Wednesday, January 30, 2013

MA Brewers Guild Announces First Associate Member

The Massachusetts Brewers Guild announced today that it would be introducing New Associate Membership Level to the Guild. The Associate Membership Level is designed to include any business or individual interested in supporting the Guild's mission "to promote craft brewing and protecting the interest of craft brewers in Massachusetts."

It should be to no one's surprise that Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA was announced as the very first Associate Member of the MA Brewers Guild.

Head over to the Massachusetts Brewers Guild website for the full details and a brief statement from Suzanne Shalow of Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Jack's Abby Brewing Looks Forward to 2013

Here's additional news on the Jack's Abby Brewing Co. expansion, and goals for 2013!

January 24, 2013 -- Framingham, MA -- After a busy 2012, Jack's Abby Brewing, an American craft brewer specializing in lagers, is expecting further growth and expansion in 2013.

In 2012, Jack's Abby: 
-  Brewed approximately 2,500 bbls,
-  Won medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the Great International Beer Festival,
-  Introduced various positively reviewed seasonal and specialty lagers,
-  Hired five employees,
-  Expanded production capacity with new tanks and a bottling line.

“We had a great 2012 and we’re all looking forward to an even better 2013,” said Jack Hendler, owner and chief brewer at Jack’s Abby. "We expect more growth, new capacity, and more innovative lagers."

Jack's Abby expects to increase capacity from 3,500 bbls, to 5,500 bbls with the installation of new tanks this month. "It's a little too early to talk about future projects but we're beginning negotiations for extra space, expanding our barrel-aging program and installing a grain silo," he added. 

"We're currently working on some special beer releases for the next few months," said Hendler. "We'll soon be introducing 4 packs of 'Private Rye' Bière de Garde, a warmish, fermented lager with Valley Malt rye and Belgian candy sugar. We'll also be releasing our Framinghammer Baltic Porter, as well as an entire 40 bbl batch of a bourbon barrel-aged version in March. Look out for a new Double IPL in the early spring."

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 in 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.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Brewery Line Up for Cure Me I'm Irish

We are happy to announce that the brewery line up for this year's Cure Me I'm Irish event has been finalized. Two breweries return this year and three breweries will make their Cure Me debut!

Here is the list of breweries pouring delicious hand crafted brews for lucky ticket holders:

Mayflower Brewing Company - This will be the third straight year Mayflower Brewing Co. will pour their English inspired beers for the 1,000 ticket holders. They actually poured their Spring Hop Ale for the first time at the Cure Me I'm Irish 2011 event!

Backlash Beer Co. - Returning for their second straight year, Helder and Maggie from Backslash Beer have been on a tear! In the past year they launched four incredible new beers with each of them getting better!

Somerville Brewing Company / Slumbrew - Our friends at Slumbrew are happy to join the party this year! They have been in production since November of 2011 and have grown incredibly popular since then! Their Flagraiser IPA was one of the top 5 sellers at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont in 2012. Rightfully so, it's a great beer!

Notch Brewing Co. - Chris Lohring makes some fantastic beers, plain and simple. All his beers are 4.5% ABV or less, making them overwhelmingly drinkable session beers. His Černé Pivo Black Lager made our list of top beers of 2012, but Notch has a great line up of Czech inspired beers in their stable. 

Jack's Abby Brewing Co. - Founded in January 2011, the three Hendler brothers have been cranking out beers non-stop. This brewery, which brews only Lager beers, has cranked out over 20 different lagers and has already gone through two expansions by adding additional fermentation tanks. Their Smoke & Dagger Black Lager took home a bronze medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival as well!

Tickets are available now by clicking here! There is a discount period until February 22nd - tickets are currently $75, but after the 22nd they increase to $90. Please get your tickets now as the event has sold out for the past three years in a row and is expected to do so again this year! Proceeds benefit the Beat NB Cancer Foundation to help save kids with cancer.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Year in Beer - 2012

Another crazy year in craft beer has come to a finish, and here we are already kicking of 2013! After going back to read the previous Year in Beer posts from 2010 and 2011, there always seems to be a few things we couldn't get to. I suppose it's like coming up with New Years resolutions and leaving them unfulfilled...but, it's never bad to set some goals.

2012 was another great year in beer! More breweries opened, new breweries and brewing companies produced more/new beers, and we did our best to drink them all. It's not an easy thing to do, but we try to do the best we can.

It was another great year for Sarah and I in our personal lives, albeit not as crazy as 2011.

We headed to Philadelphia in January and got to try some amazing beers not currently available in New England (sadly). Needless to say, we had a great time eating and drinking through the city.

We again took on the role organizing a fantastic beer tasting as part of the 2012 Cure Me I'm Irish event at Lombardo's in March. We had 10 amazing breweries/brewing companies pouring for 1,000+ thirsty guests and volunteers. It was double the capacity of the previous year, and even more fun! I (Adam) began a new position in Boston in May, which occupied most of my time. It also was great, because I was closer to some really great bars that serve craft beer - notably, Lower Depths, Deep Ellum, and the Publick House, but many others I still have yet to stop at!

We made a return trip to Chicago in June to celebrate our first anniversary, as well as return to our favorite city. We got to visit some more places we didn't get to the first time we went, including Unity Temple, the Shed Aquarium, Buckingham Fountain, and we even took a architectural river tour (which was one of the highlights of the trip).

We also moved in September from Braintree to Somerville, which was a city we had hung out in many times during 2012 after hanging out with Jeff and Caitlin of Slumbrew in February at their nano brewery. We couldn't be happier with our new place and now we're so close to great bars and restaurants in Davis, Porter, and Harvard Squares. There are some seriously good places out there!

