The Can’t Miss Pours of Extreme Beer Fest Boston 2019
Less than two weeks remain before the 16th annual Extreme Beer Fest kicks off in Boston. Winter weather notwithstanding, it’s our favorite time of year. But with roughly 500 beers, ciders, meads, and kombuchas to choose from (our largest lineup to date), it’s not going to be easy to decide where to start. Sure, seasoned festival vets tend to arrive at the Seaport with a game plan to focus on a few favorite styles, while others resolve to try the offerings from trending or highly-rated breweries. But if you haven’t been before, aren’t sure how to make the most of your session, or perhaps are looking to drink outside of your comfort zone, this list might be a helpful guide.
In the end though, there is no right or wrong way to approach EBF. It’s a choose your own adventure experience. The only real mistakes you can make are missing the fest altogether, and failing to consume alcohol in moderation, drink water, and eat food while you’re at the venue. So however you decide to approach it, don’t miss the chance to sample some of the most unpredictable, innovative, and exciting beers you’ll find anywhere.
A limited number of tickets to the Friday night session are still available, but they’re going fast, and like anything good, once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Fernet About It | 8.5% ABV
Since 2004, brewers have consistently turned up at EBF with surprising new combinations of flavors and ingredients. This year 3 Stars out of Washington, DC is bringing a Chocolate Stout aged in a barrel that previously held Fernet, a bitter herbal liqueur with Italian origins.
Trial of Dimitri | 4.5% ABV
Here’s some fun trivia: We actually have four examples of Russian-style Kvass (a lower alcohol fermented beverage made with rye) at the fest this year. Try this one from Virginia’s Benchtop Brewing Company, or seek out the versions made by Fair State, Transient, and Trophy.
Citra Seltzer IPA | 2.0% ABV
As we’ve said many times before, this fest is all about ales and lagers with tons of flavor, not punishingly high levels of alcohol. Connecticut’s Black Hog clearly got that memo. Its Brut IPA is basically a beer seltzer, or to quote the brewery: “No body, no haze. Just hops and bubbles.”
Emergency PTA Meeting | 5.2% ABV
To some, a Mezcal barrel-aged Rauchbier could already seems like an extreme flavor combination, but Michigan’s Brewery Vivant took things one step further by adding ancho chile peppers. If smoke and heat are in your wheelhouse, seek this one out.
Burnt Weeny Sandwich | 4.5% ABV
If we had to pick one beer that embodied the spirit of EBF, it just might be this one from Cambridge Brewing Company, a smoked Cream Ale with rauchmalt, flaked corn, Sorachi Ace hops, mustard seed, toasted hot dog buns, and charred Kosher beef hot dogs. Because Zappa.
Terroir Merroir | 6.5% ABV
Terroir is to the earth as merroir is to the sea. Hence, this spontaneously fermented wild ale from New York’s Common Roots is brewed with both oysters and chanterelle mushrooms. Hello umami!
Pickled Pils | 3.75% ABV
If you like pickles, 2019 will be an EBF to remember. No fewer than seven pickle-esque beers, including DC Brau’s German-style Pilsner made with pickle juice, are expected to be pouring.
Possibly the Next Top Rated Beer on BeerAdvocate | 9.0% ABV
For this year’s collaboration with Dogfish Head, we threw caution to the wind and included ingredients from some of the top rated beers on our website. Now that this style-defying ale is finally ready, it begs an important question: Is the world ready to try the first Double New England Maple Pastry Black Coffee Milkshake IPA?
Nashville Hot Fried Chicken and Waffles | 10.0% ABV
Lots of brewers look to the kitchen for ideas and inspiration, and this beer is a perfect example. To evoke the flavors of brunch in Tennessee’s state capital, Delaware’s Dewey Beer Company made a Stout with waffles, fried chicken, spicy honey, maple syrup, and piri piri peppers.
Mawwiage Is What Bwings Us Togevah Today | 6.8% ABV
Finally you can have your cake and drink it too. Philadelphia’s Evil Genius brewed an over the top Milkshake IPA with cake, rainbow sprinkles, edible glitter, lactose, vanilla, and “an absurd amount of Azacca, Centennial, and Simcoe.” Bonus points for The Princess Bride reference.
The North Sea | 8.7% ABV
Considering the fact that HaandBryggeriet hasn’t poured at one of our festivals before, this Norwegian brewery really brought its A game. Case in point is this Maritime Stout brewed with licorice, mackerel, snuff, and tobacco. We’re guessing it’s not for the faint of heart—or palate.
What the Pho? | 6.0% ABV
Crazy ideas often die on the drawing board. Once in a while though, they’re just crazy enough to work. A love of the classic Vietnamese dish led Chicago’s Marz Community Brewing to infuse a Porter with a pho soup base, age it on oak and sassafrass staves, and then dry hop it with clove, cinnamon, star anise, and coriander.
Kombucha IPA | 5.0% ABV
If you’re already an IPA fan, you won’t have trouble tracking down your favorite style at EBF. This new release from Michigan’s New Holland isn’t your average IPA however. Its blend of Citra hops and lemon ginger kombucha will give your taste buds a tart, spicy, and thrilling ride.
Ouzo Oryza | 10.5% ABV
Ouzo Oryza marries the unique fermentation processes of sake and sour ale. To create it, Connecticut’s Order of Eccentric Boilers (or OEC) blended ales matured in absinthe barrels from Letherbee Distillers with Meyer lemons and an unfiltered sake from Kikusakari Sake in Japan.
Pist. Avocado | 6.8% ABV
Michigan’s Right Brain always brings weird beer to EBF, and this year is no different. Pistachio butter and real avocados give this Milk Stout a nutty aroma and a creamy mouthfeel. Legally we can’t call it a health drink, but there’s nothing preventing us from declaring it a California dream.
Rozé | 2.5% ABV
More of a grape lover than a hophead? Head to the Sierra Nevada booth and ask for this sessionable beer made with hibiscus and rosehips—it’s got rosé wine-like qualities.
Pencil Shavings and Heartbreak | 6.0% ABV
You’ve never heard of Bësk? Join the club. To produce Pencil Shavings and Heartbreak, Sketchbook out of Evanston, Ill., aged a Kölsch in barrels that had been filled with this intensely bitter Swedish liquor know for flavors of wormwood, gentian root, star anise, and elderflower.
Åldrad Gammelgädd | 9.0% ABV
Illinois brewery Solemn Oath aged its Nordic farmhouse ale in gin barrels to give it even more depth of flavor and aroma. And then they named it after a fish. Expect juniper and other botanicals on the nose followed by oaky vanilla notes on the palate.
Baked Bean | 6.8% ABV
What would a Boston beer fest be without baked beans, right? Inspired by the iconic New England recipe, Slumbrew’s creative Red Ale is made with red kidney beans, molasses, and brown sugar.
Tepache | 3.2% ABV
For the first time in 15 years we decided to add a handful of non-beer options to EBF. This fermented pineapple beverage from Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider in Oregon relies on fruit from Costa Rica, unrefined sugar from Mexico, and a secret spice blend for its burst of flavor. ■