Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blue Hills Brewery Oktoberfest & Contest!

Blue Hills Brewery, located in Canton, Massachusetts, is proud to present their Annual Oktoberfest at the Irish Cultural Center on Saturday September 10, 2011 from 12-6pm.

There will be food, music, activities, and of course lots of fresh Blue Hills Brewery beer for you to sample! Tickets are only $12 and can be purchased online here. Tickets will also be available at the door, but are $15. The Irish Culture Center is located at 200 New Boston Road Canton, MA. Tickets are limited, so it's recommended that you purchase them online ahead of time! Drink tickets are rumored to be around $5 each.

As mentioned on our Facebook page Thursday, we are having another contest! You can win a pair of tickets to the Blue Hills Brewery Oktoberfest through us here at Brew England...

In order to be entered into the contest, please post a comment here letting us know what your favorite Blue Hills Brewery beer is, where you most like to drink them (ie: at home, at the brewery, a favorite festival, the best bar in town), and share this post with your friends on Facebook & Twitter.

The cut off date to enter is Thursday August 18th, and the winner will be announced on Friday August 19th at 12pm.

Good Luck!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Guest Blogger: For the Love of the Brew

by Mike Micalone

I'm not sure when my love for homebrewing really started; but, I can tell you that what started me down the path was a love for craft beers and a feeling that I can brew beer that was just as good as (if not better!) what some microbreweries were brewing.

My adventure in homebrewing started 10 years ago when I bought a Mr. Beer kit because I thought it would be a fun way to make some craft beers (which from what I can remember was just starting to get its legs under it as an industry) on the cheap. So, there I was in the kitchen of my first apartment after college, trying to brew this batch of beer using the stuff that came in the kits with no clue what I was doing. Did I pay attention to proper sanitation (a must in the brewing process) or that I got the beer to a proper temp to pitch the yeast for good fermentation? Not at all! But I had fun and despite drinking beer out of 2 liter soda bottles, I made some half-way decent beer.

Many life circumstances led to the 9 years I spent away from homebrewing. Thanks to Adam (and an increased passion for craft beers) I was led down a path that has brought me more joy, frustration, and anxiety than I would ever imagine. From clearing out the kitchen of any passersby to make sure no foreign agents infected my beer to watching in wonder as the fermentation lock first started to bubble (indicating my beer was fermenting and turning from a pile of sugar into awesome alcohol), I have been borderline obsessive about brewing. I purchased a basic setup to start brewing 5 gallon batches of beer and got started again.

My first brew, PMB (Post Mr Beer), with a true homebrewing kit went as well as can be expected. I was making an all extract version of a German Light beer from a kit I bought online. Seemed fairly simple: clean everything really well with a bleach type solution, boil some water, add the extract and hops to create a wort (the base of any beer), boil for 60 minutes, put it in a bucket, fill it up to 5 gallons, pitch the yeast, put the lid on, sit and wait a few weeks, bottle it and then wait a few more weeks to drink it. Ok, maybe not as simple as I thought once I write it down, but still not rocket science! Everything went perfectly up to the point when I needed to get the wort to a temperature so I could pitch the yeast. I waited 2 hours for the beer to cool (it started at a boil so I'm not sure why I would think it would cool that quickly) and eventually had to MacGyver it to bring it down in temp in a reasonable amount of time.

The beer came out well enough to make me want to try it again. This time it was an Oktoberfest for the Boston Brewin' homebrew club meeting being held at my house.

To add another level of complexity I decided to try and experiment with the hops I put in as well as add some actual grains rather than just doing an all extract version. Everything was going smoothly up to the very end when I went to put an airlock into a hole in the lid (this is used to tell when the beer is fermenting) and the rubber grommet used to hold the airlock in place fell right into the beer I just brewed. A little ingenuity saved the batch of beer (which came out surprisingly good!) and led me to keep brewing.

In the past year since I started to brew again I've brewed 10 batches of beer, each one increasing in complexity and with their own share of trials and tribulations. With this I have added more and more equipment and built a good relationship with my local brew shop, so I could get timely ingredients for my latest concoctions. I’ve read books, magazines, and forum posts on different brewing techniques. I've switched from bottling my beer to putting them in kegs and serving them off a dual tap kegerator. I've reused yeast that helped make a batch of beer to help ferment my next batch of beer. I converted a 5 gallon water cooler into a mash-tun (used to steep grains when brewing beer) so I could brew beer without extract (known as all-grain brewing). I planted two different types of hops on the side of my house and might try planting more depending on how this goes.

