Beer. Local Beer. Drinking In A Courthouse. Free. Well if that doesn't sum up a perfect event for me I don't know what is. ;)
On a whim I retweeted Eventbrite Boston's tweet about winning a free pair of tickets (value $85) to a local brewfest...
...and I won! Woo!
I invited my dad to join me and he happily accepted. I don't think he could pass up spending a night out with me ... or it was the free beer. Either way he was excited.
We scored a free ride from my mom - can we pretend it was a stretch limo? Does that sound better?
We arrived at the Moakley Courthouse, which I hadn't actually been inside before, just after 6:30 (fashionably late) and headed through security. Nothing like going through some medal detectors to set the tone for the night. :P
We received a pamphlet, a golf pencil and a plastic cup at the entrance. The pamphlet listed all of the breweries, distilleries, cider/meads, artisan beverages and local foods that would be at the Fest.
I am not a huge distillery, cider or mead fan so I knew I would be sticking with just the breweries, which was okay with 16 breweries in attendance. I would be a-ok! :) My goal was to have at least one sample from each brewery.
Thankfully I used my Untappd app and the pamphlet to record which beers I tried and whether we liked them or not. I take my beer tasting seriously. ;)
We walked into the main area of the Courthouse/event and it was packed. It was a great crowd in attendance.
Then the big decision had to be made: where to start?????
We headed to the Blue Hills Brewery (Canton, MA) table and sampled the OktoBrau - their Oktoberfest brew.
As we sipped the OktoBrau we headed over to score some of the American Flatbread pizza. I could smell the Tomato Sauce & Three Cheese Pizza and I needed some ASAP. Thankfully they had one coming out of the oven right as we walked over. Thanks perfect timing.
This natural frozen pizza was pretty tasty and I will definitely be looking for it in my grocery store.
As I was enjoying my pizza, I saw some people sporting pretzel necklaces which I thought was genius and I had to have one.
Yelp Boston was giving away the necklaces to anyone that checked into the event on Yelp. So I obviously went ahead and checked in - I was going to do it anyway.
This was a HUGE help and will now be bringing my own pretzel necklace to any future Fests I attend.
Since each brewery brought 2-4 different brews there were plenty of options to choose from, which was great.
Here are some of the other beers I tried:
*Battle Road Brewing Company - 1775 Tavern Ale (Pale Ale) - Ipswich, MA
*Baxter Brewing Co. - Stowaway IPA (West Coast Style India Pale Ale) - Lewiston, ME ... It got an extra :) in my rating system - a high tech system of emoticons.
*Clown Shoes Beer - Genghis Pecan (Porter) - Ipswich, ME ... I am starting to like Porters more and more & the pecan gave it a nice kick.
*Down The Road Brewery - Patchwork Kilt (80 Schilling Scottish Ale) and Protean Torpedo (American Pale Ale) - Newton, MA ... I have never had a Scottish Ale before, but it was rich and deep and I will definitely be trying it again. Plus the two guys working the booth were a riot!
*Harpoon Brewery - Harpoon IPA (Indian Pale Ale) and Winter Warmer (Spiced Ale) - Boston, MA ... Harpoon's IPA is one of my staple IPAs so that was a given to have, but I learned I am not a Spiced Ale type beer drinker. I did not like the spice flavor at all.
*Mayflower Brewing Company - Mayflower Porter (Porter) - Plymouth, MA ... Delicious. I wish I had had time to try their Oatmeal Stout.
*Narragansett Brewing Company - Narragansett Lager (American Style Lager) - Providence, RI ... Light and fresh taste that would be good on a summer afternoon.
*Peak Organic Brewing Company - Winter Session (Winter Wheat Ale) and Pale Ale (American Pale Ale) - Portland, ME ... The Winter Session will be added in to my winter rotation.
*Portico Brewing - Sett Seven (Scottish Ale) - Cambridge, MA ... As I said earlier this was my first sampling of a scottish ale and I enjoyed this one as well. It would be perfect with some nice BBQ. Mmmmm!
*Rapscallion - Porter (Porter) - Sturbridge, MA ... I had no idea Sturbridge had a brewery, but now I can't wait to head out that way (Western Mass) and check out their brewery tour.
*Samuel Adams - Black Lager (Lager) - Boston, MA ... I've never met a Sam Adams brew I didn't like and Black Lager wasn't any different.
We even scored that little Sam Adams tasting glass on the way out! :)
*Smuttynose Brewing Co. - Finestkind IPA (Dry-hopped India Pale Ale) and Old Brown Dog (Brown Ale) - Portsmouth, NH ... I had a great time chatting with the Smuttynose guys about their yearly marathon/half marathon. I would take the drive to NH to run a half or full marathon to enjoy their IPA at the end.
*Watch City Brewing Company - Black Walnut Nut Brown Ale (Ale) - Waltham, MA ... For me, the walnut overpowered the beer and I am not a walnut fan. If I was a walnut eater, it would've been a different experience for sure.
All of the local brewers were a joy to talk to and answered any questions you had. Many offered mailing lists and have tasting rooms on site at their breweries. I am seeing a road trip in my future.
As we made our rounds through the different brewers, we made sure to stop a the local food booths as well. There were actually two Somerville shops there.
*Q's Nuts - 349 Highland Ave - We tried the Sweet and Sassy Almonds and the Rosemary Sea Salted Almonds ... Ohhh they were ah-may-zing!
*Taza Chocolate - 561 Windsor St - I've actually met the founder Alex Whitmore before and he was such a joy to talk to. Taza Chocolate crafts stone ground chocolate from bean to bar and uses many Mexican chocolate traditions. It is a unique taste that you don't find anywhere else in the States (in my opinion).
Overall, it was an amazing event that I was so happy we were able to attend. I tried so many beers that I hadn't heard of before, but will definitely have again.
Make sure you...
Have you attended a beer fest before? Do you love to drink local?