Category Archives: Random Beer Thoughts

Random Beer Thoughts: March 2018

This month has been a bit crazy personally due to the birth of my second child, so my monthly list of links and random thoughts is probably a little more haphazard and missing some important pieces, so I apologize in advance. As always, I welcome recommendations of articles to feature here, feel free to forward them along!

Melcher Day 1

In case you missed it: I did a “scientific” study on the shelf life of New England Style IPAs (spoiler, it’s very limited). I clearly wasn’t the only person to have this idea. Over a similar timeframe Jeff Alworth of Beervana tracked the changes of Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing over 90 days. The Sierra Nevada beer is a totally different animal from a Trillium IPA, and it is clear from the results.

There are a ton of new breweries opening in Massachusetts this year, and the Mass Brew Brothers have a run down. It is really hard to keep track of the changing beer scene in the state, and their website is always an amazing resource if you are looking for a new place to try.

Tree House Tornado

The Brewer’s Guild has officially recognized hazy/juicy IPA as it’s own style, helping to legitimize the popular but controversial beer sub-style. I wish they had recognized the name as New England style IPA, but that is a minor quibble. Bryan Roth has an informative article on why this news is important.

Norm “The Beer Nut” Miller has a recap of the Freshman Brewers event, where the newest breweries in the state get together to share their products with local beer fans. This is definitely an event I need to attend in the near future.

Smuttynose Single Digit Dubbel

After the initial auction attempt stalled out, a bank managed to find a deal to sell Smuttynose. It looks like the new owners are committed to keeping the core brand and updating the business to compete in the current market. It will be really interesting to see how this works out, I know I will keep close tabs on the situation.

Greater Good has opened their new brewery and taproom in Worcester. Looks like more big and boozy beers to come from the All-Imperial brewery.

I am not really into beer trading, but I know many of my readers are. Beer Shippers wants to make it easier to send beer in the mail, with special packages designed to safely ship beer cans.

Allagash Saison

Allagash has announced the lineup for this years saison day celebration. April is the perfect time to hold events that honor this delicious style.

Good Beer Hunting’s Fervent Few series continues with a look at the future of distribution and the traditional three tier model.

Two Week Notice Brewery was open very briefly last summer before shutting down due to a disagreement between the owners on the direction of the brewery. It looks like a settlement has been agreed upon and the brewery will re-open this summer.

Allagash is now selling Curieux, their stellar bourbon-barrel aged tripel, in 4 packs of 12 oz bottles. I love Curieux, but a 750 mL bottle of a beer this boozy is a pretty big commitment, so I will definitely drink more of the beer now that a small bottle is an option. I would love to see more breweries make this change with their big beers.

The ownership group behind Armsby Abbey, widely considered one of the best beer bars in the state, are opening a new place in Hudson. As a resident of the MetroWest I could not be more excited about this development.

Local craft-centric distributor Craft Collective is will host a pop-up beer barn every Sunday from May-October at the SoWa Power Station. They have a strong line-up of breweries, so I imagine this will be a popular hangout.

Down the Road Springheel jack

Down The Road is expanding their lineup of beers and expanding distribution into Rhode Island.

The Notch blog has the story behind their new session Irish Stout. I love low ABV stouts, but I doubt I’ll get a chance to try this batch, hopefully they brew will the beer again.

Weymouth is becoming a craft beer hotspot, with two new breweries opening soon.

In another flagrant attempt at clickbait, Thrillist names the 33 hottest IPAs in the US. Needless to say I clicked, and then I am sharing, so it worked. Lots of local representation on the list for what it’s worth.

That’s it for March, looking forward to another fun month ahead. Cheers!

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Random Beer Thoughts: February 2018

If you read one thing from this links article it should be Jeff Alworth’s four part series on sexism in the beer industry. Part 1 is an introduction, part 2 is about the experiences of women in the industry, part 3 is a female brewers perspective, and part 4 is what you can do to help. I think this series should be required reading for every person in the industry.

If you read TWO things from the links article the second one should be my new post for The Full Pint; Making Spectacular Beer isn’t Enough: Ways for a Brewery to Stand Out in a Saturated Market. Feel free to chime in and let me know the best things (other than the beer) that make you come back to your favorite breweries over and over again.

The Mass Brew Brothers did a summary of the “So You Want To Start A Craft Brewery?” articles, using information acquired from each article in the whole series. It was really fun being a part of this series and seeing how each writer approached their article.

