This weekend was one of my very favorite Boston weekends: American Craft Beer Fest weekend! After last year’s amazing time at the event, Chris and I bought tickets right away. And this year we got Beth and Adam to come along with us. We attended the Saturday afternoon session and once again, we had a blast! And tried about a billion new beers.
Seriously. We consumed A LOT of beer. But not even close to everything the fest had to offer. Let’s be honest, there’s no way I could have tried all the beers I wanted to (I’d need a good 2 weeks and several gallons of water). But I’m going to tell you about a bunch of my favorites that I did get the chance to try.
I’ve been to Cambridge Brewing Co. a few times and have always loved their beer. But I never tried the Colonel. It’s definitely one I’ll be ordering the next time I’m there… It was almost a bit barley wine-ish (which I love!). I mean, how could I not be obsessed with a beer claiming to have “farmhouse funk”? Maybe that doesn’t sound appetizing to everyone, but to me? Heaven!
Pretty Things is one of my very favorite brewers (and local too!). I absolutely love Baby Tree and Fluffy White Rabbits, but had never tried Field Mouse’s Farewell, their goodbye to spring beer. I’m definitely a fan. I love that it’s described as being full of grains- “Rye, Oats, Wheat and Barley. Like what a mouse would eat.”
Pretty labels, delicious beer, and the best beer names… What’s not to love?
I feel like everyone is drinking Allagash White this year. Well, what about Allagash Black (Bourbon Barrel!!)? We were a little disappointed not to get the Fluxus 2010 chocolate stout, but this was an awesome substitute. It was still super chocolatey and a great beer to sip on and slowly enjoy.
Another one of my top brewers is Ommegang. I absolutely love their Three Philosophers and couldn’t bring myself to try something new at their booth. It had been a long time since I last had it and was dying for another sip. This beer has the fabulous combination of dark chocolate and cherry cordials. Yum!
Another longtime favorite brewer (and may have won for having the longest line that I saw on Saturday) is Dogfish Head.
I went for something I had never tried – My Antonia (also, an excellent book!). It’s described as a “continually-hopped imperial pilsner” and it’s actually way up there with my Dogfish Head favorites. Though not quite as high as the Sah’tea I first tried at last year’s Beer Fest.
I’ve never really been a huge fan of Rock Bottom Brewery as a restaurant. I guess it’s just that if I’m in that area, I’m going to go to one of the billion other amazing restaurants before I’m going to get chain-like food there. BUT they just introduced me to what might be my favorite beer EVER! Shocking, I know.
It’s called Cinco de Mayo Lager and it’s actually brewed with fresh jalapenos!!! Amazing! So, this beer isn’t for anyone, but if you’re a lover of all things spicy, you will be obsessed with this. All I could think about was getting a huge plate of nachos and sipping on this beer sitting somewhere in the sun. And being in absolute heaven.
Can this be bottled and sold?? Does Rock Bottom do that?? I don’t know, but they should. Actually, they need to because I can’t live without it!
Chris and I are here in love with with our newfound favorite beer!
Beth and Adam are enjoying some beer as well
But wait. Here’s another brewery I thought i knew everything about. Harpoon Brewery. But check out their summer beer. It has candied ginger in it!!! Hello. As you probably know, this is a dream come true for me. The beer they poured me was a tad bit warm, but if it had been colder, it would have been AMAZING.
Of course, you could put ginger on anything and I’d probably love it. But I just find it so refreshing and fabulous. Perfect for summer.
I’m super happy to have a beer with ginger!
Rogue Brewery is another long-time favorite of mine. I really, really wanted to try the Chipotle Ale listed in the book, but they didn’t have any when I got to their table. So, I settled for the Hazelnut Brown. But settled is the wrong word because I really, really enjoyed it. It almost tasted like dark iced hazelnut coffee, which is absolutely delicious.
Right when we got to Southern Tier’s booth, we ran into the lovely Elina of Healthy and Sane. It was great seeing her as always and isn’t her dress adorable??
I’m a long-time fan of Southern Tier Brewery and I love pretty much everything I’ve had from there. Ever.
But I never tried their Back Burner before. This was definitely one of my favorites of the day! Of course, I’m a sucker for barley wines and I could definitely see myself spending an evening with this. I can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle.
Chris and Adam enjoyed Southern Tier as well.
Cisco Brewery, in Nantucket, is a brewery I’ve known about and seen forever, but I don’t know if I’ve actually ever tried anything from them. It was fruity and summery and while it was lighter than beers I usually go for, I really enjoyed it.
From one island to another, Offshore Ale Co. is located in Martha’s Vineyard.
And they offered an awesome barley wine (do you see a theme here with me? When I’m given the opportunity to try new beers, I often go for the barley wine).
We made sure to stop by Goose Island‘s booth since they’re from Chicago (Adam’s home and Beth’s for many years!). The Bourbon County Stout was another one of my favorites. This ACBF definitely helped me discover I have a love for bourbon beers.
After we were done with all our tasting, we stopped for a photo opportunity! I love having such a fabulous family… and a brother-in-law who gets along so amazingly with my boyfriend.
We headed straight for the North End where Chris and Adam recreated the same exact photo they posed for last year.
By this point, were absolutely starving, so we stopped at Ristorante Fiore in the North End to get some appetizers. We had the Antipasto Rustico (and gobbled up the delicious cheese and meat before I even thought to snap a photo). The seafood platter was also out of this world. I could have eaten 4 of them myself. The roofdeck at Fiore is amazing and it was the perfect day to sit up there (almost a little too hot!).
Then we headed over to one of our favorite spots in the city, Giacomo’s! We had to wait over an hour in line (not the first time we’ve done it), but we were well-rewarded when we finally sat down. The fried calamari at Giacomo’s is to die for. Definitely some of the best in Boston.
I had one of the specials for my meal. It was lemon tagliatelle with shrimp, sundried tomatoes and escarole. The pasta was SO fresh. Actually the whole dish was. And I had plenty to take home with me.
Chris and Adam both had the lobster ravioli, which are a definite favorite.
And my sister had the lobster with homemade fusilli special.
Fabulous beer, awesome food, and the best people. What else could I ask for? A good night’s sleep. Which is exactly what I got when I got home from the crazy day. Sunday was definitely filled with relaxation, too. OK, and a Sassy Coworker cocktail and lamb sliders from Coolidge Corner’s Regal Beagle (both HIGHLY recommended!).
I’m always up for trying new beers, so tell me what your absolute favorites are and maybe I’ll pick some up to try this summer!
And don’t forget to book your appointment at Salon Marc Harris for a massage and/or facial. If you mention WANM, you get 20% off… You won’t regret it and you’ll feel like heaven for days after