Monday, January 31, 2011

Pilgrimage to Plymouth - BrewEngland (re)Visits: Mayflower Brewing Co.

So as I mentioned this past Saturday, Sarah and I - along with our friends Vicki and Joe, took a trip down Rt. 3 to attend/help out at a private event held at the Mayflower Brewing Co. brewery in Plymouth, MA.

The event was put on by the Duxbury Newcomers' Club, which is a non-profit organization that provides social, recreational, and charitable opportunities to its members. Basically, it was a beer social for club and non-club members (note: the DNC typically requires you to be a resident and member of the club to attend their events). Food for the event was provided by Go-Go's Catering, that included sandwiches, cheeses, vegetables and dips, and chili to name a few items. The Duxbury Newcomers' Club also provided soda and wine for the non-beer drinkers. However, the main focus was of course on the amazing selection of craft beer offered by Mayflower Brewing Co.

The guests started to roll in, and the requests for samples grew at a steady rate. It was then that our friend Ryan asked me to help out by pouring samples. POURING SAMPLES?? Yes, please!

Now, I must admit...prior to Saturday I had only used a draft system (not the picnic tap typically used for kegs at parties, etc) twice before. My buddy Mike received a kegerator for Christmas (jealous!), and had me over a few weeks ago. I helped myself to a few pints of his homebrewed Bourbon Porter, and got to take part in some of his first pours. It took me a little while to get the hang of Mayflower's draft lines, but I eventually got in a rhythm.

I have to say, it was really fun to help out. I've tried all of the beers Mayflower Brewing had to offer that night, so I was prepared when the guests weren't quite sure what to try. I'd ask them if they liked hoppy beers (Mayflower IPA- one of my favorites), milder beers (Golden Ale- their flagship brew or Pale Ale), or dark beers (Porter or Winter Seasonal Oatmeal Stout- both amazing beers).

We also got to meet Ryan's girlfriend Rachel, who is a Pennsylvania native. Although she was from the Eastern part of the state, I was able to share a few stories of my trips to western PA as a younger boy as I have/had family there. She's also a student finishing up here degree, much like myself, so we could commiserate with each other.

Ryan also took the guests on a few brewery tours. So, with him in the brewery, Joe and I, with the help of Rachel, tended bar.

Sarah loving the Oatmeal Stout!

After the guests cleared out, the four of us, plus Ryan and Rachel had some time to digest the evening. We also took the opportunity to get a personal tour of the facility (again for us, first time for Vicki & Joe).

As I mentioned, Mayflower's Imperial Stout came out last week. It's a limited release beer that weighs in at a whopping 10.6% ABV. It aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels for almost a year, before being bottled and released.

These are the same barrels used for Sam Adams Utopia!

The barrels are currently filled with water, to help preserve the wood, and so they can be used again. I'm unsure if Mayflower plans to brew the same Imperial Stout again next year, but it's in such high demand, and short on supply, one can only guess they might just do that! We still haven't had it, but I plan on picking up a few bottles this week. One will be reviewed here, and I plan on cellaring another bottle for around six months or so, as recommended by Ryan.

Adam also loves the Oatmeal Stout!

Ryan also showed us their newly acquired suite, which has been converted to a large cold storage area. This allows Mayflower to store all of their bottles in a unit kept around 50 degrees, which Ryan explained is also super convenient when they're ready for distribution. They have a separate cooler for their kegs and ingredients.

We once again hit the brewery floor to check out the rest of the tour.

Sarah trying some green (uncarbonated) IPA

Adam with his green IPA

Sarah and Vicki with some green IPA

We were then brought to the other side, where the kegging, bottling, and packaging takes place.

Rachel and Vicki near the kegging system & bottling line

Just beyond the bottling line, is Mayflower's cold storage unit. All their kegs are kept there, which is conveniently located near their loading dock for easy access.

We also got the scoop on Mayflower Brewing Co.'s upcoming Spring seasonal beer. At this time it's highly top secret, but all I can say is that I am VERY excited for it to come out. Once I'm able to share details on the style, I will let everyone know!

Once again, we had an amazing time at this brewery. The dedication Ryan and the rest of the Mayflower Brewing crew put into their beer and the company are amazing. We can't be more excited for them to continue to grow and expand, and we plan on visiting the brewery again in the near future!