Mystic VoltageMystic Brewery has announced that they are building a new brewery in Malden, which will allow for expanded production and overcoming some of the issues with their current location in Chelsea. Mystic is doing some amazing things, balancing their expertise in Belgian styles with creative and delicious hop-forward beers.

The Massachusetts Brewers Guild is working on a number of pieces of legislation that will help local breweries. There have been some issues getting these bills moving, especially the bills to reform franchise laws. All Massachusetts beer fans should take a few minutes to read up on these bills and then contact your state reps to express support for your local breweries.

Anonymous Brewing is starting a Kickstarter Campaign to help get the brewery off the ground. To learn more about the prospective brewery you should check out this article by the Mass Brew Bros.

Boston.com does a virtual brewery crawl through the state of Rhode Island. They are making a ton of amazing beer in the smallest state in the union.

Lamplighter Birds of a FeatherLamplighter has expanded their taproom, opening up a second area with seating. I’ve usually stopped by on weekday afternoons to grab beer to go (I work nearby), but I’ve heard the place gets packed early on evenings and weekends, so this should help.

The good news is that Dann and Martha Paquette, the founders or Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, are opening a new brewery. The bad news is that the new brewery is in Sheffield, England. Pretty Things was one of my favorite breweries, I wish they were re-opening something locally but I’m glad they are making beer again and I hope some of it makes the trip across the pond.

Notch Zwickel BeerJosh Bernstein has an article in the New York Times on the rise in popularity of Kellerbier and Zwickelbier, unfiltered young lager styles. A number of local breweries are featured in the piece. Plus the beers are delicious.

After over 200 columns Dave Patterson, author of the stellar Beer Muse column in the Portland Press Herald is signing off to publish a novel. His articles have always provided an informative look at the Maine beer scene. Fortunately they hired another great beer writer to take over the column, Carla Jean Lautner. Her first column profiles Industrial Way, where you can get a variety of amazing beers from a number of different breweries all in one place.

The Full Pint has a rundown of the reasons that some brewers and drinkers hate the NEIPA craze. I think it is mostly a backlash against something that is new, different and extremely popular (along with some jealousy at the buzz these beers have created).

Trillium named their new beer Storrowed after the phenomenon of trucks getting stuck under the low bridges on Storrow Drive. One of my favorite recent beer names.

Andy Crouch writes an ode to session beer, and at the same time bemoans the lack of quality session beers in the US market. In Massachusetts we are a little spoiled in this regard due to breweries like Notch that focus on quality, low ABV offerings.

Paste Magazine continues their standout series of blind tastings with an overview of the porter style, including a few local favorites.

Night Shift The 87The uncertainty on the future of Smuttynose also effected Night Shift, who was using the New Hampshire brewery for some of their overflow production. Fortunately Night Shift now has an agreement to produce beer at the Isle Brewers Guild in Pawtucket, so we won’t see shortages of Santilli and Morph any time soon.

Widowmaker Brewing has signed on with Night Shift Distribution, so we should start to see their beers appear on draft lines in metro Boston and other parts on Massachusetts.

Wachusett has kicked off a series of collaboration beers dubbed the “1794 series”. The first release is a collaboration with Irish brewmaster Fergal Murray, a hoppy New England stout named The Fergal Project.

Good Beer Hunting has an article on breweries skirting trademark laws by releasing one-off beers that are clearly a violation but are gone before legal action can be taken. As much as I love seeing beers named with cool pop-culture references, this practice is pretty shady.

Bon Appetite has an overview on the 10 types of IPA, with a good explanation of the different sub-styles and terminology. You know that beer is fully into the national consciousness when publications like Bon Appetite are writing beer articles.

That is it for this month, as always feel free to pass along anything that you feel should be included in the article. Cheers!

Random Beer Thoughts: January 2018

ICYMI: I wrote an article on The Full Pint on Why New England Style IPA Will Continue to Dominate in 2018.

Pitkin Point the general

The Mass Brew Brothers organized a series of articles highlighting Massachusetts breweries that are preparing to open in 2018. Hoppy Boston led the series with a profile of Pitkin Point, a contract brewery based in Carlisle. The Mass Brew Brothers had an article on Vitamin Sea, who have already received acclaim for their beer and collaborated with a number of local breweries. The Boston Beer Hunter spoke to the founders of SpaceLab Brewing, seasoned homebrewers who are looking for space on the North Shore. Bearded and Brewed previewed Troy City Brewery, opening soon in Fall River. The Mass Brew Brothers also chatted with the founders of Anonymous Brewing Company, who didn’t want to reveal their real names yet! Finally, Edson from GotHops interviewed the founders of Leadfoot Brewing, opening soon in Chicopee.

