Newport Folk Festival offers considerable exposure for up-and-coming artists on folk’s largest stage

Summer weekends in Newport often mean throngs of tourists visiting the town’s historic waterfront attractions. However, one weekend in particular draws thousands of like-minded music lovers to Fort Adams for the annual Newport Folk Festival.

Typical New England weather couldn’t keep people away. From hot, sunny and muggy to cloudy, windy and cool, every stage across the sprawling festival grounds was jam packed whenever a new artist took the stage.

Celebrating its 58th year in the nation’s smallest state, the three-day festival featured main-stage headliners such as The Head and the Heart, Fleet Foxes, the Avett Brothers, Wilco and John Prine as well as dozens of other performers. Also as usual, there were plenty of big-name surprises like Nathaniel Rateliff performing a secret solo set and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters sharing the stage with Prine.

However, it wasn’t all about the headliners. Newport Folk is as much about the music as it is about the experience.

“In the 80’s and 90’s, a lot of the biggest names (playing) here, you could see somewhere else without the (traffic) challenges of coming down here,” said Rick Massimo, former festival correspondent for The Providence Journal and author of I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival, the first full-length account of the festival’s colorful history. “It’s important the festival is a cohesive environment, otherwise people can see artists they like somewhere else.”

Four stages are spread across the fort grounds, all featuring a wide variety of musicians and storytellers. One of the best things about the festival is the amount of support crowds offer to rising musicians that are taking the stage for their first taste of Newport Folk Fest. After playing their sets, you’ll often see people asking band members where they can find their music and when they can see them perform again.

As I walked through the crowd with London singer-songwriter L.A. Salami, we couldn’t go farther than 20 feet before he was stopped by somebody thanking him for his music or praising him for his unique fusion of folk, blues, pop and hip-hop. One new fan even stopped him to give him a necklace he appeared to purchase from the festival merch table.

Before only recently picking up a guitar, Salami previously wrote poetry. Now he’s able to put melodies and distorted guitar riffs behind that clearly won over new fans from the crowd surrounding the Harbor Stage. He told me his unique sound doesn’t so much come from one place or another, but really lies with the message that’s being told.

“Certain moods are best said in certain ways, best translated in certain ways,” he said. “If you have to translate how much someone broke your heart, maybe you use some tongue-in-cheek. Maybe you choose some type of soul avenue to express that and use your own process.”

This sentiment of breaking down labels of music resonated with multiple artists I spoke to during the weekend.

“I think that folk, by definition, is people making due with what they have,” said A.J. Haynes, lead singer of Shreveport, Louisiana’s Seratones. “Genres are kind of confusing and don’t capture what a sound is or what an ethos is.”

She said inspiration for her and the band comes from experience and emotion.

“It depends on the day of the week and the mood. I feel like we’re just rock and roll. What I like about (our record label) Fat Possum is that I think they’re more like an anti-blues and I think that’s what resonates with us. I don’t really have the blues, I’m too angry to have the blues.”

The exposure for smaller artists is part of what makes Newport such an amazing springboard for musicians breaking onto the scene.

As Mt. Joy guitarist and co-founder Sam Cooper put it, “It’s kind of dependent on the audience. Specifically, here the audience is so respectful and willing to listen to music and clap after the song and really just dive into the song. I felt like we played an amazing show. Coming off the stage, I felt like the audience appreciated what we were doing.”

Mt. Joy is a band from Philadelphia currently recording their first full-length album embarking on their first real festival circuit.

Another great thing about the festival is artists getting to mingle and collaborate with fellow musicians. One prime example of this came on a cool Saturday afternoon as JP Harris and Chance McCoyM shared the stage for some old-timey southern jams on acoustic guitars, fiddles and banjos. Both artists hail from larger names (JP is front man of JP Harris & the Tough Choices, while Chance plays fiddle and a slew of other strings for Old Crow Medicine Show) but became friends years ago and continue to jam together. They even recorded an album together, but were unable to release it due to legal restrictions. To get around this, they actually pirated their own album and have to sell bootleg versions of it!

The big names are great and draw a lot of crowds to the festival, but the heart of the weekend is truly being around easy-going people and experiencing music you may already know by heart, or discovering a new favorite artist you may never have heard elsewhere.

