Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012 Southern NH Brewers Festival

Details are sure to start rolling in, but Bill Herlicka of White Birch Brewing has announced the date for the second annual Southern NH Brewers Festival. This year, the event will fall on Saturday July 14th, 2012 and will once again be held in Hooksett, NH.

The inaugural 2011 Southern NH Brewers Festival was held at White Birch Brewing's former location and featured 18 (mostly) regional breweries, such as host brewery White Birch Brewing, Allagash, Maine Beer Co., Baxter Brewing, Martha's Exchange, Flying Goose Brew Pub, Element Beer Co, Boulder Beer, and several more. The Southern NH Brew Fest also featured some local area restaurants such as Burrito Me and Firefly.

Since last year's event, White Birch has actually moved locations, to a much larger building in the former Auto Wholesalers building at 1339 Hooksett Road (aka: DW Highway). They have a larger layout, not to mention a huge parking lot, which should make this year's event even bigger.

Stay tuned for more info, and we will post more details as they are announced!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Boston Bruins & Sam Adams Bru Fest

I literally JUST found this on the Boston Bruins website...This will be the third season in a row that Samuel Adams and the Boston Bruins have teamed up for their Bru Fests. Better late than never.

The Bru Fests will be before tonight's game versus Tampa Bay, Thursday's game versus Washington, and next Tuesday's versus Pittsburgh.

Join the Bruins pre-game party at the TD Garden for the Samuel Adams Bru Fest!

Come enjoy music, giveaways, games and concessions with your fellow fans prior to the Bruins game at the Samuel Adams Bru Fest held on the front parking lot of the TD Garden! Samuel Adams will be featuring a selection of their most popular products including Sam Seasonal and lager.

This 21+ event is free and open to all fans with a ticket to that night's game, but get there early because space is limited!

5 Napkin Burger Beer Dinners

5 Napkin Burger Boston Announces Two Beer Dinners

You may recall we announced in November of 2011 that 5 Napkin Burger, located within the Prudential Building in downtown Boston, was holding their first two beer dinners. The first dinner was on November 3rd and featured the great beers of Smuttynose Brewing Co. from Portsmouth, NH. The other was November 17th and featured brews from our friends at Cape Ann Brewing Co. out of Gloucester, MA. Well, the dinners were a success, so 5 Napkin Burger has scheduled two new dinners with Stone Brewing Co. and Long Trail Brewing Co.

Here is the official release:

5 Napkin Burger is excited to announce the second installment of their Beer and Bourbon Dinner Series with Stone Brewing Company kicking it off on Tuesday, April 3rd followed by Long Trail Brewing Company on April 24th. After the success of the first series, 5 Napkin is thrilled to showcase another two exciting breweries.

Each dinner will begin at 6:30pm with an informal cocktail reception where guests will mingle with the brewers and dine on passed appetizers made with the beer! The evening will then proceed to a seated 2-course dinner and every bite of food will be expertly paired with a different beer (totaling four throughout the evening). Chef Andy D’Amico and the breweries will be working alongside one another to bring guests new flavors and new beer experiences.

To attend one dinner is $45 (including tax and gratuity) and for those real beer lovers, the cost to attend both dinners is $80 per person, also all inclusive. To purchase tickets, please visit!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Brew England Visits: Baxter Brewing Co - Lewiston, ME

As you know, Sarah and I like to travel, especially around New England. As a benefit from these trips, not to mention our honeymoon last year, we accumulated a free night stay through, so we decided to spend our free night in Portland, ME.

Ever since I bought a few cans of Baxter Pamola XTra Pale at Craft Beer Cellar earlier in the year, I became a fan of the brewery. Each beer I tried only reinforced my feelings. Considering we were going to be in Portland for the night, we decided we had to pay a visit to the Baxter Brewing Co. facility in Lewiston, which is exactly what we did!

Lewiston is a small mill city located approximately 40 minutes north of Portland. Sarah and I have visited Portland many times; however, it was the first time in about 15 years that I had traveled north of Portland! With the address plugged into our GPS, we knew we wouldn’t have any problems finding the brewery.

Leading up to our trip, we had been communicating via Twitter with @baxterbrewing, which is run by Chris – a part time employee of the brewery, who handles their email list and of course their Twitter account. He was actually expecting our arrival and greeted us as soon as we walked into the facility.

The Baxter brewery is a reclaimed part of Bates Mill, which is one of the most historic buildings in Lewiston. They spent months working on the brewery, and tried to reuse as much material they could. It must be said, they did a great job with their retail and tasting area, as well as their brewery!

In true fashion, it was set to be a small and intimate tour. Just before we got started, two more people came in to make it a group of four – you really can’t beat that!

For those unfamiliar with Baxter Brewing Co, they are New England's first and only all-cannery brewery, meaning you can only purchase their beers in a can on the retail market. They also have their beer available on draft, but you will not find any bottled Baxter beers. This is actually great in several ways – the cans are lighter, which cuts down on shipping costs; they are able to be easily recycled; and, they block out 100% of light, which is the main reason beer can become skunked (exposure to oxygen being another main factor).

Keeping up with the environmentally sound practices exhibited by Baxter Brewing Co, their six pack rings are remarkably green! According to Chris, “we use a #4 plastic, LDPE photodegradeable polythelen plastic. This means they are non-toxic and begin degrading when exposed to UV light. They become brittle very quickly, lose most of their structural integrity, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, and depending on the season, may break down completely in as few as three weeks.” This is obviously great for the environment.