Probably the most controversial and widely discussed piece this month was Bryan Roth’s article on the beer industry’s issues with diversity. While there were some valid criticisms of the article, it is a really important topic and a place where the industry has a lot of work to do. Good Beer Hunting followed it up with a great piece on diversity by former marine and current brewery employee CJ Golobish. They also responded to some of the criticism with an explanation of their business model, and a good overview of some of the challenges facing media companies as everything goes digital.

Smuttynose Single Digit Dubbel

One of the biggest stories of the month has been the news that Smuttynose Brewing Company is going up for auction due to some financial issues. It sounds like they made big plans for expansion and then growth slowed due to increased competition. Unfortunately I think we’ll see more of these stories in the coming months.

With that in mind, Boston Magazine has an article asking an important question, do we have a local beer bubble and if so is it about to burst? This is an important question, we have seen years of meteoric growth, both in number of breweries and total volume, and at some point it needs to slow, which will probably lead to some places closing down. Hard to know when it will happen. One caveat, people have been predicting that the bubble will burst for a while now. Here is an article the Mass Brew Brothers wrote on the subject from two years ago. Food and Wine takes a slightly different approach, showing how mid-sized breweries are struggling due to increased competition from big beer and the growing number of small local options.

Springdale Desert Solitaire

January saw a few more “Best of 2017” lists or articles looking forward to 2018. Norm “The Real Beer Nut” Miller handed out his annual Golden Nutties awards, with many going to underappreciated local brewers. Local beer reviewer Threw Red Butter has his 10 favorite beers of 2017 along with a few that disappointed. RateBeer handed out their annual awards, which are always a bit skewed towards the usual suspects (inevitable with anything that is crowd-sourced). Eater Boston has a couple posts looking towards 2018, with breweries to watch and beer trends for 2018.

Bryan Roth examined a number of “best beers of the year” lists and analyzed the trends. No surprise that IPAs are king and many writers tend to pick rare/one-off beers for their lists.

Jack from Jack’s Abby has a series of articles on their new Kellerbier series of unfiltered lagers.

Eater Boston has a profile on the new Hopster’s location in the seaport.

The Stowe Beer blog has a profile of Rock Art Brewing, celebrating 20 years in business!

The Mass Brew Brothers have some information on Blue Ox Brewing, a contract brewery focusing on local music venues.

The BossHop All-IPA homebrew competition announced their winners, which includes beers from a few breweries-in-planning.

Chris from Notch has re-started his blog on their website and it is always worth reading, that guy has an encyclopedic knowledge of beer. His recent entry is on Tenner, a triple-decocted pilsner.

Marlborough put out the word that they were interested in a brewery as part of their downtown revitalization, now it looks like they are getting two when Lost Shoe brewery and coffee roasters opens.

Baxter Hayride

Baxter Brewing is doing a major expansion of it’s taproom in Lewiston, Maine.

Paste Magazine continues their stellar blind tasting series with a look at barleywine. A few local options do very well again.

This years Boston Globe travel show features a craft beer pavilion, with a pretty impressive lineup of breweries.

For the beer geeks who like to get in a work-out before enjoying some beverages: INFINITUM Squash in Sudbury is holding an open house on February 10th featuring beer from Jack’s Abby!

Random Beer Thoughts: December 2017

Late December is always a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead. It has been a crazy year for local beer, and 2018 looks set up to be another one. Fortunately we have the Mass Brew Brothers around to keep track of the rapidly changing landscape of local beer. Here is their summary of the year in Massachusetts beer, and a complete list of every brewery that opened in the state this year. They also have some regional articles focused on the beer scenes in Metro Boston and Northeast MA. We had 39 breweries open and only two close in Massachusetts this year, it’s hard to imagine that numbers like that will be sustainable. I think a huge number of breweries will open in 2018 too (Boston Business Journal says the number could be as high as 50), but a large number will probably start to close, including a few that will catch people completely off guard. I’m not hoping for this, I would never wish for a business to fail, but I can’t imagine that this rate of growth is sustainable.

The Brewers Association also has a year in review piece with a more national perspective.

