BeerAdvocate’s 11th annual Extreme Beer Fest takes place downtown at the Seaport World Trade Center this weekend, and that means brewers from all over the country will soon be descending on our fair town, toting kegs of delicious brews that are rarely – if ever – on tap in Boston.
It makes for a lot of beer; 250+ different kinds actually. There will be eisbocks, goses, and zwickelbiers, there will be beers that are brewed to taste like French toast, s’mores, and carrot cake. There will even a beer brewed with pig heads and bones – vegans may want to avoid that one – you name it, if it’s a bizarre, off-the-beaten-path style of beer; it’s likely the Alström brothers have corralled it here this weekend.
Last year, the fest had to reschedule after winter storm Nemo tightened its icy clutch on Boston and shut down the city’s transportation. While the fest was only bumped back a month, many of the brewers (and attendees) couldn’t manage to book a second trip to Boston, meaning all parties involved are probably looking forward to a do-over.
Regardless, this is a weekend beer nerds have long since circled on their calendars. They’ll be there this weekend, braving long lines[i] for a 2 oz. sample of Founders Brewing Company’s KBS, a luscious bourbon barrel coffee stout and The Bruery’s Chocolate Rain, a decadent (and mighty boozy at 19.50% ABV) cocoa stout. Both beers carry “world-class” 100 ratings on BeerAdvocate and ‘tickers,’ the voracious sect of craft beer fans who are determined to check off as many different kinds of beer as possible, will be out in full force.
Ticking can lead to overindulgence though, a concept that’s become one of the more recently scrutinized craft beer culture vices as of late. Just because there will be 250+ different kinds of bizarre, ultra-rare types of beer to try doesn’t mean you actually have to try them all, right?
What if you could only try a few of these world class beers?
With that in mind, we put together a list of five breweries whose beers rarely make it to New England that are worth standing in line for.
[i] While lines are almost inescapable at fests like this, it’s worth mentioning that the move from the Cyclorama in years past to the much, much larger Seaport World Trade Center this year will help.
|1.||Cigar City Brewing|
Try: Don Gavino’s Big Guava, a tart beer brewed with guava, aged in chardonnay barrels, the Margarita Gose, a limey, salty, margarita-inspired beer, and a special batch of Marshal Zhukov, another one of Cigar City’s well-regarded imperial stouts that has spent some time in rum barrels.
|2.||Toppling Goliath Brewing Company|
Try: Mornin’ Delight obviously – but also try the brewery’s trio of hoppy IPAs, ZeeLander, Sosus and PseudoSue, brewed with New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops, Mosaic hops and Citra hops, respectively.
|3.||Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project|
Try: Nightmare on Brett, an oaky, Brett Baltic porter aged in bourbon barrels and CS’ winter edition of its Vieille Artisanal Saison, a fuchsia-colored farmhouse ale brewed with cranberries, cinnamon, hibiscus and nutmeg.
|4.||Funky Buddha Brewery|
Try: Unfortunately neither of the aforementioned beers are on this weekend’s menu but we’re willing to bet that What’s For Breakfast, a double brown ale that smells like French toast and syrup and No Crusts, a beer that showcases the “intense aroma of creamy peanut butter mingling with mixed berry jam” will do the trick. Those looking to channel the summery weather of Florida (palm trees, spring training, etc.) may want to try the Passionfruit Berlinerweiss. The tart German style beer is brewed with the tropical fruit puree and promises to be an “intoxicatingly fruity, yet refreshing experience.”
|5.||Dark Horse Brewing Company|
Try: Plead the 5th – but also try their smoky bacon-infused beer, This Little Piggy Went to Dark Horse, Where The Wild Things Macerate Raspberries, a sour raspberry beer aged in French oak wine barrels, and Sarsaparilla 666, a spicy root beer stout.