Saturday, May 26, 2012

American Craft Beer Fest 2012

For the last five years, the Alstrom Brothers, Todd and Jason of BeerAdvocate, have hosted the American Craft Beer Fest on the picturesque waterfront of Boston, MA. This year, according the Courtney Cox (no, that Courtney Cox), approximately 15,000 attendees will meander through the Seaport Convention looking for the next great beer or perhaps an old favorite. Either way, this beer festival has much to offer for the hardcore beer geek and the relatively new craft beer drinker.
Luckily, I will attend the festival in two capacities, volunteer and drinker. On Friday, June 1st, I will volunteer for the second year in a row helping out anyway that I can. Last year, I had the privilege to pour for Maine Beer Company. David and Daniel Kleban were amazing hosts, answering any questions that I or the attendees had about their beer. They have developed a great portfolio with the Lunch IPA being the most sought after prize. Hopefully, I will have have the same luck again this year, pouring amazing products for a great brewery.
On what has become an annual tradition, my wife and I will attend the afternoon Saturday session of the 2012 festival. If this day wasn't already going to be full of jovial merriment, my brother-in-law, Jamey is making the trek from DC to join us for a day of great food and great beer. I can't wait to see his reaction when we walk onto the convention floor with all the breweries and winding booth lines. My guess is this, "Holy F$*K!".
Today, Emily and I picked up a handbook and after perusing through the festival handbook, one cannot help but notice the representation of local Massachusetts breweries. You have the big boys, Sam Adams and Harpoon with many outstanding brewpubs like Cambridge Brewing Company (recently named the best brewpub by, Gardner Ale House, The People's Pint and Amherst Brewing Company. Massachusetts nanobreweries are also well represented with Idle Hands, Night Shift, and Enlightenment Ales. Although Massachusetts craft beer is lagging behind many states, it is great to see the industry beginning to blossom and flourish within the commonwealth.
A beer festival of this magnitude will attract many of the major players in craft beer from around the country such as: Bear Republic, Lagunitas, Flying Dog, Brooklyn, Great Divide and Ommegang just to name a few. However, upon closer inspection, I noticed that two states, North Carolina and Maryland, are well represented. North Carolina has an excellent beer culture and it is great to see Big Boss Brewing, Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery (one of my wife's favorites), Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and NoDa Brewing making the journey north for the festival. I know very little about Maryland, let alone its beer culture, but I am looking forward to getting to know Franklin's Brewery and Restaurant, Flying Dog and Heavy Seas Brewery.
One of things that I love about this festival are those breweries that appear to be anomalies at the festival. For example, Jackie O's from Ohio, miles away from any New England craft beer drinker, attended last year's festival and stole the show. Their beers, Dark Apparition and Berliner Weisse are some of the finest interpretations of their respective styles produced in the United States (IMO). This year's festival is no different with breweries representing West Virginia, Wisconsin, Kentucky, District of Columbia and Utah. Last week, I had the privilege of watching Jamey graduate from The George Washington University, which allowed me to sample multiple ales from and DC Brau, which I believe could be this year's Jackie O's.  
All-in-all, the American Craft Beer Fest is an amazing event and I am very fortunate to live in its home state having the luxury to sample amazing craft beer from around the United States! If you have the opportunity to attend this year's festival or those to come in the future, the ambience and beer are outstanding and I highly recommend experiencing this festival.


Here is a list of some of the beers that I am looking forward to trying:

Amherst Brewing - Barrel-aged Black Friday Stout
                                St. Valentine's Day Massatucky
                                Pistachio Creme Pie

Big Boss Brewing - High Roller IPA
                                Monkey Bizz-ness

Boulevard Brewing - Test Saison Noir

Bridge Beer Works - Baltic Porter
                                  Black Lager
                                  Coffee Stout
                                  Pale Ale

Cisco Brewers - Island Reserve Lager
                          Island Reserve Russian Imperial Stout
 DC Brau Brewing - On the Wings of Armageddon
                                 Penn Quarter Porter
                                 Stone of Arbroath
                                 The Citizen
                                 The Corruption
                                 The Public Ale

Duck Rabbit Brewery - Hoppy Bunny American Black Ale

Enlightenment Ales - Nip of a Cap

Lawson's Finest Liquids - BIG HAPI
                                         Double Sunshine IPA
                                         Knockout Blonde
                                         Permagrin Rye Pale Ale

NoDa Brewing - Coco Loco
                            Ghost Hop White IPA

Olde Mecklenburg - Captain James Jack Pilsner
                                 Rein Pale Ale

Pioneer Brewing - Pioneer Path of the Unknown
                              Pioneer the New Frontier

Rising Tide - Atlantis
                      Ursa Minor

Thomas Hooker - Chocolate Truffle Stout

Throwback Brewery - White Heron Chai Porter

White Birch - Berliner Weisse

Wormtown Brewing - Hopulence American Double I.P.A

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