Beer Advocate’s Extreme Beer Fest

Posted on March 15th, 2011

Today’s post come courtesy of our newest contributor Justin!

Last weekend Beer Advocate hosted their annual Extreme Beer Festival in Boston. This is easily one of the most popular beer festivals in New England, with both days selling out within hours of being on sale. They showcased over 150 different beers from brewers all over the country.

The Friday night event “Night of the Barrels,” was focused primarily on barrel aged beers. The process is done to add subtle notes to beer and help them with aging. Local (and personal) favorites Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project was the star of the barrel night for me with their Plum Quad Baby Tree. The overt sweetness of the beer was so toned down that it made it something that I could sit and sip all day.  Short’s Brewing from Michigan blew me away with their Whiskey Sour beer. It was as strange and beautiful as it sounds.

Saturdays focus was on extreme beers. What classifies as an extreme beer? There is such a variety of strange and wonderful examples of extreme from last night like the crazy high alcohol content in Sam Adam’s Utopias ( staggering 24% alcohol) or strange brewing techniques, like Haverhill Brewery’s Fire and Weiss which used burnt wood in the brewing process. It pretty much tasted like smoke, not to be confused with Stone’s two pepper beers from the barrel night, Crime and Punishment, both tasted like burning. Extreme could be Dogfish Head‘s use of the Randall, a filtering system that runs the beers through tubes to enhance the flavor like their Worldwide Stout run through J.P Licks coffee beans, which was amazing. There was also Dark Horse from Michigan that was serving their UberBoober barleywine that was made with baby formula through a breast pump.

Probably the most interesting part of this was Beer Advocate founders Jason and Todd Alström challenged brewers to make low alcohol extreme beers, this is part of the reason there was such an onslaught of magical strange beers. With this festival done the fine people at Beer Advocate have cemented their reputation as throwing one of the best and unique fests in the country. Now it’s time to start thinking about the American Craft Beer Fest in June.