Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mass Brewers Guild Names First Executive Director

We had a little advanced notice that the Massachusetts Brewers Guild had hired their first Executive Director, as the new appointee is a fellow Slumbassador. However, we did not know it was Kristen! Congratulations are definitely in order!

Here is the press release we received this morning...

Massachusetts Brewers Guild Hires First Executive Director

The Massachusetts Brewers Guild is pleased to announce that it has hired Kristen Sykes to be its first Executive Director. The Guild, which was founded in 2007, promotes craft brewing and protects the interests of craft brewers in Massachusetts.

“We are excited to have Kristen represent the Brewers Guild and to help fulfill our goal of promoting Massachusetts craft beer throughout the Bay State,” said Rob Martin, Guild President and President of Ipswich Ale Brewery. “Her passion for craft beer and experience in the non-profit world are going to help us take the Guild to the next level.”

Ms. Sykes has had a long-time love affair with craft beer. She has been homebrewing since 2002 and is a certified beer judge through the Beer Judge Certification Program. Kristen is also the Founder and President of the Boston Area Beer Enthusiasts Society (BABES), a women’s beer club founded in November 2011. She was an organizer of the Boston-Sustainable Business Network’s Hyper-Local Brew Fest this past summer and is also a Slumbassador for Somerville Brewing Company.

“I am thrilled to be promoting the fantastic breweries in the state of Massachusetts. The quality has never been better, the range of styles has never been greater, and the number of breweries has never been higher,” said Kristen Sykes

In her work with the Guild, Ms. Sykes will organize the successful Mass Brewers Guild Fest, which takes place annually at the end of August in Boston. She will also help launch a long-anticipated Massachusetts Beer Trail, advocate for Guild legislative priorities at the State House, as well as strengthen the ties between farmers and brewers in the state.

Kristen has had a long career working on the conservation of land, waters and trails for organizations such as the Appalachian Mountain Club.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Craft or crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth!

Craft or crafty? Consumers deserve to know the truth : Stltoday

I strongly encourage anyone who sees this post to read the article. Co-Written by Charlie Papazian, President of the Brewers Association, Bob Pease, COO of the Brewers Association, and Dan Kopman, member of the BA Government Affairs Committee and CEO of Schlafly Beer in St. Louis, they aim to shed the light on who is brewing your beer.

Many of you probably are aware that brands such as Blue Moon (a SABMiller product) and that Shock Top (a product of AB In-Bev) are not true craft beers. However, there are millions of beer drinkers that are completely unaware.

If you feel as passionate about supporting local small-business owners and craft beer enthusiasts, PLEASE share this article!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12 Brewers of Christmas

Jason Kidwell, the Massachusetts Brewery Rep for Troegs Brewery reached out to us yesterday to remind us of a great upcoming event. Meadhall in Cambridge, MA has teamed up with 12 craft breweries from New England and beyond to help raise funds and donations for Toys for Tots on what will be an epic event next Wednesday, December 19th from 7-10pm.

If you have never been to Meadhall, their draft list is quite impressive. They tote 110 taps and many of them sport tap handles of breweries you are well familiar with...others, not so much, but that are definitely worth checking out. Well, Meadhall will dedicate every single one of their 110 draft line ups to the participating breweries. In the 12 days leading up to the event, Meadhall will tap one keg from each of the participating breweries with all proceeds being donated to Toys for Tots - so cool!

The participating breweries are: Allagash, Geary's, Smuttynose Brewing Co, Brooklyn Brewery, Dogfish Head, Duvel-Ommegang, Lagunitas, Left Hand, Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada, Troegs Brewery, and Victory Brewing Co.

What's great is that Jason sent me the full list of beers. In addition to the drafts on the main floor, there will be 10 breweries serving an extremely rare, cellared, or special one-time only beer. Admission is $10, or a new toy of equal or greater value. Beers will be for sale.

Here's what everyone is bringing:

Allagash: White, Black, Smoke & Beards, Confluence, Fluxus, Hugh Malone, Interlude, BAT, BAM, and Bourbon Black. Rare beer: TBD.

Brooklyn: Lager, Winter, Black Chocolate Stout, There Will Be Black, and BLAST! Rare Beer: Dark Matter.

Dogfish Head: Palo Santo, 60 Minute, Burton Baton, Theobroma, Sah'tea, Hellhound, Bitches Brew, 120 Minute, Birra Etrusca, Immortale, and a cask of 75 Minute. Rare Beer: 90 Minute through a Randall.

Duvel-Ommegang: BPA, Witte, Rare Vos, Hennepin, Abbey Ale, Three Philosophers, Rustica, La Chouffe, McChouffe, N'Ice Chouffe, Maredsous Blonde, Maredsous Brune, Leifmans Goudenband, Leifmans Cuvee  Brut, De Konick Tripel (the Tots Beer), Duvel Single. Rare Beer: Chocolate Indulgence.

Geary's: Pale, H.S.A., London Porter, Winter, Oakie Doakie. Rare Beer: Whiskey Pin.

Lagunitas: IPA, Czech Pils, Cappucino Stout, Lagunitas Sucks, 2010 Old Gnarlywine, Little Sumpin Sumpin. Rare Beer: Imperial Stout (7.5).

Left Hand: Milk Stout Nitro, Chainsaw: Double Sawtooth Nitro, Vietnamese Coffee Stout, AA Step #2: Smoked Dopplebock, Warrior Fresh Hop IPA, Fade to Black: Rocky Mountain Black Ale. Rare Beer: Smoke Jumper: Imperial Smoked Porter.

Oskar Blues: Pale Ale, Mamas Lil Yella Pils, Deviant Dales, Old Chub, G'Knight, Nitro Rap. Smidy - Milk Stout, Barrel Aged Old Chub, Port Aged G'Night. Rare Beer: oSKAr da G'Rauch.

Sierra Nevada: Pale Ale, Celebration Ale, Narhwal, Kolsch, Ovila Dubbel, Ovila Barrel-Aged Quad, Torpedo Extra Pale, Kellerweis, French Style Saison, 20th Street Ale - Citra Single Hop. Rare Beer: Barrel Aged Bigfoot.

