The Ultimate Guide to 2016 Extreme Beer Fest Parties in Boston
More than 75 of craft beer’s most inventive brewers descend into Boston next weekend for the annual Extreme Beer Fest, and, as usual, the BeerAdvocate blowout has been sold out for months. Didn’t score a ticket to one of this year’s sessions? That doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to try some of the esoteric offerings. From the Seaport to Everett and every beer bar in between, here are the tap takeovers, special releases, meet-and-greets, and boozy brunches before, during, and after the February 5-6 extravaganza. All parties are pay-as-you-consume, unless otherwise noted. Here’s your To Drink list:
Monday, February 1, 5 p.m.: Omnipollo Tap Night. Row 34 beer buyer Megan Parker-Gray’s favorite Swedish brewery is coming to town with Fatamorgana, Abrahadabra, Brett Bianca, Mango Lassi Gose, Fruit Tap 2: Lemonade, a bourbon barrel-aged Noa Pecan Mud Cake, Shilkmake, and Symzonia.
Thursday, February 4, 5 p.m.: The Bruery / Maine Beer Co. Fourthmeal Release. In addition to the Bruery’s Belgian-style homage to Maine Beer Co.’s hoppy Lunch and Dinner IPAs, specialty offerings from the two breweries include Beret, 7 Swans A Swimming, a 2013 Oude Tart with cherries; Another One, Zoe, and others.
Friday, February 5, 10 p.m., Row 34 cooler room, $5 cover: After Sours. As the first night of the fest clears out, head to Row 34 for drafts from the Rare Barrel, Cascade, Crux Fermentation Project, Breakside, Allagash, Kent Falls, Upland, Four Quarters, and Night Shift, plus oysters personally shucked by Island Creek’s CJ Husk. Tickets are sold at the door and come with one, 3-oz. pour, or three oysters.
Saturday, February 6, noon: Against the Grain Party. The Fort Point restaurant opens early with its full dinner menu and special offerings from Louisville, Kentucky brewery Against the Grain, including Pappy Van Winkle barrel-aged Bo and Luke; Kentucky Ryed Chiquen, New Day IPA, Gimme S’More, and others.
Saturday, February 6, 9 p.m.: Other Half / Trillium After Party: The neighboring brewery is sending over six kegs for a Saturday session after-party beers, and Brooklyn’s Other Half will have 10 on offer.
All events at the Row 34 bar unless otherwise noted; 383 Congress St., Boston; 617-553-5900 or row34.com.
The Tip Tap Room
Thursday, February 4, 6 p.m., EBF Launch Party with Craft Collective: Try special selections from small breweries around the northeast, including Banded Horn’s The Mountain Russian Imperial Stout; Earth Eagle’s White Light Blond Gruit; and Finback’s Red Shirt American Sour with yuzu and cranberry, courtesy of Boston’s boutique distributor.
Friday, February 5, 10 p.m., EBF Session 1 After Party: Representatives from Port Brewing Company, Lost Abbey, and Wicked Weed are heading to Beacon Hill after the first session, with a few special kegs.
138 Cambridge St., Boston; 857-350-3344 or thetiptaproom.com.
The Merchant: 10 (+1) at 10: EBF After-Party
The Merchant is expecting some EBF brewers to join them in Downtown Crossing after the first raucous night of the festival. Ten beers—and one surprise—will be on draft, including Opal, a rootsy, rustic saison by Firestone Walker; Peach Guava Berliner Weisse from Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery; and Pants are Cumbersome, a kettle sour collaboration from Dogfish Head and Burley Oak with beach plums, chocolate rye, and lactobacillus. Drunk munchies? The kitchen is open ’til 1 a.m.
Friday, February 5, 10 p.m., 60 Franklin St., Boston; 617-482-6060 or themerchantboston.com.
Wednesday, February 3, 6 p.m.-close, Almanac Beer Co. Tap Takeover: Brewer’s Fork is hosting new-to-Mass. Almanac Beer Co. Representatives from the San Francisco company will be on hand with the most robust lineup on offer during their EBF week visit to Boston. Expect their eponymous IPA, Barbary Coast, Dogpatch Sour, a couple Farmer’s Reserve offerings, Hoppy Sour: Mosaic, and more.
Thursday, February 4, 6 p.m.-close, Extreme Beer Fest Pre-Party: All 20 of this Charlestown gem’s draft lines will be pouring rare beers from some EBF brewers, who will also be on hand. The list is TBA, but expect delights from Allagash, Ballast Point, Crux, and more.
7 Moulton St., Charlestown 617-337-5703 or brewersfork.com.
The Publick House: Wicked Weed Launch Party
The Publick House is hosting the first tapping of Wicked Weed kegs in Massachusetts. Staff from the Asheville brewery will be on hand to celebrate. Expect multiple sour and hop-forward brews, along with other EBF offerings.
Wednesday, February 3, 7 p.m.-midnight, 1648 Beacon St., Brookline; 617-277-2880 or thepublickhousebeerbar.com.
Monday, February 1, Cellar Party: The only way to make room for new brews in the cellar is to drink the ones in there now. Full list is TBA.
