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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.

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Filtering by Tag: Boston

Hashtag Battles Season 2 - Week 5

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! In the spirit of competition, Beer Friends would like to invite everyone to our second season of NFL hashtag battles! Using hashtagbattle.com we will pit two breweries against each other when their NFL counterparts are facing off on the gridiron. Are you ready for some football? And drinking? And #hashtag battle?!?!?!

What's a hashtag battle? When you're drinking a beer of a brewery competing in the battle, throw a #hashtag of the brewery and tweet it (or setup your foursquare or untappd to push to tweet and include the #hashtag) and we'll use hashtagbattle.com to declare a winner after the Monday Night football game on ESPN. Support your team, support your beer, drink local and hashtag battle!

Week Five - Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (#lefthandbeer vs #samadamsbeer)

This week marks the return of a classic QB matchup, Peyton vs Brady. Let the butt kissing begin. Every network has this game circled as an in-form Brady (at 2-2) welcomes a coming-back-to-form Peyton (at 2-2) to Gillette Stadium for a nice close shave. I'm sure McDaniels will have plenty of film to look at of Peyton before the game, mostly taken from the stands during Broncos practice sessions.

The Denver Broncos have had a roller coaster few years. A Hall of Fame coach was fired - even though he thought he was going to get lunch with the owner - and a young hot -shot coach was brought in... and quickly shot down any hopes of a successful season. John Fox rode in last year with a reformation brewing under his feet, and that shaky QB with the cult following led the Broncos to a improbable season and a playoff win. In the off-season Jesus Tebow left for the Three Ring Promise Circus and in stepped Peyton Manning, the 4 time MVP and Superbowl winner. The questions came about the neck in the offseason, and the arm strength after the first few games, but last week Peyton looked good against the Raiders. At 2-2 the team is improving and Peyton is getting more comfortable with his receivers - rumor is this week they'll be wearing they're alternate blue jersey's with a horseshoe logo so Peyton gets is mojo back against the Pats...

Left Hand Brewing Company has swept over the East Coast and it seems to be playing off in spades. They have quietly become one of the biggest brands out of Colorado, not named New Belgium, and Left Hand's presence in the NYC market is a huge bonus for this Beer Friend and roughly 8 million other beer drinkers in the city. Last spring Left Hand introduced the Milk Stout Nitro Pour that has instructions to pour a beer. "Pour hard" it says with QR code to a video, even proving that Left Hand is embracing the social media market. With quality in their six packs (see Stranger Pale, Milk Stout, Sawtooth Ale, and the Fade to Black Series) and amazing-ness in their brewmasters series (see Smoke Jumper and Wake Up the Dead) they continue to impress.

The New England Patriots seem(?) to have struggled so far. The question mark is because they are 2-2 and some New Englanders are acting like Bobby V took the team over in the first few weeks. The Golden Team is led by the Golden Boy and continues to lead the NFL in the "Patriot Way" (special Hashtag appearance by Teddy Bruschi - because that's all he seems to say with a camera on him). The Cardinals snuck into New Foxboro and stole a game (enough though they have turned out to be a pretty good team, and the Patriots were victim to a questionable Replacement Ref call (but honestly, who hasn't been this year?). Now the two masters square off with Brady and his clown car of short WR and Chewbacca-like Tight Ends facing a Broncos defense that they put up 86 points against in a regular season and playoff game last year - basically like Brady was playing Madden on Rookie mode. Is the Broncos defense improved enough to stop them, this will either be another great battle in the Peyton vs Brady War or a sideshow where Brady just keeps pressing the spin button...

Sam Adams is on the Mt Rushmore of Craft Breweries. Jim Koch starting brewing intense flavors years ago and turned it into a business he loves. Along with Sierra Nevada and Fat Tire, these breweries were brewing such fantastic products that it started to pull fans away from the Coors and Bud's of the world (for a whooping 5% of the market, as it stands today - but it's a start). Sam Adams has gotten tired in some peoples minds but with their barrel stuff, and the yearly contest winners, they are always on the cutting edge of the craft beer scene (including the seasonal beers). Even though their IPA might taste like a "Sam Adams IPA", they've released a "deconstructed series" which allows beer drinkers to taste individual hops within the brew itself... genius - but we knew that all along.

Let the battle begin! Tag with #lefthandbeer #samadamsbeer, the battle begins Sunday morning and ends Monday night… drink to support your teams!