Smuttynose Brewing Co: Wheat Wine, Big A IPA, Winter Ale, Porter, Finestkind IPA, Zinneke. Rare Beer: Utopia-Aged Wheat Wine.

Troegs Brewery: Perpetual IPA, Mad Elf '11, Mad Elf '12, HopBack, Troegenator, DreamWeaver, JavaHead, Scratch 73 (Fest Lager), Scratch 80 (Abbey), Scratch 82 (Trippel). Rare Beer: Barrel-Aged Sour.

Victory Brewing Co: Scarlet Fire, Victory Village (brown ale with coffee beans), Yakima Glory, Storm King Stout, Braumeister Pils, HopDevil Nitro.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Craft Beer is the New Punk Rock

For me anyway...but, I don't think I'm alone.

Although I'm 32 years old, I still consider myself a punk. I've been listening to punk rock since I was 12 years old and going to punk rock shows since I was about 16 years old. I would drive all over New England attending shows, mostly in Boston. I played in bands growing up playing all kinds of venues.

It used to be that I would go to a show, hit the floor to get as close to the stage as possible - or in the case of Goldfinger shows at Lupo's in Providence to get on stage and sing with the band (it happened all the time) - and after the show I would hit the merch table to see what they had for sale. Typically, if I didn't have a CD from the band, I'd pick one up. Most of the time though, I would be there for a T-shirt.

Each subsequent show I'd attend, or even play, I would sport a different shirt. I probably had one for every day of the month, or what felt like so many shirts. These days though, 95% of these shirts have been replaced by craft beer tshirts.

Sarah and I go to a lot of breweries, and support many craft brewing companies. It's almost without fail that I purchase a new shirt every time I'm at a brewery. It's possibly gotten to the point where I have lost all track of what craft beer shirts I have.

I have so many shirts. From Slumbrew, Backlash Beer Co., Haverhill Brewery, Dogfish Head, Earth Eagle Brewings, Jack's Abby Brewing Co, Berkshire Brewing Co., Night Shift Brewing, Mayflower, Rising Tide Brewing Co, to Portsmouth Brewery, Shipyard, Ipswich Ale, Cody Brewing, Longtrail, to Allagash, Samuel Adams, Cape Ann, and Harpoon Brewery. I have hoodies for Baxter Brewing Co, Longtrail, and Harpoon and long sleeve shirts from several others. I even have a Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project baseball style hat.

Just a few of the shirts I've recently been spotted wearing!

I mean, this shit is pretty crazy!! But, I'm sure I had as many, if not more, band T-shirts as a teenager and early 20-something year old. I have been thinking about this post for a while. I went to see the band Rancid earlier this year and saw a young guy wearing a Cape Ann Brewing Co. hoodie, which was a bit of inspiration for this post.

I have to admit though, I've probably lost track of many of them. I probably wear only 4 of them. But, I'm making a conscious effort to wear more of them. Some are incredible designs and all of them are awesome and they help support some great breweries and small business owners.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Epic Saturday in Portland, Part II

If you have not read Epic Saturday in Portland, Part I, click here to read that first. Here is Part II of our Epic Saturday in Portland!

The more our hunger grew, the closer we got to Portland. We were ready...the only thing we needed to figure out was where we were going to eat.

Now, when planning the trip we knew that we were going to feast somewhere, but not just anywhere. Anyone who has spent a few nights in Portland knows that its food is as good as the beer available in the state. Seriously, there are some amazing restaurants. Sarah and I are foodies, as much as craft beer lovers, so we needed to hit as many great places to eat as well as drink. 

We concocted the best available solution - a food and beer crawl. We would go to a restaurant and get one drink each, and one thing of food (appetizers or otherwise). When we finished, it was onto the next place for another snack and drink. It was going to be epic.

After checking in to our hotel, the Hampton Inn Downtown (we recommend it), we opted to first stop at the bar of the Sebago Brewing Company - conveniently located within the hotel (coincidence??). We devised our plan of attack, finished our Bub Black IPA, and hit the streets running. We quickly found directions to Duckfat. We knew it was close, but we were happy to realize that it was literally the street over from our hotel (and we could actually see it from our hotel room)! 

On our walk over though, we got side tracked by a very cute place called Eventide Oyster Co. We decided this would be our first stop, so we bellied up to the bar. We crushed a half dozen oysters fairly quickly, as we're known to do. Sarah had a delicious Bubbly Mary (Bloody Mary mix with Champagne) and I had Bunker Brewing Co. Dark Wave Baltic Porter.

It was on to Duckfat.

Have you been to Duckfat? If so, you know how amazing it is. If not, you need to go! They make french fries fried in duck fat that are OUT OF THIS F'N WORLD! They also like to make tasty sandwiches with pork belly. Incredibly delicious. Anyway, we enjoyed some local beverages, including the Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. Toughcats IPA. 

Where to next? Well, Novare Res of course! This is a beer lovers paradise, and any beer geek who has been there will agree. We first went there last November to quench our thirst with local flavors, but found it a bit hard to find. Our most recent visit did not disappoint either. I had a Oxbow Freestyle V. 11 and with our pate and cheese specials (which were delicious).

Our final stop for the evening was at the Thirsty Pig, located more or less directly across the street (and down the alley way). By the time we got to the Thirsty Pig we were rather full, so we didn't end up getting any food (sadly, their menu looks so tasty), but we were still thirsty. We met some friends while enjoying the Green Flash Brewing Co. Barley Wine and Unibroue Ephemere while chatting with the patrons at the bar. We made friends with a cute couple who lived at opposite ends of the country (he's from CA and she's from ME) and as we were about to hit the road back to the hotel, they bought us a bottle of Goose Island Madame Rose.

By this time it was passed our bedtime, and we were wiped out from such a long day. We said our goodbyes, paid our tab, and made our way back to the hotel for a good night's slumber. The epic day was over. We love Portland and hope to return soon!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Epic Saturday in Portland, Part I

To say this past weekend was anything other than epic would be a severe understatement. While not quite a ritual, but soon it could become one, this was the second November in a row Sarah and I ventured north to Portland, ME. We typically hit Portland a few times a year, but hadn’t had an opportunity to get up there since last fall.

