1. On June 2nd myself along with some friends attended Beer Advocate’s Microbrew Invitational at the Seaport Trade Center in Boston. The plan was to meet up after at the hotel after work before heading to the event.
    I arrived first and waited anxiously in the lobby with my overnight bag and a cooler of frozen waters to help fight dehydration and the inevitable hangover on Saturday morning. As each minute passed I anxiously looked at my phone looking for the call or text that my friends have arrived and I can get changed out of my work clothes and get ready to sample some great beer. Unfortunately they were stuck in Friday afternoon traffic so I had to change in the lobby and meet them at the Seaport.
    After waiting in line to get in we immediately started sampling some beer. Some of my favorites of 
    this year’s event was some great beer from new breweries I hadn’t tried before from Brew Gentleman, Whalers Brewing, Greater Good Imperial Brewing and 3 Star Brewing Company. I also did some sampling from old friends like Castle Island Brewing company and Some Brewing.
    I was also excited to meet and talk to Ben Keene, author of Great Northeast Brewery Tour and editorial director at Beer Advocate.
    Attending beer advocate craft beer intentional is always a great time. I felt that the last two years of the invitational have had less breweries at the fest compared to previous years. In my opinion it gives it more of an exclusive feeling. Also, I feel that the Friday night session is less crowded compared to the Saturday night session. This is good because you don't have to fight crowds or wait in line for long periods of time to sample great beer. Most of the lines I was able to sample most of the offerings without having to wait more than a few minutes for my next sample. Overall it was a great night and I am looking forward to attending the next Beer Advocate brew invitational.
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  2. Yesterday, I got the opportunity to visit Navigation Brewing Company for their 3rd
    Anniversary celebration. The brewery was packed with fans and new comers all sampling some great beer. It's crazy to think 3 years ago I visited Navigation Brewing for their initial opening and met the owners Bob Johnson (Head Brewer/CEO) and PJ Mercier (Brewer/CMO). If you have a chance to visit Navigation Brewing Company in Lowell, MA you won't be disappointed! News from PJ is that Navigation Brewing beers will be available in cans later this summer. I don’t know about you but I think that just made my summer.
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  3. Somerville, MA – Bantam Cider Company is releasing its Ginger Beer, fermented with fresh ground ginger root and citrus, in 12oz. cans. Bantam’s long-standing taproom specialty is primed for market debut when it becomes available in stores throughout New England, beginning this week.
    While Ginger Beer is Bantam’s first foray outside of cider, it remains right within Bantam’s expertise of making small batch, high quality, craft products.  
    Bantam Ginger Beer will be available in 4-packs of 12oz. cans beginning April 18, 2017.
    Stats:   5.5% ABV | Gluten Free
    Notes:  Smooth & spicy with a nice ginger bite. It’s delicious on its own or a great addition to your favorite cocktail.
    About Bantam Cider Company
    Launched in 2012 and based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Bantam has grown to become one of New England’s most highly regarded cider houses and currently distributes in 7 states across New England, New York and Illinois.
    To learn more about Bantam Cider and their products, contact Christina Bencivenni at 617.299.8600 or email, hello@bantamcider.com , or visit www.bantamcider.com.

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  4. [Malden, MA] On Thursday, May 4, Original Gravity ENTRANCES you with its season finale, featuring the stellar music of Paula Matthusen paired with the beer of Idle Hands Craft Ales!

    Paula Matthusen’s unique compositional style amplifies and expounds on the secret sounds that encompass our every day lives—transforming the mundane into the fantastical and entrancing. Brett Bauer, master brewer at Idle Hands Craft Ales, has listened to Paula’s works and is fashioning a one-night only adventurous brett-fermented Belgian called "3 Collaborating Yeasts" to pair with Paula’s soundscapes. This quixotic brew will only be available the night of the concert.

    In the brewer's words: "In the spirit of taking classic instruments and using them for dissonance and experimentation as I've heard throughout attending the Original Gravity Concert Series, we have decided to take some of our simple and clean Heide wort and fermented it using a combination of Belgian ale strains with brettanomyces bruxellensis. What was originally destined to become our clean and light hells lager has been transformed into a funky, fruity and spicy brett Belgian pale ale."

    Heralded as Boston’s Best Buzzworthy Concert Series 2016 by the Improper Bostonian, Original Gravity is a sell-out concert series that harmonizes live modern music by regional composers with the artistry of local craft breweries.