Idle Hands Six Seam

One of my favorite articles of the month is Bryan Roth’s treatise on New England Style IPAs. One of the best parts of the article is the way Bryan pokes holes in the arguments many cynical brewers and beer writers make when they are trying to convince anyone that will listen that NEIPA is just a flash in the pan fad.

Vine Pair interviewed a number of people in the beer industry to get their predictions on beer trends in 2018. One that I really hope comes true is that people realize their time is important and there is no reason to wait in line for whalez when so many amazing beers are readily available.

The most creative article of the month has to go to Dave Patterson, who reviews the year in Maine beer in the form of a poem.

Sunset_Grill_Color_Logo-jpg

One of the biggest local stories this month was the news that legendary Allston beer bar Sunset Grill and Tap is closed for good. Norm “The Beer Nut” Miller has a well written post mortem. It is hard to overstate how important this bar was to many local beer geeks, for a long time there were so few places in Boston with extensive beer programs, and Sunset led to the discovery of many different beers. The place definitely had issues, it was loud, usually full of college kids trying to drink DIPAs like they were Natty Light, there were issues with the draft lines, and it is really hard to have consistently fresh beer when they stocked so many options. As more local beer-centric bars opened these issues became much more evident. I’ll still remember Sunset fondly as a place that introduced me to many beers that were important parts of my journey into beer geekdom.

As the year ends you always get a bunch of “best of the year” lists. I don’t do one because I summarize the best beers I reviewed every 3 months, you can find these lists HERE. If you are interested in the opinions of others I’ve gathered a few best beer lists, including articles from Hop Culture and Draft Magazine and the best breweries list from Paste (based on results of their blind tastings this year).

Eater Boston also hands out some end of the year awards, including best taproom to a rising star of the metro Boston beer scene.

BBC Coffeehouse Porter

I participated in another blind tasting this month, evaluating 10 local porters with a panel of local beer enthusiasts. There are a ton of great local porters, from classics like Berkshire Coffee House to innovative beers like Bog Iron One Down. The two beers I wish had been included in the tasting were Night Shift Awake and Mayflower Porter, two of my favorites and I would like to see how they stacked up in a blind panel.

Springdale Brewing is going to start distribution in 2018. This is nice to see, I think their IPAs and sours can go toe-to-toe with anything being brewed in the state, and their beers are about to be much more readily available.

Trillium has opened their winter beer garden in Roslindale, and here is a first look from Boston Magazine. These beer gardens are really a brilliant idea, and appear to be a huge success.

Worcester Business Journal has a summary on how Tree House created a cult-like following. Tree House makes some amazing beer, but the craziness that surrounds it also turns many people off.

mbc-beer-v

Good Beer Hunting has an interview with Dan Kleban of Maine Beer Company. The interview touches a number of topics, from independence to sustainability to their charity work and the direction of the industry. It would have been nice to see a question about their packaging, I would love to see them move away from the 500 mL bottles.

Boston Voyager has a profile of Zelus beer, a local brewery marketing their product towards active beer drinkers. SommBeer also has an article on the “science” behind Zelus. There is a lot of talk about brewing salts here but not much of an explanation as to why they are important for an “active lifestyle” beer.

Wachusett has opened their new taproom in Westminster. I need to check this out soon. My wife and I got married in nearby Gardner and had a number of Wachusett beers on tap at our wedding, so I will always have a special connection to that brewery.

Sam Adams is considering another taproom in Downtown Boston. I think this is a brilliant idea, at the very least it would immediately become a hot stop for tourists.

Slumbrew Yankee Swap 2015

The new Slumbrew American Fresh Brewpub is open in Assembly Row. I’ve heard very good things about the space, the food and the beer.

Altruist Brewing is open is Sturbridge, with a tasting room pouring a variety of ales.

I am excited for Amory’s Tomb to open in Maynard, another brewery that will be very close to where I live.

Bissell Brothers is opening a second location, and it’s going to be way up north.

Thrillist ranks every state in the US based on their beer. My god, this article is a brilliantly devious piece of click-bait, and I not only clicked on it I linked to it. What can you do.

That is it for December and for 2017, thank you all for reading and your continued support of Hoppy Boston. I am having a blast writing the blog and communicating with other local beer fans, and I hope you’re all still enjoying the content. Look for some new stuff going forward in 2018!

