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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Our 49th visit: Harpoon Brewery and the Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden, Windsor, Vermont

 IMG_0639We traveled in Vermont a couple of weekends ago to visit our friends, John and Lindsay. On our way to visit them, we made a few stops. Our first stop was Harpoon Brewery and the Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden, located in Windsor, Vermont.IMG_0634  IMG_0635  IMG_0638

Years ago, we visited the Boston location of Harpoon, and knew they were different from one another but uncertain as to how. The Vermont Brewery has a full restaurant, with a long bar, multiple tables and a nice fireplace.IMG_0657 IMG_0662
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We sat at one of the tables near the bar, where we could see the full beer menu behind the bar and the tap handles. IMG_0642  IMG_0643

We ordered appetizers and a beer sampler. They had two sample trays to choose from. We choose the tray we had tried less of in the past.IMG_0644

IMG_0646  IMG_0640Our Tasting:IMG_0647  IMG_0648  IMG_0649
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UFO Pale Ale: 5.3%, 37 IBU. Medium body, traditional British Pale Ale with an assertive hop character

The Long Thaw (White IPA): 6.2%, 45 IBU. Spiciness of a Belgian Wit, and the American Hop characteristics of an American IPA

Celtic Ale: 5.4%, 25 IBU. Very different than what I expected it to be. Malty and complex. Moderate hop with malts. Smooth, medium bodied. It didn’t present itself as a red ale to me- it was much better than what I expected.

**Beer Tasting Extra**
We mentioned we would be interested in trying this one, and our waitress was great and brought us a little taste:
Pumpkin Chai: 5.7%, great pumpkin smell. Good balance of chai and pumpkin. Not as pumpkin-y as UFO Pumpkin, however, we considered it a good “late winter, early spring” pumpkin beer- a cozy flavor.

Boston Irish Stout: 4.3%, 30 IBU. Similar to Guinness, a little darker and maltier. Fill bodied and creamy.

Glasses we ordered:
Kitchen Sink: 7.2%, 35 IBU. At inventory, they took everything they had left and combined it (ingredients that is- not beer!). Medium bodied, tasted lighter than in appeared. Good flavor, but hard to place.

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IMG_0665Black Forest
: 9.8%, 24 IBU. Interesting cherry and chocolate flavors, but not intense of either. Could be a little more flavorful, but not bad at all. Not as sweet as expected. Not overbearing, but while drinking it, you can tell it is a higher ABV.

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Food:
IMG_0656Sweet Chili Wings, from their specials menu.
Crispy wings, then tossed in sauce. Nice zip to them- just spicy enough that you don’t need to dunk them in dressing. Sweet too!

IMG_0655French Fries: crunchy, beer battered

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IMG_0677wish I had bought this sweatshirt- it was so soft!
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Tours:

FRI 5 PM to 7 PM (starting every hour)
SAT 11 AM to 5 PM (starting every hour)
SUN 12:00 PM to 4 PM (starting every hour

 

 

 

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Around five, it began to get busy. We finished up around that time and hit the road…

Want to visit?

We recommend it!

Hours of Operation:

SUN – WED 10 AM to 6 PM
THU – SAT 10 AM to 9 PM

 

 

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