Harpoon Brewery is offering a fun night to benefit victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. The brewery has been hosting “Brewed for Boston” nights, with 100 percent of pint and pretzel sales benefiting victims.
The next one is Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m.
All of the money from beer and pretzels sold during those times on those nights will go to charity. Harpoon’s new beer hall is awesome, down on Northern Avenue on the South Boston waterfront. There are no tickets necessary to attend.
Another very cool aspect of the “Brewed for Boston” nights is that Harpoon will be selling 500 raffle tickets for $50 apiece for the chance to help brew a beer at Harpoon. Anyone interested in the brewing arts will want to get in on that.
It’s a busy time of year here at 99 Bottles, with spring beers and summer beers mingling and vying for attention like middle-schoolers at the local carnival. Regrettably, my focus has stopped off somewhere between South Station and Penn Station, the result of my day job covering basketball interfering with my night job sipping beer. I realize I’m not going to get much sympathy from the 9-to-5-crowd.
There’s something inherently hard-working about brewers, though, and there’s something admirable about a brewery that strives to use local ingredients. Worcester’s Wormtown Brewery uses Massachusetts ingredients in each beer it makes. Mass Whole Hefeweizen, a limited release, is brewed with multiple local ingredients. Four Star Farms in Northfield grew the wheat and Magnum hops, while Valley Malt in Hadley grew the barley.
Hefeweizen is a Bavarian-style unfiltered beer brewed with at least 50 percent wheat. The beer is characterized by a spicy clove and banana aroma. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is the standard-bearer of the style.
Wormtown’s take on the classic German style pours a pale straw color into a tulip glass. I get the phenolic smell of banana, spice, and bubble gum.
The first sip reveals more of those same flavors, with dry white pepper and a touch of charred wood. The beer is not as spicy as I would like, though there’s a bit more of the pepper as the beer warms. The finish is smooth, barely lingering on the palate. Swirl the beer around to reveal some trippy lacing on the side of the glass.
This is a good warm-weather beer. It’s also a good entry point into craft for fans of beers like Blue Moon, though it may not be super exciting for craft geeks. Mass Whole Hefeweizen checks in at 4.9 percent alcohol by volume and 13 IBUs (international bitterness units).
In case you haven’t heard, The Alchemist’s Heady Topper is now the top-ranked beer in the world. You may have read about the beer and about Waterbury, Vt., the town from which it comes, in my Globe Magazine story from the fall.
Here’s a taste of what I said:
Beer pilgrims also come to Waterbury — a quiet town of just over 5,000 people — for its bars, which serve prized offerings from area breweries that often are difficult to find elsewhere. These pilgrims talk about Waterbury with the reverence of wine drinkers discussing Tuscany or the Loire Valley. “I don’t know how all these people are finding us,” says Chad Rich, owner of a pub in town called Prohibition Pig (802-244-4120, prohibition
pig.com). “There’s a lot of word of mouth. In the craft beer world, people talk.”
Located just northwest of Montpelier, Waterbury is about a 3½-hour drive from Boston and pops up off the highway on the same road as Stowe. Lodging is available within walking distance of the town’s beer attractions, making an overnight stay appealing.Gary Dzen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Globegarydzen.