Through all of this my love for good quality beer continues as I strive for the perfect brew.

**A special thanks to Mike Micalone for his guest blog post! You can look forward to more posts by Mike in the near future. He can be found on Twitter under the handle @Mickle623!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Craft Beer Comes to Boothbay, Maine

I know I'm late posting this, but there is a HUGE craft beer festival at Boothbay Resort in Boothbay, Maine on Saturday. Presented by the Maine Brewers Guild, 2o of your favorite Maine breweries will be on hand pouring their hand crafted beers, with special reserve brews making an appearance. Maine Beer Company, Rising Tide Brewing Co., and Allagash Brewing Co. have also collaborated to create a special beer specifically for this event.

If that wasn't enough for everyone, Sam Calagione - founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, will be a special guest of the event! Sam will be bringing his award-winning beers, including but not necessarily limited to Bitches Brew and 120-Minute IPA.

Tickets are $50 and include your beer samples, and a traditional southern BBQ! A special commemorative tasting glass will also be given to the first 400 people who purchase tickets. The event will run from 1-4pm, rain or shine. You can purchase tickets here, and get more details about the event here.

Guest Blogger - Mike Micalone

About a week ago I approached my buddy Mike and asked if he wanted to do a post on Brew England. I've known Mike for close to eight years - when we met he was at the time dating (and eventually married) one of Sarah's close lifelong friends Jenn. We've become very close friends over the past several years, and he was recently a groomsman in Sarah and my wedding. We also used his kegerator during the wedding to serve up some tasty Harpoon Brewery craft beers!

Mike had mentioned a while back about documenting his own "Adventures in Homebrewing" as he has quickly become obsessed (again) with brewing his own beer, and the fact that he planted his own hop plants this year, but with the wedding and everything we kind of lost track of what was going on.

Nevertheless, Mike has come through and has written a great introduction to his own "Adventures in Homebrewing." He quickly moved from all-extract "kit" type brewing, to partial grain brewing, to all grain brewing. It never fails to come up in conversation or casual texting that he's buying more ingredients for his next brewing session, which is motivating me to get cranked back up in brewing.

Over the course of the next few months you'll see Mike doing more posts. In fact, he's going to the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Rally tonight at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery (unfortunately I can not be there), and will be doing a full recap for us. In addition, he and I will both be attending the AHA Rally at Allagash Brewing Co's Portland, ME brewery next month, so we'll likely team up on that recap.

Anyway, Mike's first post will be up today or tomorrow afternoon!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dogfish Head & Cape Ann Brewing Tastings This Friday!

I wanted to make sure everyone knew there are two awesome beer tastings coming up this Friday July 29th. Sarah and I are planning on hitting both of them, well…because it’s my birthday, we like beer, and because we do what we want!

The first one is a special limited release Dogfish Head Brewery tasting at Bin Ends in Braintree, MA from 5-7pm. Known more for their discounted wine, Bin Ends has an awesome beer selection. In fact, they were one of our first Brew England Visits back in early 2010. It’s hard to go in there and walk out with only wine – I often pick up a few different beers while I’m there. Bin Ends always seems to have wines available to sample while you’re there, but almost always has beers new to the store open for sample.

If you haven’t visited Bin Ends yet, it’s worth the trip. In addition to great wines and beers, they also have a small section of spirits, including many aged whiskeys. Bin Ends is located at 236 Wood Road in Braintree.

The second tasting on our schedule is at the one, the only – Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA. From 5-7pm, our friend TJ Peckham from Cape Ann Brewing Co will be on hand pouring Fisherman’s Brew, IPA, and their summer special Bavarian Wheat. I actually picked up a bottle of the Bavarian Wheat the last time I was at Craft Beer Cellar, and it is sitting in my fridge waiting to be cracked open. Who knows, perhaps I’ll open it tonight in anticipation? The Bavarian Wheat was also recently on tap at Tavolo in Dorchester, another great restaurant with local, craft beers!

Craft Beer Cellar is located at 51 Leonard Street in Belmont. It is worth the drive from just about anywhere in New England. If you haven’t been to this store, you are really missing out!

