Beer. It pretty much makes the world go round. Actually, nevermind, that’s probably oil and nukes or whatever porkbelly futures are. But beer. Beer keeps me from doing stupid things, like quitting my job in a frustrated huff, or taking in lots of stray cats out of loneliness.
Why beer? Because its the only legal drug you can use to forget your problems so you don’t throw yourself into Boston Harbor. Then, back at the bar, you’ll gleefully reminisce with your friends about ‘back in the day’ when you used to do real drugs that didn’t make you fat and for some reason no one will admit were much better. (They were. Soooo much better…if you didn’t care about ever having gainful employment.)
Anyway, beer is great because unlike any other drug, you don’t look like a sketchy weirdo doing it and there’s no real test for heavy usage (unless you show up to a drug test drunk) because otherwise, no one would be employed anywhere. So beer. It’s good.
In college, beer used to be just a means to an end for me, like eating a protein bar instead of a meal, or walking through the Faneuil Hall food court just so you can eat the samples. But this was before the GREAT CRAFT BEER REVOLUTION, back in college, when I considered Bud Light the good stuff. (Natural Ice was the bad stuff, which tasted like someone drank a Bud Light and then pissed it out into a Natty can.)
But with age comes wisdom, and I moved on to Yuengling (high quality beer pong beer), Sam (pretty reliable), Guinness (in Ireland!), and after trying a vast array of wittes, stouts, saisons, sours, barleywines, etc, I realized not all beer tasted like sorority girls tears mixed with jungle juice and I became a real asshole about it.
Now I’m dating a guy that homebrews, which means an entire room of our apartment is taken up by empty beer bottles and brewing equipment, and I’m supposed to act like I’m totally not annoyed with that at all. This friends, is the circle of life. I deserve this.
I’ve been to scores of beer festivals, but the Extreme Beer Fest (EBF) is always my favorite. I love beer festivals because on top of trying a lot of new and interesting beers, the ticket price is usually way less than it would cost for a night drinking (in Boston), it’s all high quality beer, and you won’t accidentally run into a bachelorette party, where that one girl in a sash wont stop crying or yelling or yell-crying.
EBF is my favorite of the festivals, because on top of all that, you might step in line, get a beer and actually say, the sentence, “Holy shit, this beer tastes exactly like a peanut butter.’— And you wouldn’t even be having an aneurism.
The EBF was started by Beeradvocate and takes place in the World Trade Center in Boston. It features 70+ brewers and 250+ beers, so there’s not shortage of variety. Do I remember every single brewer I visited to? Absolutely not. There were 250 types of beer to try, remember?
As is tradition at most beer festivals, we donned our pretzel necklaces and went to the task at hand.
What is a pretzel necklace, you ask? Well, umm… it’s a necklace, made of pretzels.
I’m not sure how the tradition got started, but it probably has something to do with the fact that food at convention centers is usually terrible, and beer with pretzels is awesome. Basically, you buy a bag of pretzels, string them onto a piece of string and wear them around your neck and eat them whenevs. Lots of people have them.
You have to make pretzel necklaces at home, not buy them, and there’re the only food you’re actually allowed to bring into the venue. I’ve seen lots of variations of these, and myself and my boyfriend, being culinary prodigies, decided to take shit TO THE NEXT LEVEL. On top of pretzels, we also used beef jerky, cheddar string cheese, and small individually wrapped pieces of brie. It works great and won’t mess up your shirt, as long as your are cool with smelling like jerky, which I am.
After walking through a ridiculously long line, we finally stepped into the convention hall. A vast room opened before us, filled with brewer stands and hundreds of people. The EBF volunteers (mostly dudes with beards wearing plaid shirts) handed us our tasting cups, a guide to the beers available and we were off to the brew stands, filled with more guys with beards wearing paid shirts.
At this point I’m not quite sure what to say aside from, AND THEN WE DRANK ALL THE BEERS.
Because that is what happened. EBF is a little like being a kid in a candy store. Your samples are unlimited so you basically wander around gleefully drinking everything in sight. There’s a few really popular brewers that had crazy lines (Founder’s in particular) but we ended up getting most of what we wanted to try. Dogfish Head had a really interesting scrapple beer (Beer for Breakfast, a milk stout), and, I know it sounds gross, a chocolate lobster beer (an American porter) which was actually my favorite.
This festival is always reserved for some really creative, sexy, daring, complex types of beer. Ya know, stuff that’s like, legit. Well umm…I’m pretty sure I tried a bunch of those, but lets be realistic, I really only remember the crazy stuff, which was all very good. A lot of the beer was the kind of stuff that I wouldn’t have more than one drink of, as the flavor gets a little intense, but they are fun and definitely worth a try.
Here are a few things I tried:
Funky Buddha, FL (the only good thing that’s ever come of out Florida)
Key lime pie beer, Key lime Berliner)
Maple bacon coffee porter, American porter)
French toast, American brown)
Two Roads Brewing Company, CT (the only good thing that’s ever come of out Connecticut)
Ghost of all evil (with Ghost peppers!), American black ale
Right Brain Brewery, MI (aaww it’s just too easy)
Pecan Piewhole, American amber
Oskar Blues Brewery, CO (I have no qualms with Colorado and their wonderful, wonderful laws)
Death by Coconut, English porter
Dogfish Head, DE (The state of Delaware is too small to write jokes about but their beer is great.)
Beer for Breakfast, a milk stout
Choc Lobster, American porter
I had breakfast, dinner and desert, all in beer form. Can I get a hell yeah? (You should. You should give me a hell yeah.)
On top of all the awesome beers, EBF, due to it’s extremeness, also has pretty good food. Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and the Belgium waffle stand, Waffle Cabin were there. Unlike that horrible pizza place I used to go to when I lived in Allston/Brighton, Roxy’s and Waffle Cabin are perfect drunk food that actually tastes good when you’re sober.
So in conclusion, beer: great. beer festivals: super great. Extreme Beer Fest: AWESOME.
Now excuse me, my brownie has kicked in.
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