We knew we had a lot on our docket, so we hit the road just after 10am. Our first stop was for some food. We opted to hit When Pigs Fly Pizzeria in Kittery, ME. Our buddy Brian Aldrich of Sea Coast Beverage Lab had mentioned it a few times on his blog, and mentioned it had great food and drinks, so we set the iPhone map to Kittery.

The set up of this upscale pizza joint is incredible. They have a great line up of beers that spans from local Maine brews (Marshall Wharf Brewing Co Illegal Ale-ien), to Delaware (Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA), to Norway and Denmark. They also have draft wine if that’s your style. They also have fantastic wood grilled pizzas which we thoroughly enjoyed!

Marshall Wharf Illegal Ale-ien
DFH 120 Minute

We pointed our compass north and next headed to Rising Tide Brewing Co.’s new brewery on the outskirt of downtown Portland. I had visited their original brewery, conveniently located near Allagash, Maine Beer Co. and now Bull Jagger (which wasn’t there when we went), during the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Rally, and Nathan and Heather showed my buddy Mike and I around.


The new brewery, now located at 103 Fox Street, is a significant upgrade in terms of space, tanks, and storage. They are now distributing in Massachusetts, which we’re VERY happy to see, but the one beer we were searching for is only available at the brewery. Rising Tide brews a weizen stout called Ursa Minor that is a stout fermented with a hefeweizen yeast. Polaris is their bourbon barrel aged version of Ursa Minor that we could not get last year. It’s a 350ml corked and caged bottle (aside from Russian River, it’s one of the only one of its size to be corked & caged). Needless to say, after our sampler and a chat with Nathan and Heather, we purchased three bottles of Polaris and a bottle of Tempest (a barrel aged brown porter, brewed with local coffee).

After a brief stop at Rising Tide, we debated whether or not to make the trek to Lewiston to hit the Baxter Brewing Co. open house they were having. The discussion took five seconds before we said “Umm…yeah,” and we were once again heading north to another brewery.

To our surprise when we got to Baxter, the place was PACKED! Like, really packed. The brewery is in the process of expanding, but for the past several months has been able to sell full pints of their beers at their brewery/tasting room. They were offering flights of four of their beers, which included some brewery only Small Batch Series, for $5. We loaded up our sample paddle with Phantom Punch Winter Stout (newest canned beer), Stowaway IPA (of course), Snow Weiss (Small Batch Belgian), and The Artist (Small Batch Black IPA).

We had to take the opportunity to get a pint of fresh Baxter Brewing Co. beers from their tap line, so Sarah opted for the Stowaway IPA and I got the Phantom Punch Winter Stout. We definitely look forward to drinking more of the Stout in the upcoming months (expect a full review soon).

It was starting to get late, and we were starting to get hungry. We knew it was time to descend once again on Portland, so we began our drive back south to the city...

Part II of Epic Saturday in Portland will be posted shortly!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest is hosting their second brew fest at Space 57 in Boston this Friday and Saturday. Following up their successful (and also sold out Summerfest), Jeff and Devon of DCB are having 25 New England breweries come and pour 70+ fall and winter beers. Some of the featured breweries are Allagash, Baxter Brewing Co, Cody Brewing, Idle Hands Craft Ales, Jack's Abby Brewing Co, Bantam Cider, Notch Brewing, Mayflower Brewing Co, and many more.

Included in the mass of beer is their collaboration brew with Peak Organic Brewing Company out of Portland, Maine called "Nut Your Average Ginger," a harvest brown ale crafted with local ingredients!

The sessions are as follows:

Friday, November 30th: 6-9pm
Saturday, December 1st: 1-4:30pm
Saturday, December 1st: 6-9:30pm

Some tickets still remain, but are going fast! Each session is limited to just 650 beer nerds, which will assure you the opportunity to get to the front of each of the 25 beer table lines!

Each session is $45 and includes:

- Unlimited 2oz samples
- Biodegradable tasting cup
- Fest guide
- Free coat check

You can also sample and purchase food from local eateries, such as Mei Mei Street Kitchen and Redbones BBQ.

Click here to get full details, including the complete brewery line up and ticket information.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Narragansett Porter Makes Seasonal Return

Winter Craft Brew Now Available Following Wins at Leading Industry Events

November 20, 2012; Providence, RI – The Famous Narragansett Beer announces the return of its winter craft brew, Narragansett Porter. A brand staple since the early 1900s, Porter has received a number of industry accolades, including a silver medal at the 2012 Great International Beer Competition following a bronze medal win the year prior, and a silver medal at the 2011 World Beer Championships.

Narragansett Porter is brewed under the supervision of award-winning Brewmaster Sean Larkin at Trinity Brew House in Providence, R.I., and High Falls Brewery in Rochester, N.Y., with chinook hops for bitterness, simcoe hops for aroma, black malt, pale malt, chocolate malt, munich malt, crystal malt, roasted barley, and ale yeast.  An American-style porter, this winter brew has a deliciously mild chocolate flavor with a hint of smokiness and hops to balance out the finish, making for a robust yet extremely approachable craft experience.  Narragansett Porter is 7% Alcohol by Volume and 28 IBUs.

Narragansett Porter dates back to 1916 when it was first brewed, and when Prohibition struck down breweries across America in the 1920s, the Narragansett Brewing Company was one of just six given a patent by the U.S. government to continue brewing beer for medicinal purposes, based largely on the belief that porter had healing properties. Narragansett Porter was prescribed by doctors and distributed throughout New England to patients suffering from a variety of ailments, particularly blood-related illnesses like anemia.  After Prohibition was repealed in the early 1930s, Narragansett Porter became a favorite of New Englanders from Fall River, Mass., to Falmouth, Maine, and was often referred to as “‘Gansett Dark.”

In 2012, Narragansett expanded distribution of their winter craft brew to District of Columbia and Wisconsin, adding to a list of markets added in 2011, including Southern New York, North Carolina, East and Northeastern Pennsylvania, and Florida.

