A Year of Beer

Five Boston beer celebrations for your calendar, as part of our feature on the best craft beer in New England.

By | Chowder |

Winter Jubilee, Boston Beer EventsA scene from a past Winter Jubilee. (Photo by Chris Toth)

HarpoonFest
5/18–5/19, South Boston, harpoonbrewery.com.
The Basics: Usher in summer with fresh Harpoon IPA and UFO, live music, and scads of twentysomethings.
Best Part: There’s a free shuttle from South Station to the outdoor party — and free nonalcoholic drinks for designated drivers.
Wear: Sunglasses.

Belgian Beer Festival
9/7 to 9/8, Boston, beeradvocate.com.
The Basics: Beer Advocate and Allagash Brewery are behind this celebration of all brews Belgian and Belgian-inspired at the Cyclorama. And yes, waffles will be served.
Best Part: Night of the Funk, the festival’s Friday-evening session, features sours, wilds, and guezes for adventurous taste buds.
Wear: Your best Club Brugge football jersey.

Great Pumpkin Festival
10/27, Cambridge, cambrew.com.
The Basics: Get your gourd on when the Cambridge Brewing Company pours its own
10 pumpkin ales (Punjabi Pumpkin, a saison brewed with curry, cardamom, and other spices, is a standout) and selections from breweries around the country.
Best Part: Monks of the Order of the Great Pumpkin sing Gregorian chants and tap a 300-plus-pound pumpkin filled with Great Pumpkin ale.
Wear: A costume. Duh.

Winter Jubilee
January 18 to 19, 2013, Boston, beersummit.com.
The Basics: More than 70 brewers set up booths and offer tasting notes, tips, and samples of their products (pictured above) at the Boston Park Plaza Castle. The atmosphere is fun and a little frenetic, especially after three and a half hours of imbibing.
Best Part: The venue is just a hop, skip, and a stumble from Chinatown for after-fest eats.
Wear: A homemade pretzel necklace, so you’ve always got a snack.

NERAX
Late March or early April 2013, Somerville, nerax.org.
The Basics: The New England Real Ale Exhibition is a mecca for rabid “real ale” fans. Each year, they make the pilgrimage to Somerville to sip pints of cask-conditioned (read: unfiltered, naturally carbonated) brews poured straight from the keg. All of the beers are served at cellar temperature, or about 50 degrees.
Best Part: A guy dressed as the Grim Reaper erases beer names from a blackboard as casks are kicked.
Wear: Elastic-waist pants.

  • John Doe

    Wow, no mention of the biggest craft beer fest on the east coast – American Craft Beer Fest in June and the most talked about fest – Extreme Beer Fest in Feb.