Adam & Sarah

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wachusett Brewing Co. to Launch Imperial Pumpkin

Wachusett Brewing Company announced Friday that they will be releasing their new beer, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale, next month.

Here is the official press release from Wachusett on the beer...

Westminster, MA -- Wachusett Brewing Company is releasing their newest beer, an Imperial Pumpkin Ale. This will be the fourth release in their line-up of 22 oz. beers and will hold the title of the strongest beer they have ever brewed at 8% ABV.

The Imperial Pumpkin will be an ale brewed with pumpkin puree and accented with Belgian Candi Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger. It will contain a generous amount of Two Row Barley blended with Carmel Malt and then fermented with Northwest Yeast, creating a unique profile for any fall beer drinker.

The Imperial Pumpkin will hit the coolers, shelves and select draft locations in early August. In celebration of the release, Wachusett will be holding a launch party at their brewery in Westminster, MA on August 11th, 2011 from 7-9pm. There is a $20 cover fee for the launch party, which includes: A first look at Wachusett Brewing Co's new Tasting Room, a limited edition Imperial Pumpkin glass, a private tour of the brewery led by President Ned LaFortune, and snacks. Tickets are available at the brewery, and you can email for more info!

Friday, July 22, 2011

2nd Annual Mass Brewers Fest

With today being forecasted to hit 101 degrees in Boston, it might be a good time to think about cooler temperatures. One way to do that is by telling everyone about the 2nd Annual Mass Brewers Fest!

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, attendees will sample 80+ beers from 20+ Massachusetts Breweries. The event is taking place on Friday September 2nd, 2011 from 6-9:30pm and will be held at the World Trade Center Head House Concourse, which is a beautiful indoor/outdoor on Boston's waterfront (very accessible via the Silver Line).

Tickets are $35 and include a souvenir sampling cup...however, the first 500 tickets are only $29! There will also be live music, and one would assume a chance to purchase some grub.

Click here to purchase your tickets!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

American Homebrewers Association Rally - Portland

So I mentioned earlier this month about the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Rally taking place at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston on Thursday July 28th. Well, the AHA has announced a second New England area Rally, this time at Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, ME.

Here are the details:

When: Wednesday August 24th, 2011 from 5:30-7:30pm
Where: Allagash Brewing Co. - 50 Industrial Way Portland, Maine

What makes this event even more special is that the God Father himself, Charlie Papazian, will be in attendance. For those of you familiar with Charlie, you are probably as psyched as I am. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Papazian, let me give you a brief run down of who this guy is.

Charlie Papazian founded the Association of Brewers, is the current President of the Brewers Association, and the founder of the Great American Beer Festival - the annual event and competition held in Denver, CO. Charlie has also written "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing", commonly referred to as the "homebrewers' bible", the follow up "The Homebrewer's Companion", and several other books and publications. He also is a contributing author in the AHA's periodical magazine "Zymurgy."

During the AHA Rally you can meat Charlie, meet Rob Tod and the Allagash Brewers, take a VIP tour of the brewery, try a special beer release, have the opportunity to win great prizes, and mingle with fellow homebrewers. Space is extremely limited, so you need to RSVP as soon as possible. Don't forget you must be a member of the AHA to attend, so it is recommended that you join before the event, although they will provide discounted memberships at the brewery on the 24th!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New England Quickly Becomming The Hub of Beer

This summer is shaping up to be pretty eventful in the world of beer. By world, I mean overall, not the actual planet Earth. Well, come to think of it...perhaps the planet earth!?

Anyway, to our pleasure there has been a lot of beer news about New England! As we mentioned earlier this week, Jack's Abby Brewing opened its doors for production in Framingham, MA. Last night was the Keg Kick Off Party for our friends at Throwback Brewery in Dover, NH. But, in case you hadn't heard, there are even more breweries popping up in the region.

Mystic Brewery, a Chelsea, MA brewing company, received their license to begin production brewing on July 6th, 2011. Backlash Beer Company, a Boston based brewing company, produced their first limited batch of Groundswell Belgian Style Blond Ale just last month. Most recently, Trillium Brewing Company, is going through the application and zoning process to open their brewery, to be located in the Fort Point Channel neighborhood of Boston.