For further information on Narragansett Porter or to find a retailer near you,  

ABOUT NARRAGANSETT BEER:                                                                                                                             
Narragansett Beer…Brewed since 1890. ‘Gansett is a straightforward, quality beer that has been a New England tradition for generations, producing a classic family of award-winning American lagers & ales. Today, ‘Gansett is produced at top-rated breweries in Rochester, NY and Latrobe, PA, with craft brews being produced in Providence, RI and Pawcatuck, CT. Narragansett Lager is available for purchase in local restaurants, bars, and liquor stores throughout New England, Florida, Southern New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Redhook's Ben Harris Beer Now Available

Tribute Brew Benefits the Benjamin Harris 2012 Memorial Trust
PORTSMOUTH, N.H., Nov. 19, 2012 - Redhook Brewery has announced that the Ben Harris Beer, a tribute beer brewed in honor of Ben Harris, a longtime member of the Redhook family who passed away earlier this year, is now available on draught and in bottles in select markets, including the brewery’s backyard markets in New England and in Ben’s home state of Pennsylvania. A portion of the proceeds from the beer will benefit the Benjamin Harris 2012 Memorial Trust.

“Ben Harris was longtime member of the Redhook family and a dear friend to all of us. We are looking forward to sharing this special beer with Ben’s family, friends and beer drinkers who live outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire,” said Alex Kopf, Redhook senior brewer. “Ben Harris Beer was brewed in tribute to Ben, and we hope that the community will join us in honoring his legacy, celebrating his life and remembering Ben with every pint of Ben Harris Beer.”

About Ben Harris Beer
Ben Harris Beer is Redhook’s special take on the classic cream ale style, brewed in tribute to our friend and teammate, Ben Harris.  This is a beer that Ben would have wanted to drink.  It’s a beer brewed for those who work hard and play hard, just as Ben did. But most importantly, it’s a beer brewed for us to share as we remember and celebrate Ben’s life. 

Ben liked a touch of hops in his beer, so we hopped up a classic cream ale recipe, Redhook style. Ben Harris Beer was brewed with ingredients you’d expect to find in cream ale: two-row barley malt, Carapils for a touch of sweetness, Victory malt for a touch of breadiness and a dose of corn for good measure. We hopped it up with some Sterling, Saaz, and Hallertau hops, which create a crisp, clean and refreshing beer just for Ben. Ben Harris Beer is 4.7% ABV and 19 IBU.

Ben Harris Beer was recognized on Nov. 2 at the 16th Annual Great International Beer & Cider Competition where it received second place in the Cream Ale category.

About Redhook
Redhook was born out of the energy and spirit of the early 80s in the heart of Seattle. While the term didn’t exist at the time, Redhook became one of America’s first “craft” breweries. From a modest start in a former transmission shop in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, to the current breweries in Woodinville, Wash., and Portsmouth, N.H., Redhook has become one of America’s most recognized craft breweries. While Redhook has “grown up” during the past 30 years, one thing has never changed – Redhook is still brewing great beers like ESB, IPA, Copperhook, Pilsner and seasonal brews. Most importantly, Redhook makes sure to have fun doing it.   Redhook's beers are available both on draught and in bottles around the country. For more information, visit

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Beer Pairings

It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is this Thursday, but let's face's here! With that being said, you'll want to stock up on some tasty local craft beer, and we figured we would give you some solid recommendations to better enjoy your time with friends and family!

If you'll be noshing on some cheeses to start the day, Mystic Brewery Vinland One and White Birch Brewing Belgian Pale Ale are nice options. Both beers feature similar Belgian style qualities that will help both cut through some strong flavors and compliment some softer and subtle cheeses.

Bantam Cider Wunderkind is another great way to start off a meal that compliments pretty much any kind of cheese. It's similar to champagne, so it's a festive alternative. It's native to the Boston area, so if you can't get it locally, you can always grab some Downeast Cider (available in MA & ME). If you're trying to pace yourself for a long day of eating and drinking, you can't go wrong with Notch Brewing Session Pils. It has some great hoppy notes that will compliment the cheeses, but at 4% ABV you can sip and keep on sipping all day!

When the bird is served, you might want to have some Night Shift Brewing Rose, Baxter Brewing Co. Hayride Autumn Ale, and Rising Tide Brewing Company Zephyr on hand. The Rose pairs especially well with meats (we had it with lamb burgers). Similarly, the Baxter Hayride Autumn Ale has a good dose of rye and black pepper, which provide a nice spiciness that will go with all the sides. If a nicely hopped IPA is what you're looking for, Zephyr fits the description. It has some nice aromatic and bittering hoppiness, without being too bold.

Finally, what is Thanksgiving dinner without desert? We have to suggest Slumbrew Porter Square Porter or if you can find it, get their My Better Half Cream Ale. The porter is brewed with cacao nibs from Taza Chocolate, and the cream ale has a superb sweetness that it will pair with any desert choice. Also, the Smuttynose Brewing Co. Barleywine Style Ale has great scotch type aromas and flavors that will balance off the sweetness in any pecan, chocolate, or pumpkin pie.

We hope that you enjoy your beers with family and friends and that everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Backlash Beer Founder on Zagat's 30 Under 30 List

The news came out the other day, but Backlash Beer Co. Founder and brewer Helder Pimentel was named one of Zagat's 30 Under 30: Boston's Hottest Up and Comers in the 'Restaurant Industry,' which includes bar managers, GMs, Mixologists, and even craft brewers!

You're sure to recognize some of the other list members, if not you will at least recognize their businesses they own/run or work at. If you've ever met Helder, you'll know he's a pretty grounded guy. But, he certainly holds nothing back when it comes to his beer.

You can read the full article here.

Congrats buddy!


Earth Eagle Brewings opens in Portsmouth on Saturday |

Earth Eagle Brewings opens in Portsmouth on Saturday |

Here's a great write up about this weekend's launch of Earth Eagle Brewings in Portsmouth! We shed some light on them last week, but the official countdown to the launch is just about up! Congrats to Butch Heishorn and Alex McDonald on the opening.