    We will be joined by the best new music artists in New England to bring this music to life:
    * Terri Hron, recorder
    * Trevor Babb, guitar, banjo
    * Mike Avitabile, flute
    * Amy Advocat, clarinet

    Tickets to Original Gravity’s ENTRANCEMENT are $15, on sale now. 
    Student and senior tickets available for $10 with valid ID.


    About Original Gravity
    Curated by local pianist and composer Keith Kirchoff, Original Gravity Concert Series takes modern classical music out of the concert hall and presents it in an informal, fun environment: a brewery. Committed to the music of New England composers, the Original Gravity crew collaborates with the host brewers to design a beer specifically in tune with the artist’s work, creating a blended synchronicity of sound and zymurgy.

    Keith Kirchoff (Artistic Director) is a pianist, composer, and Vice President of the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS). Specializing in works which combine interactive electronics with solo piano, his Electro-Acoustic Piano tour has been presented in six countries. Keith is also an accomplished homebrewer and beer connoisseur, having travelled extensively in the United States and abroad in search of the perfect pint.

    Paula Matthusen (Featured Composer) writes both electroacoustic and acoustic music and realizes sound installations. In addition to writing for a variety of different ensembles, she also collaborates with choreographers and theater companies. She has written for diverse instrumentations, such as “run-on sentence of the pavement” for piano, ping-pong balls, and electronics, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker noted as being “entrancing”. Her work often considers discrepancies in musical space—real, imagined, and remembered.
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  5. On Friday March 24th my wife and I attended Somerville Brewing Brewery and Taproom for the beer release party of their new beer Saturday Morning. The turnout for the release of Saturday Morning was great, the brewery was filled. It was a great beer and we both really enjoyed it. A fun fact is that Saturday Morning is actually brewed with cereal.  We also enjoyed how they served a little cereal with every sample of Saturday Morning. Kudos to Jeff and Caitlin who brewed a great beer and put on a great show. If you are in the area and have the opportunity to visit Somerville Brewing and try Saturday Morning along with the rest of the great beers that they brew you won’t be disappointed!


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  6. This is my first post in awhile, sorry for that life has been busy. Tonight's review is of Lost Nation Brewing MOSAIC IPA. Lost Nation Brewing is located in Morrisville VT and MOSAIC is American IPA Style of beer and is 5.5% ABV and is available year round in cans and Draught. Check the Lost Nation website to see if MOSAIC IPA is available in your state.

    Mosaic pours a hazy dark yellow color with nice off white head that leaves a little amount of lacing on the side of the glass. The aroma is floral hops and citrus. The taste is of tropical fruits and citrusy with a light bitterness. This is a very light bodied IPA I could drink this all day. If you like IPA's and I would say the New England style of IPA's that have been popular over the last few years I think you should give Lost Nation Mosaic a try.
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  7.  
     
    Castle Island Celebrates First Anniversary with ONE Imperial Stout

    NORWOOD, MASS. – A year after opening for business, Castle Island Brewing Company is releasing ONE, the brewery’s first imperial stout, to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

    A traditional Russian Imperial Stout, ONE clocks in at 11.5% alcohol by volume, and is the strongest beer the brewery has made to-date, according to Head Brewer, Matt DeLuca.

    “We wanted to do something big to celebrate our first year,” said DeLuca, “and ONE is just that. We pushed our equipment to the limits with this beer. Honestly, we weren’t even sure if we were going to be able to pull it off until we actually brewed it.”

    ONE will only be available at Castle Island’s Norwood brewery beginning Tuesday, December 13, and will be sold in single 16 ounce cans. A limited number of kegs will also be distributed to the market at a later date.
     
    This also marks the beginning of the Company’s barrel-aging program. The growing popularity of barrel-aged beer has made it an ongoing request from Castle Island’s customers, and the brewery has selected ONE to kick off the new effort.

    “We’ve always wanted to dabble in barrel aging, but we couldn’t find time or the right beer to start it up over the last year,” added Founder, Adam Romanow. “ONE is the perfect candidate for a brief rest in bourbon barrels, so we’re excited to finally launch our barrel program.”

    The Company plans to expand its use of barrel aging in the future, but only plans to produce “clean” beers, or beers made only with traditional brewers’ yeast. The alternative, sour or “wild” beer, is typically made with mixed yeast and bacteria cultures and can create a challenge for brewers trying to avoid cross contamination. Because of that, Castle Island does not have any immediate plans for barrel-aged sour beers.