Random Beer Thoughts: November 2017

Clown Shoes Mango

The biggest local story this month was probably Harpoon buying out Clown Shoes. Here is the press release from Harpoon and from Clown Shoes. I think it is a good move for both breweries. Harpoon gets some added diversity to their lineup from a recognizable brand, Clown Shoes gets a physical brewery (they were contract brewed before) and the capacity/marketing/distribution advantages that go along with lager breweries. Beervana covers the acquisition and some of the issues that the Clown Shoes brand has faced in the past.

Garrett Oliver, the legendary brewmaster from Brooklyn Brewery, caused a stir when he labeled NEIPA as a fad based on Instagram culture. Good Beer Hunting has a thorough retort to this characterization. I really don’t understand the hatred for this sub-style amongst a relatively small but very outspoken circle of brewers, beer geeks and beer writers. Are there crappy NEIPAs? Sure, there are crappy versions of every beer style. Are a few breweries that make this style completely overhyped? Yes, but nobody is forced to stand in line for beer, you can enjoy an array of delicious NEIPAs without standing in a single line. If you don’t like a beer style then don’t drink it, no need to spend time and energy trashing a style that many people clearly love. Cloudwater Brewing has a blog post that does a great job expressing this point.

It looks like 2017 is setting another record for Massachusetts brewery openings, with very few closings to report. I don’t think there is a bubble in the traditional sense of the term, but I think we’ll start to see a slow down in openings and more places closing over the next few years.

Hop Culture has a very cool profile on the Mass Brew Brothers. These guys are doing an amazing job raising awareness about the great beer being brewed in the state, especially at breweries beyond the small handful that get tons of hype.

night-shift-bennington

Night Shift has maxed out their space, so they are contract brewing some of their beers at Smuttynose in New Hampshire. They have really found a nice balance brewing inventive and delicious beers that are still readily available.

Sam Adams has finally opened a taproom in Boston. I haven’t been but I’ve heard good things. I think this is a key step for them to re-connect with some of the drinkers who have lost interest in the Sam Adams brand over the years.

Trillium Melcher St

After their incredibly successful summer beer garden in Boston, Trillium is opening a winter beer garden in Roslindale.

I’ve mentioned many times that I hate waiting in line for beers, the actually time sink is one part but a bigger issue is the culture that follows these limited beer releases. I buy beer that I enjoy drinking, not beer that I want to brag about on social media or trade (or sell for a profit) online. Issues with the people waiting in these lines have led Monkish Brewing to issue a set of rules for their beer releases. Just reading these rules makes me want to avoid that brewery at all costs.

Allagash Coolship Red

Allagash has a blog post on the process behind their Coolship beers. Beers like this, which take a special level of expertise to really pull off, set Allagash apart.

Kate Bernot has an interesting article on Brett lagers, which sounds like a contradiction, but is actually a great way to showcase the expressive flavors from the funky yeast.

medusa-black-ale-project

Brew Studs has an in depth article on the black ale project, a rotating series of beer releases that support charities involved with veterans issues. This is a great cause and I’ve tasted a number of delicious dark beers brewed as part of the project.

Medium has an interesting idea on ways to make Untappd more social and less about people just plugging beers into the app to win badges. I don’t really use the app, but most of my friends who do just use it as a way to keep track of which beers they enjoyed (or disliked).

Maine has seen an uptick in the number of female brewers. There is still a long way to go, but the addition of more women into important roles in breweries should help fight some issues with sexism that seem to crop up periodically.

Neil Witte has an interesting perspective on the importance of quality control after beer leaves the brewery. It is really important for breweries to work with their distributors to insure that beer on draft and in stores meets the highest standards. There is way too much expired beer on shelves and on draft in bars and restaurants. The point about clean draft lines is also critical, there was a restaurant I used to go to that had horrible issues with their draft lines, their draft beer was nearly undrinkable.

Speaking of quality control, Left Hand is suing White Labs, claiming that contaminated yeast led to a major beer recall. It will be interesting to see if they can prove that the yeast was contaminated when they purchased it (and not during the brewing process), and how much liability falls on White Labs.

As the year winds down there are inevitably a number of “best beers of the year” lists, that I will read because I am a sucker for that kind of thing. Vinepair and Beer and Brewing both have lists out that feature a number of local offerings.

Maine Beer Co Mean Old Tom

Paste Magazines blind tasting series looks at stouts, and New England beers take four of the top ten spots!

True North Ale Company is open in Ipswich.

The 21st Annual Great International Beer, Cider, Mead and Sake Competition was held this month and a number of local breweries took home serious hardware.