Mayflower Brewing Co. is located on 12 Resnick Road in Plymouth, MA. They provide tours most weekdays, and if you're lucky you might get a Saturday tour (unsure if they still are doing them). If you haven't been, you have to go! If you see Ryan, let them know Adam and Sarah from BrewEngland sent you!

The brewery can be rented out for private functions, such as the one for the Duxbury Newcomers' Club. If you're interested in having an event there, you can email them at or call them at (508) 746-2674 to get more information.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Escape to the Cape...technically

I'm excited for this evening. Tonight, Sarah and I are heading back to one of our favorite places - the Mayflower Brewing Co. brewery in Plymouth, MA.

A few weeks ago while I was working the Beer Summit's Winter Jubilee, I ran into Ryan Conn from Mayflower. It's funny, because I have run into him at each of the beer events I've been to over the past year, not to mention when we visited the brewery last August. Knowing their company was going to be there, I figured I would run into him. Anyway, he invited Sarah and I down to the brewery for a small gathering, beer tasting, and tour. Naturally, I said we'd be there.

Aside from being a generally good time, the folks at Mayflower Brewing Co. have been busy. Since our last visit, they have added a new bar space (found out through their website). In addition, as I found out from Ryan at the Beer Summit, they have expanded their brewery floor. When we visited in August he had told us they were in the works of acquiring the suite next to theirs at their brewery, in order to expand their production.

If these additions and improvements to their brewery wasn't enough, I just learned this morning that Mayflower is extending their reach. They are happy to announce that they will begin distributing in Rhode Island, beginning next week. Previously Mayflower Brewing only distributed in Massachusetts, so this is a big step for this small, yet up and coming brewery! I couldn't be happier for them.

So, we're very much looking forward to revisiting the brewery and checking out the new space. It'll also be great as Mayflower Brewing Co. was the first brewery to confirm to the "Cure Me I'm Irish" event coming up on March 5th, so it'll be nice to meet some of the other people who we'll be working with. If we're lucky, we'll get to try their newest limited release beer, an Imperial Stout aged on Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. I hear it's impressive!

You can expect a full write up on our visit soon, not to mention a several Tweets from both Sarah (@pinkshoe) and I (@brewengland).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday Night Tasting: Blue Hills Brewery Watermelon Wheat

This was supposed to be posted on Wednesday. Don't tell Adam.

As Adam posted earlier this week, we had a great time visiting Blue Hills Brewery last Friday. After our tour and tasting Jim was nice enough to hook us up with a couple of their beers to take home: The Black Hops, and the Watermelon Wheat. I had never heard of the Watermelon version of their wheat beer but when Jim spoke of it on the tour I knew I had to try it - so try it I did for our latest Tuesday Night Tasting.

I will always have a place in my heart for fruity beer. It is because of fruity beer that I am the beer lover I am today! It is a great "gateway" beer for people who think they don't like beer. As Adam is fond of saying "There is a craft beer lover in everyone" and I concur, some are just more hidden than others and need a little more coaxing.

Now onto the tasting.

Blue Hills Brewery - Canton, MA
Watermelon Wheat

As soon as you pour the beer - the smell of watermelon hits you. To me it smelled like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. I was expecting it to be quite sweet but in fact the first taste is mild, a little malty, citrusy. Which makes sense since this beer is made with their Wampatuck Wheat - a hefeweizen (and delicious beer in it's own right). As you swallow, the watermelon taste hits you and it's quite refreshing! It's like sipping a wheat beer and biting into a watermelon immediately afterwards. I can see kicking back on the porch on a hot summer day drinking one of these beers ice cold and let me tell you, I am clinging to that image as I look outside at the 8 feet of snow on the ground right now.

It is a warm, golden color and very bubbly. I drank it from a flute by chance but I think it was a great vehicle for this refreshing treat. Adam and I took a Beer Tasting course at the Boston Wine School a couple of years ago and learned that a wine glass is actually the best shaped glass to taste beer with. While I am sure most dudes out there cringe at the idea of drinking beer from a wine glass - you should give it a try sometime and see if I'm right!

