Munich West Via Galway

October 11th, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Nothing like a blustery fall New England day to be in Germany or Ireland or Massachusetts…wherever. In an incongruous melding the Blue Hills Brewery continued its beer-related theme fests today in Canton. So, this was an Oktoerfest at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton.

Other than being the available facility directly across from the Brewery on Route 138, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yet in its exuberant and timely way (Oktoberfest just finished in Germany), it worked.

It was not widely publicized. I learned about it first from a sign on the dreary industrial storefront of the brewery. A chum and I really enjoyed their IPA at the Sunset in Allston a couple of weeks ago. The barkeep there wasn’t sure where the Blue Hills Brewery would be when I asked if that would be Canton. When I looked it up and found that it was at 1020 Turnpike #3B, I realized that I had been biking by it many times.

I looked and had to turn around and track it. #3B is one of a row of sad little enterprises in a weary industrial park just above Stoughton. It has a German shepherd sized plastic sign bolted to the outside. Nonetheless, they make a grandly hoppy IPA.

This afternoon, I tooled down to my first visit to the Irish Cultural Center…for an Americanized Oktoberfest.  The short of it is that I had a fine ale, poor conversation, a wee bit of amusement, and a chance at the portolet before getting back on two wheels.

I confess, I didn’t stay for the highlight of the afternoon, the keg toss. They were looking for a new champion too. Hey, I’m a bruiser. Maybe I could have been a champion, could have been somebody…

Regardless, chaps from the brewery were selling tickets for the edible and potable offerings — $5 for either. The four company offerings were on tap, although I knew I wanted the IPA and only one because I was biking another 20 or 30 miles afterward. At the food bar were a variety of knackwurst and bratwurst offerings.They appeared huge too, and a bargain in the world of mystery meats.

The crowd of 150 or so were largely 20 somethings, with a few old guys my age and maybe 10 wee ones. They heard an oompah band as well, although many huddled around the big screen showing the Sox game.

I did listen and no one appeared to be anything other than Irish-American. That’s certainly the nature of the area and the center. Most, men and women, did not appear to be strangers to either brats or beers. There was lots of adipose tissue top, middle and bottom. A good time was being had by all.

Most surprising was the indifference of the brewery crew to the customers. I sidled up to the brewmaster and a minion at the ticket table for a chat. My brewer friends love to talk beer and the professionals are mindful that customers pay their salaries and keep their companies in business. These guys didn’t seem to care. They seemed to make no effort to mingle either, venturing down only for a keg hunt, wherein mostly lads scoured the nearby field for a sequestered quarter keg that would earn them five gallons of their choice.

To the ticket vendors, I mentioned that I had cycled down to locate their place, that I was inspired to attend the gathering today, and asked about brewery tours on their gift-shop afternoon or other time. They pointed to the table of tee-shirts and glasses and said there was nothing at the gift shop that wasn’t there. Talking to them was like punching dough.

I thought of Jim Koch at Sam Adams and how effusive and socially skilled he ls, how his love of his craft and product shine. You’d think that the ability to make good drink would come with higher developed social skills. It was only after my ride that I checked the net again to see that brewmaster Andris Veidis is from Newton, Massachusetts. That explains much. For around here, he was showing good manners.

As it is, Blue Hills makes a really good IPA and I’ll buy it again. I don’t know that I need to go back to #3B for the cold shoulder.

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2 Responses

  1. Allen Rines says:

    Maybe their IPA is better on draft, but I’ve tried it in bottle, and it doesn’t rate better than ‘meh’. I don’t know where all the hops are that you’re talking about, but they didn’t feature in the six-pack I bought.

  2. Harrumpher says:

    I’ve never tried it in a bottle, just draft at the Sunset. I fear you may be right. I know I had a similar experience with the excellent draft Paper City IPA in draft and was very disappointed in the bottled version. There’s a lot to be said for drinking draft brews — better and fewer.

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