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All Photos By Josh Souza




Black Hat Brew Works Increases Production and Adds Outdoor Patio Just in Time for Summer

All photos by Josh Souza.

Looking for a new hangout this summer where you can hang out with friends while enjoying the weather with fresh food and drink? Black Hat Brew Works in Bridgewater is the place to check out.

Black Hat offers a diverse variety of craft beer with a draft rotation that changes up weekly.

Whether you’re a seasoned craft beer enthusiast or just a casual beer drinker, Black Hat has a beer for you. Their staple and most popular is the Bridgewater Blonde Ale, which is light and smooth and perfect for those that are “intimidated” about trying craft beer. Other selections include a variety of India Pale Ales, Saisons, Belgian-style brews and robust stouts and porters.

Regardless of what you order, you’ll surely be served with a smile by a growing staff behind the bar, led by owner and brewer Paul Mulcahy who’s joined by his brother Scott Galpin and childhood friend Jay Brown.

The brewery opened on Black Hat Friday (Black Friday) in 2015 and sold out of eight kegs in nearly six hours. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the following Christmas Eve they opened to a line wrapped around their building and sold out of eight more kegs in less than two hours!

From the early beginnings of brewing on a small homebrew system in a shed to celebrating a year and a half at a 2,200 sq. ft. building, Black Hat has just completed some major work expanding their production as well as their taproom for a huge summer.

A new concrete patio installed along the side of the building adds more space to the taproom and the perfect place to relax on a warm summer afternoon. The patio features custom picnic tables, rocking chairs and even a sectional couch.

If you begin to feel a little hungry as you soak up the sun on a Saturday afternoon, fret not as a variety of snacking options will be available for your pleasure. The brewery itself sill begin selling fresh baked pretzels along with prepared spreads of meats and cheeses.

If you’re looking for something a bit more wholesome, each Saturday will feature a different food truck throughout the summer. One week you can catch 10B Pasta Company serving up Italian fare, another week may feature grilled cheeses from Mom on the Go, or even a fresh pizza baked in a brick oven from Fiamma Bella.

All this fun is great for patrons, but some of the serious work is being done behind the scenes (although you can see a lot of the production area through a window in the taproom). As some shiny new equipment arrived over the winter, the brewery is now able to potentially triple production, jumping from 200 barrels of beer produced last year to possibly 600bbls this year.

Part of the increased production is thanks to a new partnership with Bog Iron Brewing in Norton, MA. Mulcahy gets to brew his flagship beers such as B’Water Blonde and Ambah at Bog Iron while utilizing his own system to focus on new beers to add into the rotation. This also opens up the possibility of increased draft accounts and Black Hat beer being served in more bars and restaurants plus an additional day of operation. Beginning in June, the taproom will be open Wednesday through Saturday.

What makes Black Hat a great place to visit is their commitment to their beer as well as their fans. They take the time to chat with everyone, and once you’ve visited two or three times, they know you by name and even a little about you. They take pride in friendly service and serving some of the best beer the Bay State has to offer.

However, in the craft beer industry, it’s not really a competition to serve the “best beer,” since everybody has different tastes and like certain beers over others. Instead, the craft beer community takes steps to expose as many breweries as possible to the public so none go unnoticed.

Mulcahy and his team have helped with this by creating the annual South Shore Farmers Brew Festival, which returns for its second year this September. Last year’s festival included a healthy balance of well-known brewers as well as those just starting out plus a homebrew competition for local homebrewers hoping to take the next step and open their own breweries. Oh, and all the proceeds are donated to area charities!

It’s no wonder why these guys are expending both their physical footprint and production less than two years into operation. Every weekend more and more people are flocking to the brewery to try the newest beer on tap, and then bring some home with them in a 32 oz. or 64 oz. growler.

If you’re not sure what to do one of these weekends, just grab some friends and head over to Black Hat Brew Works for an afternoon or evening of great beer and great company.

