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Monday, December 30, 2019

2019- The Year in Beer....

Rumors of  my death have been greatly exaggerated.....(and if you are reading this, thanks for hanging around this humble blog!)

Yup, I'm still alive, still loving craft beer, although obviously not writing about it as much this year. Mostly due to life in general- work is great, busy, and I'm writing more work related material for clients. But I am still a craft beer fan, and I do still get out, and I do still have opinions on what's going on in the scene.

I struggled to come up with one clear, cohesive thought to sum up the past year in beer. And after much thought, I've come up with this:

In 2019, the craft beer scene was about change and reinvention.

For one, old favorites Dann and Martha from Pretty Things opened up shop again! Alas, it was across the pond in merry 'ole England. (ok, so it was technically late 2018 when this happened, I'm behind on my beer news, just go with it..) The Brewery of St Mars of the Dessert, or The Brewery of SMOD brews up a tasty little brew called Jack D'Or Must Die. Word of advice, don't email and beg for them to send you some. It doesn't work. And from what they told me its a very different beer. But yeah, I want it too. Honestly, I'm just thrilled that they are brewing again.

On the down side of change, Mystic Brewery of Chelsea closed up shop. Hosting the most diverse clientele and best music of any taproom I had been too, I was sad to see them close shop. The beer was tremendous and remains among my favorites of all time. "Mary of the Gael" spring saison will be badly missed, along with their many other excellent beers.

But here again we see reinvention as well, as Mystic founder Bryan Greenhagen quietly launched a Mystic side project called Von Lune Lagers. That brand still lives on, albiet as a contract brewed product. But still, having high quality local beer is better than not having it, right?

"Holiday IPA" at Start Line Brewing
In my own neck of the woods, Startline Brewery in Hopkinton completed an extensive and eagerly anticipated expansion, adding a full kitchen, custom bar, and space for live performances. So wonderful to see the place packed every night! What was once an awesome little brewery with a tiny tap room is now a large, spacious tap room with a full restaurant! And the owners (and staff) remain the same great, friendly, down to earth people they have been since day 1.

In Framingham, Exhibit A expanded by adding a beer garden across the street from their amazing Morton Street tap room.

Craft beer has always been about change and reinvention. That's why we love it so much. That's why the so called "bubble" has not yet burst. So many talented brewers applying their talents to a style of beer brewed for centuries, and we, the craft beer geek, reap the benefits. What I really enjoyed this past year was seeing how different brewery's chose to handle both change and growth. No 2 seem to do it the exact same, and that's a testament to the creativity and diversity of the industry and its legions of fans.

2019 was a great year for local craft beer. Here's hoping 2020 finds a way to beat it! 

What was YOUR favorite thing about craft beer in 2019? Leave a comment and let me know!

Coming tomorrow- My top 5 local beers in 2019!