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.


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.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00

Far From the Tree Cider, Salem, MA

We visited Far From the Tree Cider in Salem, MA with a group of friends. Far From the Tree is owned by a couple with a background and interest in wine making. It dawned on them that in New England making cider makes a lot more sense if you want to grow your own ingredients. Apples grow great in New England, grapes not as much.


They released their first cider in 2014, and opened the tasting room in 2015. They started with a limited variety of ciders released in bottles, but now have a wide variety of styles and seasonal releases in bottles and cans.


We had wanted to visit here for a while after searching and finding a special release of theirs, Lei, a pineapple jalapeno cider that was fantastic.


Bre, Sammie and Megan


Deryl, Mark and Dustin



They had flights or full pours available, we started with flights and a few of us got full pours after.


Megan drinking


Roots – 6.9%
Original barrel aged cider. This was a very dry cider, light, not sweet at all.



Granny MacCort’s Blend – 7.5%
Still a dry cider but slightly sweeter than Roots. Made with Granny Smith, Cortland, and Mcintosh apples.



A dry hopped cider. You can smell the dry hopping, more pine on the nose but tropical flavors dominate on the pallet. A good cider, everyone liked it, Mark like the additional flavors from the dry hopping but Megan liked it as well, as the hops were not too much for her.



Gallagher’s Hammer – 7.3%
Smells and tastes like melon, more like melon than watermelon, but still pretty tasty.



Apple of My Chai – 7.5%
Smells strongly of chai, tastes like Chai with a hint of cinnamon though Mark. Bre and Megan really liked this cider, Bre went specifically looking for this one. They both bought cans to go of this.




Mark and Megan with cider to go



They have a pretty large patio outside with picnic tables, chairs and umbrellas. It more than doubles the space they have inside, which is great for the nice weather.



There was no door to the patio, you have to go through the building. We had a little trouble finding the door, it was hidden in a mural.



They had a food truck, The Porch, there that day so Mark and Bre got some food, mac and cheese and pulled pork sandwhichs.


There is not very ample  parking there, they have just a few spots and there is limited street parking. We parked down the street.



Cool murals inside.



Bre and Deryl


Mark and Megan


Sorry, no cute pic of Dustin and Sammie, just Sammie and her cider






Monday – Thursday: 4:00 – 10:00
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 -11:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 10:00



Furnace Brook Winery at Hilltop Orchards, Richmond, MA


While out in Western Mass with our friend Bre, we visited Furnace Brook Winery, which is located at the Hilltop Orchard in Richmond, MA. This was actually a place Bre found and wanted to go to because they make their own cider as well as wine.

You can sample any 1 wine for free, or 5 wines for $5, so we all tried some different ones.

White Wines

Pinot Grigio – A crisp, golden white wine, slightly dry.

Riesling – Mark and Megan both liked this. Fruity but not too sweet, nice flavorful balance. We both skipped the Dry Riesling for this one.

Mead – A light, sweet mead with a very strong honey flavor. Honey sourced locally from Westfield, MA.




 Red Wines

Shiraz Special Reserve – Peppery with hints of berry, dry but not overly dry.

Ruby Port – Mark really liked this, very tasty. Bre and Megan both thought it was sweet. It is wine, fortified with Brandy.



Blanc de Blancs – Bre tried this, slightly fruity, easy drinking.

Muscato – Very sweet, crisp, a bubbly muscato, Bre and Megan really liked this, we bought a bottle for Mark’s sister Michelle.





Johnny Mash Dry Gold – A very dry, but refreshingly clean cider. Made simple on purpose, goes well with anything, for day drinking we were told. Did we give off that vibe?




Cidre Special Reserve – Light and a little sweeter than the Dry Gold, still dry. The apples were fermented whole, with the skins on, in stainless steel tanks, then aged in French Oak barrels.


Johnny Mash Hard Cider – Light, slightly sweet, minor oak notes, aged in American Oak, good cider, 6%.




Ice Wine

Berkshire Winter Harvest Ice Wine – Sweet, tasty, a complex cider ice wine. They grind the apples and make juice (cider) they freeze the juice, then remove the nectar and ferment that. It takes about 45 apples per bottle.


Hilltop Orchards is one of the largest cider mills in New England. They make cider for lots of other places. They are proud to grow, pick, grind and mash, as well as ferment all their cider onsite.




There are miles of trails on the farm, and they rent snow shoes and cross country ski’s. They get a lot of traffic during the winter, people coming to use the trails and then sample some wine or cider. There was not enough snow when we were there to take advantage of that. Maybe some day… we would definitely visit again if we are in the area.