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Black Hat Brew Works
25 Scotland Blvd. #1
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Phone: (508) 807-5172
Thursday & Friday: 4:00pm-8:30pm
Saturday: 12:00pm-6:00pm

Website: blackhatbrewworks.com
Facebook: facebook.com/blackhatbrewworks
Instagram: instagram.com/blackhatbrewworks




Local, National Brewers Gather in the Ocean State for 6th Annual Newport Craft Beer Festival

By Greg Desrosiers

The Newport Craft Beer Festival returns to downtown Newport this month for the sixth year. The two-session event will take place at the Great Friends Meeting House on Saturday, 29th.

This year’s theme is going unfiltered, meaning all breweries attending must bring some of their haziest, juiciest New England-style IPA. This popular style has taken over the craft beer market and demand shows no signs of slowing down.

The festival is co-sponsored by the Newport Storm Brewery and Pour Judgment Bar & Grille and will feature over 30 breweries from nearly a dozen states.

The NCBF isn’t your typical beer festival, since it is run by brewers, for brewers. Each brewery is required to send its own staff so guests can pick their brains and learn about the beers from the people behind their creation.

The festival will also feature “Guild Row,” an area designated for members of the Rhode Island Brewers Guild. The RI Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization that supports Ocean State brewers. All proceeds from the festival go toward funding the Guild, which has raised over $50,000 from the previous five Newport Craft Beer Festivals combined.

“We’re thrilled to have brought the event from a 1-day, 1-session festival with 25 breweries in its inception in 2012, to a multi-day craft beer tasting extravaganza!” says Festival Director, Taylor Butzbach.  “And to be able to grow the event but artfully keep it personable for both attendees and brewers aligns with our continuous goal of a really special overall experience.  We also love giving each year’s event a fun, new theme, giving the brewers the opportunity to prominently feature different styles, ingredients, elements and brewing techniques of their beers… and maybe get a taste ourselves!”

Tickets are still available to the afternoon session (noon-3pm) and the evening session (4pm-7pm) for $45 per person. Tickets are 21+ and include admission, unlimited beer sampling and a commemorative tasting glass. Guests will also have the opportunity to vote in the 4th Annual Fan Favorite Brewery Award.

For tickets and full festival information, visit NewportCraftBeer.com

Breweries attending the 6th Annual Newport Craft Beer Festival:

  • Newport Storm Brewery – Newport, RI
  • Black Hog Brewing Co. – Oxford, CT
  • Ballast Point Brewing – San Diego, CA
  • Grey Sail Brewing of Rhode Island – Westerly, RI
  • Foolproof Brewing – Pawtucket, RI
  • Hidden Cove Brewery – Wells, ME
  • Narragansett Brewing Co. – Pawtucket, RI
  • Whalers Brewing Co. – Wakefield, RI
  • Lagunitas Brewing Co. – Petaluma, CA
  • Two Roads Brewing – Stratford, CT
  • Ithaca Beer Co. – Ithaca, NY
  • Coddington Brewing Co. – Middletown, RI
  • Woodstock Inn Brewery – North Woodstock, NH
  • Clown Shoes Beer – Ipswich, MA
  • Trinity Brewhouse – Providence, RI
  • Buzzards Bay Brewing – Westport, MA
  • von Trapp Brewing – Stowe, VT
  • Smuttynose Brewing Co. – Hampton, NH
  • Weyerbacher Brewing – Easton, PA
  • Brooklyn Brewery – Brooklyn, NY
  • Crooked Current Brewery – Pawtucket, RI
  • Revival Brewing Co. – Cranston, RI
  • Green Flash Brewing Co. – San Diego, CA
  • Bog Iron Brewing – Norton, MA
  • Stony Creek Brewery – Branford, CT
  • Harpoon Brewery – Boston, MA
  • Otter Creek Brewing – Middlebury, VT
  • Mighty Squirrel Brewing Co. – Boston, MA
  • Thimble Island Brewing Co. – Branford, CT
  • Ravenous Brewing Co. – Woonsocket, RI
  • Bucket Brewery – Pawtucket, RI
  • Sons of Liberty Beer & Spirits Co. – South Kingstown, RI
  • Tilted Barn Brewery – Exeter, RI



New Bedford Ward 3 City Council Special Election Primer

A diverse filed of candidates are vying to fill the empty Ward 3 city council seat after the resignation of Henry Bousquet earlier this month. Of the six individuals running, two have previously served on the council, a pair have served in some other local political capacity while two more are political newcomers.

