If you aren’t yet familiar with the growing craft beer culture in Boston, it’s time to get on board. What once upon a time was thought of as “underground” has become borderline mainstream around these parts. And what better way to expand your palate than at a beer festival. For those who have already ingrained themselves in the craft beer scene, you know that beer festivals are an opportunity to celebrate the culture.
Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, Boston hosts a bunch of craft beer fests throughout the year. Here is a handful that are worth checking out.
Drink Craft Beer Springfest
200 Stuart Street
Dates: April 5-6
Drink Craft Beer’s festivals aims to please a wide audience (beer aficionados and novices alike) while focusing exclusively on suds from New England breweries. As if you need a reason to check out Springfest, it happens to feature just about every brewery that made our list of Great Local Beers You May Not Have Heard Of (Yet). In all, Drink Craft Beer rounds up 25 of the best local breweries around and features 70+ of those breweries’ beers. For Springfest 2013, the focus is on celebrating hops. The Friday night session (cleverly dubbed “Hoppy Hour”) features an additional 25+ “super limited” beers that are made specially for the festival. Additionally, organizers tell us that in upcoming days, they plan to announce the secret details on an official fest beer, which is currently being brewed by Jack’s Abbey in Framingham. Drink Craft Beer prides itself on keeping the festival crowds small, which probably goes a long way in preventing spills. Of note, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and other local food vendors will be on hand for Springfest, so bring a little cash.
Bacon & Beer Festival
Location, Date & Price: TBA (Spring)
Quite frankly, there’s not a lot that needs to be said about Bacon & Beer Festival that the title doesn’t already sum up. Local restaurants whip up their best bacon-based dishes and you get to pair the samples with a bunch of beers from participating local breweries. Oh, and it’s all for a good cause. Proceeds from the event go toward helping local hunger relief organizations. Details for 2013 haven’t been announced yet (The organizers say it’s definitely in the works; and as soon as we get the details, we’ll let you know). Last year’s festival was held at House of Blues in late April and tickets were $37.
CBC Great Pumpkin Festival
Cambridge Brewing Co.
1 Kendall Square #100
Cambridge, MA 02139
Date & Price: TBA (Late October)
Cambridge Brewing Company’s Great Pumpkin Festival is a pumpkin lover’s dream. The CBC, which already has quite a reputation for its fantastic pumpkin brew, puts on a show that features a pumpkin-themed food menu and around 50 different pumpkin beers from about two dozen different craft brewers. Ticket prices aren’t out yet. Last year, admission was $10. It did not include the price of food or beer.
Beer Summit Winter Jubilee
Park Plaza Castle
130 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA
Beer Summit started up more than a decade ago in Boston and has since grown into a big old party. Beer Summit’s Winter Jubilee tackles more than 60 brewers hailing from all over the world, including Massachusetts. The Summit boasts 200+ beers that are up for tasting. Brewers show up with an array of winter seasonals along with the year-rounders. The Friday night session features a Trappist table. For those who don’t know, Trappist beers are Belgian-style and are considered some of the best in the world. If you do miss out on the Winter Jubilee, keep an eye out on their website. Beer Summit puts on festivals in April, September and November as well. For their September festival, Beer Summit partners with the makers of Sam Adams for a traditional style Oktoberfest with a splash of Boston.
American Craft Beer Fest
Seaport World Trade Center
200 Seaport Blvd
May 31-June 1
The annual ACBF is now at six years and counting. It features an overwhelming 600+ American-made beers from 125+ different brewers, which means you have more than enough options to choose from. Unless you have some kind of robotically engineered liver that can consume the equivalent of 100 12-oz. beers (divided up into 2 oz. samples) in the 3 ½-hour session, it’s recommended that plan ahead and check out the beer map, which lists all the brewers and their locations.