Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Craft Beer Cellar Set to Franchise

If you've read this blog for any length of time and/or followed us on Twitter, you will know that we love going to Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA. It is literally the mecca of beer stores in the greater Boston region. When we learned that the company would be expanding, we were not at all surprised.

Kate and Suzanne spend countless hours making sure their inventory is extremely well represented on the shelves and that they are providing the highest quality products consumers can get. You will only find true craft beers in their store, and nothing (and we mean nothing) brewed or distributed by any of the big conglomerate beverage companies.

What makes a visit to Craft Beer Cellar even more enjoyable, is that Suzanne and Kate truly care about their customers. You can walk in the store off the street, having never seen Craft Beer Cellar before, and while you'll likely be overwhelmed by the incredible amount of beers sold there, these two ladies will make you feel right at home. They are incredibly knowledgeable about their products and will ask productive questions to help you make a beer choice.

You can read about our first visit to the store, but even that does not do this store justice. Plan a trip to Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont and you will not be disappointed.

But we digress...

The real reason for this post is that Craft Beer Cellar is set to franchise its brand. Here is the official press release:

Craft Beer Cellar Franchises - Shows Commitment to Craft Beer


Contact: Suzanne Schalow
Phone: 617.932.1885
Email: suzanne@nocrapbeer.com

Belmont, MA - July 31st, 2012 – We are extremely proud to announce that in deciding to expand what we once called the “little beer store”, we have realized the most successful way to accomplish this is by franchising Craft Beer Cellar. We are deeply committed to retail Craft Beer access and education, across New England and the United States. In making this change, we have officially moved over to Craft Beer Cellar’s new mantra and path - “no crap beer”, which is our new web address, and where you will find every store in our family, including updated inventories!

Our immediate goal is to open three stores by the end of 2013, with our initial focus being on Lowell, Swampscott, Chelsea, and Needham, Massachusetts. Thereafter, we will concentrate on the remainder of New England. We will work very hard with our current distributors to ensure that access and product availability is as good as it is right here on Leonard Street, and we’ll do so by being the same great partners we’ve been since the day we opened our doors!

Craft Beer Cellar began exploring how to grow and expand, only months after we opened, still having no real idea of the impact we would have (and continue to have) on the people who walked through our doors. After our first year, we knew that, personally, opening even one or two more stores could take years, given the very hands-on nature of our mission. In our quest to continue to educate and honor the Craft Beer consumer, we decided the only way to get it done, in any timely fashion, was to implore other like-minded humans to join us. We’ll search far and wide to find you, but rest assured that if you want to open your very own Craft Beer Cellar, you must be a Beer Geek who loves people!

About Craft Beer Cellar

Craft Beer Cellar was founded in 2010 by Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow with a passion, drive, and commitment to continuing the development and growth of the Craft Beer Segment, by focusing on beers that have taste, excitement, and a great story.  In addition, we are also dedicated to beer education and hospitality.  We pride ourselves on creating an experience for both novice and extraordinary Beer Geeks alike, in our retail ‘bottle’ shop, and have proudly become Boston’s favorite retail Craft Beer destination; an honor we take very seriously!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Redhook Fest Ticket Contest

As we indicated last week, we have TWO pair of tickes to the upcoming Redhook Festival taking place on Saturday August 18th at the Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

In its 16th season, the Redhook Ale Festival plays host to thousands of thirsty beer geeks and music lovers, for a fun filled summer day. This year, the music kicks off at 2:30pm with opening bands Dusty Gray, Ryan Montbleau Band, and The Brew, with headlining act moe. closing out the concert. There will be Redhook beer for sale, as well as some tasty treats from several local restaurants. Tickets to the event are just $25 if purchased in advanced, or $30 at the door (very serious sell out risk, we've been told).

However, you can win a pair of tickets right here! Here's how to enter:

Starting right now, and ending at 11:59PM this Sunday August 5th, take a picture with you and your favorite Redhook Ale Brewery beer and post it on Instagram. Included in your posting must have the hashtag #BrewEngland. You can also leave a comment here under this posting, as well as on Twitter and tweet @BrewEngland so we see your photo!! The two people with the best pictures will receive one pair of tickets each.

The tickets will need to be mailed via USPS or UPS, so please be ready to email us your address.

So that's it...easy enough! Get snapping and cheers to you and your upcoming photos!

