Barrel House Z, Weymouth, MA

We visited Barrel House Z a little while back, for our 150th visit! We went with all of Megan’s sisters as well two significant others. We have actually been back again since our first visit.


They are located in an industrial park In Weymouth, MA not too far from Megan’s family. They use old barrels for decoration everywhere, outside, leading into the tap room, and all over the walls. They have a decent size patio area, but since our visit was in the winter time, we stayed indoors.


Barrel House Z is a fairly new brewery that focuses on small batch, and mostly barrel aged beers. The brewery is run by the original head brewer of Harpoon. They have a partnership with Harpoon that we’ll get into a little more later.



They have 5 oz, 10 oz, and 16 oz pours of most of their beers. Some of the higher ABV beers are not available for 16 oz pours. A few of the beers they had two options- either barrel aged or ITB, ‘in the buff’ (not barrel aged). Others were just one or the other.  We tried a variety of pours of most of the stuff available, all barrel aged versions when available.


Bamboozled By Hops – IPA     6%
Not much aroma, light in body and not very hoppy with and odd, bitter finish. Grassy and bitter, not great, not barrel aged.



Townie – Irish Ale     8.4%
Aged 1 month in Bully Boy Whiskey Barrels
Smells like whiskey, pretty boozy in flavor but that flavor is complimented well by the base beer. This was a good beer, a pretty perfect blending of flavors, better than Mark expected it to be, and he took some home.


Zelato – coffee stout     8.8%
Aged 10 months in Rum Barrel
Kind of thin for a barrel aged stout. It had a good amount of rum flavor that blended well with the coffee flavor. Mark thought the coffee was strong on the nose but subtle in the flavoring at first, the rum dominated at first but you tasted more coffee as you drank it.



Quaker State – american oatmeal stout     10%
Aged 10 months in Double Oak Bourbon Barrels
This seemed a little thin as well, boozy with a lot of bourbon and oak flavors.


Dustin enjoying his beers


Adeline – stout     8.8%
Aged 1 month in American Whiskey Barrels
A good stout with the right about of barrel aging character, this was everyone’s favorite stout, and Mark’s, he bought some of this as well.



Sunny & 79 – ginned pilsner     6.2%
Aged in Tequila Barrels
The tequila flavor dominates this beer, but in a good way, not overwhelming.



Jess got the Sunny Radler, the Sunny & 79 pilsner mixed with Spindrift sparkling lemon seltzer. Jess just thought it was ok, she’s not much of a beer drinker and didn’t want anything else. Mark thought it was decent for what it was, a Radler.



Macanadas – mac and cheese filled empanadas


Mark was curious about the brewery set up and just had to ask. They have a very small 2 barrel system to brew most of their beer on. They have some 5 barrel fermenters so they can double batch into those. They also have some 20 barrel fermenters that they use. Harpoon will brew up a batch of beer for them and ship it over so Barrel House Z can ferment it. That’s how they achieve some of the volume so they can distribute while still being able to make fun, small batch, one off beers.


Visit #150!



They have a pretty good sized tap room. A couple picnic tables on 1 side, a big long bar in the middle with several more big tables on the other side.




Wednesday – Friday 4:00 – 10:00
Saturday – 12:00 – 10:00
Sunday – 12:00 – 5:00





Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Sheffield, MA


Berkshire Mountain Distillers was established in 2007. They create award winning spirits in small batches in Sheffield, MA. This is a fairly new facility for them, and quite large. We weren’t familiar with them, but stopped on our way to Big Elm Brewing, also in Sheffield, MA.



They have a decent sized tasting room. The shop area and bar are in one big room right when you walk in. They have tables inside if you want to sit down, and also have tables outside for nicer weather visits.


They do tours but we chose to not partake


The bar was really crowded when we got there. There was a group on a bus and there were people waiting to go on the tour. By the time we were done sampling the bar had emptied out.



We did not take as extensive notes as we usually do while tasting because the bar was crowded and we were trying to sample.


They make a Gold Medal winning Bourbon Whiskey and well as a New England Corn Whiskey.



What was a little more unique was their line of cask aged whiskeys. They use barrels that had beer in them and put the already oak aged whiskey in the casks. They use barrels from breweries around the country, Sam Adams Utopias barrels, barrels from Ommegang, Hale’s Ales, Two Roads, Troegs and more.

Megan enjoyed trying the different cask aged whiskey. They started the same, but the way the flavor changed was so unique with each different barrel.




They have their regular line of Greylock Gin that was good.

But again, their more interesting and unique batches  we liked a lot. They basically have a rotating line of Ethereal Gin, made with different botanicals for each batch and season. Some of the botanicals they grow on their site. We tried a few of these and they were really good, the extra ingredients made these interesting and complex. They also had a Sam Adams Utopias cask gin.





They also have another smaller bar where they make mixed drinks to sell. We both got whiskey sours and took them outside. It was pretty nice out when we were there in late October.


They had corn hole set up outside, and a few tables with umbrellas.



They have some small gardens outside where they grow some
of the botanicals that they use in their spirits and gin.




Check Facebook or their website for updated hours, it looks
like their hours change seasonally.

