This Saturday I attended the Boston Beer Summit at the Park Plaza Castle, an old National Guard Armory in Boston’s South End. My personal history of the Beer Summit has good and bad memories. The first time I attended in 2003 was one of the first times we hung out with our good friend Craig and met several of his friends. After the summit we went to Bukowski’s where one can spin a wheel to chose from one of the 100 beers they have. Craig spun and got a can of Schlitz (and not only that he broke the wheel). Since that time the term to “get Schlitzed” means to have something really bad after something really good” and Craig is known as Schlitz Boy.
The following year I actually volunteered at the Beer Summit while Susan enjoyed luxury business travel in Ireland. We went to the Beer Summit again in 2005 but the magic wasn’t there. The crowds were packed in like sardines and for some reason all the beers were warm and flat. Last year the Beer Summit scheduled their event from Good Friday to Easter which really seems to lack forethought in Catholic Boston.
I didn’t expect to go this year but I’m still on the listserv and actually won two tickets by answering a trivia question. I can’t turn down free beer so I invited Craig for a day of guzzling find microbrews and brewpub selections. The crowds were not as pressing and the beer was cool and fresh (albeit still served in tiny plastic cups) so that was an improvement. The lines for the bathrooms were still long though, and it seems to be a Beer Summit tradition for women to adventurously join the men’s line for swifter relief.
True to my nature I kept a list of the beers I sampled. I made a simple rating system of + for excellent beers, a – for bad beers and no symbol at all for everything else. Luckily I did not actually taste any – beers this time.
- Shipyard Brewing Company: Export Ale
- Woodstock Inn: Old Man Oatmeal Stout
- Owen O’Leary’s: Vanilla Bourbon Irish Stout + (this place seems like a good reason to go to Natick)
- Berkshire Brewing Company: Maibock Lager +
- The Tap Brewpub: Leatherlips India Pale Ale +
- Gardner Ale House: Oma’s Altbier
- Clipper City Brewing Company: Winter Storm “Category 5” Ale
- Offshore Ale Co.: Inkwell Double Stout
- Brooklyn Brewery: Belgian Ale
- Cape Ann Brewing Co.: Fisherman’s Kolsch Ale
- Ithaca Beer Co.: Apricot Wheat +
- Stone Coast Brewing Co.: Knuckleball Bock
- La Trappe Trappistenbier: Koningsheueven Trappist Quadruppel
- Stone Coast Brewing Co.: Sunday River Lager
So it looks like Natick, Deerfield, Haverhill and Ithaca are the places to go for good beer. Or you could always go to Bukowski’s and hope you don’t get Schlitzed.
Update on 4/17I must have thought I was finished with this post, but on rereading I left out some details that I mean to write. First, Craig & I also met up with Ray & Ruth, and later Ryan, three wonderful people who all have names starting with R. Sorry to be neglectful. Second, I have pictures from the Beer Summit which you may see at Othemts.com. Craig has also written about the event on his new blog My Whacky Visions.