Beer Drinking Report: American Craft Beer Week

Brooklyn! Not a bad way to start off American Craft Beer Week.

So, it’s American Craft Beer Week, which, as best I can tell, is nothing more than an excuse to get people to drink more craft beer. As you know, I don’t need an excuse.

But it did get me thinking. So I decided that in honor of American Craft Beer Week, I would drink a different kind of craft beer each day this week. I started last night with a Brooklyn Lager, probably one of my top 5 favorite beers. At some point I’m going to have to go down to Brooklyn to tour their brewery, just to see where the magic happens.

Tonight, I went with an old standby — Harpoon IPA. There’s a lot of good IPA out there these days, but Harpoon has always been one of my favorites.

Not sure yet what the rest of the week might bring, but I’m thinking I’ll have to get a bit more creative as the week goes on. I’d love to get a taste of Kate the Great, the once-a-year brew by the Portsmouth Brewery that they’re releasing in dribs and drabs this week. But I don’t have time to sit around on Facebook waiting for them to announce that they’re tapping a barrel, so that seems unlikely.

If you have other suggestions for craft brews I should sample this week, leave a comment here or email us at

For those who are a bit more adventurous, craft breweries in Boston and beyond are also celebrating American Craft Beer Week with all sorts of events. Here’s a list of a few of them:

The big event, at least if you’re in the city, is the 25th anniversary of HarpoonFest, this Friday and Saturday. The festival, held under tents at the Boston brewery, will feature all kinds of Harpoon beer, plus music from various bands. I haven’t been to one of these in years, and I’d like to get back. Sure, it can be a bit of a shit show, with mobs of people in line to get beer. But as long as the weather’s good, it’s usually a good time.

If you don’t mind a drive, the Magic Hat brewery up in Burlington, Vermont will be hosting a similar shindig, called Heavyfest, with lots of their beers, and a special release of their Heavy Wheatbeer exclusively for the event. There will also be an outdoor beer garden, a barbecue, and hourly tours of the brewery.

Switchback Brewing Co. Tours
Switchback Brewing Co., also in Vermont, will be having tours Saturday at 1 and 2 p.m. Reservations are required. They will also be pouring their new Roasted Red Ale at the tours. You can’t buy this beer in Massachusetts, so if you want to try it, it may be worth the drive.

Portsmouth Brewery Limited Beer Release
Then there’s the Portsmouth Brewery in New Hampshire. As mentioned above, they’ll be trotting out limited amounts of their renowned Kate the Great beer three times during craft beer week. But you have to follow them on Facebook to know when they’re going to be releasing it. And I can tell you from experience that unless you’re in New Hampshire when they announce it, it’s going to be long gone by the time you get there.

Long Trail Brewing Co. Pairing and Discussion
Long Trail Brewing out of Vermont will be holding an event Tuesday night at the Russell House in Harvard Square, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., pairing foods with some of their beers. Then on Thursday night, they’ll be at the Whiskey Priest roof deck, where their brew master, Mike Gerhart, will be on hand, interacting with people, talking about beer, and answering questions. Sounds pretty cool.

Gritty McDuff’s Special Oak Brews
Gritty McDuff’s, with locations in Portland, Freeport and Auburn, Maine, will be celebrating Craft Beer Week with oak. In Auburn, they’ll be tapping dry hopped/oaked Porter, then oaked Stout. In Portland, they’re starting with an oaked brown ale on Wednesday, followed by an oaked Best Bitter once the brown is kicked. In Freeport, they have oaked Best Bitter, followed by an IPA.

Mr. X is a contributor to the Beer Drinking Report.