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 Chow.com), 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.
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
Boulevard Brewing - Test Saison Noir
Bridge Beer Works - Baltic Porter
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 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
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
Thomas Hooker - Chocolate Truffle Stout
Throwback Brewery - White Heron Chai Porter
White Birch - Berliner Weisse
Wormtown Brewing - Hopulence American Double I.P.A