Beer Review 98: Sam Adams Winter Lager

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Instead of a cheesy clip show, Beer Friends decided to go way back and show our roots.  This is a shorter video because, besides the fact that we don't really know what we're doing - and we didn't give number ratings (we didn't even yell Beer Friends!).  As we journey closer to Beer Review 100, take a look back at our 2009 review of Sam Adams Winter Lager.  Check out Sam Adams Latitude 48, Coastal Wheat reviews as we moved on and got a little bit better.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOR9mua5pPc]

Beer Review 97: Harpoon Winter Warmer

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Another blast from the past this week as we drink and review Harpoon's Winter Warmer.  Look how young and green we look!  This was taken in 2009 and - as the video shows... we didn't really know what we were doing.  As we creep closer to 100 Reviews we'll take a look back at our modest beginnings.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tomY1nMn2Lg]

Wait...Who owns that brewery?

Phil Foleen

 

After a good conversation with a friend of mine about the wonders and wiles of the MolsonCoors company vs the Belgian Juggernaut InBev, I stumbled across this neat little Infographic on a sweet little website called coolinfographics.com.  It was put together by Philip H Howard  at Michigan State University and is a really great way to show the various relationships of some of the top over-arching beer conglomerates, and who they own in the craft beer world.

Granted it's not the most comprehensive guide to the craft beer world, but I would be willing to bet there's at least one ownership connection that might surprise you.  Take a look and let us know which one was a shock!

Show me the beer people!

Philip H Howard at MSU via CoolInforgraphics.com

Featured Brewery: Samuel Adams

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! No trip to Boston is complete without a trip to the Sam Adams Brewery (and a Red Sox game...).  After Harpoon Brewery and John Harvard Brewhouse (a later post) this Beer Friend was lucky enough to travel down the Orange Line to Stony Brook stop and walk the three blocks to the Sam Adams Brewery and tasting room.

Sam Adams was the first big craft brewer that I came in contact with.  Technically it was Sierra Nevada but growing up in Colorado, I knew that Sierra Nevada was a lot closer and Sam Adams was WAY over in Boston, so that's what made it special to me.  Anywhere I could I bought a Sam Adams and drank with a sense of pride that I was doing something different from my Coors swigging friends.  During the summer months it was wonderful to see the bottle with Grains of Paradise available and that was the first official day of summer in my mind.  While drinking these brews thousands of miles away I dreamt of touring the Sam Adams factory.  Fast forward 9 years and dozens of brewery tours later - I finally made it.  

Walking in the first room you're overwhelmed with the sense of pride that Sam Adams brewery has in itself.  Banners of medals and awards won at Beer Competitions past line the walls and a few interactive touch displays are available to people for their beer-education.  Sam Adams has a very large distribution area (USA and beyond) so this was their smallest plant.  The other two plants that produce a majority of their beer are in Pennsylvania and Ohio - so the Boston area brewery is more for show and tell and special projects.  As we started the tour we walked through a hollowed out, on it's side fermentation tank and were inundated with more awards and medals from various Beer events.

In the back area they have a great little room next to the production floor with pictures and speakers so the tour guide can be heard.  They give the normal talk - the process of brewing and then pasted out samples, all pretty standard brewery tour stuff.  Then he led the group back around the wall to the production floor and discussed green beer and the fermentation process and bottling.  While he was talking I checked out the amazing amount of barrels, including the rack, the barrel room and the two Utopia barrels which are high ABV beers aged in a combination of bourbon, sherry, cognac, and brandy barrels.  Needless to say, I was excited when I saw the label and was the weird guy in the corner taking pictures of the barrels on the production floor.

[slideshow]

After the tour we venture outside to the beer garden with real hops growing on vines and poles to create a privacy feel.  We drank the classic Boston Lager, the Summer offering, and a few beers special to the tour... you'll have to take the tour to find out!

Check out two Beer Friends reviews of Coastal Wheat and Latitude 48!