We'll be in New Hampshire tomorrow and might take the drive to Portsmouth to check out the new nano. If it doesn't happen this weekend, we're going to try to stop in next weekend as we'll be making our way back form Portland and already had plans to stop in Portsmouth!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

British Beer Company to open in Portsmouth |

British Beer Company to open in Portsmouth |

The British Beer Company recently signed a lease to open their 13th restaurant in Portsmouth, NH . I caught wind of this article by our buddy Brian Aldrich of, and figured it was worth posting. The newest restaurant is eyeing April as an opening date, provided they are able to get the proper licensing and approvals by  the local Historic District board (their meeting is today).

Tuesday Night Tasting: The Alchemist - Heady Topper

The Alchemist - Waterbury, VT
Heady Topper American Double IPA
8% ABV, 120 IBU, 16 oz can

We were fortunate enough to have a four pack of Heady Topper delivered to us by our good friend Pat last week. He took a trip to Burlington, VT and made a stop at the Alchemist on the way home. However, this was not the first time we had Heady Topper. We received a few cans as part of a beer trade last December and thoroughly enjoyed each can. The Alchemist Heady Topper is only distributed in the state of Vermont (which is another great reason to visit), but is sometimes available at select Boston area beer bars. We found it at Vee Vee in JP and The Lower Depths in Boston. Rumor has it that Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square Boston has a secret stash of it too, but is only available by request.

The can of Heady Topper clearly states, “Drink from the can!” Who are we to argue with The Alchemist? However, for the purposes of this review, we poured a little out to show the color.

The color is a pale yellow and pours a small off-white colored head. The head recedes fairly quickly, but the lacing on the glass is nice.  Honestly, we never drink it out of a glass, so it was easy forgetting what the beer looked like. In fact, it wasn't until the 4th time we drank this that we actually poured a little into a glass to check the color.

The aroma is SUPER piney and abundantly floral from all the American hops used in the brewing process. There are notes of malty sweetness that creep through, but they are mostly overrun by the hop scent.

The flavor of Heady Topper is fantastic. It actually starts sweet, but then the beautiful hoppy goodness takes over. It has tones of citrus, but mixed with the aromatic hops it really involves your senses. The beer coats your entire palate from front to back; yet, it is not heavy and in fact is a bit milder on the malt than previously though.

For an 8% ABV beer and for as much hop wallop as these cans packs, it is overwhelmingly drinkable. It’s a sipper though as you’ll want to savor all 16 ounces. Two or three of these tall boys in a sitting isn't hard to manage, but depending on how many you have may moderate how many you drink in your session.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Craft Beer for a Great Cause

This coming Thursday, the Boston Beer Company, better known as Samuel Adams, will be hosting a special beer tasting event at their Jamaica Plain brewery. The event has been set up to raise funds for the American Red Cross to aid those affected by Superstorm Sandy, which hit the Jersey Shore and New York City area especially hard.

Please read the following event information from Eventbrite and consider attending or donating!

At Sam Adams, we've always believed that little things can make a difference in the taste of our beer. In the wake of superstorm Sandy, which has left so many in need of assistance, we know that little things can help make a difference to those in need.  On Thursday, November 15th, we are holding a special beer tasting with the proceeds from the event going to the American Red Cross to help those affected by the storm.
Additionally, if you'd like to donate a blanket, a jacket, warm socks, or a sweatshirt - all donated items will be given to the Salvation Army for distribution to those in need.  These may seem like little things to many of us who were spared a direct hit, but the sum of many little things can help a lot of people.
Can't make the event but still want to help?  Feel free to make a donation directly to the Red Cross.
Other ways to donate:  If you've ever been to the brewery in Jamaica Plain for a tour, you may know we accept donations that typically benefit Y.E.S., Granary Burying Grounds, and our own philanthropic program Brewing the American Dream.  For the remainder of 2012, all donations will be directed towards relief efforts from the storm.  So feel free to drop by for a tour and make a donation to the cause.

Beer Enthusiast: $25.00
  • Entrance to Boston Brewery after hours for this unique Open House to support relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy
  • 4 samples of our Award Winning Samuel Adams Beer which includes limited release, specialty styles
  • 1 Souvenir Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass
  • Light fare
Beer Extremist: $50.00
  • Entrance to Boston Brewery after hours for this unique Open House to support relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy
  • One sampling of our 10th Anniversary edition of Utopias
  • A collector’s 2012 Utopias bottle (empty) signed by Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch
  • 5 samples of our Award Winning Samuel Adams Beer which include limited release specialty styles
  • 1 Souvenir Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass
  • Light fare
 Doors open at 6:30pm. Last call is at 8:40pm
Beer that doesn’t just taste good, it does good.

Friday, November 9, 2012 | Thanksgiving Pairings | Dr. Bill Sysak's Thanksgiving Pairings

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving!?

We got this in an email this morning, and it looks like Dr. Sysak has some great suggestions. A few years ago we did a blog post with some of our top New England recommendations for your Thanksgiving meals, and it looks like we're going to have to do another one for this year!

Do you have plans for turkey day dinner? What will you be doing this year? Also, what will you be drinking?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Redhook Wins 3 GIBF Medals

Redhook Scores Big with Three Medals at Great International Beer & Cider Competition
ESB, Winterhook and Ben Harris Beer recognized among the best in their categories

Woodinville, Wash. – Nov. 7, 2012 – Less than a month after scoring some hardware at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Redhook has added three more medals to his trophy case. Three Redhook brews – ESB, Winterhook and Ben Harris Beer – were recognized as some of the best in their respective categories at the 16th Annual Great International Beer & Cider Competition, held Fri., Nov. 2, in Providence, R.I.

ESB won gold in the English ESB category, Winterhook earned gold in the American Amber Ale category and Ben Harris Beer took home silver in the Cream Ale category. A panel of 83 judges chose winners in 44 categories after blind tasting 470 beers and ciders from around the world.

“It’s pretty awesome to bring home medals for these three beers,” said Jen Talley, brewing manager at Redhook. “ESB and Winterhook have been Redhook fan favorites for a long time, and it goes without saying that Ben Harris Beer holds a special place in the hearts of the Redhook family.”

