New England was at the forefront of the microbrew revolution, and with demand for specialty beers surging, there's no better place to enjoy independently crafted brews. The Brewers Association says America's craft beer makers sold 15 percent more beer by volume in 2012 than in 2011: a growth of nearly 1.8 million barrels. Meanwhile, the overall US beer market was up only one percent. Brewers Association director Paul Gatza said: "Small and independent brewers are consistently innovating and producing high quality, flavor-forward craft brewed beer. Americans are not only responding to greater access to these products but also to the stories and people behind them.."
Find a tasty and fascinating new brew for you at one of these 2013 beer festivals in the Northeast:
May 10, 2013, The Pavilion, Ocean Beach Park, New London, CT, 860-912-0408. The Rotary Club of New London sponsors its 34th annual Brewfest at the Beach featuring unlimited brew-friendly food, live music and more than 150 domestic and imported beers from around the world. Admission price includes 15 beer tasting tickets.
May 17-18, 2013, Harpoon Brewery, Boston, MA, 617-456-2322. Harpoon celebrates summer with two days of music by popular Boston bands and DJs, food and beer fresh from the brewery.
May 18, 2013, Jessie Camille's Restaurant, Naugatuck, CT, 203-729-5445. Celebrate Connecticut's beer brewers at this 19th annual evening of beer tasting featuring more than 150 craft brews available for sampling. This long-running Connecticut beer festival also features live music and food, and proceeds benefit the Camille B. Perugini Charitable Trust.
May 31-June 1, 2013, Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, MA. Sponsored by BeerAdvocate and Harpoon Brewery, this beer festival showcases a diverse line-up of craft breweries from not only New England but the entire nation. Attendance at the event's three sessions is limited, so be sure to buy your ticket in advance for your chance to taste more than 600 of America's finest craft beers from more than 135 participating brewers.
June 29, 2013, Lincoln Village Shops, Main Street, Lincoln, NH, 603-745-6621. The Lincoln-Woodstock Chamber of Commerce sponsors this ninth annual gathering of New England craft brewers. In addition to sampling regional beers, visitors have the chance to learn about craft brewing and to shop, eat and enjoy live entertainment. There is a VIP session one hour before the Brewfest opens for general admission.
July 19, 2013, Clinton Square, Syracuse, NY, 315-426-8741. This beer festival in neighboring New York State features the chance to enjoy live music, learn about the art of beer making and taste hundreds of handcrafted brews.
July 19-20, 2013, Waterfront Park, Burlington, VT, 802-760-8535. Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state. Sample some of the finest craft brews from microbreweries and brewpubs in Vermont, New England, New York and beyond at this annual beer festival presented by the Vermont Brewers Association, held rain or shine on the shores of Lake Champlain.
August 2-3, 2013, Brewery Ommegang, Cooperstown, NY, 607-544-1800. Head to neighboring New York State for a taste of some of the best Belgian-style beers brewed in North America, along with the finest brews imported from Belgium. The 2013 festival also features brewing demonstrations, food, live music, chefs competing to pair beer with food and a Ferris wheel. A VIP event is scheduled for Friday night. Tickets for Friday and/or Saturday must be purchased online in advance and will not be sold at the gate. The picturesque grounds of the brewery are available for camping by reservation for an additional fee. No RVs or dogs permitted.
September 7, 2013, Mel's Funway Park, Litchfield, NH, 603-594-6471. The Nashua Telegraph presents this 5th annual tasting event featuring New Hampshire and New England wineries and breweries. The outdoor event is held under tents rain or shine. Purchase tickets in advance online. Proceeds benefit the NH Food Bank.
September 13-14, 2013, The Cyclorama at The Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA Allagash Brewing Company and Beer Advocate team to present this two-day tribute to Belgian brews featuring opportunities to taste and to learn about some of the best beers on the planet.