A few days ago, I was invited to a Friend of Harpoon Beer Tasting! I have been to one other tasting for the 100 Barrel Series, when they made the Island Creek Oyster Stout and served Oysters out of a rowboat (I was loving it!), but this tasting was for the 100 Barrel Series Maple Catamount Wheat. The beer was named ‘Catamount’ because the Harpoon Windsor Vermont sister location used to be known as the Catamount brewery (GO CATS GO! UVM!). Made with real maple syrup from Vermont family farms it was delish! YUM! A few pictures were snapped:

Brewery is named 'Harpoon' for the whaling hook in their logo

During a 'Friend Tasting' there is open bar for about an hour, then the makers of the featured 100 Barrel Series beer talk about the creative and brewing process for a bit, then the bar opens back up for an hour while people mill around the tasting room

The Brewery is open for tours! The Brewing chamber smells ammmazing. I LOVE the smell of hops and apparently, hops are used aromatically for relaxation

This was my favorite sample of the evening, the Red Rye IPA. We took a growler home with us

Sail away (upside down?) with Harpoon!

The star of the evening. The brewers told us that the maple syrup had to be added after the beer was brewed otherwise it kept evaporating out of the mixture and leaving behind the concentrated sugars, thus upping the alcohol content to unreasonable levels. By adding it in later, there was a subtle layer of taste within the beer; you taste the maple first, beer second, and then the maple again as a finish

Canned beer wall-o-fame

Proud to take my growler home

You can drink in the bathroom too I guess

Harpoon rides again

After, we were starved so we headed down the street to Atlantic Beer Garden. It was nearly empty and I was equally suspect about the food but ended up with a pretty impressive looking (and tasting!) Asian-inspired Ahi tuna salad. It was incredibly fresh with a multitude of textures like Wasabi peas, cucumber runway-length strips, and crispy tuna bites, which made it fun to eat. Thanks for dressing on the side also; although, I used it all up, I still appreciate having the choice to do so. Good job ABG!

Did you know that March is Maple Month? I have been doing my part to indulge in the liquid gold myself in my morning coffee and I’ve almost tapped out (no pun intended) my HUGE glass jug of syrup from David Marvin’s Butternut Mountain Farm in Vermont. In Mass., I’ve heard through farmers that the maple sugaring season was obviously brief this year because there were so few consistently thawing days and nights below freezing between mid-February and mid-March (ideal syrup ‘running’ conditions). I also learned from the Mass Maple Producers Association that the syrup on shelves and for sale right now, much of it is from 2010 when there was a phenomenal sugaring season. PSA: If you typically use sugar to sweeten your food, make the switch, BUY LOCAL and support your maple syrup producers. End of PSA.