ESB, first brewed in 1987, balances the “bitter” in its name with caramel malt sweetness and spicy, citrusy hops, creating a smooth and bold ale. ESB is available in bottles and on draught nationwide.

Winterhook has been brewed every year since 1985 and changes slightly with each release. This year’s winter seasonal, which also won a bronze medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, is generously hopped with a big malt backbone. Winterhook can be found through January in bottles and on draught across the U.S.

Ben Harris Beer is Redhook’s special take on the classic cream ale style, brewed in tribute to the longtime member of the Redhook family who passed away earlier this year. The beer is currently available on draught at the Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth, N.H. and will be available in select markets in bottles and on draught beginning in mid-November.

Locations selling the award-winning Redhook brews can be found using Redhook’s beer finder at

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NH Brewfest a Wild Success

New Hampshire BrewFest Raises $24,000 for Local Organizations
New England Beer Lovers Turned Out in Record Numbers at Redhook Brewery

Portsmouth, N.H. – Nov. 5, 2012 – The fourth annual New Hampshire BrewFest, hosted at Redhook Brewery on Oct. 6, attracted a record number of attendees and raised nearly  $24,000 for the Master Brewers Association of the Americas New England Chapter and Prescott Park Arts Festival. The BrewFest featured more than 150 quality brews from 37 breweries as well as food and music. This year‘s sold out BrewFest was attended by just under 3,000 craft beer enthusiasts. Each organization will receive $11,700, nearly $4,000 more than the previous year.

“This year’s BrewFest was a great success and showcased New England’s diverse brewing talents. We want to thank Redhook Brewery for being an exceptional host,” said Doug MacNair, president of Master Brewers Association of the Americas New England Chapter. “Half of the proceeds donated to MBAA will go toward our scholarship program and help support our internal training programs for members. The other half will be donated to Ben Harris’ family.”

The Master Brewers Association of the Americas works to improve members’ brewing skills through scholarships and professional training sessions,” said Jason Perkins, VP of MBAA. “This event helps us train our brewers for the future. We are happy to participate in this event to benefit the brewers in our community.”

“We are proud to be supported by the NH BrewFest; an event that encourages the art of craft brewing,” said Ben Andersen, Executive Director of Prescott park. “The funds go directly toward our programs, and have allowed us to continue to grow and expand our offerings, as well as help keep all of our events free of fixed admission.”

As a nonprofit organization, the Prescott Park Arts Festival has presented music, art, theater, and dance to families on the banks of the Piscataqua River for the past 37 years, and was just voted Business of the Year by the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce.

Next year’s New Hampshire Brew Fest is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, 2013. More information is available at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Earth Eagle Brewings to Open in Portsmouth


(Portsmouth, NH) – Earth Eagle Brewings, New Hampshire’s newest nano brewery is poised to open its tasting room doors at noon on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 165 High Street, Portsmouth adjacent to A&G Homebrew Supply. Founded by A&G's Alex McDonald of Portsmouth, NH, and Butch Heilshorn of Kittery, ME, the brewery’s “empyreal ales and wonder gruits” will be poured from six revolving taps in their rustic tasting room – the only beer tasting room in Portsmouth.

Earth Eagle Brewings will offer unique versions of familiar beer styles such as IPAs and porters, but they will also dedicate much of their efforts toward experimental and ancient beers. “Among the first to be on tap will be Puca, a delicious curry pumpkin porter,” McDonald explains. “And another is Exhilaration, an invigorating old-world gruit featuring a common herb called yarrow.”

Gruit was a medieval term for herbal blends used to bitter beer. “Most modern brewers use only hops for bittering but that’s changing,” Heilshorn says. “Today, gruit refers to a beer style made with an herbal blend that actually excludes hops.”

The text printed on the back of their growlers offers further insights:
The qualities Native Americans attribute to the Earth Eagle (common wild turkey) speak to our philosophy as brewers and business owners: ecological, charitable, resilient, and unconventional. “Brewings” is our nod to the first brewers who made small batches for their families crafted from local grain, herbs, and yeast. At Earth Eagle Brewings we embrace a Belgian-inspired, pre-Reformation spirit where hops are but one of the hundreds of ingredients employed in the alchemy of brewing.

A nano brewery is defined by the State of New Hampshire as producing up to 2,000 barrels per year. Unlike a brewpub, a tasting room is a space to sample beer in 4 oz. portions (per state law) and food is not served. Growlers (glass jugs) can be filled for take-out purposes and Earth Eagle Brewings will have 1- and 2-liter growlers available. With the exception of an occasional area bar event, the tasting room will be the only place to purchase their brewings – for the time being. Tasting room hours will be Thursdays & Fridays, 3-7pm; Saturdays & Sundays, noon-4 p.m. Find out more online at***

Monday, November 5, 2012

Guest Blogger: Getting Out of the Brewing Rut

by Mike Micalone

Its official, I'm in a brewing rut. Not sure when I hit that rut but I've learned that the first step of getting past anything is acceptance. I always knew I got fairly busy in the fall which would slow down my brewing but even when I have free time I find I'd rather pop on a movie than brew a batch of beer. I did a thorough analysis as to why I'm in said rut and I've come up with a few things:

Time: The nemesis of any normal adult, I find I can't commit to 4-5 hours brew sessions like I used to be able to. Maybe it's a matter of brewing some partial grain/extract brews (which only take a few hours) or finding a way to streamline my process to shave some time off. Anyway I shake it I always say if it's something you really care about you make the time for it.

Getting Ingredients: I love my local brew shop but seeing as it's only open for 9 hours a week it's made it tough to get the fresh ingredients I need. I've been known to buy stuff and let it sit for a few weeks but I rather not let it hangout in my basement. I've looked at other brew shops but I feel like I'm cheating on my wife when I go to another brew shop (what can I say, I'm loyal to a fault). I mean, I went to another brew shop that let me grind my own grains, gather my own stuff, I didn't have to wait in line and the prices were reasonable and yet I missed the social aspect that going to my local shop brings. I equate it to a guy going to a barber shop. You give them your list, wait while they gather everything, and talk about brewing while enjoying what they have on tap. They offer up sage advice on all kinds of brewing techniques. I guess 9 hours a week will have to do!