Kathy Dehner, 60, of 1259 Rockdale Ave., is a former Ward 3 councilor and currently a real estate manager and part-time manager at Greasy Luck Brewery in downtown New Bedford.

Hugh Dunn, 31, of 24 Logan St., is an attorney and executive director of the SouthCoast Development Partnership. A former district representative to Rep. William Keating, Dunn moved out of the city to Attleboro before recently returning to the city. Dunn has received endorsements by Bousquet, former Ward 3 councilor George Smith and the New Bedford Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 841.

Bethany Fauteux, 33, of 36 Dewolf St., is a cook at Destination Soups in downtown New Bedford.

Guy A. Larock, 46, of 385 Loftus St., is a local attorney specializing in criminal defense as well as general practice.

Jill Marie Ussach, 69, of 915 Hathaway Rd., currently works at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office as an educational specialist and also serves as a state committee woman for the GOP. Ussach served on the New Bedford School Committee from 2007 to 2011 and has served on multiple executive boards across the Southcoast.

Mark Zajac, 52, of 805 Hathaway Rd., served as Ward 6 councilor from 1992 through 1995. He was elected City Council President in 1995 and returned to the council as a councilor-at-large in 1997 to fill serve the remainder of Thomas M. Hodgson’s after he resigned from the council when elected Bristol County sheriff. Zajac moved to Ward 3 in 2010 and currently practices law in the city.

Live at the community meeting for the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Association where Ward 3 special election candidates are giving time to speak.

Important dates for the Ward 3 Special Election Preliminary

  • March 8th – Final day to register to vote in Ward 3 Special Election Preliminary
  • March 25th – Absentee voting begins for Ward 3 Special Election Preliminary at City Hall, Room 114
  • March 27th – Deadline for absentee voting
  • March 28th – Ward 3 Special Election Preliminary, polls open 7am – 8pm

Important dates for the Ward 3 Special Election

  • April 5th – Final day to register to vote in Ward 3 Special Election
  • April 22nd – Absentee voting begins for Ward 3 Special Election at City Hall, Room 114
  • April 24th – Deadline for absentee voting
  • April 25th – Ward 3 Special Election, polls open 7am – 8pm

Ward-3 New Bedford Map




Quinn Sullivan Finds His Voice with Release of Midnight Highway

Quinn Sullivan showcasing his talent during New Bedford Guide live stream at The Nook in Fairhaven. Photo by Josh Souza.

A young man who was once known for his appearances alongside Buddy Guy and Ellen DeGeneres, 17-year-old Quinn Sullivan is looking to showcase his own sound with the release of his newest album, Midnight Highway.

The New Bedford High School senior stepped into the spotlight quickly following an onstage performance with blues legend Buddy Guy at the Zeiterion Theater at the age of eight. Soon after, millions saw him perform on Ellen. Ever since, Quinn has become known as a blues prodigy under the guide of his mentor, Guy.

“What I’ve gotten to learn so much from Buddy that’s been so important has been what the road is like, what going on tour is like,” Quinn said during a special acoustic performance at The Nook in Fairhaven earlier this month. “He’s showed me the world and you can’t really ask for anything more.”

Quinn said while it’s important to maintain the relationships he’s built with other artists, it’s just as important to focus on separating himself from them with his own sound.

“I think the next step for me as an artist is to not really escape…but mature as an artist, grow and develop my own sound and what I think is my own thing,” he said.

Midnight Highway, dropping January 27th, is Quinn’s third full-length album. It was produced at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, TN by Tom Hambridge, who has also produced a number of Guy’s records and plays drums behind Quinn. Quinn would visit the studio in cycles for a few days at a time and record about four or five songs during each visit. Unlike previous albums, there are no guest artists on Midnight Highway.

Lots of musical influence went into the new record, from classics such as The Beatles and The Grateful Dead to contemporary artists like Bruno Mars and James Bay. Quinn said he listens to a wide variety of music and hopes to tie in even more life experiences into future records as he gets older.

For now, he’s still essentially a student by day and rock star by night. Though with constant performances and some lengthy period of travel, Quinn said it’s all about keeping a level head and enjoying the experience without letting any of it get to him.

