12 Feb Indiana beer shines bright at BeerAdvocate’s Extreme Beer Fest
When I search a beer menu or board I often look through the styles and descriptions first. When I find something that looks interesting I will then look to see who made it. Depending on my mood, I will look for a new style, or an ingredient I have never seen, and order that beer first. I’ve drank many different styles of beer that has included more adjuncts than I can remember. Even if I do not care for the beer, I would have never known if I had not tried something new. I hear people remark that they only like a specific style, or refuse to try anything hoppy, or want the lightest beer available. I used to think all Belgian beers were the same and wouldn’t try them. That is not true any longer! I love to try new beers and the funkier they are, the more I want to try them.
On February 5-6 BeerAdvocate hosted the Extreme Beer Fest in Boston, MA, sponsored by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. If you like fun, one off, and/or funky beers this is the place to be. The entry process to the event is one of the most well run I have been to. As you get into line there is a group checking IDs, another stamping hands, and another walking the line to scan tickets and put on wrist bands. We were about the middle of the line and 45 minutes before the doors opened we were ready to go. Once the doors opened we strolled in while getting bumped by people rushing to specific breweries. There were only a few really long lines so I just avoided them and hoped the line would die down.
The first beer I grabbed was Rum Barrel Aged Mangrove from 7venth Sun out of Dunedin, Fl. This rum barrel aged double IPA had an earthy noble hop flavor that mingled with the rum and barrel very well. This was a rich beer full of caramel, barrel, spice, and of course rum. It was a great beer to start off the event with. Next door was Jakie O’s from Athens, OH and they brought everything from a Berliner Weiss to a RIS to an American Wild. I chose the Dark Apparition with Nuts and was not disappointed. This 10.5% ABV Russian Imperial Stout drank closer to 6% ABV and left an oil slick covering your mouth. There were notes of dark fruit and nuts coming through in the nose and mouth. It made me want to plan a trip to Athens for one of their big releases. Sleeping in the car is optional…
There were some fun beers at this fest that hit the mark and some that didn’t. I was able to try Dogfish Head’s Hoo Lawd 658 IBU IPA. DFH owner Sam Calagione helped develop an experimental hop named Alpha Beast which was included with CO2 Extracts of Simcoe, Warrior, and Amarillo hops to create Hoo Lawd. This was like drinking straight hop oil. It took two sours and a lot of water to get the bitterness out of my mouth. I am guessing this was the point to the beer though, and they made their point. Four Quarters Brewing provided one of the days highlights with their Pineapple Jalapeno Gose. This was like eating a slightly salted piece of pineapple that had the juice of a chili pepper drizzled over it. The sweet and salty worked well together and the jalapeno provided a nice fresh vegetable note with a very slight amount of heat in the back of the throat. This was one of the most enjoyable beers I had at the fest!
There were many different styles of beer represented at Extreme Beer Fest. Imperial stouts were everywhere and some of the best came from Louisville, KY’s Against the Grain. They brought multiple variants of Bo and Luke as well as 70K. Several brewers brought Brett IPAs to the festival. A great representation of this category was Banded Horn Brewing’s Brett Loves Veridian. There were only a few breweries that didn’t have some sort of sour at their booth. Cambridge Brewing’s Cerise Cassee American Sour Ale was very very good – I am a sucker for tart cherries in a beer and when added to this sour base it makes for a beer that will have you puckering up and licking your lips at the same time. I wish I would have had sessions for both Friday and Saturday so I could have tried more.
Extreme had brewers from all over taking part in this fest. There were several breweries representing the west coast like Rare Barrel, The Lost Abbey, and Breakside. The east coast obviously had a huge presence at the Boston based festival. The south, with Funky Buddha, 7venth Sun, and Due South all coming in from Florida showed well. There was even a brewery from Vankleed Hill, Ontario, Canada named Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company pouring at the fest. One of my favorite beers is Deviate Brewing’s Strudel Cake barrel aged Scottish ale. The first version of this beer was aged in apple brandy barrels, and was blow-your-mind delicious! When I saw Beau’s had a Scottish ale aged in apple brandy barrels I had to have it. I was not disappointed. While it was missing the sweet strudel cake flavors, it had notes of banana and oak that powered through the maltiness of the beer. This is my second experience with Canadian craft brewers and I have not been disappointed yet.
Keep drinking great beer and talking about it, I know I will!