Our Social Media presence continued to grow in 2012. Last year we had 743 Twitter followers, which has grown to 1,308 followers presently. Additionally, Facebook went from 447 Fans to now having 850 fans! We also joined Instagram, where we (mostly) post pictures of the beers we try.

Anyway, on to the highlights of beer in 2012...

Top Beers of 2012:

Somerville Brewing Company "Slumbrew" Flagraiser IPA - We're biased as we help out our friends Jeff, Caitlin, and Chris a lot, but we fell in love with this beer before we befriended (and more or less became neighbors) them. Big, Bold, and Delicious are three adjectives I like to use in describing this Double IPA. It has that right amount of balance between malt and hop that is needed in a great IPA. It also doesn't hurt that it's 7.5% ABV.

Notch Session Cerne Pivo - Say it with me now...Cerne Pivo. Cheer-nay Peevo. Dark, full bodied session dark lager that goes down smooth and is overwhelmingly flavorful. Chris Lohring does a fantastic job with his beers and if you haven't had them yet, you're doing yourself a grave disservice.

Watch City Brewery Rescue One Kölsh - Watch City Brewery our of Waltham, MA started showing up on more draft lists across the city last year and we were happy to enjoy some WCB beers outside of their brewpub. The beer had a great golden hue with a nice malty backbone and went down easy. It was also drinking for a great cause. Click the beer name to read more about the how this beer helped raise some money for a great cause.

The Alchemist Heady Topper - We had it at the end of 2011 for the first time, but got to have more of it last year thanks to some great beer bars in Massachusetts getting small quantities of it. Also, our good friend Pat gifted us a four pack in November. That's what friends are for!

Jack's Abby Brewing Co. Brett Bier de Garde - A very funky smelling beer with a subtly sour flavor made this beer overwhelmingly drinkable and enjoyable. We still have a bottle sitting in our fridge. I think we need to review it.

Baxter Brewing Co. Phantom Punch Winter Stout - A fantastic extra stout, the beer packs a punch at 6.8% ABV without feeling too heavy. This one was reviewed as part of the 31 Beers of Christmas collaboration between and Seacoast Beverage Lab. We will post the review here soon!

Wormtown Brewing Norm - A coconut porter with just enough coconut to make it incredibly enjoyable.

Hill Farmstead Edward - By far, the best Pale Ale I have ever had. Period. Thank god Armsby Abby in Worcester, and occasionally Lord Hobo in Cambridge get stuff from this brewery. Must. Have. More.

Very Honorable Mention: Rising Tide Zephyr, Backlash Beer Co. Conquest, Night Shift Brewing Co. EverWeiss, Blatant IPA, High & Mighty Beer of the Gods, White Birch Brewing Olde Timey, Sam Adams Merry Mischief, Cody Brewing Carrot Cake Porter.

Favorite Beer Event:

Slumbrew Beer Dinner at Chatham Bars Inn - This was the first event for Slumbrew, who at the time had been producing production beer for just four months, had the best beer dinner we've ever attended. The food was spectacular, not to mention paired incredibly with the Slumbrew beers. 

So what's up for 2013?

We had a downshift in postings, and especially in beer reviews, so we want to get our act together and post more reviews. We try a ton of new beers each month, and would love to share them with you all. Homebrewing is going to make a vibrant return and it would be great to get our Boston Brewin' Homebrewers Club back up and running.

Of course, 2013 will be the third year in a row we set up a beer tasting as part of the Cure Me I'm Irish annual event. Five breweries will be pouring fantastic beer samples for those in attendance. More to come on this.

A trip to Portland, Oregon is in the works. Some of our family just purchased a house, and they are begging for us to come out. It sounds like a place that's right up our alley, and we're trying to figure out when we can head west!

The Beer Bloggers Conference is set to take over Boston in July. We plan on attending some or all of the events. We'll be registering soon enough to take part in these great festivities.

Great American Beer Festival is ALWAYS on our wish list of things to attend each year, so once again we are hoping to head to Denver in October. 

2012 was great, but we are looking forward to an even more exciting 2013. Thanks again for reading and supporting Brew England and New England craft beer!

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Cure Me I'm Irish Beer Tasting

Well, it's that time of year again. It didn't look like it was going to happen, but Sarah and I were asked to once again set up a beer tasting as part of the annual Beat NB Cancer Foundation Inc (formerly Friends of Will Cancer Foundation Inc) "Cure Me I'm Irish" fundraising event! 

The past two years were really great! In 2011 we had five breweries and in 2012 we were able to double the brewery capacity to 10. This year will be scaled back to five breweries and have quickly jump into planning the line up for this amazing event! The beer tasting has definitely been a fun and exciting portion of the evening, and has introduced many non-craft beer drinking guests to the world of great beer.

The event has sold out the past three years and is expected to do so again this year. The capacity also increased from 400 to 1,000 guests in 2011 and 2012 and with the generous donations from the past participating breweries, they helped raise $89,000 in 2011 and $100,000 in 2012 for this incredible charity.

"Cure Me I'm Irish" 2013 will take place Saturday March 9th at Lombardo's in Randolph, MA, located at 6 Billings Street, from 8pm - 12am. It is the same location as the previous two years, and is slated to once again be a fantastic event.

Discounted tickets are currently on sale and are $75 per person, but they will raise to $90 after February 22nd. Click here to purchase your tickets through Eventbrite.

Complimentary food, beer (craft and non-craft), and a live performance by Joshua Tree, a Boston based U2 Tribute Band. Raffles and auctions will be there, as well as an opportunity to win a trip for two to Aruba (airfare, hotel, and a set of luggage)!

To read more about the event, click here for a recap from 2011 and click here for the brewers/beer line up from 2012.