Extreme Beer Fest: Boston (2020)

Discussion in 'BeerAdvocate Fests' started by Todd, Jul 14, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Joenap419

    Joenap419 Initiate (163) Dec 11, 2015 Rhode Island

    The warhead beers and rolly janchers from artisanal were at least something different
    artisanalbrewworks likes this.
  2. onezendad

    onezendad Initiate (55) Apr 16, 2018 Canada (ON)

    All of the mortalis stuff was amazing. And the lines were not bad all night.
    Todd likes this.
  3. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Can 3 Stars be removed mid-fest for lack of effort?
    betterthanyourbeer and dental like this.
  4. onezendad

    onezendad Initiate (55) Apr 16, 2018 Canada (ON)

    For anytime in 3rd session, the utopia line went real fast.
    Todd and Eefinn like this.
  5. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    1) Drink Lost Abbey. You’re an asshole if you don’t.

    2) Street Sodie at 4 Hands and So-Cal Pilsner at Breakside

    best beers at the fest
    Todd and afrokaze like this.
  6. JakerLou

    JakerLou Meyvn (1,224) Jan 6, 2013 New Hampshire

    I don't know what a Tartshake IPA is but I thought all 4 beers from Cinderlands were pretty great. It's possible they were just a nice change of pace from the double digit stouts :-). Either way I thoroughly enjoyed them.

    I also thought Mortalis and Lost Abbey nailed it.
    Todd and jrc1093 like this.
  7. dental

    dental Devotee (433) Apr 2, 2014 Massachusetts

    NEBCO peanut butter trooper is probably the best PB beer i've had. it actually tasted like peanut butter. Cambridge hot cheetos is super interdesting, breakside honeymate lager was top of the pops for me...real nice. short's london fog was really different and nailed the earl grey tea flavor, aardwolf lactic zeppelin was good and a nice change of pace. everything from mortalis was top-notch

    i hated the circular set-up at first but then someone told me i was in line for utopia's and i was kinda near the front so i was like OK!

    missed the weldworks taco...really wanted that one. i just went down the line starting at lost abbey. i think there was like 1 beer i had that i didn't like but i forget what it was. wicked cool day to spend with my dad.

    hit up mela for some indian grub afterward, it was middle of the road.

    pretty good saturday!
    Todd, afrokaze, Gmr75 and 1 other person like this.
  8. jtads122

    jtads122 Disciple (355) Feb 11, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I was a fan of the smaller venue. Barely any lines, was able to hit up basically every brewery and got everything that I wanted. The only thing I missed was the amount of very high end beers with the bigger venue.

    Highlights for me were Definitive Euphoric Nights, Great Notion Super Duper Over Ripe, Mortalis Cerberus (everything from them was good), Transient F---, Transient Parker, Kane BA French Toast and Saturday Night Lights, Barrel Souls BA Mexican Donut
    Todd likes this.
  9. Davl22

    Davl22 Disciple (357) Sep 27, 2011 New Hampshire

    Loved having it at Cyclorama. We were able to try everything we wanted and then some. The few initial lines died pretty quickly. Kielbasa/red pepper pierogi was worth the price of admission alone. One thing I noticed that seemed weird was the lack of carb on a lot of the beers, a bunch were near flat, including IPA’s.

    Highlights were...

    Taco Gose and pretty much everything Weldwerks brought.

    All beers from Kane.

    Flaming Cheeto/taki cream ale from CBC.

    Parker BA Barleywine from Transient.

    Everything Lost Abbey.

