On June 18, Mike and I ventured down to the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston for the American Craft Beer Festival. Sponsored by BeerAdvocate, this festival featured 86 brewers and over 400 beers, drawing about 5,000 people at each of the three sessions.
The World Trade Center was a great venue for such an event; the large, open space accommodated breweries on the periphery of the arena as well as in the center. There were bathrooms located throughout the arena (this is key) and a separate area for food.
As we entered the festival, we were immediately surprised by the long line at the Pretty Things booth. It seemed that their line was the longest of any brewery for the duration of the festival. Hailing from Cambridge, MA, Pretty Things is one of our new favorite craft breweries. The line didn’t stop us from patiently waiting to sample some of their beers and to get a chance to speak to Dan, the head brewer, and his wife. Saint Botolph’s Town is a lovely rustic brown ale, which can be found in many Boston beer bars. One of my favorites is Fluffy White Rabbits, a hoppy (get it?!) Tripel. Fluffy White Rabbits has slightly floral and citrusy undertones while maintaining a bright and effervescent mouth feel. If Pretty Things is distributed in your area, I would suggest picking up a bomber of any of their brews. You are in for a treat!
Continuing our travels around the festival, I must admit that I got a little star struck about halfway through the evening when we noticed the Moonshot booth. It only took us a few seconds to put it together that this was the “light beer with caffeine” from the documentary Beer Wars. Sure enough, behind the booth was Rhonda, one of the co-founders of Samuel Adams, who left to start on her own project. We spoke with her for a few minutes about her experience in the industry and the struggles she has endured to create a product she believes in. Towards the end of our conversation, she asked us where we were from. When we replied that we lived in Brighton, she handed us a Moonshot pamphlet and asked us to go to Blanchard’s (a local store that has an extensive inventory of craft beer) and push them to stock her product. Just as is portrayed in the film, Rhonda does most of her own publicizing by visiting beer stores and bars throughout the country. Although Moonshot was subpar, bland and slightly oxidized, I applaud her efforts and appreciate her passion for her product. It may not be the Boston Beer Company but she seems proud of her work and driven for success.
Over the course of the evening, we sampled many great beers but some stood out as being exceptional. One of these was the Cisco Dark Woods Ale from Nantucket. This beer was a blend of many barrel-aged beers, including stouts and porters. It had a rich, full flavor and was more complex than their flagship Whale’s Tale Pale Ale. Another memorable beer was Haverhill’s Berliner Weiße with woodruff. I had never had this style beer before, never mind had a beer where it was customary to put green syrup in it. Much to my surprise, this beer was absolutely delicious. It was crisp, refreshing and slightly sweet. Haverhill Brewery also makes a stout that we loved at the Return of the Extreme Beer Fest last year.
Overall, the American Craft Beer Festival was an excellent experience and provided us with the opportunity to sample many new and exciting beers. We look forward to attending this beer festival next year!