Weekend Update – Happy Cinco de Mayo


I hope that you had a great weekend. For me, it was a very busy beer weekend, in which I attended both Nerax and CBC. In case you forget, here are the Previous blogs:

CBC Birthday Celebration
NERAX 2008 – Be there or be square

Nerax (New England Real Ale Exhibition)

Ryan and I traveled to Somerville on Friday night to enjoy the Nerax festival for the second year in a row. It was rainy and we didn’t have tickets, so we got into the city early. After finding a key parking spot, we secure entry into the event and jaunted over to the Liquor and Beer store (which is 1 block away). We were impressed with the selection of European and Craft beer available. We purchased a few select beers that we haven’t seen at other stores and we were on our way.

After standing in line until the doors opened, for only 20 minutes, we headed into the tap room. There were 60+ cask conditioned ales available. Some were connected to hand driven pumps and others were sitting on a rack with a turn spout in the end. The beers were available in 1/4 ($1.50) , 1/2 ($2.50), and full imperial pint ($5.00) sizes.

Ryan and I decided to stick with the American Cask Ales with the hopes of trying all of them (sticking with strictly 1/4 size). The selection included the following:

Allagash Brewing (Portland, ME) – Dubbel ABV: 7.0% OG: 1064
Andrews Brewing (Lincolnville, ME) – Andrews English Pale Ale ABV: 4.8% OG: 1052
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) (Boston, MA) – Cider — ABV: 6.7% IBU: 0
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) (Boston, MA) – Holiday Porter — ABV: 5.8%
Cambridge Brewing (Cambridge, MA) – Charles River Porter — ABV: 6.0% OG: 1060
Gardner Ale House (Gardner, MA) – Naked Stout ABV: 3.8% OG: 1041 IBU: 36
Geary’s (Portland, ME) – Hampshire Special Ale ABV: 7.0% OG: 1070
Geary’s (Portland, ME) – Pale Ale — Still pouring at end ABV: 4.5% OG: 1047
Gritty McDuff’s (Portland, ME) – Best Bitter ABV: 5.0% OG: 1050 IBU: 42
Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA) – Harpoon Ale ABV: 5.0% OG: 1055 IBU: 24
Honest Town Brewery (Southbridge, MA) – S.O.B. – Southbridge Ordinary Bitter — ABV: 3.9% OG: 1040 IBU: 24
Kennebunk Brewing Company (Kennebunk, ME) – Royal IPA ABV: 6.5% OG: 1063
Martha’s Exchange (Nashua, NH) – Velvet Elvis Vanilla Bean Stout ABV: 4.8%
Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing (North Conway, NH) – Spruce Tip Brown ABV: 5.4% OG: 1050
Opa Opa Steakhouse and Brewery (Southampton, MA) – Red Rock Ale ABV: 6.0% OG: 1056 IBU: 28
Pennichuck Brewing (Milford, NH) – Halligan Rye PA ABV: 5.1% OG: 1050 IBU: 41
People’s Pint (Greenfield, MA) – Pied PIPA ABV: 5.7% OG: 1060 IBU: 50
Portsmouth Brewery (Portsmouth, NH) – American Mild ABV: 4.5% OG: 1048 IBU: 36
Redhook (Portsmouth, NH) – Long Hammer — ABV: 6.5% OG: 1057 IBU: 37
Rock Bottom (Braintree, MA) – North Star Ale — ABV: 5.0% OG: 1048 IBU: 28
Sebago Brewing (Gorham, ME) – Slick Nick — ABV: 6.5%
Sheepscot Valley Brewing (Whitefield, ME) – Sheepscot Bitter Pale Ale — ABV: 5.0% OG: 1050
Shipyard Brewing (Portland, ME) – Old Thumper — ABV: 5.8% OG: 1060 IBU: 36
Smuttynose Brewing (Portsmouth, NH) – IPA ABV: 6.6% OG: 1060 IBU: 65
Smuttynose Brewing (Portsmouth, NH) – Portsmouth Lager — ABV: 4.5% OG: 1048 IBU: 15
The TAP (Haverhill, MA) – Leatherlips ABV: 5.5% OG: 1049 IBU: 50
Willimantic Brewing (Willimantic, CT) – Postage Porter ABV: 5.6% OG: 1058 IBU: 25

We were sad to miss Cape Ann Brewing (Gloucester, MA) – Fisherman’s Ale, which was available Saturday and Clipper City Brewing (Baltimore, MD) – Loose Cannon IPA and Red Sky at Night Saison Ale, which never arrived.