I'm sure there are many other brewing companies that I am leaving out, but as a one man (and one woman) operation, it's tough to sometimes get more info outside of the greater Boston (and New Hampshire) area. But, if anyone knows of new breweries, or even craft beer stores that are opening, PLEASE let us know! It has always been the mission of Brew England to recognize and help promote craft brewers and enthusiasts in New England (with the occasional recognition and nod to our national fellow craft brewers), so please feel free to help us out!

A great start is to find these companies on Facebook, Twitter, and their websites, not to mention recommending our website, Facebook page, and Twitter account! Another way is by attending craft beer tastings and festivals, trying these new beers - or beers you haven't had before, and then telling your friends about them! Many of the upcoming beer events are listed here as well, and are updated as often as possible. Hopefully we'll see you out at some of the events!

Cheers & Happy Summer!


Adam from The Tasting Life, not to mention JC from Trillium Brewing Co, reminded me of Idle Hands Craft Ales out of Everette, MA. They are in the finishing stages of releasing their first batch of beer! It wasn't until I visited their website where I realized that I ran into the head brewer and owner Christopher Tkach (who is from my home state of NH!) at the Beer Summit Winter Jubilee back in January!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jack's Abby Brewing - Open for Business

I announced on our Facebook page back in early June that there was a new brewery set to open this summer in Framingham, MA. Well, today I received the official press release...

Jack’s Abby Brewing Begins Production
Opens Doors to Framingham Brewery

Framingham, MA – July 18, 2011 – Jack’s Abby Brewing, today announced the start of production at their Framingham, MA brewery.

The company also announced the opening of a gift shop and the beginning of tours at the Framingham facility. Public tastings are scheduled to begin this month.

“After months of hard work we are excited to begin production of what we believe will be exceptional and unique lagers,” said Jack Hendler, owner and brewer of Jack’s Abby Brewing. Hendler, along with his brothers Sam and Eric, founded Jack’s Abby Brewing in January 2011.

Initial production will focus on three lagers:

Saxon Sons Pilsner
Saxon Sons Pilsner is a wonderfully aromatic, sunshine golden-colored lager featuring a lemony floral nose followed by a dry finish. Brewed and conditioned for extended periods, balancing the traditional bohemian Pilsner malt backbone with unique hops added to our hop back. The name pays tribute to the Saxony Ice Company started by the Hendler brothers’ grandfather. 5.4%

Hoponius Union
Hoponius Union is an India Pale Lager that offers a twist to the traditional IPA since it is fermented cold and aged for extended periods. The perfect union of aromatic American hops and lager fermentation creates a huge citrusy-hoppy aroma and clean, bitter finish. 6.7%

Smoke & Dagger
Smoke & Dagger is a dark, black beer, cloaked in mystery, that gets its roasted and smoky notes from traditional beechwood-smoked malt and chocolate malt. Smoke & Dagger is full bodied and malty with little to no hop character. 6.0%

Jack’s Abby plans to produce seasonal varieties as well as other special occasion lagers and possibly ales in the future.

The Company is currently producing all of its lagers in Framingham facility which currently has a 20 BBL Premier Stainless brewhouse and five 40 BBL fermenters. A special hop back is used to infuse hop flavor and aroma into the beers before fermentation. The brewery also features a tasting room as well as a small garden next door for growing hops and brewing spices.

Beers will initially be available to restaurants and bars in kegs and at the brewery in 64 ounce growlers filled on request. Regular (12 ounce) bottles are expected to be available for sale in 2012. The company will self-distribute its beers to restaurants and bars to start.

About Jack’s Abby Brewing

Founded in January 2011 by three brothers who grew up in a family business, Jack’s Abby Brewing is a craft brewery specializing truly distinctive lagers featuring locally grown hops, traditional German brewing standards, and American innovation.

The name, Jack’s Abby Brewing, pays homage to co-founder Jack Hendler’s wife, Abby, while evoking the tradition of monastic groups in Europe who create handcrafted beers in their abbeys. The brothers are inspired by the tradition of craft brewing using quality local ingredients, mindful labor and great recipes to create delicious, authentic beer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Explore Your Craft Contest

First off, I would like to thank all of those who commented, shared the links, posted on Facebook, or retweeted us. Please continue to help spread the good word about, it is really appreciated!