“Whenever I’ve done something huge, something cool, and then a day later fly home and go back to school, I don’t think about it too much,” he said. “That’s really what I think is the secret to it.”

As Quinn gears up for his final stretch as a high school student, his eyes are focused on taking full advantage of what his music career has to offer before changing course.

“Right now, the way I’m going, I think college will always be there and I don’t know if this will always be there,” Quinn said. “I think the opportunities I have right now are pretty priceless and I think I have to take them when they come.”

“What I’ve gotten to learn so much from Buddy that’s been so important has been what the road is like, what going on tour is like.” “He’s showed me the world and you can’t really ask for anything more.”

All photos courtesy of Josh Souza.




Man’s Best Friend Makes for a Dedicated Partner on the Frontline

All photographs by Josh Souza.

Everybody knows that dog is man’s best friend, but for a select number of deputies at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, dogs serve as partners on the frontlines of law enforcement.

It was a cold December day outside the Bristol County House of Corrections in North Dartmouth, but that didn’t deter the dedicated K-9 deputies and their partners from demonstrating the work they have been trained to do. From apprehending bad guys to finding hidden drugs, these dogs are a force to be reckoned with.

The Sheriff’s Office currently has six dogs in its K-9 unit, five patrol dogs, either German Shepherds or Belgian Malinois, and one used exclusively for finding cellphones within the jails, a black Lab. Of the five used for patrol, four are cross-trained to perform general patrol duties as well as locating narcotics.

Dogs undergo 16 weeks of training before hitting the field for a year. After the first year they return to the academy for an additional eight to ten weeks of narcotics training.

The training at Bristol County is not the same as you would find in many other departments. During the 16-week academy, the dogs are taught a balance of drive and skill.

“There’s no perfect dog,” said Colonel Robert Sylvia, head of the Sheriff’s Office’s Law Enforcement Division. “You have to train them the best you can.”

For the first few weeks, the dogs will be on a leash, or what’s referred to a lead by the deputies. What’s uncommon about this academy is the canine will spend most of their time training “off-lead,” or without a leash. This practice takes a little longer to train, but pay dividends when the dog and his handler are in the field.

By not having to restrain their dog at all times, the deputy is free to perform searches of the suspect while his canine remains on guard in case the suspect decides to flee. While the dog is pursuing the suspect, the handler has the ability to call them off with one simple command. Lieutenant Paul Douglas said this is a very valuable skill for the dogs as it allows for more control over the situation and can avoid excessive use of force.

The K-9 Unit is on-call 24/7 and serves the entire county as well as parts of Rhode Island. Lt. Douglas estimated that in 2015 alone, his unit responded to 200-300 calls.

Joining the K-9 Unit takes a special combination of passions for animals as well as law enforcement. Lt. Douglas has been serving the Sheriff’s Office for 18 years, 11 of which have been in the K-9 Unit. He said he’s always been passionate about animals and that it’s both rewarding and amazing to see what these canine can do.

“It’s amazing how they can just ‘turn it off,’” Lt. Douglas said of how the dogs can separate their jobs from the rest of their lives, just like humans in law enforcement.

Lt. Douglas added that when he brings out his partner, K-9 Rony, to a scene, it automatically commands respect of everyone around, especially the suspects.

During the demonstration, K-9 Rony quickly located a hidden stash of 4g of Percocet. Once it’s located, he scratches and barks at the location to alert Lt. Douglas. His other dog, K-9 Storm, is used to locate cellphones within cell blocks in the jails by sniffing out the phone’s battery.

Deputy Joao Santos’ partner, K-9 Bob, has only been in the academy for two weeks, though is already beginning to look like a pro. Santos has been with the Sheriff’s Office for four years and on the K-9 Unit for the past year. Santos comes from a family with deep roots in law enforcement in Cape Verde as well as dog lovers. His former dog was retired due to health complications, but Santos said there’s still a strong bond between the two.

“I always thought it was brilliant for a human to train a dog like that,” Santos said. “There’s a special bond because they really are your partner. It’s hard to explain but it’s there.”

Col. Sylvia echoed the strength of that bond, saying he’s had former dogs that he served with cremated because, “they’re coming with me.”

