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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Western Massachusetts brewpubs

Hmmm... Here we are, in Massachusetts. We're visiting colleges (Vassar yesterday, Hampshire today, Clark and Holy Cross tomorrow), and, well, I'm slipping a few brewpub visits in. We got to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art this morning, which was quite nice: there was an exhibit of original art from the Winnie the Pooh books.

Then we ran over to Northampton and had lunch at the Northampton Brewery, the oldest brewpub in New England. Cathy and I first visited the brewpub way back in the summer of 1989, on a beautiful sunny day...a lot like today. But today we sat outside in it, enjoying their second-story deck. It took a while; they were busy downstairs, and we just kind of stood at the door waiting for almost five minutes.

But the bartender was real good about it when he could get to us, and we got seated up on the deck. I grabbed a Daniel Shays Best Bitter (nice, smooth, malty, with a hop twist), and we lined up lunch: a Cuban for me, with a very nice pickle relish; chicken caesar salad for Nora and a grilled shrimp caesar for Cathy, and Thomas got the poblano meatloaf sandwich. Good eats all 'round, and I copped a Northampton Pale Ale, too (similar, but crisper, more bitter). We had to run, though; it was time for the tour at Hampshire. So we ran, and made it...just in time to sit for 15 minutes waiting for the late tour to start. Grrr... Beautiful day to walk about mountain-girdled campus.

Yeah, but it was hot, and we bolted after it was over for the motel in Northampton. After we'd calmed down, chilled a bit, I talked the family into driving up to The People's Pint in Greenfield. I've been wanting to get here for quite a while, and it was worth the wait. I got a smoked trout quesadilla (and they served it with fresh cream horseradish!), and Cathy and I each got cask Pied PIPA: good stuff, smooth flavor, not brain-crushing, but hoppy. Then I hopped on an Oatmeal Stout, and it was flavorful and luscious, a bit chocolatey, and just a bit rich, a real drinky pint. I loved the place: good size, good vibe, good beers, and a serious commitment to local food and sustainability. I could spend days here.

Tomorrow? Dunno, but I've got breakfast at the Roadhouse lined up, and that's a start to a good day!


Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

Bring me back whatever Berkshire's doing good of late. I gotta love a railroad-labeled beer, of course........

Tony said...

Sounds like fun to me. You're close to Amherst Brewing. I've never been there myself, but a friend loves it and even brought me back a few growlers of fine beer.

Bill said...

Is this really about Thomas visiting colleges or just an excuse to hit breweries and pubs up and down the east coast? I cannot believe your son has not narrowed his list down to 2 or 3 schools by now.


Lew Bryson said...

Hey, lighten up! The family has learned that there's often good meals and good atmosphere to be had in brewpubs. And as for my son, I only visited one school, and while I was happy with it, looking back on it, I probably should have looked at more.