Raise a glass or three to launch Labor Day Weekend in style, alongside a merry group of local brewers professional and amateur, as well as their admirers, this Friday.
The Massachusetts Brewers Guild’s fourth annual Mass Brewers Fest at the Seaport will celebrate local craft beer, with more than 100 different beers from over 30 member breweries. Food will also be available, as well as entertainment by local band Three Day Threshold. One of the festival highlights this year is a collaboration brew, brewed at the Mayflower Brewing Company. The limited release beer, a cask English Mild, will be unveiled at this year’s Fest.
For an added twist, each brewer has taken the base beer and riffed on it with a favorite hop, signature ingredient, aging the beer in barrels, what have you. etc. – showcasing the brewer’s art and creativity in each cask & ready to be tasted at the Fest.
The base beer is a cask conditioned light brown ale that at one time was one of the most popular styles enjoyed in England.
Jay Sullivan of Cambridge Brewing Company described the base as lower in gravity than US beers, with a caramel, fruity character. “We thought it was really really lovely,” he said. But the CBC brewers decided to add an “American twist” with an experimental hop from Hop Union, called HBC 291. ‘It has similar characters to European hops, bright, floral, and peppery, which will go well with this beer, but has a stronger, bolder flavor which will feel more American.’
They haven’t tasted it yet, but they are confident it will be a crowd-pleaser. CBC will also bring a very hoppy summer offering, Hefeweizen, a classic take on the Bavarian wheat beer with aromas of bananas and clove; Sgt. Pepper, a Belgian-style farmhouse ale with four kinds of peppercorns in the boil: Dry, earthy, spicy, with a bit of heat on the back of the palate; Easy Ryder, its Hoppy Rye IPA, bitter, resinous, and bright citrus characters blend with the peppery hint of Malted Rye; and Ship of Fools, an oak aged sour red ale, in the tradition of Flanders in Belgium, that is aged over two years on French oak, for a tart, dry, fruity and earthy taste. “This complex beer will appeal to both sour beer lovers as well as wine drinkers,” said Sullivan.
“Each year, there are more breweries, more people, and the MBG gets better organized,” said Sullivan. “It’s really a great glimpse into what is happening with beer in the Bay State. It is a fun casual atmosphere, welcoming to everyone from beer geek to the curious. Brewers are really honing their craft and coming up with both great examples of classic styles as well as innovating. It doesn’t hurt that it is in a great spot on the waterfront, and you can watch the sun go down while enjoying a few beers.”
Sullivan is looking forward to trying what Matt Steinberg of High Horse in Amherst is offering. “He makes incredibly good hoppy beers,” he said. “I’m also interested in the new beers that the team over at Idle Hands are working on. They are making some great Belgian-style beers with a modern American edge. Really, though, there are going to be so many breweries, we will all be spoiled for choice!”
Sullivan offers tips to eventgoers:
- Try breweries you haven’t been exposed to yet, you might find a new favorite!
- Talk to the brewers, they can tell you about the beer they are bringing better than anyone else.
- Chat with other folks, ask what they are trying, what has been a standout for them. They may not be into the same beers as you, but may turn you on to something you wouldn’t have otherwise tried.
- Take your time to look, smell, and then taste the beers, and talk over your thoughts with your friends. This will help you learn what things you like about certain beers and what you don’t like.
- Have fun!
Where: World Trade Center Head House Concourse, 200 Seaport Boulevard, Boston
When: 6pm Friday, August 30
Cost: $40, including beer samples; the first 500 beer lovers will pay $35.