Beer Summit, 120 Bottles of Beer, Worcester, And the Weekend Before the Craft Brewers Conference Storm…

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To put it mildly, next week is going to be busy. Several hundred craft brewers from around the world will descend on Boston for the annual Craft Brewers Conference. There are events, both industry and consumer, spread throughout the city and it’ll be nice to catch up with the community.

tn_gacbbeers.jpg I expected we’d lay low this weekend in preparation for next week but that didn’t really happen. On Friday night, we headed out to the annual Boston Beer Summit, where we had the chance to see brewers from around the region who don’t often make it to Boston. On Saturday, we set out for trips to Colonial Spirits and Julio’s Liquors, with the mission of tracking down available beers for inclusion into my new project, Great American Craft Beer. It will be a user-friendly and approachable guide to the best craft beers available in America, with a lot of other content to be described later. We’re in the early stages of putting the book together now, but it will be published by Running Press (publisher of several of the late Michael Jackson’s excellent books) in 2010. Returning home with more than 120 bottles of beer (and a few bottles of Rye for diversity’s sake), I realized the haul constituted only a fifth of what would ultimately make the book. Wow.

So after trips to the stores, both of which have excellent selections and bulk purchase discounts (very helpful for this project), we decided to head into Worcester as we were but fifteen minutes away. Located in the sometimes invisible lair of central Massachusetts, Worcester doesn’t get a lot of attention from beer lovers. Flying under the radar are two excellent beer bars, with design schemes on two very different ends of the spectrum. Armsby Abbey is an upscale gastropub with an excellent beer selection and a very solid food menu. A half-mile away, the Dive Bar (a play on a nautical theme mixed with a salvaged dive bar), hosts one of the few long bar setups I’ve come across in New England. These bar types are often see in places such as Chicago and it was a real pleasure to have a few pints there.

I am now home, surrounded by more beer than I want to think about reviewing (takes a bit of the fun out of drinking actually) and thinking about next week’s events. Welcome to town everyone…

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