In any case, this is a fabulous summer beer and you would like a little taste of summer now (as I think we could all use) definitely look for it at these stores or even better visit the brewery and pick some up!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Call for Help!

So as most of our readers are already aware of, BrewEngland is setting up a really kick ass beer tasting at this year's "Cure Me I'm Irish" event. So far, we've booked Mayflower Brewing Company, Cape Ann Brewing Co., Blue Hills Brewery, and Magic Hat. With a little more success, we'll finalize the brewery list this week, and be set for the ultimate brewers line up.

Staying with the beer theme, I've also reached out to local restaurants that have a focus on New England craft beers to make donations to the cause. I don't have them in my hands yet, but we're putting the finishing touches on acquiring some great gift certificates from some restaurants that I know you've heard of.

Each year they have several raffles, not to mention one of the best silent auctions I have ever seen. Last year's event saw autographed movie scripts, Celtics and Bruins tickets, Bruins and Patriots autographed memorabilia, great getaway packages to spas and hotels, just to name a few.

This is where YOU come in! Aside from purchasing tickets, which not only includes the beer tasting but a FULL open bar, the Friends of Will is looking for donations big and small! Whatever you can spare, the Friends of Will could use!

If you would like to buy tickets to the event, please click here to purchase online. If you would like to donate money or items, please email Pat Lacey at You can also leave a comment here, and I will pass on your information.

BrewEngland Visits: Blue Hills Brewery - Canton, MA

This past Friday evening, Sarah and I (finally) made the short 15 minute ride to Blue Hills Brewery, located in Canton, MA. We had heard about BHB a few years ago, and more recently have began to try a few of their beers. We had recently been in communication with their Office Manager Jim via Twitter, after he picked up on our review of their most recent release - Dunkelweizen. Jim invited Sarah and I to the brewery for a visit, and we couldn't pass it up.

Located just down the street from the Blue Hills themselves, Blue Hills Brewery is a small facility tucked into a few other offices. In fact, we drove by it the first time, despite our GPS (which I need to update) telling us when to turn. Nevertheless, we found their unit and made our way inside.

When you step inside the Blue Hills Brewery, you walk right into their primary office space, which also holds their sampling room and retail space. BHB typically has three beers available on draft at the brewery, but they don't seem to hold back on opening up some of their 22oz bombers to dish out more samples.

Jim came from the brewhouse to meet us, and couldn't have been nicer. He informed us that he began working as an intern helping out the brew staff. It wasn't until the former office manager moved on, that he took his space, which is where he currently finds himself.

Jim took us out back, and as we passed their labeling station, we were introduced to Andris, one of the co-owners and head brewer at the brewery. We chatted for a few minutes, before heading to the cold storage area.

According to Jim, the brewery has the capacity to brew 20 barrels, or 620 gallons per batch at a time. The brewery only operates Mondays through Fridays, and they often brew two to three times per week. What also was nice to find out is that they use cold storage for all their beer. Whether they've kegged or bottled the beer, it keeps chilled around 40 degrees. Once the drivers come to pick up the beer, they go right into the cold storage, pull whatever they need, and put it right onto the trucks for delivery.

Jim poured us each a sample of the Imperial Red IPA. It was both Sarah and my first time trying this beer, though I believe I may have had it at the end of the night at the Beer Summit recently. It was a pleasantly bitter, unfiltered, Red IPA that was easy to drink. It also packs 9% ABV, which isn't too shabby.

We chatted with Jim and one of their part time drivers a bit more about the Beer Summit, and figured that we missed each other. Otherwise, I would have introduced myself.

Jim then poured Sarah and I a healthy sample of their newest series of beers called Anti-Matter. This edition of the Anti-Matter is an American Pale Ale that pours (as you would expect) a fantastic pale concoction.

The beer is brewed with a single malt, and uses a single hop, to make what in my opinion is one of their finest beers. Granted I haven't tried many of their offerings (yet), it's incredibly smooth, refreshing, and enjoyable. Once we're able to snag a bomber of the Anti-Matter, it will no-doubt be reviewed here!

Before leaving, Jim graciously hooked us up with their Watermelon version of their Wampatuck Wheat Beers, as well as a bottle of their Black Hops and two pint glasses. I also picked up a bottle of their Imperial Red IPA, which I plan on reviewing soon.