    Biggest surprise was the quality of brews from Common Roots. I never really paid attention to them much but their Spontaneous Wild was unbelievable.
    afrokaze and Todd like this.
  10. angelosk

    angelosk Disciple (349) Sep 20, 2014 Massachusetts

    Was a great event! Definitely more manageable than the last few years. Only feedback to Sam Adams is that it would have been nice to open a utopia for the early entry crowd. Having that at 7:45 with a massive line wasn’t that inviting so we opted out. It’s the only beer I wanted to try and didn’t. Otherwise Mortalis, Lost Abbey, Weldwerks, Artisanal rocked it.
    Todd and micada like this.
  11. PakkyT

    PakkyT Initiate (17) Jan 22, 2019 Massachusetts

    Poor Night Shift brewing didn't get any love in the guide book other than their booth location on the map. I got a beer, went to look up their listing and it wasn't there. Mentioned it to the guy and he was "ya we're in there" looked, and turned to he co-worker "we're not in it."

    Exhibit A's Sunday Paper Imperial Stout with Coffee had a really good coffee flavor.

    The North Brewery's God Complex was another that stood out to me with a delicious chili pepper flavor. And that was at the end of the session when my taste buds were pretty shot.

    Nice to have EBF day not be freezing cold for a change when waiting outside to get in.
    Todd, Joro234 and hops_for_thought like this.
  12. hops_for_thought

    hops_for_thought Crusader (703) Jun 14, 2013 New York

    God complex a highlight for me
    Todd and Joro234 like this.
  13. micada

    micada Meyvn (1,314) Jul 13, 2015 New York
    Society Trader

    There’s still $300 bottles for sale .
  14. betterthanyourbeer

    betterthanyourbeer Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2014 Connecticut

    Can we rename this fest to the Kind of Extreme flavored Stout and Fruited Beer Fest?
    Really, how many coconut stouts can you drink? i love them, but that fest was lacking some of the best breweries of years past. I think there were 3 non-fruited /Lactosed IPA's and Pale ales in the whole place. for the price, they need to dramatically step up the brewers that were there. Not to knock to amazing ones that were there...but there was no need for some of the breweries. Also, i second the whole Utopia thing. So 70 people out of the 750 got to try it and the VIP people got shafted. this was probably the last one, sadly. it was a fun run.
    bstyle and kkulacki like this.
  15. betterthanyourbeer

    betterthanyourbeer Initiate (0) Feb 24, 2014 Connecticut

    what do you mean...they had the best gangster rap playing the whole time. If you're going to critique...how about the breweries with AMPLE means $$ (eh hem...burley, great notion) get there on time and not their beers offered written on a piece of cardboard with a bic pen that they stole from a homeless guy.
  16. gclaw4444

    gclaw4444 Initiate (84) Jul 30, 2015 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    So you came to Extreme Beer Fest looking for IPAs and Pale Ales without adjuncts? I can see how you would be disappointed.

    I loved what Against the Grain did with their booth and i made sure to toss them a coin so they could get home.
  17. JAramini

    JAramini Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2005 New York

    I think I've been to eight years of it, and I agree. We had one newbie who enjoyed himself, but the rest of our usual crew just didn't love it this time around. I remember loving it when I went to it in the Cyclorama back in the day, and there's things to like, absolutely, but we may be done with it, or at least done for a few years.
  18. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,666) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    They had last minute staffing and beer issues.
    Some of their beers got delayed, but they're in the Boston market as of today. They were beyond bummed.
    They were a last minute addition from the waiting list. Guide had already gone to print.
  19. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,666) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    Thanks to everyone who came out to support Extreme Beer Fest this past weekend!

    Special thanks to all the brewers for spending the weekend with us and our sponsors: Dogfish Head, Brewers Association, Hop Head Farms, and Eastern Standard Provisions.

    Personally, I met hundreds of attendees and brewers who had an awesome time and I didn't have one beer that I considered "bad." Overall, the creativity and caliber of people was high and it was great to host it at The Cyclorama again. We also broke a record during session two: everyone in within eleven minutes! Our fest crew crushed this event!

    It seems like a few who've posted had high beer expectations that weren't met, but we've learned that this will always be the case. And trying to compare a fest and selection that's roughly a 1/4 the size of the previous year will automatically create disappointment for some. I get it. That said, keep the feedback coming! We're listening and there's always room for improvement.

