Big Elm Brewing, Sheffield, MA

We visited Big Elm Brewing in Sheffield, MA, while we were on vacation out in the Berkshires. They have been brewing beer as Big Elm Brewing since 2012. The owners are a husband wife team who have plenty of experience brewing. They actually owned and operated a brewpub in the area, but left the business of running a restaurant to focus on just brewing.
They have a small bar, but a pretty big tasting room, basically 2 adjoining rooms.
Cool lamps above the bar that they made from malt bags.
They sell flights as well as 8 oz pours and 16 oz pours. We
got 2 flights of 4 so we could try most of the beers.
American Lager      5%
Clean, crisp and on point for the style, but a little too boring for us.
Luna      6%
Pretty good for a blonde, apricot notes maybe, it had a little something extra that was nice.
413 Farmhouse Ale      6%
Had a slightly fruity/funky aroma. Megan liked this beer, easy drinking with a pleasant farmhouse funk to it.
Lion’s Ale      5.3%
Darker in color, we were not sure quite what it was, the style was not written on board, it was not hoppy. Megan was not really a fan. We found out from their website it was an amber ale.
Zorro – Golden Sour      6%
Not very sour. Had a golden-mildly tart flavor upfront with a dry finish, but not in a salty gose way.
Thunderlips – New England Pale Ale     6%
Fruity hoppy smell, but that does not come through on the flavor. Kind of bland flavor in the middle with a hoppy bitterness at the end.
Big Elm IPA      7%
Mark- super different hops. Spicy and clove. Unusual flavors for an ipa. Megan said it was creamy, which was different for an IPA
Gerry Dog Stout      6.5%
This was the best beer we thought. Mildly chocolate flavor, really smooth, no bitterness.
 We peeked out back, they have pretty decent sized tanks. They also do all their own canning. They sell their beer to go in cans, on a limited rotation it seems, and also do growler fills.
 Hours
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00
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Offshore Ale Company, Oaks Bluff – Marthas Vineyard

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Near the end of the summer we made a special visit to Martha’s Vineyard to visit the 2 breweries on the island. We started at Offshore Ale Company for beers and lunch. They are the ‘only brewpub on the island’ and are ‘open year round’. We point those in quotes because that’s how they advertise themselves. The only brewery competition they have on the island is Bad Martha’s Brewing Company.

 

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We arrived right before 12:00 when they opened. We went with Megan’s immediate family and all ‘the boys’. That would be Megan’s parents, Megan and her 3 sisters, and the 4 boyfriends.

 

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The flight is chosen by them, you can not pick your own, Brewer’s Choice, which was a little disappointing. You get four 5oz samples for $10.50.

 

East Chop Lighthouse – 4.2%    8 IBU
Lighter and less flavorful than most people expected, even for the non-craft beer drinkers in the group. Megan and Mark thought it was ok for their lightest offering, a slight citrus flavor and made from 100% pilsner malt.

 

Amber Ale – 5%    25 IBU
Megan said creamy and smooth with a good flavor. Most people liked this better than the Lighthouse. Mark thought it was just ok, fairly typical amber taste but slightly lighter in body, probably made to be more ‘drinkable’.

 

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Amity Island Ale – 5%    30 IBU
Megan was hoping for a good summer ale, was stronger than she expected. Mark said it was hoppy and malty, stronger than a regular summer ale, because it was an ‘English style summer ale.’

 

Lazy Frog IPA – 7%    70 IBU
This was a much more hoppy and bitter beer, a lot of the group did not like this, especially Sam. Mark thought it was pretty good, so did Dustin and Kevin. A touch sweet with strong hop flavors, a little bitter with a sweet finish. Definite west coast influence.

 

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Pints:

Menemsha Creek Pale Ale – 5%    39 IBU
Mark said this was light for a pale ale, was described as ‘clean and approachable’ with a decent smooth hop flavor.

 

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Islander DIPA – 8.2%    90+ IBU
Strong, good hop flavor with some citrus notes. Finishes with a strong malty flavor, a little bit of a heavy flavor for Mark, but pretty good.