All in all, it was a great visit, and I look forward to working with Blue Hills Brewery on the "Cure Me I'm Irish" event in March.

It should also be noted that Blue Hills Brewery has announced a B.I.A. program, or in other words a Brewery Internship Program. They are primarily looking for interns to work between 9-5pm Monday through Friday, but may be somewhat flexible with the hours per week. If you're interested in finding out more information, click here to get more details.

If you haven't been to the Blue Hills Brewery yet, why not stop in soon? It's only about 20 minutes from Boston, and very accessible from the highway. You'll get personal attention, and a great insight on the operations and happenings at this up and coming Massachusetts brewery. We had a great time, and know you will too!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekend Preview

It seems like it's a relatively slow weekend in Boston in the beer event world, but that doesn't mean that you can't create your own adventures!

Provided the weather gets better - which according to most of the Boston area weather guessers it's supposed to happen, Sarah and I are scheduled to take a tour of the Blue Hills Brewery in Canton, MA this evening. After posting my review of their Dunkelweizen Wampatuck Winter Wheat, I was contacted by their Twitter guru Jim and was asked if I would like to stop by their facility. Surprisingly, we haven't visited their brewery yet, even though we technically live one or two towns over from them.

If that wasn't enough, Sarah, myself, and a few members of the Boston Brewin' Homebrewers Club are also going to check out Cape Ann Brewing's new digs up in Gloucester, MA tomorrow during the day. Sarah and I visited their old brewery back in March of last year and had a great time. It was actually then where we learned of their plans to move across the street into a new building, where they would have a full brewpub with better retail capabilities.

Provided we don't have our fill at Cape Ann (which I'm sure we will, but what the hell?), we'll be heading back to Salem, MA to visit The Old Spot or possibly Salem Beer Works. The only Beer Works restaurants I haven't been to are in Salem and Lowell, although I've had plenty of opportunities to go to both. We'll see where the day takes us, but there is definitely enough to do in the area to keep us busy.

You can expect a full write up of each activity, and of course I'll be keeping people update on Twitter the whole time. If you have not already began following us (@BrewEngland), please do! We're also available on Facebook, so please head over to "Like" the page!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From the Vault - Gritty McDuff's: Halloween Ale

From time to time I do some Tuesday Night Tastings or other beer reviews that I either forget to post, lose, or just kind of put them on the back burner. These will eventually be posted, such as my first installment - Gritty McDuff's Halloween Ale (ESB), under the title "From the Vault".

I hope you enjoy!

Gritty McDuff's - Portland, ME
Halloween Ale - Extra Special Bitter (ESB)
6% ABV 12 oz.

This beer has a medium light feathery brown head, which likes to hang around for a while. In fact, it took 3-4 minutes or so for it to fade away. The beer pours a rich medium brown hue with tones of amber throughout. The first thing you notice is its rich, malty scent with a hint of hops! It also has a subtle nutty smell as well. It certainly invites you to take a sip!

After my initial sip I thought it was a very good beer! After taking a few more sips, I began to pick up more layers of flavor. It's definitely malty, but not too bitter. It seems to have a nice slight hoppy finishing flavor. It's very good - in my opinion. The beer is full of body! I actually had to go to the Gritty's website to find out that this was actually an Extra Special Bitter (ESB) versus an Oktoberfest style beer. I'm somewhat new to the ESB style, so it wasn't as distinguishable to me.

The Halloween Ale has a full mouth feel and coats the entire palate. It's malty without being too heavy, which is great. Essentially, Gritty's has created a beer which will allow you to knock back 2-3 without thinking twice. I only had one bottle though, so I would prefer additional bottles to conduct further "research" to give a more complex evaluation.

Aside from having a great aroma and flavor, Gritty's does a great job on the labeling of this beer.

Gritty McDuff'ss Halloween Ale is available September through November and is available in 12 oz and 22 oz bottles, mini-kegs, and of course on draft in any of the three Gritty's brewpubs in the great state of Maine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Brewery to Open in North Hampton, NH

According to one of my sources (read: Bert Bingel of Bert's Better Beers in Hooksett, NH), there is a new brewery set to open up shop in North Hampton, New Hampshire this spring called Throwback Brewery.

