Westfield River Brewing Company, Southwick, MA

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A few weeks ago we went to Six Flags and were looking to visit a brewery, of course. Westfield River Brewing is nearby in Southwick, MA. They say on their website they are the “primary location for those who are seeking both drinkability in their beer and adventure in their glass”.

 

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They are located on a 100 year old dairy farm. The building had been converted into a steak house for many years, but that closed. The brewery moved into this location a year ago from an industrial park. They have a farmers license so they can sell anything they make on the property as retail. They have 3 years of commercial brewing, the owner has been home brewing for 15 years.

 

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History of the property

 

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We ordered two sampler trays for each couple, four 6oz pours for $10. They had nine beers on tap, so they gave us the extra beer sample for free.

 

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Louie and Pepe’s – Mexican lager
4.7%    10 IBU
Really light beer, it was served with a lime in it, you can taste the lime. Megan, Sammie, and Dustin all liked it, a good summer beer.

 

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Strawberry Shandy – 1/2 strawberry blonde 1/2 lemonade
5.3%    6 IBU
A strawberry taste upfront, lemonade as the second taste. Pretty good balance, another good summer beer. We all went home with a few cans!

 

 

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Red, White and Raz – raspberry wheat ale
4.9%    11 IBU
Great raspberry taste, not super sweet but tastes like raspberries. Good taste. We all went home with a few cans!

 

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Sam and Dustin enjoying their samples

 

Oatmeal Stout – ‘hints of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla’
5.9%    14 IBU
Smells like coffee, toasted taste up front, a bit of a sweet 2nd taste. Sammie agree’s with us, Dustin thought it had a hint of a sour taste.

 

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Copper Roaster – copper ale
6.1%    19 IBU
Brewed with brown sugar as an english style ale. Pretty good for this style of beer, everyone liked it. Darker in color but light in body with a hint of sweetness. ‘Not offensive to the mouth’ according to Megan (she was super surprised that she liked it).  Dustin thought it was smooth.

 

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Big Red Barn – malty imperial red
9.5%    12 IBU
A heavy taste but light in body for this style and percent of alcohol. A little strange, sweet, maybe tangy, a strong flavor. Megan and Sam thought it tastes like dates, almost like one of their mom’s Christmas cookies.

 

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Farmhouse Honey – saison style ale brewed with honey
5.6%    10 IBU
Light in body, honey flavor, slight tartness or saison flavor, we would have liked to taste a little more tartness, but all in all it was good!

 

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Charlie – rye ipa with citrus notes
5.3%    57 IBU
Different than the other beers, it taste bitter. Citrus notes, but even that taste a little bitter, citrus and rye taste a little overpowering. This might be because everything else was so low in IBU’s and this was 57 IBU. Dustin felt that there was a juniper flavor.

 

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Session – ‘light in body with tropical fruit hops’
4.5%    42 IBU
Right on in the description, pretty good flavor, session ipa with a light body and flavor with tropical fruity hops.

 

A lot of the beers on tap certainly had a summer theme to them. We liked most, if not all, of the beers. The thing that stood out to Mark was the IBU’s. 7 of the beers on tap were under 20 IBU’s, the the Charlie was 57 IBU’s and the Session was 42 IBU’s. They make their beers to be drinkable.

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Unfortunately, when we were there the most popular beer was sold out, the El Dorado IPA at 7.5% with an IBU of 82. Must be good!

We all liked the atmosphere here. This is a place we would all hang out at if it was near where we lived. The building itself is welcoming, never mind the people who work there. We were very impressed with the whole feel of this visit, and really wish we could go back soon!

 

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Before leaving, we tasted an cask Honey Nut Brown beer they made in collaboration with the home brew shop that is attached to the brewery. This was tasty, and was Sam’s first experience with a cask beer.

 

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They have a decent size restaurant area inside. The place has a cool vibe to it, all old beams and rustic decor. We didn’t get any food, we were actually there on July 4th so the kitchen wasn’t open. They did however have AMAZING pretzels available… more on that below…

 

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The brewery out back, you can see from the restaurant. And lots of cans.

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They have a single canning machine behind the bar. You can get any beer you want that is on tap. You can also get any combination of beers, a 6 pack of them same, 3 and 3, or 6 different beers. We thought this was awesome.

 

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Sam and Dustin got 3 of the Shandy and 3 of the Red, White and Raz. The filled them right in front of us.

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We got a 6 pack of each of the Shandy and the Red, White and Raz.

 

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They also make giant pretzels to go from spent grain and home made spicy honey mustard. The flavor and texture were to die for, and the size- whaat. Well worth it.