 

Offshore Blueberry – 4.5%    9 IBU
We had mixed reviews of this. It had a strong blueberry smell, which we think skewed peoples view of the taste. Mark said it was really, really light in body, it is only 9 IBU’s. Megan thought it had an artificial blueberry flavor, Jess didn’t taste much blueberry at all, and Marilyn thought it had a strong blueberry taste. Mixed reviews, but just ok over all.

 

Food

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Turkey Pub Sandwich with salad

 

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Mark got the Fish Sandwich. There was a lot of fish on there,
it was good, and the fries were good.

 

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Winter Salad

 

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Offshores Finest Burger w/provolone cheese and bacon

 

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Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad Over Boston Lettuce

 

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Brewhouse Pulled Pork Sandwich

 

A lot of people ordered the same sandwiches, with the
different option of a side salad, fries, or chips.

 

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They have wood fired pizza, but we didn’t try it.

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It is a small place, they have about 12 tables,
3 high top tables, and 12 or so bar seats.

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The atmosphere and service was really good. The food was pretty good, we don’t think it blew anyone away, but we ordered mostly sandwiches for lunch, and everyone was satisfied and filled. The beer was just average brew pub beer to Mark and Megan. It seems like most brew pubs (who serve food and beer) make their beer approachable for the average beer drinker. It’s not our style, they are there for tourists, so they want everyone to like their beer.

 

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Hours

Brew-Pub seating
LUNCH 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
DINNER 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm Sunday -Thursday
DINNER 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm Friday & Saturday

 

Rockingham Brewing Company, Derry, NH

IMG_4218   Our 2nd stop on a recent trip with Taylor, Lance, Jason, Maureen, Stephanie and Ian to the Derry and Londonderry area was to Rockingham Brewing Company. They had only been open for about 5 months when we visited, since February 2015. It felt like a well established brewery.  IMG_4231  The two people working behind the bar were very warm and welcoming. They asked if we knew their beer, and the brewery and were able to answer questions when asked.

They have several options for tasting paddles. Megan and Mark split a flight of five 4 oz pours and a flight of three 4 oz pours, for $8 and $5, so we were able to try all the beers they had on tap. Jason and Maureen also split a full tasting, with the other couples picking a few here and a few there.

Rockingham Ale – amber ale 5.5% Fairly typical amber flavor with a little bit heavier body.

Javelina – IPA 6.5% Tropical notes, light in body, not super hoppy or heavy. Ian said it had more of a bitter hop taste with not much malt.   IMG_4220   Napolean – dark farmhouse 5.2% Light in body, sweet, dark in color with a malty flavor, but not too heavy. Not quite enough ‘funk’ for us, looking for a little more tartness or something extra from a farmhouse.

Curly’s Gold – wheat ale 5.1% Light, sweet, a good summer beer. Jason tasted orange peel, Megan thought it had a citrusy zest to it.     IMG_4223   Belly of the Beast – bacon imperial stout 8.6% Smells like smoked bacon and tastes like smoked bacon! A heavy tasting stout with a lighter than expected body, and a hint of sweetness.   IMG_4228   Cloven Hoof – Belgian dubbel 7.1% Sweet, not as heavy as Mark expected, light, pretty good belgian flavor. Megan did not like it. Ian thought it was fantastic, right on what he expected it to be.

Blond Melon – American golden 5.3% Tastes like melon. A good, light summer beer. General consensus was just ok.

Golden Mango – American wheat 5.1% A bit of a funky smell, light body and light in taste with mango flavors. Megan liked this better than the Blond.

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Lance and Stephanie relaxing on the rocking chairs

They have a pretty good size tasting room. It has a cool atmosphere as well. The bar is all rustic reclaimed wood. The wall behind the bar is chalkboard paint so they can update the beers when they rotate.

They have seats at the bar, a couple big comfy chairs and a big picnic table, which we took over.

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Stephanie, Ian, Mark, Megan, Jason, Maureen, Taylor, Lance

They had 4 of their beers bottled in 22 oz bottles. We bought 2 of the Belly of the Beast and a Curly’s Gold.   IMG_4219

Want to visit?
Hours

Thursday and Friday 3:00 – 7:00

Saturday 1:00 – 7:00

As always, check their website, or facebook for the most up to date information.