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.

 

Whiskeys
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.

 

 

 

Gin
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.

 

 

Hours

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

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New England Distilling, Portland, ME

 

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New England Distilling is located in Portland, ME. This was our first stop on our most recent trip to Portland. We went up with Mark’s brother Jason and his fiancée Maureen.

 

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New England Distilling was started in 2011 and in 2012 started releasing Gin, Rum and Rye Whiskey. They are working on a Bourbon Whiskey now, but that will not be ready for at least a year and a half.

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Ned is the owner and distiller at New England Distilling, NED for short. He is a 6th generation distiller with family history in distilling going back 150 years to Sherwood Whiskey being made in Maryland.

 

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Original Sherwood Whiskey bottle…

 

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with a prescription on the back! This was used during Prohibition.

 

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Old pictures and bottle from the family history.

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Matt explaining the distilling process

 

The whiskey and gin are both grain based, and are first made into a distillers beer. They take special care in this process, it is where the flavor starts. The rum is made from a sugar water base.

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Rum fermenting

 

Each batch size is about 450 – 500 gallons. They ferment on the grains, which is not done while making beer because it can spoil or alter the flavor.

 

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Grain shaker machine

 

They give all the spent grains to a local farmer to feed the cows.

 

The still they use is not a super high efficient still, but it keeps more of the flavor.

 

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They have 2 copper stills

 

They run the whiskey and rum through the still 2 times at different temperatures. They run the gin through a third time with extra botanicals added for flavor.

 

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They use charred, white American oak barrels. They can only use them once, by law, to make American whiskey. A lot of the flavor comes from the barrel, and the charring in particular. The charring helps to release natural flavors and sugars from the wood.

 

They are considering making a non-American style whiskey so they don’t have to turn over barrels so quickly.

 

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Maureen tasting the rum

 

Eight Bells Rum
This is a New England style rum. It starts with molasses, instead of sugar cane which is used in Caribbean rums. The rum is aged in the barrels for 22 months.

The name Eight Bells comes from the bells rung during a duty period upon a ship. The bell was run at every half hour interval for a four hour duty period. Once the eighth bell pattern was complete, your duty was. End of duty meant time for your rum portion!

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The Eight Bells logo is a Winslow Homer painting. They were given permission to use it from the Museum of Art in Portland.

 

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Gunpowder Rye Whiskey
This is a Maryland style rye whiskey, there is no corn used to make this.

 

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It is aged in the barrels for 12 – 15 months in the smaller barrels, 2 years in the 53 gallon barrels.

 

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Grains in the whiskey

 

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Mark and Megan tasting

 

 

Ingenium Gin
The Gin has a floral smell and a floral taste, along with the gin taste. Good balances of flavor, not too much juniper. Both Jason and Megan purchased a bottle of gin!

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Gin

 

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Jason and Maureen having fun

 

 

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Hand bottling ‘machine’

 

IMG_1192They have a lot of stuff in their little gift shop.

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Candle holder made from wine barrel staves

 

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Want to visit?

 

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 12-4
Saturday 10-4
Tours on the hour

Check out their facebook page for more information!

Other places we have visited in Portland:

Urban Farm Fermentory

Shipyard Brewing Company