Without further delay, the winner of the two tickets to Widmer Bro's & Draft Magazine Explore Your Craft contest is...

Lindsey, aka @andoverliquors!

Lindsey, please shoot me an email at with your full name and the name of your guest (if you know who you are bringing). Your name will appear on the guest list at the door of the Estate.

Congratulations and see you there!

Adam & Sarah

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BrewEngland Vistis: Throwback Brewery - North Hampton, NH

Back in January I was pleased to hear that there was a new brewery set to open in 2011 in North Hampton, NH called Throwback Brewery. I was quick to post on here, and of course continue spreading the good word about craft beer on New Hampshire's Seacoast. Well, after a few months of occasional emails to owners Annette Lee and Nicole Carrier, I successfully broke them down enough to offer up a tour of their new facility.

Sarah and I wanted to make a nice little weekend out of the trip, and we figured that my brother Dennis and sister-in-law Beth would like to join us, so we booked a room in Portsmouth for apres-tour shenanigans.

Let me start off by saying that if you pay a visit to Throwback Brewery, you will quickly learn that you are about to spend some time with two of the nicest women we have met. Both Annette and Nicole could not have been more pleasant and inviting to the four of us when we arrived.

The brewery itself is set back off of the road, in what is a small industrial park with similar warehouse style buildings. Knowing that we were expected, we showed ourselves in.

At first glance, the brewery looked a lot different than what we saw on their website. Since January, I had been keeping track of their build out process on their blog, and was happy to see that their hard work was just about finished. When you walk in you can see their logo painted on the wall, with nice new, empty, swing-top Grolsch style growlers waiting to be filled.

The logo was just about to be completed at the time of our visit

Further ahead was their new brewing system, which was still in the process of being hooked up to the building's gas system.

A view from the top of the stairs

They also had plenty of kegs stored up...

In order to make some of their lager beers, the fermenting wort needs to be chilled. The ladies of Throwback Brewery got pretty inventive, by retrofitting a few air conditioners to create temperature controlled fermenting closets.

In the world of commercial brewing, taxes play a big part. Breweries are taxed for every barrel of beer they produce (1 barrel = 31.5 gallons). Regulations require every tank that produces a final product to be labeled, so that there is a precise measure of how much beer is produced and therefore taxed. Annette and Nicole thought, "why not go with a Muppets themed system?", and you can see in the picture they did just that. They have other thanks which feature Ms. Piggy, Fozzie, the Swedish Chef , Beaker, and of course Kermit.

The Throwback walls are also donned with a picture of Statler and Waldorf, from the Muppet Show. You may recall that the tandem would always heckle the "performers" on the Muppet Show from the best seat in the house. Annette and Nicole use the picture as a form of motivation, and sighted it reminded them of their dad and friend checking in on them.

Now, it doesn't take me very long to reply to the question "So, do you want to try some beer?" I had to try to play it off as if I wasn't as excited as I was, but I'm pretty sure I didn't hide it very well. So, we headed up to Nicole and Annette's office to do just that - try some beer. Some wasn't probably the best word to describe trying eight beers, but whatever...

Quickly from the hidden stash came several bottles of beer, which again, made me a very happy guy!

The first two beers we tried were the Hog Happy Hefeweizen German Style Wheat beer, followed up by a variation of the Hog Happy called Ryezen Shine - which part of the grain bill was filled with Rye.

Hog Happy is on the Left and Ryezen Shine is on the right

The Hog Happy was a very nice wheat offering. It was light and refreshing, and you could pick out the banana tones fairly easily. The Ryezen Shine had a deeper body and mouth feel to it, but you could notice the similarities in the two beers. Both were very enjoyable!

Next up was the Smoked Chipotle Lager. There was a pronounced, but not overpowering smokiness to it.

Their Red IPA was up next, and was great. It had a mild sweetness to it as you find with a lot of reds, but then it had a great blend of hoppy bitterness to it. The Red IPA was definitely one of my top three beers of the day!

The following beer was the Dippity-Do American Brown Ale. From what the ladies were saying, people seemed to shy away from the brown at their tastings, and they couldn't figure out why. Perhaps it was the name, which can remind people of not so pleasant things; however, the name Dippity-Do seems to easily roll off the tongue and is kinda fun to say! Either way, the beer was nice. It had a nice malt balance, and was enjoyable! It was followed up by a Maple Kissed Wheat Porter, that was also dark and delicious.

