Thank you to all those who came to our Inaugural Blind Beer Fest. We truly appreciate your support of the Mass. Brew Bros. and are so thrilled to have hosted an event for our craft beer community here in Massachusetts. This idea seemed simple, take the concept of a blind tasting and make it into a fest. Just sample 2-ounce pours of beers without the knowledge of the name of the beer or the brewery and sometimes even the style. Our thought was not only would there be enough adventurous craft beer drinkers out there to fill a fest, but that they would be intrigued to test their palate and simply judge the beer on the basis of its taste and not its reputation, rating or hype.
We want to sincerely thank each brewery who sent a beer to Blind Beer Fest and for the continuing support these Massachusetts breweries have given us. And as we have indicated, the results of this voting is not meant to be a definitive statement on any beer or brewery We just hope you’ve learned a little something about your palate, found some new beers and breweries to try and had some fun drinking beer.
Lastly, we want to thank and recognize Christine Healy of Craft’d Company for her tireless efforts in helping organize this event as well as our sponsor PolarFleece for without either this fest would not have come to fruition.
Now your patience has been rewarded. Below are the 32 beers with corresponding numbers that were poured during Blind Beer Fest. And on the basis of your votes, the winners and the runner-ups in each category are as follows:
Winner – Amherst Brewing Lauren
Runner-Up – Greater Good Imperial Brewing DDH Pulp Daddy
Winner – Widowmaker There’s No Wrong Way
Runner-Up – Barrel House Z Dream State
Winner – Channel Marker Brewing Siren Triple Berry
Runner-Up – Honest Weight Artisan Beer Time Well Spent
BLIND BEER FEST BEERS
1. Amherst Brewing (Amherst, MA) Lauren IPA – 7.7 ABV – ” Known as Jane Doe #9 from our experimental hoppy series. Lauren is brewed with flaked oats, oat malt and white wheat and hopped with Galaxy and Citra lupulin powder.”
2. Brick & Feather Brewery (Turners Falls, MA) In Absentia IPA – 7.3 ABV – “This tropical, fruity, slightly piney IPA is brewed with North American 2-row, Floor-malted British Heirloom barley, and hopped with CTZ, Mosaic, and Simcoe.”
3. Exhibit ‘A’ Brewing (Framingham, MA) Cat’s Meow IPA – ABV 6.5 – “Aromas of tangerines and ripe stone fruits greet the nose followed by flavors of grapefruit peel, fresh navel oranges and light malt sweetness. Smooth finish with a touch of grapefruit bitterness at the end.”
4. Springdale Beer (Framingham, MA) Springdale IPA – ABV 6.2 – “Our flagship IPA is brewed for those In Pursuit of Adventure. Truly bi-coastal, it draws inspiration from the best of the East- and West- coast styles, culminating in the perfect balance of dank bitterness and tropical hop character.”
5. Lookout Farm Brewing & Cider (Natick, MA) Thresher West Coast Pale Ale – ABV 4.8 – “Whirlpool hopped w/ Mosaic & Amarillo Malts include – 2-Row pale, flaked barley, carahell & caramunich ll 46 IBU’s”
6. Wachusett Brewing (Westminster, MA) Wally Juice IPA – ABV 7.0 – “A crisp, acidic hop character balanced out with the sweetness of an all-natural blood orange infusion, creating a unique, reddish hued interpretation of the style.”
7. Greater Good Imperial Brewing (Worcester, MA) DDH Pulp Daddy ABV 8.0 – “Featuring more than DOUBLE the hops of original PULP Daddy and it goes down like a tropical juice! PULP Daddy has become Greater Good’s most popular offering, so it was common sense to see what a DDH version looked like! Big, giant notes of orange, pineapple & mango all the way through for this masterpiece from the Citra hops. DDH PULP Daddy is truly our most hoppy beer ever.” Citra & Mosaic Hops”
8. Essex County Brewing (Peabody, MA) Judah NEDIPA – ABV 8.0 – “Our flagship double with fruit complexity of pineapple, peach and mango. Good sipping IPA.”
