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Auf Wiedersehen Boston! Guten Tag München!

May 1, 2010

One of the many grand benefits of working at Harpoon Brewery, and there are many, is something that Harpooners call “The Trip”. We talk about it all the time and anxiously await our turn to go, and we reminisce about it over beers for years when we return. What is “The Trip”?

The Harpoon European Beer Culture trip is a chance for Harpoon employees to return to the very roots from which Harpoon Brewery was born. Before Rich Doyle and Dan Kenary founded Harpoon, they traveled around Europe and enjoyed a wide variety of beers and a wonderful beer culture that simply was not available here in the US at the time. So they decided to create the culture and brew the beers themselves. Upon returning from Europe, Rich began writing a business plan for a craft brewery while attending Harvard School of Business. After graduating, and finding a lot of friends and family willing to invest, the Harpoon Brewery was founded in June 1986.  The next year, the first Harpoon Ale was sold.

So, back to The Trip. Each year since 1999, Harpoon co-founders Rich Doyle and Dan Kenary have taken brewery employees celebrating their 5th anniversary on a week-long European beer culture trip.  During these trips, the Harpoon group is taken on special tours of breweries, pubs, and beer gardens throughout various regions of Europe. Over the years, some Harpoon 100 Barrel Series beers, namely Refsvindinge Danish Farmhouse Ale (#18) and Steve Stewart’s Firth of Forth Ale (#22), have come as the result of collaborations with brewers that we met on The Trip.

Well, you may be wondering why, out of the blue, the topic of this blog post is The Trip. Because it is my turn to go! Along with 17 of my fellow Harpooners, we will head out later today on our week-long adventure.  We will be raising liters of beer in the beer halls of Munich and Budapest! Fellow Harpoon blogger Liz and I hope – internet connectivity permitting – to keep you posted on our travels, show some pics/videos of the breweries we visit, and basically, do our best to take all of our Friends on The Trip as best we can.

This evening, the 17 of us (including Rich) will fly from Boston to Munich to begin our journey. Our first gathering in Munich will be at the historic Hofbräuhaus, which was founded a mere 397 years before Harpoon. I can’t wait to try Hofbräu Dark Beer, straight from the source. They don’t play around with pint-sized servings either, a full liter is the only way to go. Til then –

Auf Wiedersehen Boston! Guten Tag München!

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