“Let 1000 Flowers Bloom” – The Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest

A view of the sold out Hyper-Local Festival from the Armory balcony

Chairman Mao didn’t have craft breweries in mind when he uttered this invocation for cultural change – but he should have. As the pitfalls and stagnation of monolithic agribusness have become apparent, we are crafting a return to a more mindful production of  life’s basics – beer, bread, wine and cheese. In a short span, multiple craft breweries have sprung up in Massachusetts, often incorporating local ingredients into their brews. More and more home brewers are realizing their intention of becoming public brewers. To celebrate this renaissance, Boston Local Food under the aegis of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston sponsors the Hyper-Local Craft Brewfest.

The early arrivals for the second session

Now in its third year and the first to encompass the rubric of hyper-local, this amazing event was held at The Amory on June 16th. The event – with both afternoon and evening sessions –  showcased thirty local breweries, wineries and  food vendors. The event was a blast! Even though the house was sold out, the crowd was civil and smiling unlike some wine expos where sharp elbows reign.

Frank Zoll, winemaker at Zoll Cellars, with some of his wines

As wineaux, we immediately headed to the winery tables. At the evening session, two were represented – Coastal Vineyards from South Dartmouth and Zoll Cellars from Shrewsbury. (Unfortunately, Turtle Creek of Lincoln was only at the afternoon session.) After tasting several of the wines from each with especial attention to the Cab Francs – Katrin is on a Cab Franc quest these days – it was beer time. And here our tastes diverged. Glenn – a veteran of the initial craft brew phenomena – was looking for Belgium brews and lagers. Katrin – a more novice beer drinker – gravitated to darker brews.  With the diversity and creativity and madness of seventeen brewers to chose from, we found multiple brews to love.

A compilation of some of our favorites –

  • “Flagraiser ” Slumbrew’s signature IPA – and a nod to Somerville’s colonial history – was a brew over which we both enthused. Glenn was also impressed with the brewery’s blood orange Hefeweizen, “Happy Sol”.
  • “Bee Tea” A winning wheat ale combining  orange peel, orange blossom honey and green tea  from Night Shift.
  • Mystic offered something for both of us. Katrin loved the “Descendant Ale” brewed with molasses while Glenn favored the “Summer Saison”, both brewed with the same yeast but with very different results.
  • Glenn found Idle Hands’ “Belgian Wit” and High and Mighty’s “Pas de Dieu” – and it was heavenly – to be his favorite Belgium-based brews of the evening.
  • The Maibock from Jack’s Abby – “Hurts was Helles” – was outstanding. Great to see someone brewing serious lagers.
  • Undoubtably, our favorite of the evening – and we went back for seconds – was Sam Adams’ “Oyster Stout”. Unfortunately, the beer is a limited run and only available at the Beachcomber in Wellfleet – one more reason to get to the Cape this summer. And a shout out is in order for Sam Adams. A key player in the beginning of the craft beer movement, they survived the downturn and now produce, in addition to their regular line-up, an amazing amount of intriguing small batch brews.

One of the many great breweries: Watch City

This was an evening even a wineau could love! Kudos to Local Boston Food, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston and the Armory for putting together such a well run enjoyable event.

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  1. Pinot for Pints: My Beer Conversion - WineDineWith.us - December 14, 2012

    […] and an occasional guest blogger for Wine Dine With Us, and had a palate-changing experience at the Hyper-Local Brewfest in June.  The Brewfest was an unparalleled opportunity to sample the beers of dozens of local brewers in a […]

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