Fall Beer Fest, by the Boston Event Guide, Boston MA

We were lucky to go to Boston Event Guide’s Fall Beer Fest in November. They had three sessions; we went to the 12:00-2:30pm session.
We also had two pairs of tickets to give out to our readers- thank you to everyone that entered!
We hope that those of you that went had a great time!

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The Boston Event Guide prides themselves for being the leading resource for the best events in Boston. It was started in 1995 by Jeff Popkin to connect young professionals with events occuring across the city. He had been hearing about events AFTER they happened, instead of knowing first hand that they were happening. The Boston Event Guide also sends out a weekly newsletter to it’s members (membership is FREE) about what’s going on, what social events and netowkring events are approaching, and any great deals.

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The Fall Beer Fest was held at Cyclorama. The building was easy to find, however parking was not. Next time, we will definitely take the T in (the Boston area train).

When we arrived, we had our IDs checked outside, and then proceeded in.
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After checking in, we each took a cup to use for the day, and were given a map of where we could find the beer.

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map for the afternoon

 

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Cyclorama’s fun ceiling

Some of the many breweries present, and the beer we enjoyed…

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Foolproof Brewing Company
Foolproof Brewing Company opened 2 years ago in Pawtucket, RhodeIsland.
Farmhouse Ale Saison was very good
Backyahd IPA was pretty standard but tasty
Raincloud was a robust porter, good, chocolate and coffee notes
We recently added Rhode Island to our travels, so we will be visiting Foolproof sometime in the future
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Finch’s Beer Company
Finch’s is located in Chicago, Illinois. They are beginning to expand into the Massachusetts and New England market.
We had the Hardcore Chimera (double IPA) and Cut Throat (Pale Ale). Both these beers were really good.
Keep your eye out for these beers, and others by Finch’s Beer Company.

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Strange Brew
Strange Brew is currently a beer and wine home brew supply store, that also offers classes. Rumor has it, they should be opening as a brewery sometime soon…
They had a lot of interesting beer flavors:
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Granny Strange was a sour and/or tart cider. Good but very different flavor.

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Sour Power, as they label it, is an extremely sour ale. A very interesting, very sour and tasty ale.

 

Downeast Cider
Very good traditional cider taste- as Megan says “it’s like getting a jug of cider, but it is alcoholic.”
We have had many family mebers and friends try this cider- and no one has disliked it. In fact, it it now the favorite of many!
We just visited here, look for our post coming soon.

 

 

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Spiked Seltzer
This was a different take on beer. They brew it like a lager, but it drinks like flavored seltzer, despite being 6% alcohol! Spiked Seltzer is all natural and has low sugar, low carbs and is gluten free. They had lime, orange, and grapefruit flavors available to try.

All the flavors were pretty good, grapefruit was subtle and the orange tasted like orange soda. Megan can’t wait until they are all over New England, so she can pick up a six pack! Want to see if they are available near you? Check here

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Redhook and Kona
They were both there. We tried the Winter Hook because we’ve had their other beers plenty of times. The Winter Hook is a super hoppy ale with dark malts.

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Goose Island
We tried their IPA and Festivity Ale.
There’s no doubt they are a craft beer maker, but now they are owned by Inbev, owner of Anheuser-Busch. They like it, they can get what they need when they need it, they have the support of a company that has some pull.

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Blue Point Brewing Company
Our options were their toasted lager (which is their flagship beer), and a pumpkin ale, which was good- not overly spiced so you could taste the pumpkin

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Off Shore Ale Company
One of the many breweries in Massachusetts that we haven’t been able to visit yet- this one is on Martha’s Vineyard.
They had their Beach Road Nut Brown Ale and Hop Goddess.

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Uinta

All of the beers we tried here were good. They had their Black Lager, Yard Sale, Double IPA, and Session IPA. Our only fault with them? We would have to go to Salt Lake City to visit!
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Cape Ann Brewing Company
They brought a fair selection. We both liked the Fisherman’s Brew, but the Pilsner we did not like that much.
If you are interested in visiting Cape Ann Brewery in Gloucester, check out our post about our visit there.

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Ballantine
They just relaunched the brewery after being closed for 10 years. They have been around for a long time, in the 40’s and 50’s the were sponsoring the Yankee’s, they were the 4th largest brewery back then. Now the only beer they make is the Ballantine IPA which was a pretty good, fairly standard IPA.

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They were giving out free waters, which was great- always a good idea to hydrate during and after drinking! This water has a pH level of 9.5, to help keep you hydrated

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We thought the beer fest was good, and different in a good way. The event space fit it well- and allowed for you to walk around without bumping into others. We also liked that we had the opportunity to speak with the brewery representatives at many of the tables. Many tastings/festivals you want to ask questions, but really aren’t allowed to because the focus is to push everyone through the line. Here, the focus was fun and education when wanted.

Interested in going to one of these events, or something else by the Boston Event Guide? Be sure to sign up for their newsletter list to stay updated!