They also use and integrated pest management system, IPM. This means they plan when to spray based on rain, wind, etc, they use the weather to their advantage to keep the apples and grapes and fresh and clean as possible.




Of course we got some Cider Donuts before we left as well.



9:00 – 5:00 Daily, year round







Northampton Brewery, Northampton, MA



We recently visited Northampton Brewery out in Northampton, MA. We were on our way out to western Mass with our friend Bre and stopped there for beer samples and dinner. This has been on our list for a while, they have a long history and connections with some local breweries in NH.




Northampton Brewery opened in 1987 and was the second brewpub to open in the region. They are currently the oldest operating brewpub in New England. A brief history: Northampton Brewery was founded by brother and sister Janet and Peter Egelston. In 1991 they opened another brewpub, Portsmouth Brewery in NH. In 1994 they opened another brewery, a small production brewery called Smuttynose Brewing Company. In 2000, Janet and Peter bought each other out of their respective businesses, which left Janet the sole owner of Nothampton Brewery, and Peter owner of Portsmouth Brewery and majority owner of Smuttynose.



Similar frothy mug to Portsmouth Brewery


Northampton Brewery has gone through several renovations over the years, which leaves them with a pretty good sized brewpub, which includes a rooftop bar area, which we did not go to since it was December.


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One of the renovations added this large back room with high ceilings and exposed beams.





They do flights of 4 beers, you can pick any 4 off the menu so we each got a flight so we could try as many beers as possible.


Redheaded Stepchild 5%
Pretty good for a red ale, described as ‘well balanced’, we agree.

Deckbier 4.5%
A golden ale with slightly more flavor than a typical golden ale. A light bodied beer with a light citrus flavor.




Greyhound IPA
Smells like grapefruit. Light in body for an ipa, super cloudy with a very strong grapefruit flavor. Bre liked this and isn’t usually a fan of ipa’s.

ESB 5.7%
Better than a standard ESB, not quite as bitter, balanced and drinkable.




Blue Boots IPA 6%
Slightly hazy, smells citrusy and piney but tastes more piney. Decent ipa.

Hoover’s Porter
Megan smelled vanilla, Mark smelled coffee and chocolate. A good porter, smooth, well balanced, a hint of coffee and vanilla, not bitter at all. We were pleasantly surprised by this porter.




Milk and Cookies 5.6%
A dark beer, medium to heavy body. A touch of chocolate with some roastyness, with a cookie sweetness to the finish. Bitter start, smooth sweet finish. Not quite as good as we were hoping for from the name, but pretty good.

Old Brown Dog 5.2%
A smooth brown all, creamy, with a touch of sweetness on the finish, not very malty at all.

Mark asked about Old Brown Dog, since that is one of Smuttynose year round beers. When the businesses separated they both had rights to the Old Brown Dog recipe. We think this tasted a little different than Smuttynose Old Brown Dog, but not quite sure.




Northampton American Pale Ale 5.7%
Pretty good, nice and hoppy for a pale ale.



Bre enjoying her samples






BBQ Chicken Pizza



Green Mountain Burger


All the food was very good and so was the service.


We were pleasantly surprised by the beers as well. They do make some of the less interesting, ‘typical brewpub’ beer styles, like a Golden Ale, ESB, Porter, but they put their own unique twist to their recipes, which makes the beers more interesting and enjoyable.

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They makes all their own beer in the brewery. The also can and bottle all their own beer in house as well. We bought cans and bottles to go, which is nice to have offerings other than growlers.



Mark, Bre and Megan



Monday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Sunday: 12:00 – 1:00 am

As always, check their website or Facebook for updated hours and offerings.


Lord Hobo Brewing Company, Woburn, MA



We stopped by Lord Hobo Brewing Company for a quick visit in Woburn, Mass. They are not quite a year old and have already made a name for themselves. We think the names of their beers help them stand out, as well as the fact that they started canning right away.




They are located in an interesting, re-habbed building. It may have been a tile store or showroom before. They have a very large tasting room, see picture below. It looks like they have plenty of room out back for expanding their brewing capacity down the road.




They seem to be focused on making IPA’s, since they had 3 beers and all 3 were IPA’s, with a fourth IPA that had just kicked. Only 3 beers on tap, but all are available for growler fills, as well as in cans, which we like to see.




They also have a temporary permit to pour pints. They will pour pints on Friday and Saturday nights, through the summer it sounds like. They just lowered their prices for their beer to go, which is good to hear as well.