Per their website, Throwback handcrafts farm fresh, artisinal beers from local ingredients. Their goal is to acquire most of their ingredients from local farmers, and their vision is to eventually use 100% local ingredients (hops, barley, fruit, wheat, and spices). This in turn will help out local businesses, and will cut down on ancillary costs - such as shipping, which helps cut down over all costs. It's also a great way for Throwback Brewery to act as a corporate and environmental citizen.

Throwback Brewery was founded in early 2010 by Annette Lee and Nicole Carrier. Annette spent 20 years as a environmental engineer, but completed the Siebel Institute's World Brewing Academy Concise Course in Brewing Technology in 2008. She also worked as an intern at the Smuttynose Brewing Company in Portsmouth, NH.

I for one am very excited for a new micro-brewery in my home state of New Hampshire. The brewery is scheduled to open in March of 2011, and I look forward to visting their brewery as soon as possible.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Jubilee Wrap-Up

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.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dinner at Tavolo

So last night, Sarah and I decided that we would hit one of our favorite spots - Tavolo, which is located in Dorchester - for a pizza and some drinks. Now, we've been there several times. In fact, it's one of our favorite restaurants. Their food is great, especially their anti-pasto and pizza, they have a great bartending tandem in Brian and Donna, not to mention a really great beer selection.

On any typical night, you'll find five, six, or sometimes even seven of their eight draft beers coming from a New England brewery. Of course, this isn't the first time we've mentioned this fact. We first reviewed the restaurant back in March of last year. We were also on hand at their 2nd Anniversary party, neither time disappointing.

Last night was no different! We quickly found a spot at the bar, and ordered drinks as we waited for some friends to join us. What I like is that Tavolo has a dedicated Harpoon Brewery section of their taps, located at the opposite corner from the others.

They seem to always have Harpoon UFO and one variation of the Harpoon Leviathan Series beers. I've had the Baltic Porter and the Bohemian Pilsner in the past, and last night I had the Imperial IPA. Donna told me that once that keg kicks, they're adding the Leviathan Barleywine, which got me excited!

Since our first visit a few years ago, Tavolo has increased their craft beer selection pretty extensively, though mostly in bottles. You can also find some national craft beer. I typically prefer draft, but last night I was in the mood for something different. I ordered a Left Hand Brewing Sawtooth Ale, which I was really happy with. In my opinion, it is very close to Long Trail Ale, one of my favorite beers (and definite favorite for cooking beer brats).

Donna also mentioned that they were putting the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale back on tap, but that she was interested in finding something new to put on (they've had the Old Brown Dog for a while). I mentioned that they should try the Smuttynose Star Island Single, a relatively new beer to the brewing company. To date I've only found it on tap at the Asgard in Cambridge, but I would be psyched if they put it on tap at Tavolo. I think it's a medium bodied beer, but is definitely not light on flavor.

Tavolo is owned by Chris Douglass, who also owns Ashmont Grill located just down the street. Though we haven't reviewed it yet, we've been to Ashmont Grill many, many times. It's definitely on our list of places to review. They also feature some really great draft beer (I actually have no clue what they have for bottles), but they are different ones that aren't available at Tavolo. It's not uncommon to see a Dogfish Head, Long Trail, Guinness, and others on tap. Their food is delicious, and it always smells great in the restaurant thanks to their wood grill.

If you're in the Boston area and are looking for a great meal, definitely stop into Tavolo or Ashmont Grill for a bite and a few pints. If you happen to see Brian, Donna, or Chris, let them know we sent you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

BrewEngalnd at the Beer Summit's Winter Jubilee

This seems like it has been a long week. There has been plenty of beer to consume at home, but tomorrow will be a nice little reward for the long week. Tomorrow opens up the annual Winter Jubilee, put on by, and I will be there in a volunteer capacity.

Why volunteer you ask? Well first and foremost, there will be an incredible line up of brewers there, and will feature a significant amount of New England brewers. Some of the brewers that I've tried are: Berkshire Brewing, Shipyard, Mercury (they make Ipswich Ale), Mayflower Brewing, Cape Ann Brewing, The Tap, Paper City, Tuckerman, Trinity Brewhouse, and more. However, they will also have some NE area brewers I haven't had, such as High & Mighty, Cody Brewing, Wormtown Brewing, and Kennebec River.