    In the meantime, we'll get back to work on some exciting ideas that we have for future fests (including Extreme Beer Fest). More to follow...

    Cheers! :fire::beer::heavymetal:

  20. budgie

    budgie Disciple (399) Jan 18, 2007 Massachusetts

    I rarely chime in around here (hell, I barely resemble my pic at this point, and that poor cat must be long gone), but my wife and I haven't missed a fest since our first one (American in June 2007) and we had a great time at the third session. Definitely agree that Utopias should have been available during the VIP period, but other than that, it was one of the best beer nights we've had in a long time in terms of quality (along with the utterly absurd variety). Love having it back at the Cyclorama too!
  21. Nichols33

    Nichols33 Poo-Bah (1,736) Apr 2, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I've gone to probably the last 6, maybe 7 EBFs. Went to session 1 this year.

    The good:
    • VIP experience was great, the staff outside was on point, directing early entrance to one line, checking IDs, tickets, was very well run. Was great to get to chat with some of the brewery representatives before the madness started.
    • Venue is cool, in a great neighborhood. Very cool area in Boston I don't get to enough
    • Standout beers were Transient F--- w/walnuts, Kane BA Saturday Night Lights, and even though I've had, GN Double Stack.
    The bad:
    • The beer was a let down. Perhaps my expectations were too high as Todd alluded to above, but those expectations were set by previous EBFs. I always knew at EBF I was going to have a few of the best beers I had all year. This year was mediocre stout after mediocre stout with a few mediocre sours thrown in. I know it's "Extreme" beer fest, but the IPAs were few and far between, with maybe 1 or 2 better than a can I get from the store around the corner. I'm admittedly a "beer snob" but comparing to years past, disappointed is the only word I got.
    • Brewery selections. I'm not sure who turned down invitations, but the # of "world class" breweries in attendance was again disappointing. I'm thinking destination breweries. Kane, Transient, Mortalis, Great Notion, Weldwerks all fit the bill. Others like Lost Abbey, Against the Grain, 4 Hands, Carton, Definitive, and NEBCO are good to fill out. And it's always good to see Dogfish Head as they are a sponsor and have done a ton for craft beer. But 5 or so more of destination breweries would definitely help. Not going to list all that I put in destination brewery bucket, but start in top rated beers (Tree House, Side Project, J Wakefield, Other Half, Angry Chair, Bottle Logic, etc.)
    • Too many people for venue. I get that the fest downsized and there is probably a break even point where it's not fiscally possible, but on numerous occasions I just wanted to get out of peoples way who were going to a line and felt we had nowhere to go.
    I'm glad some people had an awesome time and felt this was a great year. Myself and the other 4 in my party did not feel the same. Not sure if I'm in for next year. After last year's operational debacle, and this year's lack of quality, this festival is no longer a must for me. It's a shame since EBF used to be a beer highlight of the year. I know the BA folks are always evaluating feedback, that's what makes them great. Figured I'd share my two cents.
    StoutOfIdeas and Todd like this.
  22. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,666) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    We sold 725 tickets per session, which was intentionally under capacity, and each session had 30-50 no shows. The last time we hosted the fest at this venue we sold 850 tickets per session.
  23. onezendad

    onezendad Initiate (55) Apr 16, 2018 Canada (ON)

    View from Canada

    This was my 2nd EBF. 2 VIP/Early sessions each year. I figure im crossing a border I might as well make it worth my while :slight_smile:

    Last year I flew in, stayed in the Seaport and didnt venture out much. Granted it was -40 all weekend so there is that.

    This year I decided to drive down and explore the area a bit more, including a stop at Trillium Canton and Treehouse on the way home.

    I liked the smaller vibe this year and did not have a problem finding beers Ive never had, mostly because everything was new to me. A ton of great beer. I was early in so I hit lots of the big lines early, but even when I went back for a 2nd (or 3rd) choice the lines were not bad and those that had lines were worth it (save for the Jolly Rancher sours which I found underwhelming)

    A couple quick thoughts:

    I was VIP last year, and while I enjoyed the early in, I missed having a seating area where I could escape and chill for a few minutes while I sipped on a 12% stout. Maybe an expanded seating area for everyone rather than the light folding chairs that seemed to always be taken in the corner.

