Co. I was probably most excited for them to be there, as I hadn't tried any of their beers either. I have seen some of them at Curtis Liquors in Weymouth, but the bottles are extremely old (2008-2009) which means they are very skunked. I chatted with one of their reps, as well as their owner Will. Aside from saying the beers at Curtis were old, he told us a funny story related to their tap handles (too graphic for this site), which made us laugh.
Will seemed like a good guy, and definitely a brewery I'd like to have at one of our future tastings. I had their Beer of the Gods, and Two-Headed Beast, and I enjoyed both of them. Will also let me know that they contract their brew to Paper City Brewery - both located in Holyoke, MA - which could make for a great brewery tour and tasting.
We also caught up with our friends at Mayflower Brewing Co. Ryan Conn, one of their territory managers, was there (I seem to run into him wherever Mayflower is part of an event). We always have great conversations about what they have on tap, brews set for release, and general goings on. Mayflower was also the first brewery booked for the "Cure Me I'm Irish" event, and they should have some great beers available. We chatted about their Oatmeal Stout, and how I haven't had much luck finding it. He also let me know that their Imperial Stout, which is aged in bourbon barrels, is going to be out this week. We will definitely be reviewing it here!
Joe and I also met the individual (sorry, I forgot his name) responsible for booking all the breweries. He mentioned that it was a very tall task, and I felt lucky that the beer event we're helping with is much smaller (this year anyway).
As the last guests were leaving, we found one more brewery that was still serving beer for the staff - Cody Brewing Co. Cody Brewing Co is located in Amesbury, MA, which is near the NH/MA border. They had a few beers available, including their IPA and one of the best beers I had all night - their Whiskey Imperial Stout. The stout was big, bold, malty, but with a nice display of whiskey.
Joe and I started talking with the guys, including owner/brewer Sean Cody (who just goes by Cody). We talked for probably a good half hour about their brewery, the town of Amesbury (my grandparents used to live there), and their beer. In fact, the four or five peoole with Cody joined Joe and I at Flash's across the street for a beer and more conversation.
I always love going to these types of events as I always meet new people, get to know some of the brewers and the staff at breweries, and try new beers. I don't know if it's because I'm super annoying (I like to think not), or that I'm so passionate about beer that some of the staff recognize me at future events. I hope it's the later, but either way I have a good time when I'm there.
The Beer Summit has a seasonal beer tasting every year, and I look forward to getting involved again in the spring.