So last week – the week of St. Patrick’s Day/Evacuation Day – is usually Boston Beer Week in my hometown. Apparently this year there was no set schedule, events or anything. However, Boston being Boston and St. Patrick’s Day being the great Irish drinking (that’s redundant) holiday that it is, last week was – unofficially – Boston Beer Week.
The week started for me at Stoddard’s Fine Food and Ales. Stoddard’s is my favorite bar in downtown (it’s on Temple St. in Downtown Crossing). The food, the service, and the beers (of course) are always fantastic. The bar manager, my buddy Jamie, has curated probably the best beer list in the Greater Boston Area outside of my personal beer fridge. Stoddard’s was hosting a DigBoston sponsored #NoGreenBeer event. I swung by for lunch – corned beef and cabbage, naturally – and was lucky enough to run into Jeff from Dig, my buddy Jeff from Stone, Chris from Notch, and Kay from Craft Beer Cellar Braintree. The excellent company and conversation kept me there past my allotted lunch break, but I did manage to return after work for a few drinks before dinner.
Serendipitously, my week of working in town coincided with the first anniversary of Trillium Brewing Co. in the Fort Point section of South Boston, a short but very cold walk from my office. Tuesday was the release of Trillium’s second-ever bottled offering, Wild Trillium. Wild is a wild fermented version of their flagship beer, Trillium Farmhouse Ale. The beer spent over 9 months aging in a single oak barrel with Trillium’s house blend of wild microbes. I managed to snag two bottles of Wild after work, and after a cold wait in line.
The fine folks at Backlash Beer Co. have been producing some excellent double IPAs as part of their “Uprising!” series. The series was initially set for 3 releases, but the popularity of the first 3 led them to release Chaos, a DIPA with Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic, and Galaxy. The Chaos release party was at East End Grille in Somerville. Chaos is good, man. My self-imposed limit of two went by the wayside a little too easily. More good times, as I got to hang out with Helder and finally got to meet Twitter-friend Jesse, as well as some other fine folks.
Thursday was supposed to be the Pre-Party for Extreme Beer Fest at the Tip Tap Room. And it was… just not for me. Suffering from a case of too much beer, too much work and not enough rest or solid food, I opted to take her easy on Thursday night. Judging from the pictures this was an unfortunate decision. A lot of the folks previously mentioned were all in attendance. I’m bummed I missed out.
Friday was a night scheduled for taking it easy. With Extreme Beer Fest looming on Saturday, the last thing I wanted to do was roll in with a hangover. I did, however, dispatch my better half to Trillium to pick up their just released first anniversary beer, Mettle. Mettle is a double IPA clocking in at 8% ABV. I knocked back a few glasses before turning in, in anticipation of…
Saturday – EXTREME BEER FEST
EBF is one of my favorite beer fests. Smaller in scale than American Craft Beer Fest, EBF focuses on high-ABV and/or odd-flavored brews. It is essentially a celebration of the kind of beers that craft beer gets made fun of for brewing. I was especially excited because two Florida breweries – Cigar City and Funky Buddha – that don’t distribute to MA were there pouring some of their more interesting creations. Cigar City’s Margarita Gose was a delicious, refreshing and quirky take on a beer style that is only recently in vogue after being on the brink of extinction (gose). Marshal Zhukov’s was Cigar City’s Russian Imperial Stout that was absolutely delicious. But Funky Buddha stole the show with their No Crusts, a peanut butter and jelly sammich beer (!); Maple Bacon Coffee Porter; and their French Toast (!!!) Double Brown Ale. I’ve tried beers like Voodoo Maple Bacon Donut and other funky concoctions, but the tastes of these beers… incredible. They simultaneous tasted exactly like their inspirations while still tasting like beers. I was blown-away by Funky Buddha.
Closer to home, Tree House Brewing out of Brimfield, MA had two phenomenal beers, Double Shot (a coffee stout) and Juice Machine (a DIPA), that tasted fantastic if a little safe for the EBF. I’d heard great things about Tree House and have been dying to try some of their beers. I was not disappointed.
Lost Abbey also knocked my socks off with some fantastic offerings: Angel’s Share Grand Cru, Cuvee de Tomme, Spontaneous Cheer, and Frambroise de Amorosa. And Kane Brewing got my attention, as well. I’d never heard of Kane before EBF, but not only was their A Night to End All Dawns an incredibly delicious beer, but it was my favorite name at the fest (beating out Sam Adams’ Kosmic Mother Funk (delicious) and Off Color’s Rats In the Ashes (meh)).
A few friends and I pre-gamed with a bottle of Maine Beer Co’s new Dinner, which was phenomenal and a can of Heady Topper, that I’m said to say was tainted. For a day that started with a bad can of Heady, it ended wonderfully.
On a final EBF note, I got to see my buddy Jeff from college, who helping Stone Jeff pour (Stone had Crime and Punishment, punishingly hot chili beers) and got to meet Lee from Craft Beer Cellar, as well. We closed the night with pretzels and beers at Harpoon’s Beer Hall (those pretzels, man) before cabbing it home.