    I have no quarrel with the utopia line. As luck would have it in Session 2, I had just got a tartshake from Cinderlands and was drinking it when I found myself at the back of the line. I didnt realized until someone else asked me if I was in the line, I said no, and a fest crew corrected me and told me I was! So I stayed. Waited 12 minutes and got a taste. Well worth it.

    Favourite beers: Aardwolf Guava Lactose, Definative Euphoric Night, all the sours from Burley Oak especially the Strawberry Rhubarb, everything from Kane, everything from Mortalis and I loved the Pickleback from Common.

    I probably wont be back next year due to some timing issues, but will do another BA event in a second.
    dental and Todd like this.
  24. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,666) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

  25. artisanalbrewworks

    artisanalbrewworks Initiate (26) Nov 7, 2018 New York

    I want to thank everyone that came by to say hello to Artisanal Brew Works. We've been busting our arse to make a great selection of beers, and try and be great at each selection. I hope we were able to give you all a small taste of what we do in little ol' Saratoga Springs.

    My team was super humbled by everyone's response to our beer lineup, especially the Warheads Sour.

    Personally I really enjoyed the smaller Cyclodome venue. I was able to talk to many of the attendees, and other brewers, both of which were real tough to do in the Seaport venue in 2019.

    Our mission statement is quite simple: Make great beer and don't be a D-bag. I hope we came across as such.

    Thanks again for all your support!


    Kurt Borchardt
    Artisanal Brew Works
    Key-in, csniezek, jhavs and 6 others like this.
  26. budgie

    budgie Disciple (399) Jan 18, 2007 Massachusetts

    Size large, please.
  27. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Yeah, the crowd was the right size. Never felt crowded to me, speaking in festival terms of course.
    Todd likes this.
  28. Nichols33

    Nichols33 Poo-Bah (1,736) Apr 2, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Beer on Wood in Portland a few years ago was the ideal situation. Never felt crowded there, huge warehouse space. Too bad I heard it's no longer an option, I think it's getting replaced with condos.
  29. Todd

    Todd Founder (6,666) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society Trader

    Beer Meets Wood was an awesome fest at a unique venue...but we didn't sell enough tickets, which is why it never felt crowded. The venue has been demolished.
    F2brewers likes this.
  30. GimmeAGuinness

    GimmeAGuinness Defender (602) Sep 1, 2005 Massachusetts
    Fest Crew Society

    My first EBF in 2006 was vastly different than this year's. Fourteen years later, boundaries have been pushed to the point that some of the 'extreme' beer styles back then are now normal. So was this year's better than the first? Can't say, I see no point in comparing them, and I thought it was fantastic. I love that brewers are still up for the challenge of experimenting with weird flavors (hello, Cheetos! hello tacos!) for this fest. As consumers, this is stuff we may never see again, so have fun with it. Sure, there were a lot of spicy stouts, but they were all unique. Ditto the fruited ales, etc. I like that some tried and "failed." It is exactly this sort of festival that has expanded my beer palate.

    As part of the fest crew for a lot of years, it's awesome to hear the great feedback about the line, and overall operation of the festival. I was out there scanning and banding you guys, and it's a lot of fun to see y'all getting pumped up for the show. Thanks for coming!
    angelosk, nathanb47, Key-in and 4 others like this.
  31. xanok

    xanok Aspirant (271) Aug 13, 2009 Connecticut

    I see a lot of hate on this thread but my wife and I went and had a great time, per usual. Obviously there was less variety and fewer breweries but we were able to get everything we wanted with shorter waits. This led to a better time overall. This was probably our tenth or so EBF and one of our favorites. Keep up the good work.
    budgie and Todd like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.