What to Brew: I know it sounds like a silly problem to have but I honestly struggle with figuring out what style of beer to brew. Should I try a new style or work on master a particular style? Do I make another run at a brew my friends all loved? Do I experiment with weird foods (I have a friend who wants a honey jalapeƱo) knowing that it very well may come out bad, forcing me to dump a batch of beer? I have piles of recipes from brewing magazines and forums I'm part of yet I never can come up with what I want to brew next.

To Keg or Not to Keg: Ever since I setup my kegerator last Christmas I find that beer doesn't seem to be consumed fast enough (short of my nightly valiant efforts) and so I have tons of beer that I can't get into the hands of my friend. Sure, I could just throw a party after every batch of beer if I'm really looking to kick the keg but at the same time I have friends from work and other places who probably wouldn't make it over and would love to try my beer. This past weekend I filled my first growler off my keg. I think I'll have to refine my technique but this might be my only option to help with this problem.

Against all the problems people are having in this country I know this whole things sounds contrite but what else am I supposed to complain about in a beer blog? So the big question for all of you out in the blogging world is what should I brew next to get out of my brewing rut?

**This was originally drafted a year ago, but after hanging out with Mike over the weekend, it seems like he's fallen into the same rut. Let's see if we can snap him out of it!?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Homebrew Shop in Planning for JP

We were contacted by Joshua Sattin a few weeks ago letting us know that he was in the planning stages of opening up his own homebrew shop in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston in early 2013. It seems like a great idea, considering there aren't too many homebrew supply stores easily accessable by South Shore and Boston residents, so this will be a great resource for local homebrewers!

Here are the details Joshua sent us:

Boston Homebrew Supply (BHS) will be a locally-owned and operated homebrew supply shop located in the heart of Jamaica Plain (JP).

Customers will enjoy a clean, modern, efficient and well-stocked shop that will supply them with a healthy variety of fresh ingredients, essential equipment, a knowledgeable staff and a friendly environment.

JP exhibits a strong sense of community. Its diverse and eclectic neighborhood offers ample culture and promotes locally-owned businesses. JP’s shopping area contains a fine array of independent restaurants, shops and cafes. A homebrew shop would be a perfect addition to JP and would be welcomed by the community. Craft beer appreciation and homebrewing are more popular than ever. There is a large and expanding population of homebrewers in JP and its surrounding communities. These surrounding communities include but are not limited to: Boston, Brookline, Newton, Roslindale, West Roxbury,
Dorchester and Roxbury.

Besides the excellent location, Joshua Sattin (the owner) will be the shop’s greatest asset. Joshua has been homebrewing for many years and has also worked as a professional brewer for almost two years. He has brewed with many different methods and systems, and adapted to a variety of settings. Prior to being a professional brewer, he was a teacher for five years. Joshua plans on using his extensive knowledge of brewing and experience as an educator to guide and support the local homebrewing community. He also plans on teaching different experience level classes at the store and to local homebrew clubs. Additional classes will be added for topics requested by customers. BHS will also hold local homebrew competitions to become more involved with the local homebrewing community.

Because of the location of the store and the owner’s attention to education and the catering of homebrewers, BHS will quickly build community support and a strong customer base. BHS will have a regularly updated website and will use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to communicate new products, specials, classes, news, etc. to its customers. This will keep the customers engaged and wanting to return to the store. Besides a wide selection of homebrewing ingredients and equipment, BHS will offer unique ingredient kits designed by Joshua and guidance for customers to develop their own recipes and brewing techniques. The staff at BHS will strive to maintain an environment where the customers will feel comfortable returning to the store for advice, a sense of community and to purchase more goods.

For more information on Boston Homebrew Supply and their indegogo campaign, check out their Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NERAX November Starts Tomorrow

The New England Real Ale eXhibition, better known as NERAX, kicks off its 16th festival tomorrow night at the Somerville American Legion Hall Post 388 (located at 163 Glen St Somerville, MA 02145). They are slated to serve over 100 firkins of Real Ale and Cider, 50 British beers from England, Scottland, and Wales, and over 50 American beers - mostly from New England!

Unsure what Real Ale is? Click here to visit the NERAX website to find out more. However, if you know what Real Ale is, well then NERAX is the place for you. With four sessions: Thursday and Friday from 6:30 - 10:30pm, and Saturday 12 - 4pm and 5-9pm, even those going to multiple sessions will find different beers. NERAX expects to serve about 60 beers in all.

Tickets are required and it is best to purchase tickets in advance. Advanced tickets are $10 and are $15 at the door. Please note that admission price does not include beer. The beer prices are:

$6 for an Imperial pint
$3 for a half pint
$2 for a quarter pint

Beers and Ciders of 7 - 10 % ABV are limited to half pints, which will be $4.
Beers, ciders, and mead over 10% ABV are limited to quarter pints, which will be $3.

There is also a $5 refundable deposit for your festival glass.

For all ticket information and sales, click here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bantam "Wunderkind"

As the fall season has come upon us we have gotten into all things fall related: pumpkin coffee (really, all things pumpkin!), good hair days,  Oktoberfest beer, and of course hard cider. Last weekend we popped into Harvest Hoopla at Pemberton Farms in Cambridge to sample a variety of mead and hard cider. Among our favorites was Cambridge, MA cider maker - Bantam - and their flagship cider "Wunderkind". I was impressed with how crisp and refreshing it was - so of course a bottle was purchased and saved. The perfect beverage for a pre-hurricane evening in!

This sparkling hard cider offers a 6% ABV - enough to make it's presence known but not overwhelmingly so. It looks like champagne and smells like that most festive of drinks as well!  The bottle indicates Wunderkind should be served chilled at 40 degrees - and in this state the taste is crisp and dry and palate-awakening - completely refreshing. 

