Had the privilege of volunteering at this year’s American Craft Beer Fest held at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center. Beer Advocate, the festival’s funder/promoter calls it “the the biggest celebration of American craft beer on the East Coast”. There were over 100 breweries and over 500 beers pouring or something like that. I missed last year’s so I wanted to take advantage of the free pass and hoped to run into a few people I hadn’t seen in awhile.
This is a huge beer fest attendance-wise. I heard they had over 13,000 people come through the doors over the 3 sessions. That being said I Was really impressed with the organization of the whole thing. It’s nice being able to go to a beer fest without being suffocated to death by long lines and sweaty beer geeks and considering the size of the place, each brewery was given tons of plush space to set up their booth and interact with the patrons.
A few breweries stood out from the crop this year: 1) Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery, & General Store (Hyattsville, MD) They had a Belgian Dark Ale dubbed ‘Dank U’ which was really good. 2) Goose Island Beer Co. (Chicago, IL) was pouring this Saison called ‘Pepe Nero’ that was very tasty and 3) Lagunitas‘ ‘Hop Stoopid’ drinks just like it sounds. A double IPA loaded with malt and a stupid amount of hops result in a great representation of this increasingly popular style.
Overall the crowd was pretty calm at this one…unlike the last ACBF I went to. I remember going in ’09 and witnessed 2 people getting escorted out by security because they wouldn’t leave after the event ended. One dude literally laid on the floor and spazzed out when security approached him. It took 6 guys to get him out of there. The other was a woman who appeared to be insane (reminded me of Debbie the Pet Lady known on Howard Stern Show) and was screaming as she was dragged to the exit. I wish I had a camera on me for that episode…
Don’t under-estimate a beer geek. As harmless and nerdy as they may seem, the minute you tell them ‘no more beer’ there’s always the chance of seeing an epic explosion of drunken, reckless absurdity. It’s fun to watch but make sure you keep your distance.
All in all, a great event this year (I heard Friday night’s session was packed with good looking women…not the case on Saturday afternoon unfortunately) and I think everyone who went got their money’s worth ($45 per session/$50 at the door!). And from what I’ve heard I think all the participating breweries had a great time and are already looking forward to next year. And give Beer Advocate the credit. Many beer aficionados get repulsed by large beer
fests but the ACBF, which takes place in downtown Boston, really caters
to the average beer drinker and exposes them to a whole new
world of craft beer.