Ready to go drinking? Their Spring Craft Beer Fest 2015 is right around the corner- April 12th.
Tickets are $69. but you can buy them for $19 through December 31st! It looks like an event you can’t miss!

While at the beer fest, we ran into a few co-workers of Megan. They had taken a bus to the event, which was such a great idea!
Group photo, post beer fest!

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Visit #75 – Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Brewing Company was founded in 1994. The story started before that, though. In 1987 siblings, Peter & Janet Egelston, along with partners, started the Northampton Brewery in Northhampton, MA, which is now the oldest brewpub in New England. In 1991 they started the Portsmouth Brewery, New Hampshire’s first brewpub. In 1992 Peter and Janet bought out the other partners. In 1993 Peter attended the bankruptcy auction of the Frank Jones Brewing Company and bought the brewery that would become Smuttynose. In 2000 Peter & Janet Egelston bought each other out of their partnership, splitting the brewery ownership. Janet remains owner of the Northampton Brewery; Peter and his partner, Joanne Francis, own Smuttynose and the Portsmouth Brewery. Smuttynose Brewing Company was located in Portsmouth, NH up until this year, when they moved to their new location in North Hampton, NH.

 

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Eric explaining the brewing process

 

They have a wet grist mill, not dry as many breweries are.

 

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Plenty of beer here

 

They also use whole malts instead of split malts.

 

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Their bottling line, which you can kind of see in this picture, can do about 300 bottles a minute. They were going a little slower when we were there because they were doing mixed 12 packs, which need to be separated and boxed by hand.

 

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Fermentation tanks

This is certainly one of the biggest breweries we have been to. Look at all those tanks.

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They made a lot of decisions to be a green facility.

 

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Plenty of natural light. They also have motion sensor LED lights, which are much more energy efficient than fluorescents. They actually did such a good job in making green decisions that they are a LEED Certified Gold facility.

 

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A rain garden outside that helps with absorbing water into the ground and avoiding the sewer system.

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Showing off our safety glasses on the tour

 

At the end of the tour you can sample 4 beers. We tried to split up our tastings between us so we could try beers we haven’t had before.

 

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Vunderbar Pilsner – 4.9%
One of the better pilsners we have had. Light but good flavor.

 

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Farmhouse Ale – 7.2%
We both really liked this. Fruity with a slight earthy taste. Unfortunately they didn’t have any in bottles or we would have bought some.

 

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Just hanging out

 

Big A IPA – 9.5%
Strong IPA, not overpowering considering it is 9.5%. Good flavor, has a nice- little-something-extra taste to it.

 

Old Brown Dog – 6.7%
Described as having a ‘rich, malty flavor’.  It is a little more flavorful than some brown ales.

 

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Smuttlander – 9.8%
Double bock, smoother than expected, hints of toffee and molasses.

 

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Robust Porter – 6.6%
Flavorful, but light bodied to us. Good coffee flavor, hints of chocolate aftertaste. This is their most award winning beer.

 

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The table Mark is leaning on is in the tasting area for people to gather around. They are made from recycled shipping containers from their new brewing equipment and double as storage. Staying green.

 

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Part of what they are able to do with the new facility is produce more beer, but also different lines of beer. They started in 2007 with a short batch series which has become the Smuttlabs series. They say that:

our brewing staff has many ideas that can’t be done on a large scale; this is where Smuttlabs comes into play. From barrel-aging and beer souring to culinary collaborations and special projects that just don’t fit anywhere else, if a project is out of the ordinary, unique or time consuming, you can bet it’ll bear the Smuttlabs name.

 

We bought 2 different types of the Smuttlabs to try at home.

 

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Mark deciding what Smuttlabs beers to buy

 

Herbaceous – 2014 wet hopped ipa – 6.75%
Darker in color than a typical IPA. A hoppy flavor but a little smoother than a Big A or Finestkind.

 

Shebang – 2014 Triple IPA – 10.5%
Definitely a heavy beer, dark color, heavy malty flavor. Tasty but you have to be in the mood for a big beer.

 

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Big Beers and Smuttlabs

 

 

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Plenty of swag and beers in the gift shop.

 

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They have lots of plans for the land surrounding the brewery. The farmhouse that was on the property is currently being renovated to be a farm to table restaurant.

 

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They have plans to  renovate the old barn that was on the property to be a function hall.

 

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Do you recognize this old trailer? Maybe from the Finestkind IPA logo?

 

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They have plans to turn this into an outdoor beer garden during the nice weather, serving beer from the trailer with seating outside. This way you can actually come and hang out at the brewery and have a few beers.

TOUR THE BREWERY!

Tours and free samples daily. Last tour leaves at the posted time:

M-W Tastings: noon – 4pm
M-W Retail: noon – 7pm
Thursday: noon – 5:30pm
Friday: noon – 6:30pm
Saturday: 11am – 6:30pm
Sunday: 11am – 3pm

NO RESERVATIONS NEEDED