Night Shift Brewing, Everett MA

IMG_1400Night Shift Brewing is located in Everett, MA. They have been an official brewery for 2.5 years, and they were obviously home brewing before that. This is a new location for them, they have only been there a few months. The previous space was the size of their new tasting room.


one side of their barrel room

They do a lot of barrel aging with different barrels for the different styles of beer. Aging in the barrels gives the beer a different flavor. They reuse all of their yeast, recycling and remixing it so it is all the same. They still use the original recipe for one of their first beers, Trifecta. Their beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, that’s what they use the brite tank for. They did 750 barrels last year, and they will significantly increase this year in the new space.


signs as you enter the taproom

When we arrived, midday on a Saturday, it was a bit crowded (usually a good sign!), and a little loud, but lots of bartenders were on and we were served quickly. There was plenty of standing room and several different seating areas. It looked like a tour bus had arrived shortly before us. The tasting room reminded us of SoMe Brewing in ME, because it was designed as a place to come and hang out and drink some beers. There was matching décor, a big bar, tables, plenty of room, it was just a cool atmosphere to be in. It was more like a typical bar and not just a tasting room, which is what they were going for.  On the tables were giant bowls off pretzels- yum!


bowl of pretzels on one of the picnic tables they have inside



the fun lights they have


wall of beers! aka whats on tap


They offer a variety of beers to be enjoyed as part of a flight, in a 4oz pour, or a 12oz pour. Some have a limited availability, and are available either only by the bottle or only on tap. Beers you can take home are available in a 32oz or 64oz growler or a 750ml bottle.


our tasting



Juicy pale ale, citrus flavor but not sour. Mark used the word tangy. Notes of ripe peach as well


Mud – Art Series #24

Session rye ipa, not super hoppy, decent flavor, pretty easy drinking.

Night Shift “Art” is a series of experimental, test-batch beers and beer-blends that are thoughtful expressions of our current creative process. Some might become larger production batches, some will fade into the night. The goal is unique, artistic beer experimentation.


Viva Habanero

Nice after burn, intense at first but tames down quickly. They describe it:

Brewed with rye malts that bring their own natural spice, this invigorating cerveza gets its zesty kick and peppery flavor from habanero peppers that we add after fermentation. Agave nectar, produced in Mexico, helps to sweeten and lighten the body, while our Belgian house yeast strain tempers the beer’s fiery disposition.



Juicy/ fruity, good grapefruit flavor, not overpowering or sour, farmhouse saison


Stop, Collaborate, & Glisten8.9% – sparkling golden ale fermented in wine barrels with sauvignon blanc grape must and a blend of wild yeast strains

Our first thought was it was carbonated differently, reminded me of something but couldn’t quite figure out the sauvignon blanc flavor, but knew it was familiar.


When we were finishing our tasting,  they came around to all the tables to let us know there was a tour starting. We quickly finished our beers (don’t worry- we went back and had more later) and joined the tour…  


view of the brewhouse


tanks in the brewhouse


empty kegs in the brewhouse, waiting to be filled


box of Muselets used to help close the bottles


bottling station


bottles, bottles and more bottles


growlers ready to be filled


more beer being barrel aged


the current brewery set up- another expansion soon!


Here is an excerpt from their website (this and more is gone over during the tour):

While refining our brewing skills, we also organized weekly beer tastings in an attempt to sample every style, brand, and region possible. As time progressed and palates developed, our appreciation for beers, both our own and on the market, began to shift. We realized that while the making of a truly great beer is by no means common or easy, it is possible.

As importantly, however, was our growing opinion that a beer’s greatness was often very closely linked to its memorability. The market seemed flooded with a collection of very similar beers in very typical beer styles.  When something unique AND great came along, we took notice, and we remembered it.

In our test kitchen, we applied these lessons learned. Because no one judged our beers but us, we experimented like mad scientists with unorthodox brewing ingredients, weird recipes and funky yeasts, attempting to create nearly every beer style imaginable. Years of testing and tweaking led to some especially horrible stuff, but also to some memorable, innovative, truly great beers. When everyone started demanding more Night Shift beer, we realized: brewing had become much more than a nighttime hobby.

The beers that we now offer to the Greater Boston community are the very best of all those years of fine-tuning – wholly unique brews with complex, interesting flavors. Everything is brewed, fermented, and bottled in-house at our Everett, MA microbrewery, where we spend most of our night AND day shifts. We continue to learn as we grow and brew more, and are loving the entire journey (even if it means very little sleep).


We would have to agree with them. After having visited over 65 breweries, wineries, and distilleries, the interesting beers are the ones that stand out. It’s even better when it is a little bit different, but really well done. Everyone now makes an IPA, and though some are better than others, eventually they all blend together. When you drink a Viva Habanero rye ale brewed with agave nectar and aged on habanero peppers, that tends to stand out. This is a nice place, we would love it if they were closer to us so we could visit more often, and try out whatever new beers were on tap. It’s a cool place to go and hang out and have some good beers with friends, while supporting a local brewery. They also offer BYOF, bring you own food, they have lists of local places you can order from and large picnic tables inside to sit at.


Mark enjoying a beer after the tour, in the barrel room


Want to Visit?

The Night Shift Taproom is open 7 days a week (except for certain holidays). Regular open hours are:

  • Monday-Friday, 3-9pm
  • Saturday, 12-8pm
  • Sunday, 12-5pm

outside! yayyy beer!