As it warms up a bit, you get more of a sense of the flower-blossom honey it is made with and they taste gets a little sweeter, the feel a little smoother. It is completely delightful from beginning to end and has such a wine character that I think it would be perfect with food. Instead of wine or champagne try serving Wunderkind with a fall appetizer spread - maybe some Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese or  Baked Brie?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mayflower Brewing Dinner at 5 Napkin Burger

Tuesday night Sarah and I headed into downtown Boston for another installment of the 5 Napkin Burger beer dinners. The brewing company last night was our friends at Mayflower Brewing Co. out of Plymouth, MA, and they brought along some of their outstanding beers for a pairing with an interesting menu of food.

We arrived a bit early and made our way to the bar. What set the tone for the night was seeing Christina, one of the area sales reps for Mayflower, as soon as we got to the bar. We have worked with Christina on a few different beer events, and it is always great to see her. One of the newest sales reps Marissa was also there too, which was cool too as we had met over the summer and got a chance to catch up on the past few months. Our buddy Ryan from Mayflower also showed up just before the dinner started to round out the list of familiar faces.

Sarah, Christina, and Marissa
The food and beer pairings were really nice. Appetizers featured Tuna Tataki Wontons, Grilled Chicken Skewers, fresh guacamole, and Cheddar Tots, which were paired with Mayflower IPA - which is one of the finest New England IPAs you're going to find. It was a little surprising to have the IPA the first beer due to its bold and hoppy flavors, but it paired nicely with the passed apps.

Another great part of the evening was that founder and president Drew Brousseau, the 10th great grandson of a beer barrel cooper on the Mayflower, was there to discuss the beers, their origins, flavor profiles, and so forth. You could see the passion he has for these beers very easily. He also coined the phrase of the night while describing the Pilgrim's journey to America - "Party Like a Pilgrim!" which was touted for the rest of the evening...perhaps you had to be there?

Founder & President Drew Brousseau

The next course was a small bowl of mussels steamed in ale, with garlic crostini, paired with the Golden Ale. The subtle malt flavor of the Mayflower Golden Ale didn't overpower the delicateness of the mussels and broth.

The main course was a choice between a caprese burger (mozzarella, panchetta, roasted tomatoes, arugula, pesto mayo) or the Veggie Burger, with a side of french fries. The caprese burger was cooked to order, and the fries were nice and crisp. The last beer dinner we went to at 5 Napkin Burger featured sweet potato fries as well, which would have been a nice option as well. However, the fries were nice and crisp and quite flavorful.

The burgers were paired with Mayflower's Fall Seasonal Autumn Wheat. This is Mayflower's take on a dunkelweizen, which was really nice. It had a nice dark hue and was a soft and slightly sweet, medium bodied brew. The wheat used in the brewing process really helps make this a very drinkable beer, and it serves as the perfect alternative to the mass of pumpkin and spice beers currently being offered as seasonal beers.

The final portion of the meal was a vanilla sabayon & shaved chocolate, paired with the Mayflower Porter. Honestly, I didn't read the menu closely enough, as I thought it was ice cream. To my surprise, it was more of a creamy desert, which the Porter paired with spectacularly. The Porter is Sarah's top choice for beers by Mayflower, and it's hard to disagree with her. The dark, roasted, toasted notes in the Porter really meld well when it followed a bite of the sabayon.

Overall, the evening was a good time. It was nice to catch up with Ryan and Christina, and hang out with Drew, Sarah, and Marissa. It wouldn't surprise me if 5 Napkin Burger holds more of these beer dinners as they seem to be pretty successful. It also gives the breweries to interact with their customers (or potential new customers) in an intimate setting, as well as fans of the breweries to learn more about the beer they love!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jack's Abby Releases Two Seasonals, Adds New Tanks

In addition to bringing a bronze medal from the Great American Craft Beer Festival this past weekend for their (now award winning) Smoke & Dagger Smoked Lager, Jack's Abby announced the release of two new seasonal beers today. Additionally, they are adding new tanks to their brewery in an effort to increase capacity and meet the growing demand for their hand crafted lagers.

We actually learned about the new tanks and one of the seasonal beers while visiting the Framingham, MA brewery in August, but here is the official release:

October 17, 2012 - Framingham, MA - Jack's Abby Brewing, an American craft brewer specializing in lagers, was awarded a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival® for its Smoke & Dagger lager. Jack’s Abby also announced two seasonal brews for autumn as well as expanded brewing capacity to meet demand.

Award for Smoke & Dagger

This past Saturday, October 13, Jack's Abby's Smoke & Dagger won the bronze medal in the smoked beer category at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO.

"We had an amazing time at the Great American Beer Festival," said Hendler." We're very excited for this recognition in only our first year of operation."

Since 1982, The Great American Beer Festival is held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and is put on by The Brewers Association, a not-for-profit educational and trade organization that is devoted to making quality brewing and beer information. The Great American Beer Festival is the largest competition for commercial beers in the world.

Seasonal Lagers Announced

For Autumn, Jack's Abby is introducing two new seasonal lagers: Pumpkin Crop Lager and Kiwi Rising.

"The 2012 harvest on our family farm was fruitful. The Pumpkin Crop Lager uses 100 fresh pumpkins and 40 organic squash," said Hendler. "We prepared, cooked, and pureed all the gourds. A blend of autumn spices adds to the intense pumpkin flavors. We're also using locally grown Triticale." Pumpkin Crop Lager is 5.5% ABV.

Hendler described Kiwi Rising as “an intensely hoppy strong lager that we like to refer to as a Double India Pale Lager. All New Zealand hops (Kiwi hops) were used in progressively larger hop additions throughout the brewing process. Over four pounds of hops per BBL were used to create this specialty beer between four kettle hop additions, the use of our hop back, and three dry hop additions.” Kiwi Rising is 8.5% ABV.

New Tanks

To meet growing demand for its craft lagers, Jack’s Abby Brewing is expanding its production capacity. Jack's Abby will add two 80 BBL tanks and one 40 BBL tank to bring its total capacity to over 5000 BBLs.

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.

Jack's Abby is a proud member of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild and the Brewers Association.

For more information, visit Jack's Abby's website at or their Facebook page at