The final two beers are hard to explain in words that seriously do them justice...Annette and Nicole poured us all a sample of their Campfire, which is a smoked porter. It poured black as night, and smelled and tasted nice and smokey. My sister-in-law Beth put it best as "It really DOES taste like a camp fire!" which gave us all a nice chuckle!

The final pour of the visit was their Peanut Butter Chocolate Imperial Stout, which was incredibly good. I mean, it tasted JUST like a peanut butter cup, with a perfect blend of peanut butter and chocolaty goodness! All that was missing was a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream for a supremely delicious ice cream beer float!

During and after the tasting we continued our great conversation. Annette completed the Concise Course in Brewing Technology through the Siebel Institute's World Brewing Academy while holding an internship with Smuttynose Brewing Co. in Portsmouth, NH. Naturally, I wanted to pick her brain a bit. We also discussed the process of label approval, which has to go through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which seemed like an interesting process to say the least.

All in all, we spent close to two hours there sampling beers, trading stories, and sharing our love and passion for hand crafted beers, and those that use choice, local, and quality ingredients. The ladies could NOT have been nicer and more welcoming to us all. It was sincerely the best brewery visit we have been on, and I know they will be a hit with their great line up of beers!

Nicole on the Left and Annette on the Right

Throwback Brewery is located at 121 Lafayette Road in North Hampton, New Hampshire. They will officially be opening their doors in the very near future, and will host special "Growler Nights" where you can stop by the brewery and purchase freshly filled growlers of their beer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reminder: Explore Your Craft Contest ends Thursday!

This is just a friendly reminder that the contest for to win a pair of free tickets (valued at $150) for the Widmer Brothers Explore Your Craft event at The Estate in Boston ends THIS THURSDAY!! We have a few people who have "submitted" their entry, so if you haven't done so yet time is running out!

If you have followed Brew England on Twitter, or liked us on Facebook, please make sure to let us know you would like to be considered for the tickets! The easiest way is to share this using the easy one-click function below the post, and by leaving a quick comment here letting us know you shared the info!

The lucky winner will be drawn at 12pm on Thursday, and we MUST have your full name and email address. The winner will be placed on the guest list for Saturday's event, which is sure to be a great time! There are a limited amount of tickets still available through the Estate - click here for ticket information.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kate & Suzanne from Craft Beer Cellar On the Air!

Tune in to The Callie Crossley Show on 89.7 WGBH (or click here to liste online) today at 1pm to hear Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow, two of the coolest women I've met recently - and owners of Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA - talk about their shop, cool brews, and anything else that might pop up.

Ned Friedman, director of Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain will also be joining Callie, Kate, and Suzanne to talk about beer.

What is cooler than this? I know I'll be listening!

American Homebrewers Association Rally

I'm a homebrewer. Sure, I don't brew as much as I would like to, but nevertheless I'm still a homebrewer. After getting started last year, I opted to join the American Homebrewers Association, as well as started (and registered with the AHA) my own homebrewers' club Boston Brewin'. One of the awesome benefits to joining the AHA is gettng exclusive invitations to special events. More specifically, an invitation to dedicated AHA rallys.

As you may recall, last year Sarah and I attended the American Homebrewers Association rally at the Samuel Adams brewery, in Jamaica Plain. It was a special time because it was our first rally as card holding members of the AHA, but even more so as it was my 30th birthday.

This years rally is being held on Thursday July 28th from 5-8pm at the Samuel Adams Brewery, and is exclusively for AHA members. If you are a member already, and live in the general Boston area, you should have received an email direct from the Brewers Assiciation. If you are not a member, but would like to join, visit the American Homebrewers Association website for more information and directions on how to join. You can also sign up at the door, for a discounted price; however, space is extremely limited and I highly recommend you sign up in advance!

Last year Sarah and I each recieved a "Perfect Pint" glass, three drink tickets to fill said glass (awesome beers!), got a chance to cast our vote for the Longshot Homebrew Contest, food, and more. We even ran into the man himself, Jim Koch, and got to speak with him briefly. I expect similar things this year, although sadly I will not be able to attend.

So don't wait any longer! If you want an exclusive and intimate look inside one of the coolest breweries in the area, sign up for the AHA now!

