A Year of Beer

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

Winter Jubilee, Boston Beer Events

Photo by Chris Toth

A scene from a past Winter Jubilee. 

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.