    Castle Island opened its doors to the public on December 11 last year, and experienced swift and significant growth in the Massachusetts market. The Company’s beers are found at bars, liquor stores, and restaurants throughout the Eastern and Central parts of the State, and the brewery has shipped beer to over 1,000 accounts since January.

    Located off Route 1, at 31 Astor Ave. in Norwood, Mass., Castle Island is currently operating on limited visiting hours. The brewery is open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesday from 12:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M., and Thursdays through Saturdays from 12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.

    For additional information about the brewery and for an updated list of retail locations where Castle Island beers can be found, please visit the company’s website (castleislandbeer.com) and Facebook page (facebook.com/castleislandbeer). Email contact@castleislandbeer.com or call 781.951.2029 with any other questions.

    Castle Island Brewing:
    Castle Island is dedicated to crafting the highest quality beer with purpose and without pretense. With a focus on American ales, we make offerings that are both unique and approachable. Our singular goal is to brew distinctive beers that honor proven traditions and celebrate fresh ideas.
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  8. Richard Varano took a different path when he started Hidden Cove Brewing Co. Several years ago Richard was interviewing one of his daughter’s friends for a chef position at one of his restaurants. What was served at the interview would change Richard’s life. The chef brought some of his home brewed beer to the interview. Richard thought the beer was good and Richard and his daughter’s friend thought they could add a brewery to one of the restaurants. Richard didn’t know it at the time but this interview was the birth of Hidden Cove Brewing Company. After some early up and downs (that most new breweries incur) and finding a head brewer, Kevin Glessing, who was a life changer to Richard and Hidden Cove. Several weeks ago I was able to interview Richard and learn more about Hidden Cove Brewing Company.


    Richard how did you get in the craft beer business?

    Really by accident. A friend of my daughters from chef school whom lived in Texas was working at a hunting camp that was pretty isolated and he was married and had a child. He wanted to get out of that and get back to working in restaurants. My daughter told me about it and we talked about him being a chef at my restaurant so I flew down to Dallas to meet him and he brought some beer that he brewed and it was pretty good. We talked about maybe about adding a brewery and maybe adding onto it. One thing lead to another and the next thing you know we are buying a 15 barrel system. As it turned out he was over his head as he was just a home brewer so he is long gone and I am sitting here with a brewery. My wife and I own the brewery but we found an awesome guy and it was a game changer for us. Up until then we really couldn’t brew a consistent beer. We had a lot of issues, we thought we had made a bad mistake and contemplated selling everything. We lucked out one day when a top notch brewer walked into the door and applied for the job.

    Richard along with owning Hidden Cove Brewing Company you also own several restaurants. Which is more difficult starting?

    They both create their own set of problems. But I think a restaurant is probably harder because you need a lot more quality employees to run a restaurant. Especially because we are seasonal so we go from 35 employees at the seafood restaurant to 75 employees in season and at the Italian restaurant we go from 22 in the winter to about 38 in the summer. Every year with the restaurants you gear up and you gear down, however at the brewery at every two levels above us you don’t need that many people to run the brewery. At the level that I am at the brewery is easier to run then the restaurants.


    How did you come up with the name Hidden Cove Brewing Company?

    We originally started out as Captain Dicks under the old brewer. When we relaunched with the new brewer I wanted to stay with a nautical theme. The reason why I picked Hidden Cove was because in my opinion it could be anyone’s back yard brewery. Up and down the coast there is a hidden cove in every river, every lake, on every coast. Seeing it on a menu you would think it was a local beer.

    Hidden Cove Brewing Beer is available in four states Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island do you have any plans to expand distribution to any
    other state?

    Not at this time, because I don’t have enough capacity. It is on the radar next year to look at expanding the brewery. Once we expand the brewery and as the business grows we will think about it, but it’s nothing we are thinking about doing in the next 6 months or a year. We will take it as it comes to us.


    What is the most popular beer that you brew?

    Patron is our flagship beer which is our most popular. Patron means Captain and Patron is our Captain.

    The craft beer industry has been expanding rapidly for the last 10 plus years. Do you think the industry can sustain this rapid growth?

