Just when I was thinking that it had been awhile since I’d been to a good craft beer festival, WGBH of PBS TV fame swooped in with 27 breweries, 3 bands, and 2 food trucks to keep my summer buzz going through September. So, what, you might ask, made this event different from any other craft beer festival?
For one, live music throughout the night. The Roy Sludge Trio started the evening’s entertainment with event-appropriate songs like “Beer Bottle Mama” and “Too Drunk to Truck.” Alternative rock band Nemes took over after them, wow-ing me with an instrumental version of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” and The Blue Ribbons finished the night strong.
Roy Sludge Trio
Secondly, kombucha. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been to a beer event where this fermented sweet tea made an appearance. High in probiotics, it has a sort of sci-fi backstory and is technically a “live” food. I sampled the fizzy drink from Homebrew Emporium and a blueberry version from Urban Farm Fermentory and both were surprisingly drinkable. If you ever have the opportunity to try it, definitely do, but give your tasting cup a good rinse before you turn back to beer.
Homebrew Emporium was actively steeping grains for an English IPA and dropped some knowledge on the legalization of homebrewing: Jimmy Carter approved it in the late 70s for up to 100 gallons. When I think of how many local breweries get started in a basement or living room, it’s only right that we give a toast to President Carter.
Summer was in full swing with brews like Blue Hills’ Watermelon Wheat and Grey Sail’s Hazy Day Belgian. Big Elm had a Farmhouse Ale with notes of chamomile and peppercorn that almost took my place for favorite. It tied for second with Cambridge Brewing Company’s “Remain in Light” pilsner. Ultimately, Aeronaut Brewing had me back for seconds (and thirds!) with their ice-cold Kristallweizen.
Cambridge Brewing Company
Grey Sail Brewing
This was only WGBH’s second year with this event and I’d say it’s definitely a keeper: low-key and well-organized with a variety of vendors. Like all things WGBH, it matched education and entertainment; and, as we all know, one of the best ways to learn is with a beer in hand.* Next time the Craft Beer Festival rolls around, grab a ticket to support local television, local breweries, and some very local taste buds (yours).
*Not scientifically founded