|June 18, 2012|
By Chris Maza
Summertime is the time for beer season and I am especially looking forward to one in particular.
The second annual Worthy Craft Brewfest, sponsored by Theodore's and Smith's Billiards, is slated to take place on Worthington Street in Springfield on June 23, featuring more than 30 craft brewers and nearly 70 beers on tap.
Currently confirmed are local breweries such as Berkshire Brewing Company, Amherst Brewing Company, Element Brewing Company and Westfield River Brewing Company as well as some well-known out-of-towners such as Stone, Dogfish Head, Harpoon, Sierra Nevada and Smutty Nose.
It's a great idea for an event that on top of advocating the greatness of craft brewing showcases Springfield's much-scrutinized Entertainment District in a very positive light.
Reviews from last year's event were strong and I am looking forward in partaking in this year's event, seeing as my wedding got in the way of me going last year.
Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 the day of the event. For more information, visit http://theworthycraftbrewfest.com.
As I mentioned in a previous column, I recently hosted a craft beer party during which several people brought a host of different American-made brews from around the country.
One of the favorites of the evening was the uniquely bottled Amazing Grace Ale brewed by Old Burnside Brewing Company of East Hartford, Conn.
Bottled in short, stout, blue nine-ounce swing top bottle adorned with a Celtic cross, it makes an impression right off the bat that certainly lives true.
Essentially, the Amazing Grace Ale is the brewery's Ten Penny Ale Reserve also one of my favorite local brews aged for six months. While originally aged in whiskey barrels, the version currently available went through the aging process in Crown Royal cognac barrels, creating a truly unique profile.
Amazing Grace has a very sweet, but extremely complex scent and taste that boasted strong hints of caramel and some fruits and vanilla.
It is a heavy hitter with 10 percent alcohol by volume, something I wouldn't have guessed, given how smooth the beer is.
At $11 a bottle, it is on the pricier side, but if you are looking for just one good beer to savor, it's worth every penny.
Working in a business in which my craft is openly visible to the public on a weekly basis, I have received my fair share of both criticism and praise, though usually folks are more eager to give the latter than the former.
So when I do receive kind words from readers, I certainly take them to heart and appreciate them. I still have a select number of letters that I have received, some of which date back to my start in journalism more than 10 years ago.
Because of the stock I put in not only what I feel the quality of my work is, but the opinions of others, I have to say I was quite pleased with the outcome of my first real foray into a new craft brewing.
I recently finished my first batch of homebrewed beer, an American Brown Ale, and shared it with friends first at a craft beer swap I hosted and later at other gatherings and received rave reviews.
I'm not writing this to toot my own horn, but to encourage others to give this noble endeavor a go. The satisfaction and pride gained through the success of crafting something yourself is second to none.
The folks at DIY Brewing Supply in Ludlow have a basic starter kit available for less than $100 and the staff there are exceptionally helpful and respectful to all, whether it be a seasoned beer-making veteran or a greener than grass newcomer.
Go check them out and have some fun creating something.
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