I'm not sure which beers each brewery will be bringing, but I do know that I'm very excited to try some old favorites, and new beers from those I've had. I'm equally as excited to try some brand new beers!

Some other breweries I'm looking forward to sampling from out of the New England area will be, of course - Dogfish Head, Heavy Seas, Southern Tier, and Boulder, but truthfully I'll probably try a little from most all of them.

The other great thing about tomorrow's event is that I'm going to do some networking with some potential new readers as well as the breweries there. See, Beer Summit looks for volunteers to help out with coat check, ID check, beer pouring, and the food station, and will do what they can to rotate people through the different stations. My buddy Joe will be volunteering with me, so I'll at least know one person, but I'm looking forward to meeting some new people. Even with the volunteers helping out, there will be many representatives from the different breweries present, pouring samples of their liquid gold.

In all, the Winter Jubilee will feature 63 different breweries, and at least 50 per session. Tomorrow night kicks off the first of three sessions, and runs from 5:30-9pm. Saturday has two sessions, with the first from 12:30-4pm and the second from 5:30-9pm. Tickets are still available here, and includes a commemorative tasting cup and live music. Food is available for purchase as well.

If you're going, and you spot me, please stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday Night Tasting - Sam Adams / Weihenstephan: Infinium Ale

Samuel Adams & Weihenstephan - Boston, MA and Bavaria, Germany
Infinium Ale
10.3% ABV, 1pt 9.4oz

This is one special beer that has taken Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan a few years to develop, but I really think they've hit on this one. The beer is a champagne style beer, but was brewed within the boundaries of Reinheitsgebot, which is the German Purity Laws for brewing beer. Simply stated, it's using only the four main ingredients in beer: water, barley, hops, and yeast. More definitively, it has the body of a beer, with the delicacy of a champagne - with all the flavor and bubbles you would expect for a beer that took two years to develop.

The beer pours a medium light head, which fades fairly quickly. I poured it into champagne flutes as I would typically pour a beer, along the side of a tilted glass. The beer foams up like a champagne, but then settles like a beer. It is extremely bubbly as you would expect from a liquid poured from a champagne bottle. The liquid is a slight dark amber gold, which is quite nice.

The aroma is of a champagne and has a heavy caramel and toffee presence. It has a nice layer of malt and brown sugar scents as well.

Once the beer hits your pallet, you get the tingle from the bubbles, but the great flavors start to shine through. It's crisp and clean like a Belgian beer, but has an effervescence of caramel and toffee.

This beer is definitely one you want to share with friends and family, which is what we did. This is actually our second time having Infinium, with the first being a few weeks ago at our annual Christmas party. I bought a bottle for a gift grab, and our buddy Shawn decided he would crack it open for everyone. Last night was no exception. It was a gift from our very good friend Andy, and we couldn't resist giving everyone a taste.

Andy said, "It kisses you with a very pleasant flavor of caramel," which is definitely true. In fact, we both thought it tasted like a caramel apple, minus the apple. Yes, it's definitely sweet, but it's not so sweet that you can't enjoy a glass. It comes with a fairly dry aftertaste, but is a very pleasant beer. It is drinkable, but not practical based on the price ($18-$22 most everywhere).

According an article I found online, this is the first of three collaborative beers between Samuel Adams and Weihenstephan, so it'll be very interesting to see what they come up with next!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

21 Breweries of Vermont

Sarah and I both stumbled on the same article on yesterday. It's all about the Breweries of Vermont. With more breweries per capita than any other state, Vermont is home to some really, really great craft brewers.

To date we have visited the Vermont Pub and Brewery and Magic Hat Brewing Company, both in Burlington, Long Trail Brewing Company in Bridgewater Corners, Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, and Jasper Murdock's Alehouse at the Norwich Inn. Nevertheless, we still have our work cut out for us. With 21 breweries in Vermont, we'll have to make several more weekend trips to the Green Mountain State.

