This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit Boston, MA for Beer Advocate’s Night of the Funk at the Cyclorama—part of their 9th annual Belgian Beer Fest. We opted to not participate in the giant beer fest on Saturday and to just enjoy the funky goodness of Friday night’s tasting. We sampled around 60 various beers from American Wild Ales to Sour Lambics to a Wood Aged Abbey Ale, and even though they were only pouring 2 ounces each, I managed to get tipsy enough to not recall much. We definitely enjoyed the limited gathering of only 500 people; the space never felt crowded, there was plenty of beer (Except Mikkeller’s ran out almost immediately), and some tasty snacks to be had. We had the opportunity to sample some of the local breweries that are doing the wild yeast styles which got us excited for the following day’s plans to visit the local breweries.
I was holding those for friends, I swear!
The plan was to get to the Sam Adams Brewery when they opened for tours at 10am but our over-exuberance of the previous night left us dragging through the morning. I think we finally managed to find our way via the T before noon. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately as to be told by friends that did go on the tour), I did not make the tour of the facility as the smells and the sounds worked against my hangover. Though I did manage to get some outside shots :)
By the time we made it north to Everett to visit Idle Hands and Night Shift Brewing, I was in much better spirits and ready for some beer tasting. The two breweries share a warehouse space in an industrial area that was sketchy enough to make our taxi driver worry for us.
Idle Hands is housed in a smaller space with one guy running the taps that greats you immediately at the door. They offer 2 ounce tastings for free as well as growler and bottle purchases of their Belgian inspired beers. We had sampled their Flanders Red Ale (Charlton Rouge, which is their brown ale, Cognition, that has been barrel aged with wild yeast added) the night before and were excited to try their other offerings. We were not disappointed with the range of styles they had available. All were well crafted and delighted the palate, I only wish they were available in Georgia!
Night Shift Brewing was significantly larger and had some tables set up for you to relax and enjoy your tastings next to a wall of barrels filled with various beers. I spotted two out of the three owner/brewers at the helm pouring for the crowd that was gathering. They offered tastings, flights, growlers, and bottles of their beer in a variety of styles from Habanero to Honey Dew Melon. We had sampled two of their Berliner Weissbier the night before and I really enjoyed the range and variety of flavors (I can’t say styles as they seem to be a blend of styles) of the beers and urge you to try them if you are in the area.
We hailed another cab and headed east to Chelsea for Mystic Brewing, another Belgian style brewery, for reasons unknown there were not present at The Night of the Funk. We found them in another industrial area but in a much larger space than the previous breweries, with a large seating area and bar that offered free tastings of their beer along with growler fills and bottles of their beers. Through the large window behind the bar you could see the shiny tanks and people working diligently. We sampled all of their offerings and found them delicious and refreshing on this cool Boston Saturday.
In our drunkeness, we completely forgot that we were heading to Trillum Brewery afterwards and were, for some reason, trying to locate the gypsy brewery Pretty Things. After realizing we could not visit them we made our way to Cambridge and had a late lunch at Cambridge Brewing Co. (brewpub) where we sampled some of their beers. Nothing too extraordinary, though we did enjoy their cask ESB especially.
That pretty much rounded out or day and we wound up back at the hotel locked in the trance of the ‘boob-tube’, we had early morning flights out anyway. We failed to visit most of the good bars in Boston (Lord Hobo, Publick House, Meadhall, Jacob Wirth, and more!) and spent way too much time in the touristy area of Chinatown/Downtown (though we found the Salty Pig and Picco to be enjoyable bars), so a return trip is definitely in order.