I’ll check my notes later, but I think we at least sipped many of those listed above. This list seems dauntingly long, but it totals up to about 3 1/2 beers a piece.

The most memorable beers were:
– Martha’s Exchange (Nashua, NH) – Velvet Elvis Vanilla Bean Stout
– The TAP (Haverhill, MA) – Leatherlips
– Sebago Brewing (Gorham, ME) – Slick Nick
– Gardner Ale House (Gardner, MA) – Naked Stout

Least Favorite:
– Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing (North Conway, NH) – Spruce Tip Brown

For hot treats, Redbones was setup with a table selling Pulled Pork, Chicken and Beef. The sandwiches were delicious.

Overall, Ryan and I had a fun time. The crowd wasn’t too bad (because they limit the number of people allowed in). At times, some of the lines moved slower than the others. Having 1-2 additional pourers might have helped, but overall it was a fun evening. The folks from shipyard were in attendance. Once NERAX was closed, Ryan and I hung out with them for a bit before we headed home.

Cambridge Brewing Company

On Saturday night, Amber and I ventured into Boston to celebrate the CBC’s 19 Beers for 19 Years. We sorta new how to get there, but we missed the exit on Storrow Drive. It was ok, we decided to take a leisurely driving tour of Cambridge. We found MIT, but we aren’t sure how to get back there.

We landed at CBC around 8:00. The crowd was manageable and we signed up for a table. It didn’t take too long and we were seated. I started with a Red God 2008 and Amber started with the Cherry Stout. Red God was amazingly hoppy and delicious, served in a thing Belgian style beer glass. The Cherry Stout was dark and malty, served in a snifter glass. The cherry aspects were not detectable in the aroma, but slightly noticeable in the taste.

In addition, we also tried the beers listed below. Unfortunately, ~9 of the 19 beers had been kicked before we got there. We enjoyed our dinner. The server was not very attentive, but it seemed like the crew had a long tiring day.

Complete list of beers we tried:

Bitchin’ Bitter – 4.0% (Sean)
Red God 2008 – 8.5% (Sean)
Cherry Stout – Stout Aged With Organic Montmorency Cherries – 6.3% (Amber)
Om – Barrel-aged Liquid Enlightenment – 9.4% (Sean)
Biere de Miel 2007 – Belgian-style Blonde Ale with Cambridge Honey – 8.8% (Amber)

Sunday Night Comparison

On Sunday night, Amber and I performed a side by side comparison of two highly rated beers.

* Oskar Blues – 10 Fidy Imperial Stout (no official 2Beerguy review-yet and 99 percentile on RateBeer.com )
* Flying Dog – Gonzo Imperial Porter (24 of 30 2Beerguy review and 98 Percentile on RateBeer.com)

Both beers looked and smelled amazing. Without knowing that one was a porter and the other was a stout, it would be difficult to determine which was which based on Visual and Aroma aspects. Both were as black as oil, topped with a gorgeous light brown head. The 10 Fidy was slightly smokey and thicker in body. There was a noticeable alcohol presence in both offerings, but not over whelming. It was difficult to say which one was better, but the Gonzo Imperial Porter edged out the Oskar Blues 10 fidy.

In case you missed it being mentioned above, a few of us have decided to had to the Haverhill tap tonight to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It is an open invitation to anyone who would like to join us. We expect to arrive around 7:30. See you there.


Drink Craft Beer, You’ve Earned It.

p.s. Riverhawks Dec Hockey team update – On Sunday, we won game 2 to complete the best of 3 championship series and win the C division trophy.

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