Tuesday, February 2, Brew England Night: Drafts from Allagash, Proclamation, Schilling, Stoneface (with a little help from Tod Mott), 14th Star, SoMe, Lord Hobo Brewing Co., and more Northeast producers.
Wednesday, February 3, West Coast Night: Lord Hobo’s favorite Left Coast breweries take over. Offerings TBA.
Thursday, February 4, The Pregame: Asheville’s Wicked Weed has 15-20, TBD beers on draft; Lost Abbey is bringing 10 from San Diego; and the Inman Square pub is one of 20 locations around the country to get Melvin Brewing’s stellar 2X4 DIPA, from Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7, starts at 10 a.m.: Hangover Brunch: You’re going to need it.
92 Hampshire St., Cambridge; 617-250-8454 or lordhobo.com.
Wednesday, February 3, 7-10 p.m., Craft Collective Night: Pregame with 10 drafts courtesy of boutique distributor Craft Collective. Expect special offerings from Banded Horn Brewing Co., Earth Eagle Brewings, Finback Brewery, Relic Brewing Co., Upland Brewing Company, and more.
Thursday, February 4, 7-10 p.m., Epic Brewing Night: Utah’s first new brewery since Prohibition expanded to a second facility in Denver in 2013. Now, its brews are available in Massachusetts. Draft list TBA.
1281 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge; 617-497-7077 or bukowskitavern.net.
Meadhall: The Official EPF Kickoff Party
BeerAdvocate founders Jason and Todd Alström and EBF sponsor Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head—maybe you’ve heard of him—get the party started, along with other special guests and Meadhall’s 100-tap bar. Expect at least a couple dozen drafts from EBF participants, including 2SP Brewing, 7venth Sun Brewing Co., Crux, Funky Buddha Brewery, Revolution Brewing, and many more.
Thursday, February 4, 5 p.m.-1 a.m., 4 Cambridge Ctr., Kendall Square, Cambridge; 617-714-4658 or Facebook.
Thursday, February 4, noon-5 p.m., Trophy Brewing Collaboration Bottle Release: Barrel’d Trophy is a blended, wild ale, brewed collaboratively by Night Shift and Trophy out of Raleigh, N.C. It’s available by the bottle at this early bird party. It’s also on draft, among other Night Shift beers, including Tripel Reserve, a Belgian-style tripel stashed in the cellar since 2014. Daddy’s Bonetown Burgers provides the (non-liquid) lunch.
Friday, February 5, noon-11 p.m., EBF Funk’d Friday: A couple funky, brettanomyces ferments will be unearthed from Night Shift’s cellar, including a 2014 Funk’d Blanc, aged in white wine barrels, and a 2015 Funk’d Rouge, aged in red. Munch Mobile Kitchen is on hand with noms by 5 p.m., and there will be live music later on.
Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Special Drafts: Night Shift is opening its taproom early to help you feel better about missing out on tickets to Extreme Beer Fest. A cellared keg of Harborside, a summertime gose brewed with Island Creek oysters and coriander, is on draft; along with Darkling, a double-mash, bourbon barrel-aged stout. Clover Food Lab rolls in with lunch at 2 p.m.
Sunday, February 7, Munch Brunch & Bottle Release: More than 200 bottles are coming up from the cellar—the list is a surprise, so far—and there will also be cellared brews on draft, including Harborside and Darkling. Munch Mobile Kitchen is serving brunch, and live music fills the taproom.
Kirkland Tap & Trotter
Thursday, February 4, 8 p.m., Almanac x KT&T: Chef Tony Maws is preparing bar snacks to pair with farm-to-table offerings from San Francisco brewery Almanac, like their Almanac IPA, Barbary Coast, Saison de Brettaville, and Elephant Heart de Brettaville.
Sunday, February 7, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Post-EBF Brunch: Chill out—or nurse your weeklong hangover—with the BeerAdvocate and Dogfish Head crews, and KT&T’s shareable brunch plates. Select Dogfish Head brews populate some of the draft lines.
425 Washington St., Somerville; 857-259-6585 or kirklandtapandtrotter.com.
Friday, February 5, and Saturday, February 6, 5 p.m.-midnight: Somerville Brewing is bringing five Slumbrew beers to EBF, but if you can’t get to the festival, you can try a flight at its Ward Street taproom. There’s a Snow-Less Angel, a “less-imperial” version of its Snow Angel DIPA; an orange cream ale Hang Five; Union, a barleywine aged in Old Ipswich Tavern Rum barrels; Gose the Destroyer, a hibiscus gose; Super Luma, a triple version of its Luma Luma IPA; and Porter for Paradise, aged with coconut and coffee.
15 Ward St., Somerville; 800-428-1150 or slumbrew.com.
The Independent: Extreme Beer Fest After-Party
Smuttlabs, Allagash, Oskar Blues, Ballast Point, Cambridge Brewing Company, and Other Half are taking over the Independent’s draft lines following the festival.
Saturday, February 6, 10 p.m., 75 Union Square, Somerville; 617-440-6022 or theindo.com.