Summerfest focuses on the beers of summer

From left, Wharton, Notch Brewing founder Chris Lohring and Regan enjoy some brews. Summerfest takes place Friday and Saturday at the Somerville Armory (191 Highland Ave.). For more info visit

The beer festival schedule is becoming almost as crowded as the craft beer market itself; it behooves a fledgling fest to specialize. In the case of Jeff Wharton and Devon Regan, the team behind the Drink Craft Beer website, they decided to focus on saison and farmhouse-style beers for Summerfest.

“The idea behind Drink Craft Beer is craft beer education,” Wharton explains. “It’s about making craft beer fun, getting people out to learn and try some new stuff, but to do it in fun ways.”

There’s a lot to learn and talk about when it comes to craft beer, but at its heart it’s still beer, meant for socializing. The high-level connoisseur market was being served well online when they started the site six years ago, but it was harder for people to learn in a more casual way. That’s where events like this come in. Over the years, Wharton has seen the potential audience for their event grow steadily. This will be the largest, with 1,200 people over three weekend sessions.

“There are tons of beer fests around Boston, and lots of good ones,” he says. “But how do we put our own spin on it? The idea at the heart of Summerfest is a summer barbecue with everything kicked up a few notches.”

Helping to kick it up will be New Englanders like Cambridge Brewing Company, Mystic Brewery and Jack’s Abby. And brewers like Harpoon and High and Mighty will showcase brews they’ve made for the event. All of the 25 brewers will focus on saisons.

Saisons were the traditional beer of choice for Belgian farm-hands to drink for hydration while working. While the category is broad, Wharton says they have a spicy yeast profile, are dry and thirst-quenching.

“That said, it’s one of those styles where it’s more of a way of thought almost than a specific style, which is what we’re so stoked about.”

Saison, the gateway craft beer

Saisons are a good place to start for craft beer drinking novices, Wharton says.

“The person who likes Sam Adams Summer, most of them are going to like a saison.”

It makes sense for the craft beer enthusiast as well, because of the potential for complexity and nuance. 

“It’s one of those styles that satiates the person who thinks they know everything about beer, but people new to beer are going to find it accessible and enjoy it a lot.”

 Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."


Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.


Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.


Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…


FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.


'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…


TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.


5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.


College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)


Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.


Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.


Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.


Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.


London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.


Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."