***The event is all ages, but you will be ID'd at the door. We will do everything we can to make sure you get these tickets in time for the concert, but can not account for lost, stolen, or undeliverable mail***

Thursday, July 26, 2012

AHA Rally Tonight at Sam Adams Brewery

The American Homebrewers Association is once again holding a rally at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain this evening. From 5-8pm, budding homebrewers are free to gather at the brewery, try out some of the Samuel Adams Long Shot contest finalist beers, and more!

Your entrance includes:
  • A VIP Tour
  • Light fare for snacks
  • Four complimentary samples
  • A Boston Lager pint glass
  • An opportunity to mingle with local homebrewers
  • A chance to win great prizes from the AHA and Samuel Adams Boston Brewery
Space is limited, so you can RSVP to reserve your spot. AHA Rallies are free to current AHA members. Non-members (or those who have accidentally let their memberships lapse like yours truly) can join now or sign up at a discounted rate at the door.

To learn more about AHA membership benefits, please click here.

**To those who have not been to one of these, you're missing out. Our buddy and guest blogger Mike Micalone went last year, and had a blast! We went a few years back too, and had a great time!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What is a Seasonal Beer?

If you follow any liquor store, package store, brewery, or other craft beer related retail location on Facebook or Twitter, you will have definitely seen posts indicating that "Fall Seasonal" beers are on their shelves. More specifically, pumpkin beer(s). Even more specifically, Shipyard Pumpkinhead seems to be the overwhelming majority of the posts (why it's such a big seller, I have no idea. It's not even made with real pumpkin, like other regional area breweries - which are far more enjoyable).

What ever happened to drinking a seasonal beer in the actual season it's meant to be enjoyed in? I mean, shit, it's July 25th - technically one month into summer (you know, it officially started June 21st), and these fall beers are already being launch. Hell, I haven't even picked up a SUMMER seasonal beer yet! Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of summer beers. I really enjoy Ipswich Ale Brewery Summer, not to mention the new Baxter Brewing Co. Celsius Ale. But I'm telling you, it's way too early to have pumpkin beers being launched.

This passed February, Chris Lohring, founder and brewer of Notch Brewing, posted a well documented, very eloquent post entitled "The Death of Seasonal Beers." He posted this from the perspective of the brewer, rather than the consumer, and it  couldn't have been said better. Truthfully, he is right..it's not the retailers fault, after all, they're relying heavily on the distributor. However, a lot of this has to do with the consumer.

This is where we all come into play...what can we do as consumers?

Lohring says, "It's really quite simple. Stop buying beer out of season and stop encouraging the trend. You may start to see more beers that make sense in the season."

This makes sense. As a craft beer fan, it is hard to pick up a heavy, spiced beer, in the middle of 80 degree weather and actually enjoy it. These beers are better suited for cooler afternoons, and chilly evenings. Instead, we should be reaching for true seasonal beers that are utilizing local ingredients that are currently in season (barley, hops, certain added spices or fruits).

I didn't quite write this as well as Chris did, so please do us at Brew England, and Chris from Notch Brewing a favor and head over to NotchBrewing.com to read his well articulated post.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Boston Ranks #9 in World

Where Boston ranks nationwide

Slide #1 (okay, perhaps slide #18, #38, and #45 too) today on Boston.com is obviously the most important (or relevant), but television personality and stand up comic Zane Lamprey, known mostly for "Drinking Made Easy" and "Three Sheets", ranked Boston as 9th Best Beer City in the World!

We just thought we would share this bit of information, in case you hadn't seen it on Twitter or Boston.com today!

16th Annual Redhook Festival

I could have sworn we posted this back in May, but nothing really comes as a surprise these days. We get a lot of press releases, and it's neat to share them with you when we can, but sometimes they slip though the cracks. Nevertheless, the Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, NH is hosting the 16th Annual Redhook Festival. Featured are great food, beer, and music, with this year's musical headliner moe.

Read the release, but check back this week as we have TWO PAIR of tickets to give away!! Details on how the ticket giveaway will be determined will be posted soon!

16th Annual Redhook Fest Tickets Now On Sale
Party at the Brewery to be Headlined by moe.

Portsmouth, N.H., May 18, 2012 - Redhook Brewery is once again hosting its annual Redhook Fest brewery bash on Aug. 18 featuring rockin headliner moe., great food and of course Redhook beer. Tickets are on sale now for the 16th annual Redhook Fest which reliably attracts thousands of craft beer and music lovers from across New England for the summertime bash in the brewery’s backyard. Redhook Fest is open to all ages, however photo ID is required for the purchase of alcoholic beverages and minors must be accompanied by a parent. The festival will include a vendor village complete with games, activities, and prizes from local cultural and adventure-based businesses.