9. Castle Island Brewing (Norwood, MA) Handshakes and Hi-Fives DIPA – ABV 8.4 – “Up top! This is Handshakes & Hi-Fives, a limited hazy double IPA release from Castle Island Brewing Company. Clocking in at 8.1% ABV, this homage to pleasant gestures everywhere features soft, subtle bitterness with notes of pineapple, grapefruit, and lime. Don’t leave this beer hanging.”
10. Mayflower Brewing (Plymouth, MA) 400 NEDIPA – ABV 8.0 – “This New England Double IPA pours a hazy and opaque – orange gold. Columbus, Amarillo, and Mosaic hops including a generous double dry hop, create aromas of citrus rind, ripe mango, and grapefruit zest. Pours with a slight head that dissipates quickly. Minimal bitterness throughout. Slight sweetness on the finish. Mouthfeel is amazingly soft and pillowy – the most delicate NEDIPA we have produced yet.”
11. Vitamin Sea Brewing (Weymouth, MA) Due NorthNEIPA – ABV 7.6 – “Set a course Due North with this IPA featuring Galaxy and Mosaic hops. Delivering a big burst of orange and mango flavors and a nice citrus nose, this beer is sure to refresh!.”
12. Idle Hands Craft Ales (Malden, MA) Double Citra Four Seam IPA – ABV 6.6 – “Intense flavors of candied citrus and background notes of dank, tropical fruit.”
13. Remnant Brewing (Somerville, MA) Hang Time NEIPA – ABV 6.5 – “Citra-forward New England IPA. Luscious bright fruity hop juice.”
14. Small Change Brewing (Contract) Night Windows Robust Porter – ABV 6.3 – “A rich blend of caramel, chocolate, and black malts, our porter pairs well with quiet moments, black & white movies, a good book about the end of the world, and other things best enjoyed after dark.”
15. Berkshire Brewing (South Deerfield, MA) Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Stout Blend – ABV 8.8 – “A delicious blend of our Farmstand Raspberry Barleywine (60%) and our Russian Imperial Stout (40%). The sweet and tart characters of the fruit in the barleywine balance well with the deep and rich flavors of the stout. Smooth and velvety in texture, strong notes of raspberries mingle with hints of chocolate on top of a rich malty backbone.”
16. White Lion Brewing (Contract) Without Exception – Stout ABV 6.0 – “A smooth creamy chocolate & vanilla twist, brewed with cocoa and vanilla beans.”
17. Wormtown Brewing (Worcester, MA) Spies Like Us Russian Imperial Stout – ABV 11.0 – “The cold war may be over, but our Russian Imperial Stout is just getting started. Rich, roasted malts, gentle British hopping with earthy Fuggles hops help create just the right balance and character that this style is famed for. Our label pays tribute to our three secret agents; Tom, David, and Ben, who when they are not saving the world from nuclear war, are helping bring Wormtown to everyone who loves great beer.”
18. Barrel House Z (Weymouth, MA) Dream State Stout – ABV 6.8 – “Our cookies and cream stout pays homage to everyone’s favorite chocolate + vanilla-frosting-filled cookie—and cold glass of milk, of course.”
19. Trillium Brewing (Canton, MA) Nanaimo Stout – ABV 13.6 – “Pouring an opaque, jet black with a light brown head, Nanaimo conjures up aromas of vanilla bean scones, warm chocolate pudding, and lightly toasted mixed nuts. Like it’s namesake dessert, Nanaimo presents a richly layered palate with deep lingering flavors of graham cracker crust, brown sugar cookie dough, shredded sweet coconut, crème brûlée, and melted milk chocolate. Decadent with a rounded, latte-like medium body, Nanaimo has a lingering sweetness that calls you back after each sip.”
20. Widowmaker Brewing (Braintree, MA) There’s No Wrong Way Stout – ABV 7.0 – “Pouring a dark brown color, opaque with a tan head. There’s No Wrong Way provides an instant peanut butter nose that is followed by a decadent, silky chocolate and caramel taste with a subtle nutty flavor.”