The relationship between dog and handler is so strong in part because both are always by each other’s side. Beginning on the first day of the academy, the dog becomes a part of the deputy’s family. Dogs typically last around 10 years in the K-9 unit until they are retired. At that point, the deputy will keep ownership of the dog while also taking on a new canine.

The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office continues to be a premier training location for local municipalities and their K-9 divisions, as Fall River is currently training two dogs that will graduate the program on December 23rd, including a bomb detecting dog. The Fall River Police will soon have the only canine with this capability on the Southcoast aside from the Massachusetts State Police, meaning a shorter response time if need be.

Slide Gallery photos by Josh Souza.




Local Craft Beer Fans Buzzing Over Ole’ Buzzard Brewing

Photo by Josh Souza

Hundreds of people flowed in and out of the Black Hat Brew Works taproom in Bridgewater this past weekend to get a taste of a special beer by Acushnet homebrewers.

The Ole’ Buzzard homebrew group got the opportunity to brew and serve their India Pale Ale at Black Hat after taking first place in the homebrew competition at the South Shore Farm Brew Fest this past September. The group brewed their beer in mid-November and finally served it up to customers to enjoy for the first time. It was such a hit that two kegs were sold out over the course of just six hours.

Homebrewers Scott Stalter and Jeremiah Katz will be donating over $300 in profits from their beer sales to the Bridgewater Fire Department.

Katz said it was exciting to see so many people coming in and out of the taproom, enjoying pours of their IPA and leaving with some to go in growlers.

Stalter was also thrilled about the crowd and is looking forward to hearing what people think.

“It’s not about the money, it’s about making beer people will love,” he said.

Many of the folks that stopped by for a taste were sure to let the guys know they liked what they were brewing. The pair were also asked a number of times when they will start brewing on a larger scale and serving up beers to the public.

Both hope to open up a brewery of their own in Acushnet or Fairhaven in the near future, but for now they plan to continue homebrew in between their full-time jobs.

Photo by Josh Souza




Local homebrewers take award-winning brew to the next level

A pair of Acushnet homebrewers spent a recent fall morning brewing their award winning India Pale Ale in a commercial brew system for the first time.

Scott Stalter and Jeremiah Katz of Ole’ Buzzard Brewing spent a chilly Wednesday morning brewing alongside Paul Mulcahy, brewer and owner of Black Hat Brew Works in Bridgewater. The group won the opportunity to brew on Black Hat’s one-barrel system after taking first place in the homebrew competition at the first annual South Shore Farmers Brew Fest this September at the brewery.

It was a change of pace for everyone involved. Ole’ Buzzard typically brews on a system half the size inside Stalter’s shed, while Mulcahy’s system has only ever been used to brew his own beers.

ole-buzzard-brewing5

The longtime friends have been brewing together for over five years and Katz said the brew day experience was “definitely a motivator” to get into a brick and mortar location and begin brewing more seriously.

The homebrewers are hopeful of opening up a brewery in Acushnet or Fairhaven under the name Acushnet River Brewing within the next year or two.

Both will get a little taste of what it’s like running a taproom when their IPA “Chug of Darkness” is served up at Black Hat for the public on December 9th and 10th. The 13 ½ gallon batch brewed will yield two kegs, one for each night.

Food will be provided on Saturday the 10th by “Mom on the Go” food truck. The beer will be first come, first serve both days so get there early.

All proceeds from the beer will go toward the West Bridgewater Firefighter’s Association. Both Stalter and Katz are firefighters in Acushnet.

If you go:
Dec. 9th 4-8:30 p.m., Dec. 10th 1-7 p.m.
25 Scotland Blvd. Unit 1
Bridgewater, MA 02324

All photos by Josh Souza
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Fatal Opioid-Related Overdoses Continue to Rise in Bristol County and Across the State

Fatal overdoses on the Southcoast and across Massachusetts continue to rise, according to health and law enforcement officials.

Bristol County is averaging four overdose-related deaths a week in 2016, according to statistics provided by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

As of September 25, 150 overdose-related deaths had been reported, signaling a rise from 2014, 122 deaths reported, and 2015, 159 deaths were reported.

