An udderly great time in Brattleboro occurred on May 14th 2016, with the 5th annual Brewer’s Festival.
On a whim and having the day off we decided to take an hour trip to Brattleboro, Vermont to check out the Brewer’s Festival. Getting off the highway the festival was easy to find with signs pointing the direction. The festival is held on an organic farm so they shuttle everyone in from the high school parking lot. The staff wearing “Brewtiful” shirts were extremely helpful in guiding us to the shuttle stop.
After entering more “Brewtiful” staff met us with 8 pour tickets per person, a tasting glass, program and a bead to pick the best of show brewer. It seems their could be a VIP program offered as we saw a number of people exiting a private building. Once we received our program we found a handful of brewers that we needed to try. The majority were familiar brewers such as Sam Adams, Otter Creek, Long Trail, Two Roads and Shipyard to name a few. Our purpose was to try some new up and coming brewers to sample their brews.
The first sampling took place at Trout River Brewing, which brews in Springfield, VT. Trout River was offering Vermont Single IPA (5.6% abv.), which we tried first.
This tasty session IPA had a unique blend of hops that finish smooth. The next sample was a Rainbow Red Ale (4.8% abv.), this sessionable red was smooth, malty and a little complex.
Our next stop was to Foolproof Brewing Company out of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. We had the Queen of the Yahd Raspberry IPA (5.2% abv.) before and found it to be a truly unique blend of American hops and tropical fruit. Foolproof was offering two other types of craft beer in the can but we decided to start with the Backyahd IPA (6.0% abv.).
This American IPA is aggressive in hops with a tantalizing hop aroma. It was recommended to drink while pulling foods off the BBQ. We then sampled the farmhouse ale, La Ferme Urbaine (7.8% abv.), this Belgian saison, had a dry finish but overall we enjoyed it.
After grabbing some food from one of the vendors we found Brown’s Brewing Company to be the convenient for a refill. Brown’s offers a taproom in Troy, New York and is looking to expand to New England. Let’s say their product is definitely worth watching out for in the future. They were offering an Oatmeal Stout (5.25% abv.), this Stout took home a gold medal at the World Beer Cup held in San Diego in April 2004.
The next sample from Brown’s was a Valencia Orange IPA (6.5% abv.), it’s a hazy marigold color with a citrus aroma that finishes clean.
We then stopped over to see our friends from Element Brewing, who offer a great taproom/game room in Miller Falls, Massachusetts. Element was offering three samples, a Plasma Sake IPA (9.3% abv.), their Dark Element (9.0% abv.) and a cask. Considering we tried the other ones at their taproom we dove in for the Cask Paralax IPA (6.0% abv.). This cask was truly a unique choice that started strong but finished smooth.
We have been hearing about Shmaltz Brewing Company out of New York and found that they had a booth at the event. At their booth they had three offerings Hop Manna IPA (6.8% abv.), Slingshot American Lager(5.3% abv.) and a Bock Bock Barrel Aged Bock Lager (5.3% abv.). Staying course with hopping brews we took to the Hop Manna IPA and found it to be a delicious choice with six types of hops. Let’s just say our next road trip is taking us to Clifton Park, New York to pay these guys a visit.
The final brewery we checked out was Queen City Brewery out of Burlington, Vermont. Queen City had three offerings Yorkshire Porter (5% abv.), Queen City Hefeweizen (5.6% abv.) and Argument IPA (7.5% abv.). To keep things consistent we choose to try the Argument IPA.
This IPA was strong and bitter, yet beautifully balanced.
Overall, the Brattleboro Brewers Festival was a success and we look forward to spreading the word about this great festival and the many beers it had to offer. Not only was the beer tasty but no lines and plenty of beautiful scenery.
If you find your way into Framingham, MA make sure to stop into Jack’s Abby Brewing. The location is easily accessible from RT. 9 or the Mass Pike. Parking can be difficult on weekends but there is plenty. We visited on a weeknight and the crowd was low with a few open tables along with a number of bar stools open. This was fine with us because it allowed us to ask questions about the brewery and beer.
Come to find out the brewery was opened in 2011 by three brothers Jack, Eric, and Sam Hendler. Since 2011 Jack’s Abby has expanded from a small brewer to an internationally known brand. We sampled a variety of beers to offer but found the Excess IPL was delicious. Recently, they opened a brand new taproom, kitchen and brewery in Framingham and the trip is worth it. Make sure to fill up some growlers or grab some beer to go. We had to get a growler of Excess IPL while there.
Jack’s Abby Brewing
100 Clinton St.
Framingham, MA 01702
During a recent visit to Florence, MA we came across a bundle of breweries in the area. Our first stop took us to Building 8, where we’re immediately drawn to the outside of the building. It use to be an old factory in a booming area of Northampton, MA called Baystate Village. Once you walk in you’re greeted by one of their employees, usually its Dave, who pours you a fresh sample from the tap and answers all your questions. He likes to discover where people traveled from, if they ever had Building 8 and talk about the craft beer offered by Building 8. You can also view the brewery through a window set in the back part of the sampling room. Parking is readily available throughout the building area.
Building 8 Brewing
320 Riverside Dr.
Northampton, MA 01062