That’s it for November, thank you again for reading and, as always, feel free to pass along any great articles you find over the course of the next month!

 

Random Beer Thoughts: October 2017

I recently participated in another blind tasting hosted by the Mass Brew Brothers and Craft Beer Cellar, this time evaluating 11 local pumpkin beers. I’m not usually a fan of pumpkin beers, but I’ll admit there were a few beers here that I really enjoyed. My personal favorites were the Pumpkin Stout from Cape Ann and Pumpkin Crop from Jack’s Abby. I highly recommend blind tastings, it’s fun to get together with friends, chat about beer and pick your favorites without any of the inevitable preconceptions you have about specific breweries or beers.

Lawson's Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine

Speaking of blind tastings, I’ve mentioned many times that I’ve really enjoyed the series of blind tastings that Paste Magazine has been doing. One recent addition was double IPAs, which was as notable for some of the whalez that missed the cut as for some of the less buzzy beers that placed very high. Recently Paste also covered the twenty best beers from Vermont that they’ve sampled as part of the blind tasting process. I hope they do some more of these summaries from other states.

One of the biggest stories this month was Take Back Craft, a crowd-sourcing push by the Brewers Association to “purchase AB-InBev” (they do realize this is a completely unrealistic goal). In reality it’s a publicity stunt, and kind of a silly one. I have a bunch of ideas on how the money could be spent in better ways, but Stouts and Stilettos did an amazing job with such a list already.

Trillium Fort Point Pale Ale

I really enjoyed this history of the artwork on Trillium’s beer labels. My favorite tidbit was that Sunshower was named after the Chris Cornell song, he is one of my all time favorite performers and it was tough to hear about his passing earlier this year.

I know that “Brewery X is now canning their beer!” is no longer big news, the vast majority of breweries have moved at least partially into cans. Still, it seems like a big deal that a brewery like Mystic, who had been stubborn about sticking to Belgian styles in cork & cage bottles, is now producing cans of popular IPAs. I really hope that the popularity of these beers leads to some hop-heads giving Mystic’s stellar Belgian-style beers a shot, and I am looking forward to sampling more of their hop-forward offerings.

Mason's Hipster Apocalypse

Mason’s Brewing Company in Maine got a cease and desist letter from 10 Barrel Brewery (one of InBev’s craft purchases) this month, saying their Hipster Apocalypse is an infringement on 10 Barrels trademark of Apocalypse IPA. Apparently this was resolved without further legal action, but this is going to continue to be an issue as we get more breweries making more beers. There is no excuse when your beer has the exact same name as a trademarked beer, this is something that can be easily avoided using Google/untapped searches. There is a big grey area when names are similar or contain some of the same words. This could be especially problematic when the fight is between a big brewery with an in house legal team and a small upstart with no extra cash. We’ll see how these things get resolved moving forward.

The majority of Massachusetts breweries aren’t close to public transportation, which can unfortunately lead to irresponsible drinking and driving. The Massachusetts Brewers Guild has teamed with Lyft to offer discounted rides to and from local breweries. This is a really important program that addresses an issue that can be glossed over when talking about the impact of the craft beer boom.

I reviewed my first beers from Lone Pine Brewing Company this week. They recently announced that they are expanding into the Sebago Brewery in Gorham (when Sebago moves into a bigger facility of their own), and they are starting distribution throughout the state of Maine. Big month for a brewery that is building a lot of interest in the stellar Portland beer scene.

The majority of beers entered for awards at the Great American Beer Festival  in Denver(and thus the majority of the winners) are from breweries in the western part of the US, but I still tend to browse the list to identify local winners. This year  Night Shift and Cambridge Brewing Company won awards. I would love to see a similar large festival with blind tasting based awards that was based on the east coast.

The Full Pint has an overview of the common off-flavors in beer and where they come from. Great reading for science nerds like me or for anyone else who occasionally tastes something strange in their beer and wants to know what caused it.

Down The Road Seventh Star

Down the Road is finally opening their Everett Brewery next week, really looking forward to checking out the new digs and sampling some of their exciting new beers.

The local brewery explosion continues, with three new breweries opening in Central Massachusetts this fall and a few more in progress. As a Sudbury resident it is nice to see another brewery opening in nearby Maynard.

Bryan Roth has an entertaining article on the domination of the IPA in craft beer.

BrewBound has a cool story on the origins of CitraBus, the popular IPA from Newburyport Brewing.

