A night well spent : Notch Bottle Caps
How do you come out of a BrewFest sober?
Walk in with a gluten intolerance.
How do you review a BrewFest with a gluten intolerance?
Bring along a beer lover.
How do you recap an event with nearly 50 participating businesses?
In three parts.
The 3rd Annual Local Craft BrewFest took place last Friday evening at the Moakley Courthouse in Fort Point, Boston. With so many participants, the best way to tell you about each, is in parts. This post will cover all food & non-beer alcoholic beverage producers.
I must begin by informing everyone that I did in fact miss Morrissey in order to cover this event for all of you lovely readers. In honor of this sacrifice, I request that, as you read this post, you listen to this video, recorded live at the Wang Theatre last Friday.
I enlisted the gluten friendly palate of Samantha Bonnano, Director of Operations at Local 149 in South Boston as my beer taster for the evening. Our very scientific strategy towards maneuvering the BrewFest: “we are foodies, we must eat”, and so we hit the food tables first.
Our only complaints on the entire event were unfortunate iPhonography unfriendly lighting and the small amount of food for the amount of alcohol and guests. With that said, the participating food producers were a nice representation of both new & established local food businesses.
Part 1: Food, Spirits & Non-Beer Alcoholic Beverages
Fastachi began in the late 80’s when Souren Etyemezian began experimenting with flavors and roasting times, eventually creating a standard by which many commercial roasters strive to reproduce. His team brought their popular Wasabi Nut Mix with local Cape Cod cranberries and gluten-free wasabi peas.
Alex Whitmore’s life changed in Oaxaca, Mexico. Years after that first taste of Mexican stone ground chocolate, Taza was born. Today, their unique organic products are sold online and in shops all around North America & even in Scandinavia! My favorite of the night was their Chipotle Chocolate Mexicano.
Boston Burger Company opened in 2009 by Paul Malvone, Sebastian Fricia & Chuck Sillari who yearned for the perfect burger. Three years and two successful locations later, they’ve recently launched the Boston Burger Company Salsa Project. Four thumbs up for their Inferno Habanero Salsa.
Boston Burger Company : Habanero Salsa
Four words: Gluten Free Cured Meats. Vermont Smoke & Cure has been a favorite for many years. As someone with a pretty severe Gluten Sensitivity, finding meaty cured goodies was a challenge until I was introduced to their Real Sticks. Now, I’m mildly obsessed with their entire line. Did someone say Bacon?
Vermont Smoke and Cure
Speaking of obsession, the following two are uber local brands whom I have recently gotten acquainted to through some writing I was doing for the Boston Local Food Festival and the Boston Local Craft BrewFest.
I had eaten Quinn Popcorn prior to meeting, but it wasn’t until interviewing them, learning what Quinn is about, that I became a huge advocate for them. We need more products like theirs, especially with GMO legislation such as Prop 37 in California. BTW, Parmesan Rosemary is MY popcorn crack.
I’m a salted caramel fiend with MANY favorites, but Batch Ice Cream might be high on the list. Their vanilla is pure perfection, but it’s their Salted Caramel that enraptures me with subtle flavors and versatility. Versatility? Ice cream? I only need a bowl and spoon, right? Not exactly my friends, read on…
Batch Ice Cream
From Batch, I slipped into the VIP section, curious how the Salted Caramel Cider Float tasted with the two cider producers present. THIS is why I like a versatile ice cream!
Bantam is lovely & light, flavors are bright, crisp & clean, making this an easy everyday hard cider to keep on hand. Paired with Batch’s Salted Caramel Ice Cream? Sweet, soft & familiar, like a caramel apple from your local farm stand. Try this at your next adult gathering this Fall.
Bantam : Modern Cider
Farnum Hill is dry, sharp & fruit forward, unlike Bantam’s softness, they aren’t gentle. The high alcohol and use of late harvest apple varieties reproduce the high acid and tannins more familiar to the wine and champagne worlds. Pair with fish, spicy dishes, or on their own, but not with ice cream, trust me.
Farnum Hill Cider
Moonlight Meadery, a high-end honey wine producer, was totally new to me. While their meads are gluten-free, some are aged in Boston Beer Company Utopia Casks, so Celiacs should avoid the Utopian, Temerity, Virtue, and Frisky. My stand out favorite was Red Dress, with its big burst of juicy red currents.
Grand Ten Distilling makes great liqueurs. Amandine is lovely, with its smooth light almond flavor, but their Angelica herbal liqueur speaks to me. Angelica is a main ingredient in Gin, its warm pungent hints of celery & anise, make it ideal for the Autumn spices GTD adds to this liqueur. A must for your holiday party bar.
Grand Ten Distillery : Almond & Herbal Liqueurs
Grand Ten Distilling also makes Wire Works American Gin, which is quite different from the uber-dry British gins you may be used to, and Fire Puncher Vodka , a spicy smoked vodka that lends its flavor to Sunday Bloody Marys and strong cups of black coffee.
Grand Ten Distillery : Vodka & Gin
These two seasonal spiced rums by Old Ipswich are fabulous cocktail rums. Greenhead is their summer seasonal, infused with lemongrass, green tea & spearmint. Golden Marsh is infused with ten different Autumnal spices, making it fantastic for Ginger Beer, Buttered Rums or Hot Rum Cider by a fire.
Old Ipswich Rum
18 months ago, Privateer was founded and its two flagship rums, Silver Reserve & True American Amber, perfected. Only six months into production, Silver Reserve had won Silver at the 2011 Ministry of Rum Tasting Competition, and just this month, it’s received 94 pt’s from Wine Enthusiast! I’m impressed, you?
I first tried Mill River Winery at Eat Boutique Fall Market. These wines are easy to drink, approachable & non-pretentious. They’re quintessential New England, but they aren’t yet widely available, so if you are interested in quality local wine, request them at your neighborhood wine shop or restaurant.
Mill River Winery
Please stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 of my recap of last Friday’s 3rd Annual Local Craft BrewFest in Fort Point, Boston. Don’t forget, I stood up Morrissey, a defining voice of my youth, to go to this event.