Saturday and Sunday
Harpoon Brewery, Boston, $20
One of the longest running beer fests in the area, the 23rd annual Octoberfest is as notable for its predictably top notch musical entertainment lineup as it is for its beers. And Harpoon's Merrill Maloney adds: "There is nonstop oompah music on two stages, keg bowling and of course chicken dancing and German cake eating contests." They'll have their better known styles on hand, but Maloney recommends people look out for their Rich and Dan's Rye IPA, a complexly hopped brew balanced out with a light rye spice.
Oct. 6-7, Mohegan Sun, C.T., $20
With more than 100 beers, intimate seminars and tastings, this fest will be Connecticut's chance to shine, says Mike Labbe, brew master of Thomas Hooker Brewery. "Connecticut has lagged a bit behind some other New England states in craft brewing, but man, are we catching up fast," he says. Among those beers is a brand new saison style he's collaborated on with The Connecticut Wine Trail, as well as the seasonal debut of their Noreaster Lager, a Vienna style lager loaded with apple pie spices.
Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest
Nov. 30-Dec. 1
Revere Hotel, Boston, $45
You wouldn't want to drink a summer ale when there's snow on the ground, right? Drink Craft Beer Fall to Winter Fest brings together the more seasonally appropriate brews from New England. "New England is rocking it beer-wise," says Jeff Wharton, producer of the event. "We'll take New England against any region, especially given the diversity of brewers." Among the styles on hand will be English-style ales, German lagers and Belgians -- plus all manner of hybrids in between. "We have steadfast traditionalists and wacky new-to-the-scene upstarts all pouring these insanely delicious beers into a market that just can't seem to get enough." He also promises "fall-seasonal beers that aren't made with pumpkin."
Local Craft Brewfest
Fort Point Boston, $45-$55
The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts highlights local brews and those also using local ingredients to create quality pro-ducts, says producer Nicola Williams. “We want people to know who is making their food and drinks, and where it’s all coming from,” she says — brands like Peak Organic Brewing, who made a small batch of beers sourced to each of the New England states, or the Pie Eyed Pumpkin Ale from Watch City Brewing in Waltham.
Oct. 6-7, Newport Yachting Center, R.I., $20
“We expect our visitors to be drawn to the Warsteiner Premium and Spaten Dunkel as well as the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse,” says Michael J. Martin, director of Newport Waterfront Events of this 20th annual event. He says these are brews that people “may not come across readily elsewhere, but are eager to sample [at] Oktoberfest, where everyone is Bavarian if just for a day.”