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Location Boston, Massachusetts
Year opened 1986
Harpoon Ale Pale ale
Harpoon IPA India pale ale
Harpoon Munich Dark Dunkel
UFO Hefeweizen Hefeweizen
UFO White Belgian White
UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen Hefeweizen
1636 Brew Harvard 1636 Brew
Harpoon Brown Session Ale American Brown Ale
Harpoon Celtic Ale Irish red ale
Harpoon Summer Beer Kölsch
Harpoon Octoberfest Märzen
Harpoon Winter Warmer Winter Warmer
100 Barrel Series beers
Catamount Maple Wheat Wheat Ale
Rauchfetzen German-style Smoked Ale
Glacier Harvest Wet Hop Beer Wet Hop Pale Ale
Old Rusty's Red Rye Ale Red Rye Ale
Steve Stewart's Firth of Forth Ale Scottish Ale
Refsvindinge Private Stock Danish Farmhouse Ale
Peche Peach Lambic
Leviathan Series beers
Baltic Porter Baltic Porter
Imperial IPA Imperial IPA
Big Bohemian Pilsner Large Lager
Quad Belgian Strong Ale
Chocolate Stout Chocolate Stout
Harpoon Brewery is an American microbrewery, with plants in Boston, Massachusetts and Windsor, Vermont. Founded in 1986, the brewery was the first company to obtain a permit to manufacture and sell alcohol in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in over 25 years. In 2000 it purchased the former Catamount Brewery plant in Windsor VT. Harpoon has played an important part in the rebirth of the microbrewery system in the United States.
The brewery is best known for its Harpoon India Pale Ale. It brews five other year-round beers: the original Harpoon Ale, the award-winning Munich Dark, UFO Hefeweizen, UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen, and Harpoon Brown, its latest creation. It also brews "1636 Brew" for the Harvard's Cambridge Queen's Head Pub.
Harpoon has four seasonal beers, such as an Octoberfest lager and Celtic Ale, a beer made in the style of an Irish red for St. Patrick's Day. Another line of beers from Harpoon is its '100 Barrel Series' series, which consists of a number of one of a kind batches. A few of the more popular 100 Barrel Series have been reissued as the 'Encore Series', again in limited quantities.
Locally, Harpoon has become famous for their 3 annual festivals that they hold at the brewery. Their St. Patrick's Day, Summer BBQ and Octoberfest festivals have become a staple in the Boston party scene. These are normally weekend long events filled with music, food and of course tons of beer.
Harpoon used to produce several non-alcoholic sodas, including root beer, orange and cream, and cream soda, but ceased production in 2009.
The Early Years, 1986 to 1990
Harpoon was officially born on June 19, 1986 when the Mass Bay Brewing Co. was incorporated, though its origins precede the actual date. Rich Doyle wrote the business plan for the Harpoon Brewery during his second year at Harvard Business School. At that time, he was unable to find the variety of beers that were available in Europe, nor the rich beer culture he had enjoyed there. Breweries in the U.S. had changed from being a part of the local community to remote facilities serving national markets. The craft brewing revolution had yet to bloom. Rich teamed up with Dan Kenary and George Ligeti, who also shared a passion for local brewing, to form a company.
The U.S. Craft Brewing Revolution, 1991 – 1996
Harpoon was an early participant in what would become a major resurgence in local, craft brewing in the U.S. Small breweries were sprouting up, particularly in the Northwest and in New England, eventually giving the U.S. more breweries than any other country. The Harpoon Brewery enjoyed this surge in interest, during which time annual production increased nearly 8 times, going from 7,200 barrels to over 55,000.
Brewing Capacity Continues to Expand, 1997 to 2003
In 1997, Harpoon installed a state of the art bottling and substantially increased its production capacity. With a line-up of beers that now included UFO Hefeweizen, Harpoon continued to grow. When the former Catamount Brewery went up for sale in 2000, Harpoon purchased the brewery in Windsor, VT and began brewing in October of that year. The tradition of festivals was continued in Vermont, with two annual events held in the fields surrounding the brewery.
Harpoon Approaches its 20th Anniversary, 2001 to Present
The steady growth of Harpoon, along with an abiding commitment to quality, led to further changes to the brewery in Boston. Starting in 2002, fabrication of a new brewhouse began in Germany. It was later transported to Boston via containers and installation began in late 2002. 2003 saw the first brews from a new, state of the art brewhouse. Having become the largest craft brewer in New England, Harpoon took a page from its early days with the launch of the 100 Barrel Series.