Shortly after visiting Newburyport Brewing Company last summer, one of my colleagues started working part-time for the brewery at events and tastings. A few weeks back he mentioned that the company might need another person to work these events. I casually told him to pass my name along. Before I knew it I was working at a tasting at Ralph’s Wine and Spirits in Hingham just two days later! I work for the brewery on a casual, or on-call basis. If they need me to work, I receive an email and let them know if I am available to work or not.
That first tasting in Hingham was a lot of fun aside from the fact it took over two hours to get there from the brewery. I was stationed next to Foolproof Brewing. The owner of the liquor store had somebody bring down Heady Topper and Sip of Sunshine from Vermont. I had had Heady before, but this was my first time having Sip of Sunshine. The consensus seemed to have been that it was actually slightly better than Heady Topper. I don’t disagree, but both beers are so excellent that you are splitting hairs to pick one. I would need to have a full can of both to really evaluate.
I have poured at O’Neil’s in Salem when the brewery sponsored the live music, at the Craft Beer Cellar in Westford where I received an “industry discount” at the store, and a couple weeks ago the WZLX Craft Beer Festival in Worcester. The latter was the first big beer festival where I was on the other side of the counter pouring beers instead of drinking them. The radio station did a great job organizing the event. They hooked up each brewery with a can of Heady Topper, they fed us between sessions, and made sure we had plenty of ice.
I spent many years working full and part-time in retail until I finally left two years ago. When your body isn’t used to standing on concrete for eight to ten hours, you are hurting at the end of the day. I wanted to check out Armsby Abbey after the festival with my girlfriend, but by the end of the day we just wanted to go home. I slept like a baby that night.
On Father’s Day I was pouring at Jewell Towne Vineyards which straddles the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. As much as I know about beer, I probably know as little about wine. It was still fun to take a quick tour of the vineyard. The people at the vineyard could not have been more nice. I was able to sample the reisling among a few other wines. I thought they were excellent and I made sure to purchase a couple of bottles. Jewell Towne wines are available at the Beverly Farmer’s Market. I would encourage local oenophiles to check it out.
It is fun meeting people and just talking about beer. It is as much of a hobby as it is a part-time job. I haven’t had a chance to hang out at the brewery too much. I have no great insight into how the company is run or what the next beer they’re coming out with is. Hopefully at some point I’ll get to talk beer with John the brewmaster.