    Absolutely! Let me give a couple of examples. They talk about all of these breweries. At my Italian restaurant we make pastries however that doesn’t make us a bakery. A lot of breweries are nano breweries or the brewery makes the beer for the restaurant. They make it sound like there are all of these big breweries. Some small breweries might only be in one part of a state or their town. The figures are a little misleading as I also look at the town of Wells Maine it has a population of 10,000. We have 54 eating establishments so if you have a great restaurant you will do great. If you have a good restaurant you will do good. If you have a fair restaurant you will do fair. If you do poorly you will be out of business and some people be buying inventory at discount. I see that in the craft beer industry. Not everyone is trying to be the next Allagash or Shipyard or Lagunitas or continue to go down the line at all the good boys. A lot of them are just going to be in their state and make a good living and the people that own them will be happy with that. Some people are going to be a little bit more aggressive. It’s the matter of having a really good product and getting it in front of people. If your people like it you are going to sell a lot of beer. Look at the vodka or the rum industry. Look how many flavors there are now. Young kids now want different flavors and variety. There is always going to be room. There is always going to be room for another great beer. We have ways to go before we run out of steam.

    Richard if you could be on any show in the last 20 years what show would you be on?

    Would like to be in a Clint Eastwood Movie.
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  9. We are back with the series of "What Does it Cost to Drink at Your Area Sporting Events." If you have followed the blog you will know that I written on this topic three times previously. I had written twice regarding the cost to drink at MetLife Stadium (home of the NY Giants and NY Jets). At MetLife a domestic Macro beer will cost you $10 and a premium/craft beer will cost you $12. All and all it is pretty expensive to imbibe at a football game. Next our series visited TD Garden (home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics). At the Garden it will cost you about $11 for a beer. Recently my brother in-law Chris and I were able to go to the Red Sox game. It was my first Red Sox game in about 4 years. While at the game I thought it would be great to continue the series and inform you the reader on “What Does it Cost to Drink at Fenway Park”.

    Chris and I got into the game right after the first pitch. We entered Fenway Park several gates away from where our seats were located so we had to walk a bit. I was impressed
    with the amount of beer stands I immediately saw available. It seemed like every 10-20 feet there was another beer stand. What I also quickly noticed was the price of a Bud Light Draft (16oz) was $9.25, a Goose Island draft (16oz) was $9.75 and a craft beer (16oz) can and a hard cider in a can was $9.50. Before we got to our seats we decided to stop and get a few beers. With these prices I started to go with two Bud Light drafts. Chris went with one Bud Light draft. Is it just me or do other people think they should put covers on those over priced beers and maybe offer you a carrier? Just saying, whenever you go to Dunkin Donuts and get a few coffees for the office they always ask you if you want a holder/carrier but a beverage that is three times more the amount gets nothing?! Anyways, by the time we reached our seats and I had a sip or two of my very pricey Bud Light the Sox were down by 3 to the Royals. It wasn’t a good start to our night… the Sox were hurting and so was my wallet. What I noticed is that at Fenway the beer vendors are out and about, you don’t need to leave your seat to get a beer which is always good. The beer vendors were walking around my area with Bud Light, Miller Lite, Narraganset for the price of $9.50 and $9.75.

    By the 4th inning I needed to eat something so I stayed in my seat and flagged down a vendor for a $7.75 Fenway Frank. After eating a $7.75 hotdog you need to wash it down with another Bud Light. By this time the Sox were down 5-1 to the Royals. In the 6th inning I decided to get one more beer so I decided I would get one more beer but wanted something different so I went for a little walk. I was surprised to find beer stands serving several macro imports and craft beers. I found Harpoon beers, Heineken, Corona and Blue Moon all in 16oz cans for $9.75. Green Monster IPA, Smuttynose IPA for $9.50 in smaller 12oz cans. Also, Bud Light, Budweiser, Miller Light and Coors Light for $8. I am thinking the $8 Bud is a lot smaller then the Bud Light draft I was drinking before. I decided to go with a Harpoon Hoppy IPA 16oz. I did also see a fan sitting near Chris and I with a Jack Abby beer. However, I didn’t see any Jack’s Abby in my general area but maybe I was not looking that hard.
    Unfortunately the Red Sox lost the game against the Royals, but we had a great time and got to see David Ortiz one last time at Fenway Park before his retirement.



