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Beer Review:

Mired in a world of Coors Light, Rolling Rock, and the occasional Lone Star, I finally succumbed to peer pressure from a number of my classmates and ventured into the first stages of “beer snobdom.” At my sectionmates’ begging, I reluctantly turned my back on the Silver Bullet for an evening and journeyed to the Harpoon Brewery’s 13th annual Octoberfest celebration.

The Harpoon Brewery, founded in 1986 by three Harvard graduates, puts on a great Octoberfest bash, as the festival entices thousands of thirsty admirers to its downtown Boston location (306 Northern Ave). From Friday to Sunday, the brewery featured three stages of live music, dozens of authentic German food selections, old-school German carnival games, and the chance to sip on 6 styles of beer, all fresh from the kettle.

Despite the outing’s overtly social bent, our enterprising group found itself unable to escape the influence of the HBS experience. Applying some newly relevant skills acquired in TOM, Javier Ewing (OA) hypothesized, “Cutting out the middleman in the beer distribution chain seemed like a spectacular idea at the time-especially for Harpoon, who elected not to pass on those savings to the consumer.”

Though the brewery-fresh beers carried a premium price of $4 per pint, the group recognized that Harpoon’s customer benefit stack included much more than just tasty fermented water. Matt Roney (OA) quipped, “Wow! Beer, sausage, keg bowling, friendly women in lederhosen-what else could you ask for? Even the carneys in the corner are having a blast!”

Of particular note were the musical stylings of the Oberlaendler Hofbrau German Oompa Band. With stirring renditions of Wayne Newton’s, “Danke Schoen” and CCR’s, “Proud Mary,” this lederhosen-clad combo tore up the place and sported one of the most endearing frauleins ever to grace a live music stage.

Never ones to miss a good networking opportunity, our group boldly approached the band between sets. After the requisite swap of HBS business cards for beer tokens, the Oberlaendlers took us under their wing, snapped a couple of photos for the paparazzi, and even agreed to appease one overbearing group member with a grossly misplaced version of “God Save the Queen”. Neil Edwards (OA), a noted Brit taking a surprising break from his intensive Boston Marathon training, remarked, “They might be shite at world wars, but those German boys sure can Oompa!!”

Momentarily distracted, but without any “real beer” drinking experience from which to draw, I found myself at the mercy of my companions, as they cajoled me into trying a number of Harpoon’s freshest offerings. Of note were their traditional IPA and UFO brews, but I also enjoyed multiple servings of their seasonal stout and Catamount varieties. While none of the selections went down as smoothly as my preferred beer born from a rocky mountain stream, the pints seemed to disappear hastily, leaving me content and rather inspired to repeat the experience.

The sensation was not lost on the rest of the group. A befuddled Ryan Desmond (OA) added, “OK, we’ll go after one more beer. But wait, we’ve got to use up these 37 beer tokens the Oompa band just gave us.”

By the end of the evening, many of the EC’s in our group had even acquired a new outlook on their current employment situation. Matt Roney concluded, “Nothing spanks away the stress of a tough job market quite like dishing out a couple of street sausages washed down with a boatload of pints.”

Though this year’s Octoberfest has come and gone, the Harpoon Brewery offers year-round tours of the facility. Tours take place on Tuesday through Saturday at 3:00 PM. Tours are offered on Friday and Saturday at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. No reservations are necessary. You can contact the brewery at (617) 674-5491 or visit their website at www.harpoonbrewery.com.

October 21, 2002
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