The Sam Adams brewery is located at 30 Germania St, Boston, MA [googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=30+Germania+St,+Boston,+MA&aq=&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=43.664131,66.269531&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=30+Germania+St,+Boston,+Massachusetts+02130&t=h&z=14&ll=42.314449,-71.103365&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

The Brewery Store is open: Monday - Thursday 10am - 3pm with tours every 45 minutes and last tour at 3p. Friday's 10am - 5:30pm with tours every 45 minutes and last tour at 5:30p. Saturday 10am - 3pm with tours every 45 minutes and last tour at 3p. Closed Sunday's

Featured Brewery: Harpoon

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! For you avid twitter followers out there, you'll notice that the Beer Friends checked into a few Boston area Breweries earlier this week, this was part of our Boston Area Brewery Tour 2011 (Working Title), the first stop - appropriately enough - was the Harpoon Brewery off the Silver Line (you know, the weird bus line that goes underground in Boston). Harpoon was actually the first brewery issued a license in the state of Massachusetts, and proudly display their 001 Brewers License on merchandise.

C'mon with me for more and follow along with my tour...

The brewery tour includes a five dollar fee, mainly because you get to take the glass home. The tasting room is a great mix of displays honoring the past beers, with a corner of old beer cans of every variety and a wall of banners including every kind of beer (year round and seasonal) that Harpoon offers. Growlers are a big push and if I didn't live 4+ hours away I would've walked out with one. The tour started where seemingly every tour starts, at the beginning of the brewing process. We saw the grain hopper, the mash tun, the lautern tun and the fermenting tanks. One thing that was new from the other brewery tours was the pressurized tanks, which adds pressure to the beer allowing heating and cooling to happen faster. I could only surmise it did something to the taste because we were informed that only one other brewery in the US (a unnammed California brewery) has the same pressurized tanks.

Once among the tanks on the production floor we tasted the Harpoon IPA in its Green version, green means straight from the tank without the completed yeast process, aging and bottling. The Green beer was flatter but still had hints of the IPA which was a nice addition to this tour. After the green beer tasting we checked out the bottling line (which I always get a kick out of) and headed to "Beer Heaven" or better known as "The Warehouse". Basically Beer Heaven was ceiling to floor cases of every variety of Harpoon beer (including the UFO Pumpkin - that has yet to be released!). Think of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, with beer. Then the tour when winding back through the previous stops and into the tasting room!

[slideshow]

First Taste - Harpoon IPA I've had this beer before, but the point of the tasting was to go between the Green beer downstairs and the finished product from the keg. The obvious difference was the carbonation after the yeast had done their job and the product was kegged. A great beer either way.

Second Taste - UFO Pumpkin UFO stands for UnFiltered Offering and typically features a Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Raspberry Hefeweizen and a White Ale. This Pumpkin offering fit in well with its brothers in the series. Having had a few Pumpkin Ales/Beers before the taste was pretty similar to what I expected. A little creaminess and hints of nutmeg pushed this brew more towards the Pumpkin pie flavor beer, but lacking in sweetness. Out of the four Pumpkin beers I've tasted (including Post Road from Brooklyn) I liked this the best. However, I still place pumpkin ales in the category of "one and done".

Third Taste - Belgian Pale Ale I, unlike Phil, enjoy all beers, but have the least experience with Belgians... you know, one of the most popular beer styles out there. Growing up in Colorado I skipped over that first step in beer-education and went right for the American Craft stuff, so I'm backtracking. Recently I've found a few Belgian Pale Ale's I really enjoyed (see Sixpoint and John Harvard Brewhouse) and figured I'd take a chance on this one. Good flavor but didn't have the kick that the Sixpoint does (I'm sure the Sixpoint is very hopped) and the full flavor profile that John Harvard does. A great beer none the less.

After this third tasting they rang the bell and kicked us out, this was the worst part of the tour.

The Harpoon Brewery is located at 306 Northern Ave [googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=306+Northern+Avenue,+Boston,+MA&aq=1&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=43.664131,66.269531&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=306+Northern+Ave,+Boston,+Massachusetts+02210&t=h&z=14&ll=42.346546,-71.034406&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

The tasting room is open Monday through Friday from 2-4pm Tours are available on Saturday (10:30a to 5p) and Sunday (11:30a to 3p) and start every half hour.

Beer Review 40: Sam Adams Latitude 48 IPA

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Today we reviewed one of the people responsible for the craft beer culture in the USA, Sam Adams.  Surprisingly this is the first IPA that Sam Adams has mass produced and the second beer to fall under the "bitter" category (along with Sam Adams Pale Ale). With a lot of us Beer Friends being "hop heads," let's see how this stands up! Boston Beer!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLpkvWrW32E]