21. Night Shift Brewing (Everett, MA) Night Fever Stout – ABV 7.5 – “Give us that Night Fever, Night Fever – we know how to brew it! This rotating hit is a stout coffee and chocolate. Brewed with beans from Counter Culture Coffee, Night Fever has fudgy notes of chocolate and dark roast coffee that’ll make your taste buds sing. ”
22. Devil’s Purse Brewing (South Dennis, MA) HandlineKölsch – ABV 5.0 – “Handline Kolsch is brewed with Vanguard hops, an American varietal and direct descendant of German Hallertau. This allows for a refreshing modern spin on an otherwise traditional approach to the style. Kolsch was originally brewed in Cologne [Germany] to rival the Lager. Handline is produced true to style by fermenting Kolsch ale yeast at lower temperatures. This process creates a drinking experience that is equal parts refreshing and delicious.”
23. Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers (Framingham, MA) Shipping Out of BostonAmber Lager – ABV 5.3 – “Shipping Out of Boston celebrates the rich and storied manufacturing history of New England. We built this beer with local ingredients inspired by the factories that were once world suppliers. It is a malty sweet and lightly hoppy amber lager that pays homage to the past while manufacturing a bold future.”
24. Notch Brewing (Salem, MA) Zwickel Pale Lager – ABV 4.5 – “Our Zwickel goes through the mashing method of decoction, which is a Bavarian brewing tradition and provides a great depth of malt flavor and nuance. Other processes that we take from the Bavarians include natural carbonation and long lagering time. While Zwickel is hazy, that is not an excuse to short-cut the lagering time, which is critical to proper maturation and conditioning. The aromatic and flavor hops are Spalt Select (from Germany) and provide a nice balance to the German malt while providing a bit of lemon and pepper in the aroma.”
25. Bog Iron Brewing (Norton, MA) All the Mervs Bohemian Pilsner – ABV 5.2 – “All the MERVs is a pretty traditional pilsner. It’s crisp and clean with just a touch of bitterness to balance the slightly sweet flavors out. Also, in traditional pilsner style the beer is straw yellow color and crystal clear.”
26. Cambridge Brewing (Cambridge, MA) Bock, Bock Boom Bock – ABV – “Classic bock lager, Franconian-method decoction mashed, cold fermentation, lagered over 10 weeks, unfiltered. Rich malt character with toasted undertones.”
27. Winter Hill Brewing (Somerville, MA) Binocular Diplopia Dubbel – ABV 8.8 – “Our Belgian style Dubbel brewed with cubeb peppercorns, orange peel and coriander.”
28. Lost Shoe Brewing & Roasting(Marlboro, MA) Size 10 Quad – ABV 11.0 – “Full bodied with a creamy mouthfeel, this 11% Belgian Quad goes down smooth with flavors of banana, rum, raisin, vanilla and caramel.”
29. Honest Weight Artisans Beer (Orange, MA) Time Well Spent Botanical – ABV 6.5 – “A mixed culture botanical beer brewed with locally foraged sumac and honey. Brewed with German Pilsner malt and malted winter wheat from Valley Malt, along with Oats and Vienna malt. It pours a brilliant pale gold. Aromas of white pepper, Citrus Peel, and a hint of mango. Flavors of round tannins, oak, hay, pineapple, cherry pits and a lemon like acidity. Late in fermentation, we added honey from our hives and aged in neutral wine barrels for nearly a year.”
30. Timberyard Brewing (East Brookfield, MA) Idyll Weis Berliner Weisse – ABV 5.1 – “Berliner Weisse-Style Kettle Soured Ale, brewed with grape must. Crisp, light, and refreshingly tart.”
31. Channel Marker Brewing (Beverly, MA) Siren Triple Berry Fruited Sour – ABV 6.0 – “Kettle Sour Ale brewed with pale, white wheat and dextrin malts. Cold conditioned on raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, this beer pours a deep purple with an aromatic bouquet of dark berries. Contains lactose.”
32. Ipswich Ale Brewery (Ipswich, MA) Bohemian Raspberry Sour – ABV 5.0 – “Do you want it all? Do you want it now? This crazy little beer called Bohemian Raspberry is a kettle soured ale fermented atop fresh raspberry puree. Delightfully tart and delicious on its own, or poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.”
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