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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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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Redhook Brewery

We originally went to the Redhook Brewery, in Portsmouth, NH last summer (2012) with my friend Jamie. Our goal had not been completely thought out yet, so I (surprisingly) did not take any pictures.

Redhook Brewery offers tours for only $1! If you feel that $1 is simply too expensive, you can find coupons for free tours on those cute, cartoon-y maps. We actually had no idea that it was simply $1 and had brought the coupons. If its free, it’s for me!

We met Jamie at the Cataqua Pub (connected to the gift shop & brewery), as we arrived before the tour started. We all enjoyed a pint, and then went to join the tour. We had the best tour guide. He was an older man, who was passionate about the beer that Redhook offers. He told us about Redhooks history, about how they make the beer, and then ended with a sampling session. The tour was similar to most breweries we had been to, but what made it was our tour guide. He had tons of different stories and you could tell loved the beer. For the sampling session, he poured pitchers and we passed them around the room. Due to this being before we made our goal, I do not have exact tasting notes, but I can tell you that we enjoyed most, if not all, of the beer. We all left with a tasting glass, as well as some new favorites.

Mark and I returned to Redhook last night (2013) for a late dinner in the Cataqua Pub. The Cataqua Pub was named after the Piscataqua River, which divides New Hamshpire and Maine and has the third fastest current in the world. “Piscataqua” is a Native American term, metaphorically translated to “a place where people come together, and where they part on their separate ways.”

 Our waitress, Sarah, was great and knew her beer well.

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On tap:

Long Hammer IPA 6.2%

ESB 5.8%

Pilsner 5.3%

Audible Ale 4.7%

Mudslinger (Spring seasonal) 5.8%

Wit (Summer seasonal) 5.3%

Saturnaleia Double Red IPA 10% (PEASE Project)

They also offered Widmer (Portland, OR) and Kona (Kailua-Kona, HI) as guest drafts.

IMG_2538[1] Menu description of each beer.

After looking at the menu, I knew that I needed to have the Wit, a perfect summer beer.

“Redhook’s twist on the Belgian style is the addition of fresh ginger, which adds a refreshing snappiness to this lighter-bodied wheat beer.  Redhook Wit is perfect for warm summer months of outdoor BBQ-ing, sitting by the pool, or just taking a break by hanging inside enjoying the AC and watching old re-runs of Gilligan’s Island.

STYLE………………….Belgian Wit

ABV…………………….5.3%IBUS…………………..8.0 IBU

ORIGINAL GRAVITY..11.85 degrees platoBREWED SINCE………2011″ –Redhook.com

Mark decided to first have the mudslinger…

“Ah, Spring…the season that keeps us guessing.  Will it rain, or will the sun be out?  Do I take advantage of the last days of skiing, or the first days of hiking?  Do I put on jeans, or dare break out the shorts?  The season comes with enough uncertainty, so Redhook gives you something you can always count on…our Mudslinger Brown Ale.  This medium dark beer is layered with rich malty aromas and flavors of chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, and a hint of vanilla.  Although it may be dark in color, it’s refreshingly smooth and highly sessionable.  Mudslinger Brown Ale is the perfect beer for spring.

STYLE………………….Brown

ABV…………………….5.8%

IBUS…………….22 IBUORIGINAL GRAVITY..13.8 degrees platoBREWED SINCE………2003TIME FRAME………..Spring Seasonal” – Redhook.com

We ordered two appetizers to split-

Tap Room Chicken Strips, in Jamaican jerk seasoning & served with ranch dressing (homemade? It did taste that way)

IMG_2539[1] Nice flavor, definately needed the ranch to tame it down slightly, but all in all tasty. $10 (a little pricey for the size, but…)

We also ordered the Brew House Nachos with pulled chicken, bomber sized.

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THEY WERE LOADED! Tons of cheese, jalapeanos, olives, chicken… SO good!

The nachos were also layered, which meant you weren’t searching for toppings once you ate half of it.

Mark ended the night with the Saturnaleia Double Red IPA  (PEASE Project). Due to it being a PEASE Project beer, it is not on their website or their regular menu.

Mark said it was “pretty good, but defiantly heavy. Had the taste of a high-alcohol percentage beer.”  It had the taste of a red ale as well.

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Served in a fancy glass

A sign on our table told us about two beers that Redhook now offers that are gluten free.  Omission Lager and Pale Ale. Both are available in bottles.

****Addition 5/20/13: Omission is brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing.****

Although neither Mark or I have a gluten intolerance, we know many people that do, and think that it is great that a company like Redhook offers these beers.

Redhook felt that everyone should be able to enjoy a beer.

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We will most likely return to Redhook for food and drinks another time.

Cataqua Pub Hours

Sunday: 12pm-8pm
Monday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 11pm
Last call 30 minutes prior to closing

Public Brewery Tours

Mon: 3:00, 4:00, 5:00pm
Tue:12:00, 1:00,2:00pm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wed & Thu: 1:00, 3:00, 5:00pm
Fri & Sat: 12:00-6:00pm, every hour on the hour
Sun: 1:00pm – 5:00pm on the hour
Starts at the Gift Shop desk.