If you have been to any of these on's list, or the ones we've been to, let us know!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blogger Spotlight at Seacoast Beverage Lab

I was contacted earlier this week and was selected as the first "Blogger Spotlight" over at Seacoast Beverage Lab, run by Brian Aldrich - a fellow beer blogger and homebrewer. Brian does a great job at blogging about the seacoast of New Hampshire (my home state) as well as Maine, and is a lover of beer just like us here at BrewEngland.

Please take a moment to visit his blog to give a read.


Cure Me I'm Irish - Update

I wanted to share the good news with everyone that Magic Hat Brewing Company is the latest brewery to be confirmed for the Cure Me I'm Irish event in March. They will join Mayflower Brewing Co., Cape Ann Brewing Co., and Blue Hills Brewery in pouring samples of their fine craft beers for all of you!

If you haven't picked up your tickets yet, click here to be directed to the event page. Tickets are currently discounted to $60, but will increase to $75 after February 15th. So, get your tickets now, save some dough, and help save a child's life!

There's still more to come on this event, so please check back often!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

British Beer Company Opens New Location

If you weren't aware, the British Beer Company - a Massachusetts based restaurant company, opened their 10th location last week in Franklin, MA. My buddy Mike lives in Franklin and told me a few months ago that the BBC was planning on opening a new location in his town, but I hadn't heard that they in fact opened. But, as I was cruising through the blog of Norman Miller, aka: the Real Beer Nut, today, I found out that they have.

Here's the official press release:

"The British are coming to Franklin, Massachusetts!

In Great Britain, Ireland and across Europe, the pub or “local” is the center of town life: a place to relax, refuel the body and spirit, share news and be entertained. The British Beer Company is excited to bring this same atmosphere and service to the community of Franklin.

The BBC offers an eclectic menu, unparalleled beer, wine and cocktail choices and an array of free live entertainment at all their locations. Settle in to one of the several snugs (a private cozy booth) and enjoy a traditional flaky Pasty Pie (chicken and leek perhaps), a crisp Wensleydale salad or a tasty bar pizza (traditional, gluten free or with multi grain dough). Most important; the BBC wants customers to relax and enjoy themselves. At the BBC servers don’t throw a check on the table before the meal is done and rush customers out the door.

Massachusetts owned and operated, the BBC is a refreshing alternative to the surrounding cookie cutter chain restaurants. It’s easy to see why they’re growing so fast – with Franklin being the tenth BBC location to open in Massachusetts since being founded in 1997. Each location has a unique vibe and personality all its own, yet shares its best features with its other siblings – for example, the carefully crafted mahogany bars shipped in from the UK. The BBC in Franklin boasts 36 tap lines of imported brews and specialty craft beers, 91 bottled beers from around the World and Franklin’s first cask conditioned ale. Live entertainment at the BBC is always free with live bands Friday and Saturday nights. Unique lunch and dinner specials are available daily (a couple weeks after the opening).

Whether it’s a business lunch, an after work get-together, a family dinner in friendly surroundings or a late night soirĂ©e fueled by great music over pints with friends…the BBC is destined to be Franklin’s new and only local."

Sarah and I during our first visit to BBC Walpole

If you haven't been to a BBC, you really should go. To date Sarah and I have been to the Pembroke location once and the Walpole location several times; however, we plan on visiting the Franklin restaurant soon! They always seem to have a great line up of American Craft Beers as well as some great British offerings - typically by Fuller's (and a few others). They also have a very extensive bottle selection; however, I have kept exclusively to the draft beers so far.

Although we haven't reviewed any of the restaurants, you can expect one soon. We haven't visited the Walpole location in a few months, but on a good day we can get there in about 10 minutes. The food is great, the beer is equally as good, and the service is typically very good. They have had a few bad reviews on Yelp, but honestly we have never experienced anything close to that. So, if you find yourself anywhere near one of these restaurants, definitely stop in for a bite to eat and a few pints!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday Night Tasting - Blue Hills Brewery: Dunkelweizen

Blue Hills Brewery - Canton, MA
Dunkelweizen, Wampatuck Winter Wheat*
6.9% ABV, 1pt 6oz

This beer pours a medium dark amber brown concoction. It has a slight head, that disappears almost instantaneously. That's okay though, because it's better not to mess around and get straight to the drinking. Of course, it should be noted that the Dunkelweizen has a nice sweet aroma, but has a slight and subtle smokiness. You can also pick up tones of caramel and butterscotch too!

