I had the chance to speak about The Good Beer Guide To New England and the local beer scene at a recent meeting of the North Shore Brewers at The Tap Brewpub in Haverhill, Massachusetts. It was an enjoyable event and notable for two bits of information. Brewer Steve Bernard is leaving The Tap (where he recently brewed an excellent Berliner Weisse) to run a bottling line at a well-known craft brewery in the Greater Chicagoland area. The big news is his replacement: Mike Labbe. Labbe was the long-time brewer and one time owner of the Concord Brewery of Concord and other Massachusetts locations. More recently, Labbe helped open the Pennichuck Brewing Company in Milford, NH. The move is a bit surprising as Pennichuck is still in its infancy, and to my knowledge, Labbe has never worked as a pub brewer. The Tap has been the home to three very talented brewers (Todd Mott, Dann Paquette, and Bernard) in quick succession. I look forward to seeing what happens under Labbe’s stewardship, whether he carries on The Tap’s tradition of pushing the brewing envelope or chooses to go more traditional as has been his history.
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