Notes from the Summit

Boston Beer Summit

Last weekend, we ventured to the summit. No, not Everest (we’ll save that for another article), the Boston Beer Summit at the Park Plaza Castle in Back Bay, Boston. The scene was full of pretzel necklaces, drunken Bostonians, and those adorable tiny tasting mugs. Here’s what we learned from the trenches:

Hoppy is still the rage

Sorry, we were hoping to have some groundbreaking, earth-shattering beer news for you. But most breweries and beer drinkers are still pushing their beloved IPAs. Not a bad thing, we loved Southern Tier’s Indian Pale Ale from Lakewood, New York. Hints of pine and citrus make for a medium-bodied, crisp blend.

Bourbon+ Beer = Yum

Kentucky Ale brews up a fantastic bourbon barrel aged beer that drew long lines throughout the night. Though bourbon aged ale isn’t brand new – Kentucky Ale began selling theirs five years ago – they do have an edge over the competition: Kentucky Ale gets their barrels from the Woodford Reserve Distillery immediately after the whiskey has been emptied. Such fresh barrels make for a smooth, easy-to-drink brew with a delicious bourbon finish.

Crabbie’s secret recipe is working

Located at the front of the house, Crabbie’s was a big hit among summit-goers. Served over ice with slices of lime, the Scottish brewery makes its ginger beer from four “secret ingredients” and ginger that has been steeped for up to eight weeks. It is a sweet, pleasant break from the hops and malts traditionally being served. Chris Comerford of Leominster, Massachusetts, who attends the beer summit every year, was a fan of Crabbie’s recipe, “It’s delicious and refreshing to see something so different.”

Beer and coffee go together surprisingly well

Peak Organic’s espresso amber ale was another favorite this year. As the first company in the U.S. with a fair-trade certified beer, they’ve made a fun roasted brew with espresso beans from Coffee by Design. Plus it tastes great with salty foods like those necklaces made entirely out of pretzels.