My name is Jason Chalifour and I am a homebrewer, blogger, Recognized Beer Judge Certification Program judge, craft beer fan, and have been working on the Event Team at Newburyport Brewing Company since May. As a side job, there are worse things I could be doing than meeting people and talking about beer.
The first event I attended was at a bottle shop in Hingham, MA. I learned a very important lesson on my first day, never drive through Boston. Ever. It is never safe. Even at 1:00 p.m. on a Saturday there can and probably will be traffic.
My second event was at O’Neil’s in Salem where they usually have at least one Newburyport beer on tap. At the time they had both Green Head IPA and Plum Island Belgian White. I had a lot of fun pouring samples and giving away t-shirts to customers who bought pints at the bar. I even had two bands ask if and how they could play at the brewery for our 5 pm Sessions. Speaking of 5 pm Sessions, folks always ask if we do tours and tastings at the brewery. When I tell them that we do, and that we also have Metzy’s taco truck every Thursday, they always light up.
Surprisingly, some of the events I’ve worked haven’t been your typical “beer geek” crowd. On Father’s Day I attended a pouring at Jewell Towne Vineyards, where I was surrounded by people don’t typically identify themselves as beer drinkers. These types tend to enjoy a lighter beer, so I suggest they try Plum Island Belgian White, which is not overly hoppy or bitter. Wine drinkers enjoy the fruitiness from the orange peel, which is brewed directly into the Belgian White.
I have also noticed that craft beer drinkers who try our Green Head for the first time seem to REALLY enjoy it. And I mean really, really enjoy it. Most traditional East-Coast IPAs are fairly malty, and by current standards, lightly hopped. Whereas traditional West-Coast IPAs tend to be a bit “hoppier” as the hops tend to dominate the palate making the beer a bit one-note. Green Head, more than any beer I have tasted, seamlessly melds both traditions by combining a nice malt flavor with a potent hop flavor and aroma. All of the IPA fans I have encountered feel the same way when they try it and they always ask where they can purchase more.
My personal favorite is the Newburyport Pale Ale. I always tell customers that the English Maris Otter base malt gives the beer a perfect balance. Also, I have noticed that some customers are not familiar with session beer, which I usually describe as a beer you can have a six-pack of on Tuesday and still make it to work on Wednesday. The Citra and Amarillo hops in Melt Away give this beer an entirely different flavor from Green Head, however, both are well liked by most IPA drinkers.
Going to tastings and festivals really is a lot of fun. Maybe I will see you there!