Chris chatting about how they make Baxter beers!

Chris led us into the brewery, where we instantly found the canning line. We quickly moved passed the line, as we were hitting the brewery floor first, to learn how they make their wort, which eventually turns into the beer they can, keg, and package.

Once we entered the brewery floor, it was obvious that the tanks the brewers use to produce their beer were quite large. So large in fact, that they had to cut a segment out of the back wall in order to move in the kettle, whirlpool, hot liquor tank, and several fermentation vessels.

The brewery currently has the capability of producing up to 8,600 barrels annually, but in 2011 they were able to produce 5,000 barrels. They went from only distributing in the central to southern Maine area, to eventually getting into the Boston market. There's no estimate on their production for 2012, but all three of their beers - Pamola XTra Pale, Stowaway IPA, and Amber Road are now distributed throughout the greater Boston area, and the brewery is currently planning on releasing some seasonal beers, beginning soon with their Summer brew!

Another prime reason for us to visit the brewery was that they had just released Amber Road, which at the time was only being served and distributed in Maine. It is unbelievable, and truly deserves its own review, which will be done here soon! Needless to say, it was deliciously malty, a bit hoppy, and clocked in at a moderate 5.5% ABV. There was no surprise that we purchased a case of Amber Road, as well as a bunch of other schwag, while we were there!

Despite being a bit north of Portland, a trip to Lewiston to visit Baxter Brewing Co. should not be passed up. There are a few bars in the town as well, notably a Gritty McDuff's brewpub, but is definitely (read: obviously) close enough to head back to Portland for a fun night out on the town.

Baxter Brewing Co. is located at 130 Mill St in Lewiston, ME. Visit their website for upcoming events, brewery news, and tour information - and for Pete's sake - GET SOME OF THEIR BEER! We promise you will love them!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tuesday Night Tasting: Slumbrew - My Better Half

Somerville Brewing Company "Slumbrew" - Somerville, MA
My Better Half - Imperial Cream Ale
7.2% ABV, 25 IBU, 22 oz and on draft

The Slumbrew My Better Half was our fourth and latest installment of the recently released Slumbrew series of beers. Somerville Brewing Company, also more commonly known as "Slumbrew", has been putting out their beers since November, when they had their premier at the Independent in Somerville in Union Square. Since then, they have been working hard to promote their brand, and they are gaining quite the following!

My Better Half pours a reddish orange hue with a nice light and fluffy white head, that gently rests upon the body of the beer. It's definitely inviting, but it was important for us not to jump too far ahead.

The smell of the brew is a lightly sweet and malty aroma, blended with a fruitiness of dried, sweet fruit such as dates. Sarah noted that it had a layer of whipped cream topping as well. Adam picked up nice floral tones, such as those given off by wild flowers.

The taste....ahh, the taste! Our most favorite part! Well, you'll notice an instant fruit cake with whipped topping flavor. Additionally, the more you drink the more you'll notice the creaminess and lightness. This by no means is a pile of ice cream in your glass, but it has a pleasant and noticeable sweetness to it, without being cloying. It also has a hidden but floral dry bitterness found in many lagers, but is well balanced and not at all overpowering.

The mouth feel of Slumbrew's My Better Half is smooth and velvety. It's light without being watery, yet full without being heavy.

At 7.2% ABV, you'll probably want to be cautious of your intake. You can certainly put down a bottle of this, or even a few pints of this if you're lucky enough to find it on draft...but, its complexity of being a blend of half ale and half lagered beer makes this Slumbrew a wildly enjoyable and very drinkable beer.

If you haven't had any Slumbrew beers, you are truly missing out. This is one very unique and tasty beer, but is in limited supply. Hit for thir bottle locator, and more info on their awesome beers!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Official Beer Line Up for Cure Me I'm Irish

As you probably know, this year's Cure Me I'm Irish event is happening this Saturday March 10th from 8pm to Midnight. It's been many months of build up, and after many emails, phone calls, and meetings, Sarah and I are very excited for the event to finally be here!

With that being said, we have THE official beer line up for this Saturday. Here's what you can expect from the 10 breweries pouring at the event:

Mayflower Brewing Company: Golden Ale, Pale Ale, IPA, Oatmeal Stout

Smuttynose Brewing Company : IPA, Old Brown Dog, Star Island Single, Big A IPA

Cape Ann Brewing Co: Fisherman's Ale, Fisherman's Navigator

Cody Brewing Co: No Name IPA, Honey Gingah Pale Ale

Baxter Brewing Co: Pamola XTra Pale Ale, Amber Road

Stone Brewing Co: 2011 Belgo Imperial Russian Stout

Atlantic Brewing Co: Bar Harbor Real Ale, Bar Harbor Caddilac Mountain Stout

Boston Beer Co. / Samuel Adams: Boston Lager, Irish Red, Cream Stout, Griffin's Bow, Dark Depths

Backlash Beer Co: Declaration Belgian Style IPA

Harpoon Brewery: 100 Barrel Series Black IPA, UFO White

Baring any unforeseen circumstances, this should be the complete list; however, rumor has it that Samuel Adams might be bringing something extra special to the event. All in all, 24 beers from 10 breweries is only going to make this year's event even more special.

There are a few tickets left, so if you haven't picked yours up head to today and scoop one up before the event is completely sold out! I do know that there are less (probably much less at this point) than 100 tickets remaining, and this year's Cure Me I'm Irish is not to be missed!

Help save kids with cancer, enjoy some great food, music, and of course some excellent craft beer!