Boston often gets overlooked when it comes to discussions about the best beer cities in the U.S., but last week's Boston Beer Week gave the Hub a chance to showcase why it really is a great place to grab a pint.
Boston often gets overlooked when it comes to discussions about the best beer cities in the U.S., but last week the Hub got a chance to showcase why it really is a great place to grab a pint.
The city hosted its first-ever Boston Beer Week, organized by Jason and Todd Alstrom, the founders of beeradvocate.com and Beer Advocate magazine.
There were more than 80 events throughout the week, capped off by the American Craft Beer Fest on Saturday at the Seaport Convention Center.
It was a great week. It may not compare to Philadelphia Beer Week, which boasts more than 800 events in a single week, but Boston beer people, brewers and bar owners held their own.
The kickoff was Friday, June 11, at the Samuel Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain. Tickets originally were $50 to get in, but an anonymous donor paid for all of the tickets, so the event was packed.
The folks at Sam Adams had the beer flowing (including two brewery-only beers, a Belgian IPA and the Weizen, a German-style wheat beer) and served good food.
The only problem for the week was choosing which events to attend. I actually had to take a vacation just so I could go to an event every day.
On Saturday, June 12, I went to Redbones in Somerville for its Casktastic event. The restaurant has some of the best barbecue in the Boston area, and the beers were fantastic. I grabbed Waltham's Watch City Brewing Company's new imperial stout, as well as a Clown Shoes Black IPA on cask.
On Monday, I was invited to the Harpoon Brewery for the bottling of Landbier, its brand-new entry in the 100 Barrel Series, a limited edition series of beers.
The beer was brewed with Joerg Pott and Peter Wienstroer of Pott's Brauerei in Germany, and they were both there to sample the Landbier, a style invented at the German brewery. It's a dark but light-tasting, easy-drinking lager.
Later, I headed to the Cambridge Common Restaurant for the New England Summer Beers "meet and greet." I got to meet a few good brewing people from such breweries as Otter Creek, Magic Hat, Wachusett and Peak Organic, while sampling the latest summer seasonal beers from these small breweries.
On Tuesday, American Craft in Brookline hosted a Lagunitas 'n Cheese night. Lagunitas is a wonderful California brewery and they brought some excellent beers, including the Czech PILS (recently named the best pilsner by the Beer Nut's blind tasting panel), the IPA, Wilco Tango Foxtrot and a Little Sumpin' Wild. They were paired with artisan cheeses. Simply wonderful, especially the porter cheese and the mustard cheddar.
Wednesday was a tough choice; there were several events I wanted to attend. I picked New England Brewers Night at Lord Hobos.
I think I made the perfect choice. A lot of beer types, brewers and geeks were in attendance. Lord Hobos did a smart thing by offering 5-ounce glasses so you could try more of the beers available.
It was great seeing people get a chance to try some hard-to-get or sometimes expensive beers.
Alagash from Maine, as well as High & Mighty, Cambridge Brewing Company and Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, all had beers on tap, but Smuttynose Brewing Company of New Hampshire stole the show.
Not only did they bring two new beers, the oak-aged Tripel (great) and the Rogue de Shire (amazing), they emptied their basement of vintage Big A IPA. They had kegs of Big A IPA from 2004 through 2007. It was interesting to taste how the beer changed from year to year.
Thursday's event was an easy one -- Duck-Rabbit Night at Bukowski's Tavern in Boston. Duck-Rabbit is a North Carolina brewery whose beers are not available throughout the year in Massachusetts. The brewery is known for excellent dark beers.
Overall, I'm glad I went and had a chance to drink Duck-Rabbit's Brown Ale and Milk Stout, but it was kind of a letdown. The beers were great, but when a bar advertises a brewery night, you kind of expect more than two options. However, I got a good parking spot -- which is rare in the area -- so that made up for it.
The American Craft Beer Fest on Saturday capped off the week. More than 400 beers from about 80 breweries were all available in one place. More than 4,000 people came to each of two sessions on Saturday (a few thousand attended the night before), and all got to enjoy beer from some of the best breweries in the country.
The lines for beer were long, but you expect that at festivals. The Brooklyn Brewery was a highlight with it's Dark Matter (barrel-aged brown ale) and Blast (double IPA).
The Alstrom brothers should be proud to have organized the first Boston Beer Week. Hopefully visitors to the city now see what Boston-area beer geeks already knew -- Boston is a great beer city.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, e-mail email@example.com or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut/ or follow the Beer Nut at his Twitter page at www.twitter.com/realbeernut.