It may be hard to believe, but back in 1999, when Beer Summit first kicked off, craft beer wasn’t a thing.
A lot has changed since then. Beer Summit, whose Harvest Fest will take over the Castle at Park Plaza this weekend, showcases over 60 breweries and more than 200 beers.
In the early days of craft beer, Mike Munnelly, one of the founders, says, festivals like his were akin to evangelism. “Hey, you may have heard of this, so here’s three others like it,” he describes. “Here’s an ale or IPA. You’ve probably never had more than a lager.”
Now, much of that exposure to new brews is done in bars, an abundance that has only furthered whetted aficionados appetites for seeking out the new, unique, and down right weird.
“We stay with our approach, which is 50 percent local beers from Massachusetts and New England,” explains Munnelly. “And there are some really great brewers and beers we want to bring, something really cool out of the west coast or North Carolina.”
Among some of those notable beers include Brooklyn’s Lord Sorachi, an imperial saison, a Ruby Red IPA from Ipswich Brewery and Foolproof Brewing Company’s Peanut Butter Raincloud porter. Grey Sail Brewing, Newport Storm Beers, Naukabout Beer, John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House and Bad Martha are some additional locals that will be on hand.
For hops-chasers, there will be plenty they haven’t tried before, even if the unexpected has become expected.
“Everyone’s always trying to push it to the limit with how much hops they can get into an IPA, or how many flavors,” Munnelly says. “Everyone’s got creativity in there. When you hear about a peanut butter porter it sounds out there, but it’s not necessarily going to make anyone blink anymore.”