On a recent Thursday afternoon, a dozen or so folks carrying growlers emblazoned with the Trillium Brewing logo stood outside the Fort Point brewery in preparation for its latest release. At 4 p.m. the last 100 bottles of Wild Trillium were to be sold to the public. By 3:40, the line snaked around the corner and onto Congress Street.
The release was part of a series of events designed around the brewery’s first anniversary. Also available that day was a very limited supply of Trillium’s double-dry hopped Fort Point Pale Ale, but it was the Wild Trillium that brought me in. Brewer Jean-Claude Tetreault and his staff have been busy. In January, they installed three new fermentation tanks, increasing their capacity by 60 percent. They also began bottling, allowing them to distribute barrel-aged beers like Wild Trillium in a different format. Despite the increased production, the brewery isn’t exactly carrying a surplus. Both limited brews would sell out that day.
Wild Trillium is an American Wild Saison. Trillium’s flagship Farmhouse Ale spent nine months aging in a single oak barrel with wild microbes. The aging is designed to impart funk into an already spicy, complex beer. Wild Trillium checks in at 7.7 percent alcohol by volume.
My 375-ml bottle pours bubbly, like a Creamsicle-colored, hazy champagne. Out of this bath of carbonation wafts an aroma of apple skin, sour cherries, and some of that old, musty horse blanket you come to expect from beers aged with mild microbes.
The smell on this brew is louder than its bite. The first sip is nice and buttery, with a pepper kick and a smooth vanilla finish. The sour pungency so prevalent in the nose is an accessory in the taste. Just when you think one aspect of the beer is going to take over you get pulled in another direction. This is really well done, one of my favorite beers from Trillium to date.
Craft beer continues to grow
If you like craft beer, you’re going to like the next bit of news. Craft brewers saw an 18 percent rise in volume in 2013, according to the latest data released by the Brewers Association. The number represents a total of 15.6 million barrels and a 20 percent increase in retail dollar value.
In 2013, craft beer reached 7.8 percent of the total US beer market by volume, up from 6.5 percent in 2012. By dollars, craft beer’s share was 14.3 percent in 2013.
“With this stellar year, craft has now averaged 10.9 percent growth over the last decade,” Bart Watson, staff economist at the Brewers Association, said in a statement.
■ Jack’s Abby is hosting a “Battle of the Barrels” Wednesday, April 2, starting at 6 p.m. at its Framingham brewery. The event is the culmination of a contest between four teams of brewery staff, each given $100 worth of ingredients to brew whatever they pleased. You can stop in and vote for your favorite, and a food truck will be on hand. Yours truly will be a judge.
■ Also on April 2, Cambridge’s Formaggio Kitchen welcomes Idle Hands Craft Ales’ head brewer and founder, Chris Tkach, for a cheese-and-beer pairing, starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets, $55, can be purchased at Eventbrite.com. www.eventbrite.com/e/beer-cheese-with-idle-hands-craft-ales-tickets-10738658617
■ The Drink Craft Beer Springfest returns to the Revere Hotel’s Space 57 on April 11-12. There are three sessions: a VIP session Friday night and day and night sessions on Saturday. The event will feature more than 80 beers from 25-plus New England craft brewers. During the VIP session festivalgoers can sample from some 25 rare beers brewed exclusively for the event.
Notch, Peak Organic, Backlash, Pretty Things, and Mystic are some of the breweries scheduled to attend. Ciders from Somerville’s Bantam Cider and Maine’s Urban Farm Fermentory will also be available. Food from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and Union Square Donuts will be available for purchase. You can find ticket information on DrinkCraftBeer.com.Gary Dzen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen.