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!