Random Beer Thoughts: October 2020

This is going to be another relatively short beer thoughts/links column, it seems like many of the outlets I rely on for content are struggling with the pandemic, and many breweries are just trying to get by. Also, my time is stretched pretty thin right now, so I have less time to search online for these posts. As always, if you come across anything that you would like me to include in future posts please pass it along!

I wrote an article last week on how I evaluate new-to-me breweries, the missteps that can drive me away and the positive traits that can keep me coming back for more. I think this is an especially important topic right now, I am trying to focus my dollars on my favorite places, the places that I would miss the most if they went under.

Speaking of breweries I like to support, one that definitely qualifies is Redemption Rock Brewing in Worcester. In addition to brewing awesome beer across a wide variety of styles, Redemption Rock is now a certified benefit corporation. This is a pretty big deal, it takes a significant review and certification process to show that they run their business in a way that benefits all parties involved, not just the investors. Redemption Rock is the first certified B Corp in Worcester, the first brewery to achieve the status in Massachusetts, and only the third brewery with this designation in New England (along with Allagash and the Alchemist). Congratulations to Redemption Rock, keep up the awesome work!

The Great American Beer festival was held (virtually) this month, and a handful of local breweries took home awards. I always take these with a big grain of salt, you never know who enters in any category, but the award winning beers I’ve tried in the past have usually lived up to the billing. Here is a list of the New England beers that took home honors, and a profile of the Maine beers that were awarded.

Jack’s Abby is again supporting the Framingham-based Why Not Devin Foundation to end DIPG, donating a portion of sales from all House Lager sold in November and December. Not that you need another reason to drink Jack’s Abby House Lager, but it’s always great to support local charities, especially during these times.

There are actually multiple brewery openings to announce this month, which is kind of surprising considering everything that is going on, but it really shows you how long a process it is to get a place open. Penny Pinchers Brewing Co. is opening their taproom in Millbury. Is there a better combination than bowling and beer? The owners of Cape Ann Lanes love both, so they are opening the Laneside Pub and Brewery in the bowling alley. White Lion has opened their taproom in Springfield. Banded Brewing has opened a second location in Portland.

While the news on local brewery closings has been relatively quiet (which I am both surprised and thankful for), the same can’t be said about some well regarded Boston area bars. Stoddard’s Fine Food and Ale has closed do to the pandemic, this was actually the first place I tried a beer from Trillium. The Kinsale and the Asgard have also both shut down, at least for now (update: they just announced on social media that both bars would reopen in the spring). I work in biotech and we used to joke that the best way to find out what was going on in the industry was to hang out at the Asgard during happy hour, but it’s not surprising they would struggle with most of those people working from home. Late breaking news: it looks like John Harvard’s in Framingham is closed for good.

Hop Culture has the story behind the Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream contest. I’ve always loved this concept, the idea that a homebrewer can turn their recipe into something that is brewed and distributed by one of the biggest craft breweries in the country is so cool.

Vine Pair has a post on how breweries of all sizes can embrace sustainability, and benefit in the process.

Kate Bernot has an article on ice beer, the trendy style from the 90’s that originated in Canada and quickly lost steam. My memories of ice beer are mostly the nights in college when we bought Natty Ice instead of Natty Light kegs for a party, and usually spent the next day cleaning up vomit.

That is all for October, thanks again for supporting Hoppy Boston and following/liking/sharing posts on social media!

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