The flavor is a nice blend of sweetness with a malty backbone. It's quite dry, but clean and smooth going down. It's not very bitter, but not too sweet at the same time.

While drinking this beer, I though it would be a great barrel aged beer! I'd love to see what additional flavors and aromas the oak or cherry wood barrels would give this beer. I have to say, this is my favorite Blue Hills Brewery beer so far!

With a medium to moderate mouth feel, this beer leaves you wanting more! I chose to drink mine out of an imperial pint glass, so I was stuck with just a little more than a pint; however, considering this beer is extremely drinkable, I should have picked up another bottle. I had one with my Thanksgiving dinner, and it was quite enjoyable.

Now I realize that I say a lot of the beers I review are drinkable, but I honestly wouldn't say so if I couldn't continue to drink these beers. I've been somewhat critical about a few Blue Hills Brewery beers in the past, but between the Black Hops I reviewed in September, and this Dunkelweizen, it has breathed new life into my interest in the brewing company. I love small companies, not just breweries, and local ones at that. Located just a few towns over, Blue Hills Brewery has made a name for themselves in a short time, and is picking up recognition all over the region. I just picked up another bottle of the Black Hops too, so I'm interested to see how it has progressed over the past few months.

I strongly encourage those of you in reasonable driving distance of a good package or liquor store to grab one of these Dunkelweizens. Blue Hills Brewery does a few variations on the Wampatuck Wheat beers, including the straight up Wampatuck Wheat as well as their Wampatuck Watermellon Wheat beer. I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed the Winter Wheat!

*this beer has a grain bill that's more than 60% wheat, as are their other Wampatuck Wheat beers!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Apricot and Soy Glazed Turkey Meatloaf

Sarah made us some double-beatloaf last night. I was extra pumped, as we haven't had it in forever. She usually tops it with a mango chutney, but this time she used an apricot and soy glaze. Let's just say, it was f'n good! It didn't hurt that it paired very well with the Magic Hat #9 I was drinking too!

The meatloaf included chopped onion, carrots, tons of great spices, y'know all the stuff that makes for a great meal. She also served an awesome pureed squash, mixed with cinnamon and Lawry's season salt. It should be noted, it was made without any fat - butter, etc. and was out of this world (if you like squash). She also served sauteed potatoes, which were good as well!

Head on over to the Pinkshoe Diaries to get the recipe! It's worth a try, especially if you're trying to lessen your red meat intake, or if you simply don't eat beef.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Wishful Thinking Letter to Gritty McDuff's

Dear Mr. McDuff,

I write to you today as I am a big fan of your beers. I am equally as big of a fan of your Portland brewpub. It is my hope that you will decide to open a new location, in my (current) home town of Braintree, MA. Sure, we’re outside of Maine, but that’s okay. Massachusetts is home of many great breweries, such as Harpoon Brewery, Samuel Adams, Mayflower Brewing Company, and many more. If Sea Dog Brewing can open up shop in Massachusetts, why can’t Gritty’s?

It seems almost every week I get an email from your company telling me about the great benefits of being a member of the Mug Club, or your happy hour specials. I mean, who can beat a burger for $5.99 and $3 beers? And on top of that, you give away free tickets to professional hockey games and brew beer specifically for pro basketball teams? I mean, c’mon. That’s just too awesome!

It’s just not fair that I have to travel 20-30 minutes to hit anything remotely resembling a brewpub. There used to be a Rock Bottom right down the street, but they unfortunately closed their brewery doors a few years ago. Though, I must say…your Old Port brewery is one of my favorite places to grab lunch and a few pints in the summer while visiting my parents in Old Orchard Beach. The great food, the fantastic copper bar top, the awesome beer…

I hope you will strongly consider expanding your enterprise into the great Commonwealth. Hey, we just got rid of the 6.25% tax on alcohol, so that should help business! Oooooh, wait. Brewers are still taxed an insane amount per barrel of beer they brew, though I’m sure Maine gets you guys on that one too!


Adam Meuse

...maybe I should send this? If you're not on the Gritty McDuff's email list, and live near Maine, I recommend signing up!