Tickets for Redhook Fest can be purchased now for $25 at Cataqua Public House, located at Redhook Brewery, and online at http://www.redhook.com/. Kids 12 and under get in free with the purchase of an adult ticket. 

What:                         Redhook Brewery’s 16th Annual Redhook Fest
·         An all ages, general admission, festival style event
·         Featuring headlining musical guest moe.
·         Festival activities of games and prizes from local cultural and adventure-based businesses
·         Redhook beer and food from local vendors will be available

When:            Saturday, Aug. 18
                       Gates open at 2 p.m.
                       Music begins at 2:30 p.m.
                       Party lasts all day
Where:           Redhook Brewery 1 Redhook Way
                       Pease International Tradeport
                       Portsmouth, NH 03801
Who:             Thousands of food, music and beer lovers from around New England
Tickets:         Available now for $25 at the Cataqua Public House at Redhook Brewery or online at http://www.redhook.com/.

Kids 12 and under get in free with adult admission

**According to Lane PR, last year's festival sold out, and the event is in three weeks, SO, visit the Redhook website for your tickets!!

Adam & Sarah

Monday, July 23, 2012

Abby Park Beer Dinner Aug 1st


Abby Park, located in Milton, MA will be hosting a four course dinner, paired with four local Massachusetts craft beers next Wednesday August 1st beginning at 6:30pm. The Modern-American Restaurant opened a few years ago, and consistently has 3-4 craft beer selections available on draft. Their dinner entrĂ©es range in price from $22-$36, but they also have a great casual fare menu with dishes starting at $12.  

Helping with the event is Bin Ends Wine, an incredible source for fine wines and an ever growing craft beer list (see our Brew England Visits: Bin Ends from 2010). While the store has been open since 2008, but is just starting to be more known outside the Braintree area. While the store is located just off the highway, the Wood Road wine and beer store is quite hidden. However, the diverse selection of regional and international wines, not to mention their beer selection, more than makes up for the location. It makes it a real hidden gem in our opinion.

Here are the important details:

What: Bin Ends Serious Wine / Abby Park BBQ and Beer Dinner
Where: Abby Park - Milton, MA
When: Wednesday August 1st, 2012 beginning at 6:30pm

The cost is $60 for the dinner, which includes tax & gratuity. The meal will feature passed appetizers, and a four course meal, with a beer served will each food pairing. The featured beers are: Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project Jack d'Or, Clown Shoes Supah Hero IPA, Berkshire Brewing Company Hefeweizen Ale, Mystic Brewery Descendent, and Slumbrew Porter Square Porter.

For the full menu, click the following link. To purchase your tickets, click here to visit the Bin Ends website!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ben Harris Tribute Beer

If you remember, back in April there was a tragic accident at the Red Hook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, NH. While performing his work duties, Ben Harris lost his life when a keg he was cleaning exploded. There have been some fundraisers over the course of the past several months, with additional donations coming from Brian from Seacoastbeveragelab.com and A&G Homebrew Supply.

In an effort to raise more funds for the Ben Harris Fund, Redhook Ale Brewery has created a special tribute beer. There will be a special tapping of this special beer TONIGHT at the Cataqua Pub at the Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth at 4pm, going until 11pm.

Please take a moment to read the important press report below:


Public Keg Tapping Celebrates Ben's Life, Friday July 20 at 4 pm;
Proceeds to Benefit Ben's Family
PORTSMOUTH, N.H., July 17, 2012 - Redhook Brewery invites the New England community to remember and celebrate Ben Harris with a special tapping of Ben Harris Beer, a memorial beer brewed for Ben. The keg tapping celebration will be held at the Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth, N.H., located at 1 Redhook Way, on Friday, July 20, from 4:00-11:00 p.m. All proceeds from Ben Harris Beer sold during the event will benefit the Ben Harris Fund.

After the July 20 tapping, Redhook will donate $1 to the Ben Harris Fund for every pint of Ben Harris Beer sold at the Cataqua Pub. Redhook Brewery plans to make Ben Harris Beer available on draught nationally over the next several weeks and months. Starting this fall, the brewery plans to bottle Ben Harris Beer and distribute it in the New England markets of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Additionally, Redhook plans to make the bottled beer available in Ben's home state of Pennsylvania.