Fatalities in New Bedford nearly doubled from 2014 to 2015, jumping from 27 confirmed deaths to 48.

Data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) shows that the rise in fatal overdoses is not unique to the Southcoast. Since 2013, overdose-related deaths have been on the rise across all counties in the Commonwealth.

It’s difficult to point to one reason for the rise in numbers, but one major contributing factor concerning officials is the increased use of fentanyl. The synthetic drug is estimated to be up to 100 times more potent than morphine.

In a report by DPH, “among the 439 individuals whose deaths were opioid-related in 2016 where a toxicology screen was also available, 289 of them (66%) had a positive screen result for fentanyl. In the first quarter of 2016, heroin or likely heroin was present in approximately 30% of opioid-related deaths that had a toxicology screen.”

More information about recent statistics, as well as available treatment and recovery options, can be found on the Commonwealth’s State Without StigMA webpage.




Fun and Foam Served Up at Boston’s City Hall Plaza This Weekend

For two days, Boston’s City Hall Plaza was a craft beer nirvana this weekend.

For the first time since its inception in 2010, the Copenhagen Beer Celebration took place stateside this past Friday and Saturday, featuring over 50 breweries from across the world pouring over 100 different beers.

The Boston celebration was co-produced by Danish microbrewer Mikkeller Brewing and Boston-based Crash Line Productions. Mikkeller is the creator of the original Copenhagen Beer Celebration that annually takes place in Denmark while Crash Line Productions is the driving force behind the Boston Calling Music Festival.

CBF
The Copenhagen Beer Celebration featured over 50 breweries from across the world pouring over 100 different beers. (Josh Souza)

The Boston event offered the opportunity for craft beer lovers from New England and beyond to sample brews that would not be available any other way. It also offered samplings of great food and six bands performing a variety of musical stylings.

Boston was an ideal location for the festival since Massachusetts and New England is seen as a hotbed for microwbreweries and have produced some big names in the craft beer industry, such as Allagash Brewing Company, Trillium Brewing Company and of course, Boston Beer Company, also known as Samuel Adams.

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, co-founder of Mikkeller Brewing, said the American crowd was just as large as the ones he’s seen in Denmark, but attendees were much more laid back.

“The crowd is different, which is obvious, because in Europe, craft beer drinkers are like beer geeks and here it’s for everybody,” Bjergsø said.

The primary focus of the Boston festival, just like it’s Danish counterpart, is to demonstrate all the great accomplishments throughout the craft beer industry all while having a great time.

“When we started Copenhagen Beer Celebration five years ago we wanted to make a big party for everybody, for the brewers and for the customers,” Bjergsø said. “I want to showcase a bunch of beers that have never been seen before and aren’t easy to find.”

“It’s a really cool collaboration of beer and music that people won’t normally experience,” said Josh Wolf, New England Sales Manager for Allagash Brewing Company. “It’s exposure for these breweries but it’s also exposure to beer that folks will never get their hands on.”

Many brewers in attendance came prepared with specially made beers just for the festival.

“It’s also sort of like a competition now. You cannot just bring your normal stuff because the guy next to you will be doing something special.”

Bjergsø went on to explain European craft beer is still in its early stages of popularity but working toward its peak.

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, co-founder of Mikkeller Brewing, said the American crowd was just as large as the ones he’s seen in Denmark. (Josh Souza)
Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, co-founder of Mikkeller Brewing, said the American crowd was just as large as the ones he’s seen in Denmark. (Josh Souza)

“It’s such a different market in Europe,” Bjergsø said. “Craft beer is something everybody drinks here. It’s a part of a lot people’s lives and it’s not like that in Europe.”

“In Europe we are 20 years behind. I think that in Europe it will be very big soon. If we do just half of what has been done here it will be huge.”

Swedish brewer Olly Bartlett from Stockholm Brewing Company agrees that Europe is just on the cusp of seeing a craft beer boom.

“It’s embryonic,” Bartlett said of the craft beer movement in Europe. “IPA is new and becoming the new lager, though it still has a long way to go.”

Bjergsø said he hopes to be back in Boston next fall to do it all over again. By the looks of the thousands of eager crowd-goers, that shouldn’t be a problem.

All photographs by Josh Souza
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