Event Recap: American Craft Beer Festival 2009 – Boston, Ma

If you are a craft beer enthusiast living in New England, it’s more than likely that you went to the American Craft Beer Festival or knew a friend that did.

Last Friday and Saturday, the Beer Advocate Team – led by Jason and Todd Alstrom, hosted their second annual American Craft Beer Festival (also known as the ACBF). 75 breweries from all across the nation came to this event, bringing over 300 different varieties of beer. The list of breweries were full of well known craft breweries, such as Stone Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Brewery, and Sierra Nevada, along with some larger regional breweries, such as Long Trail, Shipyard, Harpoon and Mercury. There were also some smaller local breweries, like Mayflower Brewing company, the Gardner Ale house, Blue Hills Brewery and Pretty Things Brewery. The list of who’s who goes on for ever — well to about 75 — which isn’t really forever.

For those who have not attended a major craft beer festival, the breweries are setup like they are at a craft fair. Along with their kegs/cans/bottles of beer, they bring their signs and their marketing items to setup their booth. Most breweries have key chains or coasters to give away to their fans. Some also bring shirts, hats and other fun things to purchase. Purchase is NOT necessary to have fun at this even (well, other than the ticket to enter the event).

When you enter the event, you are provided with a souvenir cup and a complex map of the brewery locations. You are free to roam about — shooting the shit with your favorite brewery. There were some breweries that had massive lines and others that didn’t. If you were new to brewery events, you could easily skip about trying different craft beers. It’s quite a fun time.

Here are some common things that you might over hear at craft beer event…
– OMG… Doghead fish is here.. I love them
– WOW, look at that crazy guy. Who dressed him today.
– I just tasted the best beer that I’ve ever had. Too bad I can’t buy it in a store.
– Um, I’ve lost my husband. I’m never going to find him tonight.
– That dude looks like he’s got a man crush on him.
– I hate last call.

I had attended the first ACBF and this year I brought along 10 other friends. Here’s a picture of our group:

I started off the evening with one of my favorite beers Clipper City – Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA. I guess your not worthy unless you drink it wearing the Clipper City eye patch — Yelling “AAAARRRRRGGGG”.

Here’s a glimpse of what the setup looked like towards the beginning of the event.

Some of my favorite beers during the event were:

* Haverhill Tap’s Berlinerweiss (amazing sour taste)
* Victory Brewing Company’s Storm King Imperial Stout
* Sea Dog Brewing Company’s BluePaw – Unfiltered Blueberry Wheat.
* Dogfish Head’s Sah’tea (new limited release beer which was VERY tasty)

As I think about it, the list could go on and on. There seemed to be an increasing number of fruit beers this year — especially made with watermellon. I don’t have an official count, but I think there were about 4-5 breweries that served their beers from a can. Canned craft beer is great.

Overall, we had a great time at the ACBF and I am glad that a group of us went this year. It can get rather crowded, but it was easy to find a space to chill out. If you went to the first ACBF, but not the second, the food lines were much better. There was additional staff to handle all of your hunger needs and there were two food stations — rather than one understaffed station without enough food prepared.

In addition, if you missed out on seeing the BEER WARS MOVIE, there was a special showing of the movie and a Q/A session with the director Anat Baron.

If you missed out on this event, please put this event on your calendar for next year. I’m going to.


Drink Craft Beer, You’ve Earned It!!!

P.s. If you attended the event and would like to share the beers that you like the most, please add a comment to this story.

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