The most read, discussed and debated post on Hoppy Boston this month was my Thoughts on Beer Ratings and Beer Reviews. One minor clarification, since a few people have misunderstood. I don’t have a problem with people using Untappd to keep track of their beer preferences, I have an issue with people who use the aggregate scores as gospel for the quality of a beer and with the people who trash any beer that isn’t a whale.
The biggest story this month is clearly the merger of Boston Beer Company and Dogfish Head. Beervana has an excellent piece on the merger. This merger makes a ton of sense to me. Boston Beer has seen it’s beer volume (in the form of the Sam Adams brand) shrink, especially compared to its cider, tea, and seltzer brands, so it adds a highly recognizable beer label to the portfolio. Dogfish Head has to see the crunch put on regional breweries who are struggling to compete with the crafty beers owned by big beer on one end and the small local breweries on the other. Now the owners get a large sum of cash and the ability to pool resources with the biggest craft brand in the country. It will be interesting to see how the new Boston Beer Company handles its two big beer brands going forward.
One of my favorite articles of the month was Boston Magazine’s oral history of Cambridge Brewing Company, the Kendall Square establishment that celebrated 30 years this month. One of the most impressive things they highlight is the number of talented brewers who got their start at CBC.
The Hoppy Tourist makes an attempt to quantify the effect of hype on Untappd scores. One of the most interesting parts is the change over time, it looks like hype breweries are getting more score inflation now than they were just a couple years ago.
The Boston Globe has an article summarizing some of the issues that the Craft Beer Cellar business has faced recently. The co-owners of Craft Beer Cellar responded to the article.
Wormtown Brewery made a couple of big announcements. They are now going to contract brew beer for the Battle Road brand and they are opening a new taproom at Patriot Place at the site of the former Battle Road Hop Up. It will be interesting to see how this partnership works for both brands.
Mainebiz has an overview of the evolution of the Maine craft beer scene from the 1980s to today.
Dominic Cook from Beer Kulture has an article on why he became a Certified Cicerone.
Jim Vorel has a plea to breweries, asking them to offer half-pours as an option. I strongly agree with this, it allows you to try a few different beers without getting drunk, but you get a more complete impression of each beer than you would get from a flight.
Rob Vandenabeele has an article on Portico Brewing and their new hologram can labels, the first of their kind.
Conor Powers-Smith has a profile of Democracy Brewing and their unique business model.
Allagash Founder Rob Tod was named a James Beard Award winner for outstanding beer, wine, and spirits producer. This month the Allagash blog also tackled the question: “Is it OK for cold beer to get warm?” They do a great job clearing up a common misconception here.
Carla Jean Lauter has a profile of Lone Pine Brewing, who recently opened their new brewery in Gorham, ME. I’ve enjoyed many of the Lone Pine beers I’ve tried and it’s nice to see a variety of their offerings regularly available in Massachusetts.
Kristen Foster of Good Beer Hunting has an in-depth look at Tilted Barn Brewing in Exeter, RI, a place that is quickly becoming a destination for hop-heads.
A couple of additional beer garden announcements for the summer: White Lion is launching their seasonal beer garden in Springfield. Notch Brewing is teaming up with Woodsman’s of Essex to run a mobile biergarten this summer.
Brewery openings and closings: Lost Shoe Brewing and Coffee shop is now open in Marlborough and I’ve heard very good things about their initial offerings. Two Weeks Brewing and Leadfoot Brewing are both open in Western Massachusetts. John Harvard’s is closing their Harvard Square location. This is a sad one for me, it was definitely the first Massachusetts brewery I ever visited, I always enjoyed their food, and their beer program had taken a major step forward the last time I visited.
Hop Culture outlines a 48-hour beer-centric tour of Portland, Maine. Lots of quality stops listed here.
The latest Paste blind tasting features non-pilsner pale lagers. There are some readily available MA beers that I would have liked to see on this panel.
Gear Patrol has a listicle on the 25 beers you need to try before you die, with a few local entries included.
Bog Iron’s annual 0.0K “road race” is this Sunday. No running involved, just hanging out and drinking beer.
That is it for May, hoping to keep things rolling with more quality content in June!