As the year winds down, I find myself in full La-Z-Boy formation: hair down, feet kicked up, sipping on a quenching amber-hued libation, and reminiscing about the year in beer.
From the heavens comes a local Trappist ale
In late January, local beer geeks were blessed with Spencer Trappist Ale, Belgian wheat ale crafted by monks within one of the largest breweries in the state, the first-ever Trappist brewery in the US. It took five years, much research, and 24 trial batches before the brethren at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass, settled on a recipe for a simple, lower-alcohol, top-notch brew. You can thank the beer gods for that.
Harpoon goes employee-owned
During the Boston brewery’s annual company summit, a new Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) was announced, and on August 1 it went into effect. This moved Harpoon to employee stock ownership, ensuring that the brewery would remain a Boston-centered business and perhaps more importantly, preventing a larger corporate beer brand from coming in and spoiling the quality of a beloved local product. Cheers to that.
The lid is blown off a beer industry secret
If you’ve bellied up at a bar in the last three months, you’ve likely heard about “pay to play” and the small-scale battle between the craft beer industry and local bars that ensued after a torrent of now-infamous late-night tweets blasted by Dann Pacquette, co-founder and brewer for Somerville’s Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project. In case you missed it, Pacquette went public about a common—albeit illegal—practice, which involves breweries bribing bar owners to secure a spot on draft, dropping the names of several local beer hubs allegedly whoring out taps.
Trillium temporarily closes, Boston panics
Speculation swirled following several cryptic Facebook posts late last month indicating that Boston’s Trillium Brewing Company has to stay closed for now, but will eventually reopen, but will need support when it does. After some buzz on Beer Advocate message boards, owner JC Tetreault finally shed some light on the situation: The 2014 license renewal application was never processed, and nobody was aware until recently. The husband and wife team behind the hugely popular Fort Point neighborhood brewery is currently waiting on a decision from the local government. Our growlers are waiting.