    FINAL THOUGHTS

    You have a variety of beer, wine and hard cider options for your drinking pleasure at Fenway Park. I was surprised of the variety of beers that they were selling. It doesn’t matter if you are a craft beer drinker or a fan of one of the big 3, you will be able to find a beer drink at Fenway while watching the Red Sox. Another plus was the many areas where you could get a beer or two. Where we were sitting we had 4-5 stands that had sold beer. Also the vendors were walking around our section yelling “beers here!” which I really liked as I felt that you don’t always see that other stadiums. A negative was the price of the beer being offered. No beer was cheaper then $8 and most beers were priced between $9.50 and $9.75. If you buy 4 beers during the game you are spending between $38-$39. My final rating for beer selection and pricing at Fenway Park is 3.5 out 5. You had plenty of varieties of beers to choose from and many locations to buy it without having to stand in a long line and miss too much of the game. The prices were the best I have seen at a sporting event in a while and the best that I have seen at sporting event in Boston.






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  10. The craft beer scene is expanding at a rapid rate over the last 10 plus years. With the industry growing at a rapid rate, industries that support the craft beer industry are also growing. One of the areas that are growing is the craft beer tour industry. At Journey to the Beer Store we like going on beer tours, especially beer tours where you can sit back, relax and have someone else drive you around. That is why we were excited when we learned that a new company called CT Beer Tours was going to be touring Connecticut breweries. We sat down with Michelle who is one of CT Beer Tours Co-owners to learn more about CT Beer Tours and see how we can get ourselves on a tour the next time we are in CT.

    Michelle why did you want to start CT beer tours?
    Connecticut Beer Tours is a partnership between my cousin John Savage, my cousin Ashley's husband Jared Yager and myself. About three years ago we went on a trip to Vermont and did a beer tour trip. We asked ourselves "why isn't there one in Connecticut." If was a brief conversation, but as months followed, we continued to go to different beer events and the question kept popping up until one day I said..."guys let's do this!"
    Michelle you are still in the planning stages, when will you be up and running?
    My background is in Marketing. I have owned a marketing company since 2009 so planning was a big thing for me. We incorporated the business in November of last year & immediately started branding the company and meeting with local craft breweries & distilleries to see if our idea could become a reality. We are done with planning and just waiting for logistics to be complete - finalizing our tour schedule, vehicle purchase, insurance, getting passenger endorsements on our licenses & legal waivers and business operating agreement.
    You started a Kickstarter page to help you start CT Beer Tours. How is the Kickstarter campaign going?
    Kickstarter was a success. We reached our $5k goal within 15 days. The campaign ended last week with us raising a little over $8k.

    What days will the CT Beer Tours run and how long will a tour be?
    Our tours will run Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun - the main tours will be Sat/Sun which include 3 beer or distillery stops and a 4th stop will be food. Cost will be all inclusive (transportation, food, samples). We are currently finalizing our tour schedule to be posted on the website within the next few weeks.

    What breweries will you be visiting on a tour?
    We have hit majority of the market in Connecticut & parts of RI to include: Back East Brewing, Cottrell, Olde Burnside, Relic, Beer'd, Thomas Hooker, Shebeen, Cold Creek Brewing, Broad Brook, Firefly, Top Shelf, Outer Light, Powder Hollow, Stony Creek, DuVig, Thimble, Grey Sail, Overshores, Stubborn Beauty, Still Hill, These Guys Brewing, Brass City Beer Works, Forest City, 30 Mile Brewing (and as the list grows we will be adding more).
    We are also including spirits. CT is in the ground works of starting a spirit trail which we are going to happily be a part of. So far that list consists of Hartford Flavor, Litchfield Distillery, Onyx and Waypoint Spirits.

    Michelle, if you could have a dream six pack of beer only from Connecticut what six beers would be in your six pack?
    Tough question - the more I get into this business and the more beer and spirits I try I find my taste-buds and preferences change a lot. I'd say right now my favorites are Tripel Brun from Overshores, Minnie Winnie from Cold Creek Brewing, Sluggy Buggy Oatmeal Stout on Nitro at Still Hill, Duvig's Cream Ale, Fuzzy Baby Ducks at New England Brewing & Firefly's Toadstool.

    Michelle, beercations have been coming more and more popular in the last several years. If you could go on a beercation anywhere where would you go and why?
    Ideally I'd love to travel the US for a year hitting the monuments and best breweries and filming the entire experience...but for now, I'd say Colorado. Last I checked I read somewhere saying they have over 175 breweries right now.

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