Tuesday Night Tasting - Maine Beer Co: Peeper American Ale

***I could have sworn I posted this! I must have went to add pics, and then never reposted it...better late than never, but I'll have to add pics later today/tomorrow! ***

Maine Beer Co. – Portland, Maine
*Peeper Ale (American Ale)
5.5% ABV, 1pt 9oz
Bottle Conditioned, 100% American Hops

This was my first go around with a beer from Maine Beer Co, a relatively new brewery located in Portland, Maine. Aside from the liquid, the brewery has a great philosophy as they use 100% wind power for their electricity, donate their spent grain to local farmers, and even donate 1% of sales to environmental non-profits.

The beer pours a golden pale liquid with a bountiful, fluffy, white foamy head. Granted, I may have been a bit over zealous getting the beer poured, but I’m going to assume it pours similarly each time. It has a soft, citrus and piney scent, with tones of nice toasted malt.

The Peeper Ale has an interesting flavor. It is neither too strong, nor too light. You can definitely pick up the beer’s moderate bitterness and hop characteristics. It has mild notes of citrus and pine, to match the scent. It is somewhat crisp and is nicely carbonated.

I considered the mouth feel to this Maine Beer Co. offering to be mild. Again, it’s not heavy at all, yet it’s not overly light. It’s a nice balance, making it a fairly smooth and enjoyable beer. The Peeper has a fairly noticeable aftertaste, which I found to be pleasant.

I would also give the Peeper Ale a moderate drikability level. While it’s not the best beer I’ve ever had, it was my first Maine Beer Co. beer and I was pleased. This is a beer I would buy and drink again.

*Sorry for the missing photos, as our USB cable for the camera is currently hiding from us. Once found, I will upload the pictures!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer is Officallly ON!

So as you might know, Sarah and I got married a few weeks ago. We had a great wedding, the weather was perfect, and our honeymoon was equally as much fun (I will recap as much as possible in a separate post). In short, we went on a killer road trip with stops in Roxbury, Syracuse, and Buffalo, NY, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, and Woodstock, VT. All in all, it was just over 1,400 miles.

Prior to leaving, we realized that we would be returning just in time for the 4th of July holiday weekend. However, considering I was going to be driving so many miles, I knew I was not going to want to drive when I got back - BUT, I knew I still wanted to cookout and hang with friends. So, we opted to throw a little bar-b-que at our place with some good friends.

Now, for our wedding, we had some draft beer. My buddy Mike has a kegerator with a dual tap head, to accommodate two separate beers. For this momentous occasion, I opted to go with Harpoon IPA and Harpoon Summer. We purchased two 5-gallon (corney) kegs of each, and much to my surprise the beer was the hit of the party and quickly ran dry. Considering we ran out of beer so quickly (and my brother-in-law kindly went to purchase more canned beer), I knew I need to be better suited for the bbq.

I ended up getting a 12-pack of Sierra Nevada Torpedo (one of my favorite Extras), a 12-pack of Ipswich Ale Brewery Summer Ale (a solid summer beer, please try it if you haven't), and a case of the Wachusett Brewing Co mix packs - which feature the Larry Imperial IPA, which is incredibly good! I had it for the first time at the Curtis Liquors Fall Beer Tasting, and eventually reviewed it here! I had doubts that there would be enough, so I asked Sarah to get a 12-pack of the Harpoon IPA & Summer cans just to be safe.

Needless to say, there was ample beer! Naturally some of our guests brought some beer of their own, but the end result was about a case of excellent craft beer sitting at home, waiting for me to get home from work and knock a few back...which is exactly what I did yesterday, after my first day back at work in almost three weeks.

If you haven't checked out the Wachusett mix pack (and why the hell wouldn't you - Country Pale Ale, Larry Imperial IPA, Wachusett IPA, and Blueberry Ale), you definitely need to grab a case. If you're a hop head, you're going to LOVE this mix pack. Even if you're a casual fan, you will quickly be converted; however, do not shy away if you are not - the Country Ale is one of the most well balanced pale ales, and their flagship Blueberry Ale is there to sooth your thirst!

A special note should be made to the fine folks at Wachusett Brewery, for giving us a shout out on their Facebook page today! If you're not a fan with them on Facebook, please take a moment to "like" their page, and let them know you read this post!