Springdale Desert Solitaire

Springdale is organizing a series of “Neighbor Nights” partnering on special events to raise money for local charities. I love how many local breweries care about giving back to their communities, and some of these nights look like a lot of fun.

Two Roads is opening a new barrel aging and experimental brewing facility. I really need to make a trip down to CT and check out some of the exciting breweries in the state.

Zagat has an article on the 8 hottest beer bars in Boston. Most of them are breweries, and there are some very good choices on the list. The inclusion of Notch was a little bizarre. Don’t get me wrong, Notch is awesome, but it is strange including one bar in Salem on a list with a bunch of others in the city.

That’s it for this month, thanks for reading and feel free to pass along anything that I should share next month!

Random Beer Thoughts: September 2017

Here are my links and thought for September. I spent the last few weeks writing a ~200 page patent at work (and some nights and weekends), so I wasn’t as diligent as I would have liked collecting articles, but I still have a pretty nice selection. As always, feel free to send along anything that you feel should be included in my monthly summary!

The Mass Brew Brothers have teamed up with the Massachusetts Brewers Guild to launch a new Massachusetts Beer Trail App. I downloaded the app and it looks beautiful, is very user friendly, and has a ton of info. Unfortunately the first brewery I visited post-download I forgot to check in, it will take some time to make that a habit.

The biggest local beer story has been the legal battle between breweries and distributors about Massachusetts franchise laws. One of the best summaries I’ve seen was written by a law group, who can clearly explain the issue much better than I can. Needless to say, I side heavily with the breweries on this issue. It is crazy that a brewery can’t end a relationship with a distributor that is doing a poor job or doing unethical things.

Devil's Purse Skywave

Until this resolves (and even afterwards) I imagine many local breweries will sign on with some of the craft-centric distributors that have popped up in the state. Devil’s Purse brewery has signed on with Night Shift distributors, we should see their beers statewide soon.

AB-InBev has stated that they are no longer focusing on acquisitions, they are going to grow the brands they have already acquired. This isn’t surprising, they can only buy so many breweries before they are just competing with themselves for the same subset of customers.

Treehouse Julius

Norm Miller has an article on TreeHouse’s expansion and their continued work to try and meet the crazy demand for their beers. I haven’t been out to TreeHouse in a while, the long drive and long lines for a limited number of cans (and no guarantees there will be any left) has deterred me. I’ve heard the new brewery makes the lines move quickly and there is usually a good amount of beer available, so I might have to make the trip again soon.

Zack from Raising the Barstool recounts his experience at Trillium’s Zwanze Day celebration. I don’t get to many beer events these days, family comes first, but this event is at the top of my short list.

Hop Culture has a profile on Earth Eagle Brewing, the New Hampshire brewery that specializes in gruit, an ancient style that uses herbs and spices instead of hops.

Lord Hobo is continuing to expand at a rapid pace and introduce their product in more markets. This is an interesting strategy, when many regional breweries are feeling the squeeze between the big beer acquisitions and hyper local small breweries. Lord Hobo also seems to be focusing on a few core beers when many other breweries are constantly rotating to meet the demand for novelty. It will be interesting to see how this turns out for them.

Exhibit A Demo Tape 11 Side B

Eater Boston has an article on Exhibit A Brewing Company, a brewery that has quickly built a strong reputation amongst local drinkers.

The new owners of Geary’s are trying to balance the brand’s classic beers with a number of new releases. I think this is a really good idea, I am a fan of a number of the classics but the brand needs some excitement and novelty moving forward.

Boston.com polled some local beer experts on their favorite local fall beers. Tons of good choices here (and a few that I need to try myself).

Food and Wine has a list of the best American Octoberfest beers which includes a couple of local favorites.

The Bangor Daily News details a Maine business that acquires used wine and spirit barrels to re-sell to breweries for barrel aged beers.

Paste Magazine wrote a brief drinker’s guide to Boston. This is a nice starting point if you’ve never been to the city, but it could have easily been expanded.

Percival Brewing opens it’s Norwood taproom today.

Two new breweries opened in Amesbury this month, BareWolf and Brewery Silvaticus. I wonder if they planned their openings to coincide, otherwise that is a pretty crazy coincidence.

I have no idea if this means anything or what methodology was used, but Hoppy Boston was named to ShoutAbout’s top 70 beer blogs. Regardless of how you feel about this type of listicle, it was pretty cool to be on the list with a number of blogs that I read regularly and enjoy.