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Craft Beer at its Best

The Park Plaza Castle transformed itself into an unconventional convention last weekend for the 6th Annual Boston Beer Summit Harvest. 56 brewers lined the walls and formed a center aisle where over 200 craft beers were sampled back to back. The hall buzzed with chatter among participants and their favorite brewers as techniques and flavor profiles were discussed by enthusiasts from around the Boston area. As the lights flickered at 9 p.m. after three and a half hours of cheers and merriment the still-full session begged for more before emptying into the crowded streets of a bustling Saturday night.

New England's own Chopville plays to a lovely crowd.

New England’s own Chopville plays to a lovely crowd.

The Boston Beer Summit Harvest is renowned for its eclectic mixture of stouts, IPAs, Belgian wheats, ambers, pales and more. Upon entrance, attendees were given a sampling cup which could be refilled as many times as one is able. Boston-favorite The Sausage Guy was present with his delectable fare while the more experienced among those present brought necklaces of pretzels, bagels and cheese to enjoy between samples. Entertainment was provided by New England native Chopville, an acoustic duo who provided dance music and crowd pleasers for a diverse audience.

Lines were seen for only the first hour as the crowd rushed to the most popular tables, but quickly the room filled to the back of the grand hall, making any counter quickly accessible. Each station had at least one employee available that was knowledgeable about the particular brews and the history of the brand in general. 14th Star Brewing, a first time Beer Summit attendee, brought with it a brew only a professional could describe. The Maple Breakfast Stout includes cold brewed coffee and Vermont Maple syrup to produce a lighter stout with a smooth finish unlike anything else at the convention.

The hall was filled to the brim with craft beer fanatics.

The hall was filled to the brim with craft beer fanatics.

Another highlight from the tables was the Naukabout White Cap IPA straight out of Cape Cod. With all the hops and bitterness that make a good IPA, a citrus note adds a sweetness to the blend that made this beer a memorable one.

A less intense IPA came from Grey Sail Brewing out of Rhode Island, known for its variety of craft beers. Good hop characters following by a smooth, non-bitter taste provide a chance to transition from the Bud Light and PBR’s college living is known for. Their latest addition the Captain’s Daughter, though not in attendance at the Beer Summit Harvest, is worth the purchase in any local pub.

An unexpected station at the convention was specialty seasoned beef producers Kalahari Biltong. No brews to be tested here; instead attendees were able to sample dried prosciutto utilizing a mere six ingredients to create a South African delicacy unlike anything found in the U.S.  Packing 27 grams of protein in a single bag, the beef is gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free and paleo-friendly.

The Boston Beer Summit Harvest is one of the best times a craft beer fanatic can have in the city. A gathering of breweries on a scale almost unheard of in the industry, the Summit will offer options and variety far above the average festival. Get ready for the next event this upcoming season: the Winter Jubilee.

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