 

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 Want to visit?
Hours

Wednesday – Saturday: 12pm – 8pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

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Rapscallion Table and Tap, Acton, MA

We recently stopped at Rapscallion Table and Tap in Acton, MA on the way back up to NH. We found them in a recent issue of Yankee Brew News. We thought we were going to a brewpub, but they technically are not a brewpub, more of a satellite location. The brewery and taproom are located in Fiskdale, MA and that is where all the beer is made. They don’t actually brew on location at the Table and Tap in Acton.

 

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We weren’t quite sure where to go when we got there. We went through the patio and into the bar and needed to wait to be seated. Once we did the service was good, and they brought over some ice water right when we sat down.

 

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We ordered 2 sampler trays so we could try all 8 beers that they had on tap. It was $6 for each sample tray which had four 4oz pours.

 

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Rapscallion Honey – 4.5%
Megan liked it, better than expected, not a typical extra pale ale. Wildflower and honey added nice flavors. Mark thought it was smooth and light with subtle flavors, not an overly sweet honey flavor. This is their flagship beer made with honey sourced from local farms and Sturbridge Village.

 

Lager – 5.1%
Megan thought it was crisp and refreshing, although it still taste like a lager which she is not a big fan of. Mark thought it was better than expected with a good flavor and balance, fairly straight forward lager. Made from the recipe originally developed by Harvard Brewing Company in 1898.

 

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Acton Ale – 3.8%
Made specifically for Table and Tap, a light bodied ale with a light hoppy flavor, on the flowery side.

 

Rapscallion Blonde – 7%
Belgian flavor, though not that strong of a taste. A heavy bodied ale with subtle flavors of coriander and orange.

 

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Pale – 6%
Mark liked it, good flavor and good balance of flavors, hoppy and bitter but neither dominate, a touch sweet.

 

Rye IPA – 6%
A red ale made with 30% rye malt and 5 hops. A red taste, bitter overall, a bitter taste and a bitter after taste. Megan did not like it.

 

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Oyster Stout
Heavy and strong flavor with medium body. Definite stout taste, with a touch of sweetness.

 

Belgium IPA
Belgium flavor a little more pronounced, good flavor, with a hint of hoppy undertones. Good beer, we both liked this.

 

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We sat outside to eat, it was a nice Sunday afternoon. They have a nice patio with a handful of tables and umbrellas. Nice atmosphere outside, it looked kind of a small inside, but we didn’t see too much in there.

 

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Mark ordered the meatloaf sandwich. It was tasty, on a nice roll, and fries were good.

 

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Megan got the classic cheeseburger

 

 

Want to visit?

Table and Tap Hours

Wednesday – Sunday 11:30 AM to Close
Monday and Tuesday – Closed

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Travessia Urban Winery

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We recently took took a slight detour while on the way to the Cape to New Bedford to visit Travessia Urban Winery. Marco Montez is the owner and head winemaker at Travessia, which opened in 2008 to the public. Marco has spent his life around winemakers, from being born in Portugal where everyone made their own wine for family and friends, to experimenting with home made wine making himself.

 

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Travessia says on their website that: “We focus on making wine in small lots with primarily Massachusetts-grown grapes, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Vidal Blanc, and Pinot Noir. Travessia wines are an authentic reflection of our local soils and micro-climate. We love to experiment and push the boundaries but our wines are also made with simplicity.”

 

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The have a pretty big sized tasting room. They have 2 bars about the size of the one shown above and plenty of standing room. The room itself was very well put together. We each did a tasting of the 5 wines they had available for $6 each, and you get to keep the glass.

Their wines:
Chardonnay
60% unoaked – 40% oaked. Good flavor balance, slightly dry.

Riesling – Semi-dry
Right in middle of sweet and dry. Semi-sweet, tasty.

Vidal Blanc
This was the sweetest of their offerings. Made from a hybrid French grape, native to Massachusetts. We went home with a bottle of this.

 

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Rose Pinot Noir
Not what we were expecting from a Rose, as we usually don’t enjoy Rose wines. This one was semi-sweet with a good flavor, very drinkable, a good summer porch wine.

Pinot Noir – Dry
Not bad in regards to a darker Red. Megan would have it with a steak in the Winter.

 

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All the wines were pretty good, solid all around. We thought maybe these would be good wines to bring to a party where you were going to share, the wines are pretty drinkable and nothing is too extreme or harsh in flavor, making them enjoyable by all.

The downfall was really the service when we were there. They were not very welcoming when we first came in. We were kind of rushed through the tasting, it seemed like we were more of a distraction, even though there were 2 people working and we were the only visitors at the time. They did not really engage with us a about the wine, just gave us the one line or 2 description about the wine when we asked and that was about it.

We recommend going for the wine, but make sure you are just going for the wine, not the education. Hopefully our experience was abnormal, so let us know if you stop by!

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Hours

Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00

Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00