"Ben Harris was an incredible man. He was a longtime member of the Redhook family, a friend to all of us and a beer lover through and through," said Alex Kopf, Redhook senior brewer. "We chose to brew a cream ale for Ben to represent not only the type of beer he loved, but also the man he was: a fun-loving, hard-working family man. There's nothing we'd like more than to be enjoying this beer with Ben, and we hope that the community will join us in honoring his legacy and celebrating his life by raising a pint."

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, 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.

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 http://www.redhook.com/.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Throwback Brewery Turns 1!

Another notable celebration taking place this evening at the Portsmouth Gaslight in Portsmouth, NH! Throwback Brewery, a great small brewery located in North Hampton, NH, is celebrating it's own first anniversary tonight by featuring nine of their finely crafted beers on tap!

Annette and Nicole from Throwback opened their doors to us last year, and it was honestly one of the best brewery visits we have been on to date. They are incredibly inviting, and make some really, really great beer! We don't get to drink them nearly enough, but we'll have to pay a visit to New Hampshire's seacoast soon.

Here's what's available tonight:

Jack's Abby Anniversary Line Up

As we mentioned last month, Framingham, Massachusetts's own Jack's Abby Brewing is celebrating their first year of commercial brewing with a tap takeover at the place that launched their beer - British Beer Company Framingham, tonight starting at 7pm.

Last year the boys from Jack's Abby launched with two beers - Red Tape Lager and Saxon Pilsner. Well, if you are familiar with this all lager brewery, you know they have been cranking out new beers on a regular basis, which are now even more widely available thanks to their new bottling line. Well, tonight you will be able to chose from EIGHT of Jack's Abby beers, PLUS one on cask!

Wondering what's going to be on tap? Well, allow us to help out! You can chose from:

Jabby Brau
Hoponious Union
Leisure Time Lager
Red Tape Lager
India Pale Lager
Framinghammer Baltic Porter
Bier de Garde (aged in white wine barrels)
Smoke & Dagger Peanut Butter

The anniversary celebration will also be the launch of the newest Jack's Abby Seasonal India Pale Lager. It's unknown (at least at the time of this posting) what the cask will be, but whatever it is I'm sure it will be delicious!

Owner/Brewers Jack, Eric, and Sam Hendler will all be on hand from 7pm to close to chat about their offerings, and other goings on at the brewery!

Check out the British Beer Company and the Jack's Abby Brewing websites for additional info.

Also - for those unable to attend tonight, or for those who want another fix of Jack's Abby Beers, the brewery will be holding a second anniversary celebration at Mead Hall in Cambridge this Saturday at 7pm. The Hendler brothers will be there as well, celebrating with the masses.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Drink Craft Beer Summerfest

The first of three sessions of the soon to be annual Drink Craft Beer Summerfest gets under way in less than 12 hours at the Somerville Armory in Somerville, Massachusetts. Jeff and Devon of drinkcraftbeer.com announced at the special event at their Breakfast Coffee Stout collaboration brew with Notch Session release at Lower Depths in April, and this looks to be a great event.

The Summerfest is set to feature 70+ beers from 25 of New England's best breweries. Naturally, these breweries will be pouring some of their staple beers; however, Farmhouse Style ales and lagers will be the primary focus. One of the requirements of the breweries was to bring a saison. Some breweries took it a step further, by specifically brewing a one off, event specific saison, or launching a new beer at the event.

Some of the breweries for the event are Hill Farmstead Brewery, Slumbrew, Notch Brewing, Mystic Brewery, Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project (Saturday only), The Alchemist, Downeast Cider House, Peak Organic, Revival Brewing Co, and many more. For a full line up of breweries, as well as the beer line up, head over to drinkcraftbeer.com!

Here are some other helpful and important information:

Drink Craft Beer Summerfest: A Celebration of Farmhouse Ale

Somerville Armory
191 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 

Friday July 13th Session 1: 6-9:30pm
Saturday July 14th Session 2: 1-4:30pm
Saturday July 14th Session 3: 6-9:30pm

Tickers are $45 each, and include:

Unlimited 2oz samples
Biodegradable sample cup
Fest Guide

What's also cool about this event is that each session is limited to just 395 tickets, which will assure an intimate event for those in attendance. Tickets are still available, but are going quick...so head to drinkcraftbeer.com or click here to purchase tickets!