|
|
|
The Times
  • The Beer Nut: A can’t-miss beer event

  • The International Festival of Small Brewers and Cider Makers is coming to Worcester, Mass., in June and has the most impressive lineup of breweries and beer I have ever seen.


     

    • email print
  • When I say that the list of breweries and cider makers scheduled to attend the International Festival of Small Brewers and Cider Makers in June at Mechanic’s Hall in Worcester, Mass., is the most impressive one I have ever seen, I’m speaking from the experience of attending more than 100 festivals over the past few years.
    The festival is sponsored by Shelton Brothers, a beer importer from Belchertown, and 12% Imports of New York.
    In all, more than 50 breweries from around the world and cider makers are scheduled to attend. The actual brewers or people from the breweries will be in attendance, pouring their beers and ciders as well as interacting with beer fans, said Shelton Brothers spokesman Matt Dinges.
    “We wanted to have an event that focused only on small brewers and cider makers, and wanted to make certain that it wasn’t just about getting drunk or making a fortune for the people organizing it,” said Dinges. “All of the brewers and cider makers will be on hand to discuss their products, their ideas, and the places where they work. This direct interaction is absent at most beer festivals in the U.S., where volunteers or “promo people” are on hand pouring the beers.”
    Now, let’s take a look at the beer list. When I said breweries from around the world, I was not exaggerating.
    There are breweries from New Zealand (such as 8 Wired Brewing and Yeastie Boys), Spain (Masia Agullons Cervesa Artesana and La Companiya Cervesera del Montseny)), France (Au Baron) and Japan (Baird Brewing Company). Other countries represented include Belgium, Denmark, Canada, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, England, Germany and Switzerland.
    American breweries, such as Cambridge Brewing Company and High & Mighty Beer Company from Massachusetts, Hill Farmstead Brewery from Vermont and Anchorage Brewing Company from Alaska, will also be on hand.
    “All the foreign brewers on the list are breweries and cider makers working with Shelton Brothers of 12% Imports,” said Dinges. “The few American breweries on the list also work in some way with one of us, either for U.S. distribution or export to Europe. The one further requirement that we had was the actual brewers be on hand to pour their beers. They’re traveling from all over the world to be in Worcester, from Japan, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, Alaska, Spain and lots of other places. There has never been a truly international beer festival like this in the U.S. before.”
    When I go to beer festivals, I always try to find breweries whose beers I haven’t tried or I can’t buy locally. With The Festival, this won’t be a problem, because there are so many rare breweries. I asked Dinges for some recommendations for “can’t miss” beers.
    “There is a new German brewery, called Freigeist, which will make its American debut at The Festival,” he said. “Agullons, from Spain, is tiny, and can produce only enough beer to send us a pallet or two at a time. A tiny farmhouse brewery from France, called Au Baron, basically makes just one house beer that’s awesome. We at Shelton Brothers always mention Brasserie Blaugies when asked a question like this. Their saison is great. A few New Zealand breweries are attending. There’s quite a beer scene developing down there, and most of these beers have been in the U.S. for a very short period of time.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The festival will be held June 23 and 24 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. There will be three sessions: noon to 4 p.m. and 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on June 23; and noon to 5 p.m. June 24.
    Tickets are $60 per session or $160 for all three sessions. Tickets are limited to 1,000 per session. Tickets are available by logging onto http://thefestival2012.eventbrite.com/.
    This is the closest to a can’t-miss event I’ve ever seen. I’ll be there.
    For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email nmiller@wickedlocal.com. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut. Also follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/realbeernut.
     

      calendar