Right off the bat, I could tell that this was less an event to make money off of the craft beer movement, and more to actually showcase the New England beer scene and provide just a well-rounded beer experience.
First off, parking for the festival was right on-site and free for attendees, which is something I’ve never encountered at a Boston festival before. Secondly, when you walk through the gates, you’re greeted with an encampment of food trucks that really made me just want to order one of everything and call it a day; Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese truck and my personal favorite Bon Me – serving up my favorite Vietnamese pickled vegetable sandwiches and rice bowls. Third, free bottled water.
An estimated twenty brewery tents flanked a stage that over the course of the evening, featured a variety of country, rockabilly, and singer/songwriter acts. It was the perfect amount of breweries to let you enjoy beers at your own pace, talk to brewery reps, and not feel rushed to try everything. Some participating breweries included: Baxter Brewing, Blue Hills, Newburyport Brewing, Slumbrew, Pretty Things, Samuel Adams, Mystic Brewery, White Birch, Smuttynose, and more.
Here are some of my highlights:
Mystic Brewery: Based out of Chelsea, MA, Mystic Brewery is unrivaled in the Boston-area for its return to traditional brewing practices such as open fermentation and bottle-conditioning. The result is a fantastic variety of saisons, wilds, and other Belgian styles. Some of my festival favorites were the Hazy Jane Saison – rustic and effervescent with the perfect dry finish and Day of Doom – a Belgian quad, rich and sweet that seems like it could gain so much from some aging.
Percival Beer Company: This is probably one of the most genuine and significant things to happen lately in the beer community. Percival, Dorchester’s first brewery, is creating a line of light and simple lagers and ales, designed for craft beer newcomers; specifically, members of Dorchester’s diverse community, people often unrepresented or unaccounted for in craft beer. With the construction of their brewery, PBC is looking to help revive a struggling neighborhood and promote localization.
Some additional highlights included a homebrewing demonstration from Homebrew Emporium and Craft Beer Cellar pouring all seven Trappists. For a first time event put on by people not in the beer industry, this was very well put together. It was refreshing to see a company like WGBH take thoughtful care of festival attendees by providing healthy food options, free amenities, and a focus on the local beer scene. We definitely look forward to next year’s event.