Megan is not a big fan of IPA’s, so Mark just got a sample size
of each of the 3 beers they had available.

Hobo Life – Dry Hopped Citra Session IPA 4.5%
A session ipa, light in flavor overall, with the main hop flavor being piney with a light bitter finish. This was Mark’s favorite beer, bought a 6 pack. Citra, Horizon and Chinook hops were used.




Steal This Can – IPA 6.5%
Kind of light in body for a 6.5% IPA. Pretty good IPA up front, but has a heavy, bitter finish to it. Zeus, Warrior, Centennial and Chinook hops used.




Boomsauce – Double IPA 7.8%
Seems a little less bitter overall, maybe the malts and higher abv balance out the bitterness a little bit. Still very ‘drinkable’ at 7.8%, good, semi fruity ipa taste upfront, finishes with the same bitterness as the rest.




All 3 beers have a somewhat similar taste, like different variations of the same beer. With only making IPA’s, we would expect a little more variation from them. They do have a decent New England style flavor to them but all finish with a lingering bitterness, not Mark’s favorite. If you like IPA’s though, you should definitely check them out.

Want to visit? Check out their facebook page for hours 🙂


Trillium Brewing Company, Canton (and Boston), MA



We recently visited Trillium Brewing Company, the Canton, MA location. This was our 125th visit! We went with Mark’s brother Jason and his wife Maureen, Mark’s sister Michelle, and Megan’s sister Jess. We went on a Saturday afternoon with fairly high expectations, we have heard a lot about Trillium but have never tried any of their beers, until now.




Trillium Brewing Company has been open since March of 2013, run by husband and wife owners JC and Esther Tetreault. They have built quite a following from their small scale operation in the Fort Point neighborhood of South Boston. In December 2015 they opened their secondary brewing location in Canton, MA with a tasting room and a much larger brewing capacity, a theoretical brewing capacity of 35,000 barrels annually. They still operate both locations. We had heard a lot about their beer, but waited until they opened their new Canton facility to visit them. They do not serve samples in the Fort Point location.




Mosaic Fort Point Pale Ale – 6.6%
Smells very fragrant, tropical and fruity hops. Pours cloudy and unfiltered. Has a fruity hop taste to it, not super juicy, but pretty tasty. Fruity and tropical hops with a bitter finish.


Summer Street American IPA – 7.2%
Not nearly as fruity smelling or tasting as the Pale Ale. Smooth, not that hoppy or bitter, nothing really stands out with this beer, fairly standard IPA. Maureen thought it was pretty good and she doesn’t like most IPA’s.


Sleeper Street American IPA – 7.2%
This IPA was a little fruitier, with a hint of grapefruit. A little bit juicy, not too hoppy or bitter, but a little more interesting flavor, Mark thought. Jason liked the Summer Street better.


Pot and Kettle Oatmeal Porter – 7.5%
Not as heavy as we expected, but we liked it. Medium body, smooth, Jason tasted chocolate, Mark got a roasty chocolate flavor. Mark, Megan, and Jason all enjoyed this.




The tasting experience here was not as good as we had hoped. It is an improvement since they do not do tastings in their Fort Point location, but there was only 1 bartender serving most of the time, so it took a while for us to get served. They serve 2 oz complimentary samples.



The most disappointing thing was they only had 4 beers to sample. Mark went with specific beers he wanted to try, but could not sample them. Since they do have such a good reputation, we bought beers that we could not sample there to bring home and try. Other people visiting, or people unfamiliar with Trillium’s reputation may not buy a $10 bottle of beer that they can not sample.


Double Dry Hopped Fort Point Pale Ale – 6.6%



They sell their beer in 750mL (25.4 oz) bottle. This was one of the ‘tastings’ we did at home. This is a super cloudy beer with a huge hop nose. It is a pretty tasty beer, mostly citrusy hops, a little bit of a piney taste mixed in there, Mark liked it a lot. The only minor critique is it is all hop flavor up front with not a whole lot of flavor on the finish, but Mark did like it and will buy it again. This was the stand out of the ‘at home tastings’.


One of the benefits of the new facility is that there is an area for filling growlers and buying bottles that is separate from the tasting room. This separates the crowds and makes it easier if you want to just stop in and pick up some beer.



Bottles behind the counter, and brewing tanks behind them.

Canton Location

Monday – Wednesday: 4:00 – 7:30
Thursday and Friday: 12:00 – 7:30
Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00