Boston Beer at the Naperville Ale Fest
The Boston Beer Company, the brewer of Samuel Adams beers, is one of the leading craft breweries in the U. S. In 1984, Jim Koch and Rhonda Kallman co-founded the Boston brewery with their initial offering being their flagship Samuel Adams Boston Lager, an Amber Lager. Jim, being a sixth generation brewer following in his family’s footsteps, crafted his first batch of beer, an original family recipe called Louis Koch Lager, in the kitchen of his home.
At that time, Koch was working as a consultant and began to develop a business plan [LA2] to serve better beer to the Boston area. After investing a large chunk of his own money, Koch set out to convince investors that a specialty brewery could survive at a time when brands like Anheuser Busch dominated the beer market. But, no banks would invest in his idea because at the time, it was unheard of to leave a good job to start a brewery. So, the rest of the money was pooled from family and friends and by 1985, Jim introduced Samuel Adams Boston Lager on Patriot’s Day in Boston.
It didn’t take long for people to take notice of Jim’s beer. Just six weeks after the debut of Samuel Adams Boston lager, it was voted “Best Beer in America” at the Great American Beer Festival, beating out 93 entries from around the country. Despite early success, the brewery didn’t quite have a place to call a home of their own and opted to contract extra space that was available at neighboring breweries. By 1988, sales were booming and The Boston Beer Company was able to build a small brewery in Boston that would go on to sell 36,000 barrels in its first year and was available from coast to coast.
The expansion from East to West wasn’t the only growth the brewery enjoyed as they began to branch out from their lager. Soon, new styles such as the Boston Ale and a cream stout were in development with a seasonal lineup to follow that included a bock beer. [LA4] With such high volumes of beer going out the door at Boston Beer Co., the idea of small, localized breweries began to take hold in the area, with several others that began to produce craft beer. A new age of beer was beginning to take shape.
As craft beer grew in the States, so did Jim’s curiosity in experimenting with different styles and aging techniques. In the early 90’s, he began developing recipes for Samuel Adams Triple Bock, dabbling in the art of barrel-aging, which eventually inspired a strong ale called Millennium; a beer brewed to celebrate the new Millennium. Just 3,000 bottles of Millennium were bottled making it one of the most limited edition beers he had crafted. Very few are left in circulation today, making it a once in a lifetime brew.
By 2002, Jim’s experimentation had further evolved when he released Utopias, a blended complex, barrel aged beer blended with a variety of beers including Triple Bock. A variety of barrels are implemented with each batch such as scotch, bourbon and cognac casks, producing distinct and intense layers of flavor.
This super specialty beer is packaged in ceramic decanters and have been known to sell for around $200 per 24 oz. bottle. While the price seems steep for a bottle of beer, a recent batch clocked in at 28% ABV and its flavor profile is other-worldly.
Today, The Boston Beer Company is still brewing the beers that made them one of the biggest craft breweries in the nation. With over 1,300 employees and breweries located in Boston, Cincinnati and Pennsylvania, they’ve expanded their family of beers to over 60 different styles. Their beer can be found in every state in the U.S. as well as making it’s way to more than 20 foreign countries. From a small brew kettle in his kitchen, to one of the most well-known craft brewers in the country, Jim Koch played a big part in pioneering the craft beer revolution in the States. With his continued dedication to quality in his everyday offerings as well as pushing the limits of what beer can be in his experimentation, The Boston Beer Company will remain an institution and inspiration to beer lovers everywhere.
The fourth annual Naperville Ale Fest will take place on Saturday, July 16, 2016 and will showcase over 200 unique beers from craft breweries around the country. The fest will also feature live music and food from some of the area’s favorite restaurants and food trucks. Situated on the grounds of the Naper Settlement, with downtown Naperville as a backdrop, it is the ideal setting to experience craft beer. A portion of the proceeds from the Naperville Ale Fest will benefit the Naper Settlement and the Naperville Heritage Society.
Naperville Ale Fest
Saturday, July 16th