Category Archives: United States Brewpubs

PROGRESSION BREWING COMPANY

Image result for progression brewing

NORTHAMPTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Crafting some of New England’s finest hazy India Pale Ales, Northampton’s PROGESSION BREWING COMPANY take extreme pride in producing their refreshingly crisp, clean beer. In the heart of town in a red brick building with a pristine round silver logo sign at the entrance, Progression opened for biz during November ’18, becoming Northampton’s fourth brewery.

Residing on Pearl Street in the former space of Gleason’s Camping Supply, the centralized pub hipster Industrial setting features white-walled modern art, front-windowed lounge furnishings, cavernous pipe-exposed open space and illuminated light scheme. Its marbled red linoleum floor contrasts well with the three yellow-wooded community tables and four-chaired seating while a sectioned-off backspace is also available.

Brew tanks are located behind the ten-stool serving station where twelve taps serve the expanding crowd on this cold Saturday eve in February ’19.

A separate refrigerator contains a rounded selection of Progression’s canned fare. Freedom Leaf editor, Steve Bloom, and friend Tom, joined me for some brews while consuming hearty minestrone soup and mac-cheese-bacon.

Image result for progression brewing

Exquisitely detailed Flourish Farmers Saison brought herbal white-peppered grape-skinned Hallertau Blanc hop dryness and mixed culture saison yeast to the fore, letting tart lemon-dropped mandarin orange spicing, bruised banana sweetness, tangy pineapple juicing and earthen plantain sedation gain a spritzy carbolic pep.

Juicy-fruited Sequence Double Dry-Hopped New England Pale Ale let tangy grapefruit, orange, peach, pineapple and mango overtones receive a zesty lemon spritz buttressed by sugared pale malts (nearly duplicating a citric IPA sans piney bittering).

Tangy clementine fronted floral-tinged Upward New England Double IPA, a grassy hopped medium body with ancillary tangerine sweetness, mandarin orange tartness and lemon rind bittering atop dry pale malts.

Crisply dry West Coast-styled Expanse IPA placed lightly pined citrus juicing atop floral-dried herbage and grassy hop astringency, leaving orange, grapefruit and lemon zest in its wake.

On the dark side, percolated coffee grounds consumed dry full body, Portent Coffee Porter, a superior creamily textured java beverage with bitterly walnut-seared charred hops.

progbrew.com

 

BIG ELM BREWING

Image result for big elm brewing  Image result for big elm brewing

SHEFFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

A lil gem of a place just off Route 7 near the Connecticut state line in the lower Berkshires, Sheffield’s BIG ELM BREWING came to fruition ’round 2012. Inside a worn yellow aluminum warehouse with faded red cement floors, this quaintly rustic brewpub crafts distinct and wide ranging beers.

A small wood-topped serving station (with corrugated aluminum siding) provides a passive industrial setting. Twelve tile-bound tap handles release the backroom-brewed suds (listed on a colorful blackboard) for customers filling the four-stooled wood tables and extra window seating.

Today’s offerings for a seasonally warm February ’19 afternoon span the stylistic spectrum while leaning on the dark side.

Related image

Musky straw-cleared American Lager will delight blue collar thirsts with its corn-dried barley roast, maize-husked barnyard leathering, pungent herbal hop mustiness and fizzy yellow fruiting. It made a fine mainstream statement counteracting all the more creative and original recipes Big Elm concocted.

Sticking out like a lollipop-candied sucker was the one sour ale available. Salty blueberry souring faded over vinous green grape tannins, puckered cranberry-raspberry tartness and sparkling blush-wined rosé illusions for Sol Crusher Blueberry Gose.

Easygoing Fat Boy Double IPA brought juicy orange-mango-pineapple sweetness to a lightly perfumed floral bouquet and wispy pine tones above caramelized pale malts.

Muskier perfumed hops, drier wood tones and latent herbal snips saddled the lemony yellow grapefruit-peeled orange rind bittering and sugary orange-peach tang of delightfully sunny West Coast-styled India Pale Ale.

Ambitious Magnum Ulmus Tripel regaled spicy candi-sugared fruiting with musky white-peppered juniper snips, buttery Chardonnay licks and rum-soaked oak chips. Sweet banana-clove-coriander overtones picked up tertiary peach, pineapple and apricot illusions as well as minty green tea notions.

Black-peppered chipotle and toasted cinnamon added pep to Mexican dark chocolate for rich El Luchador Spiced Porter, leaving tarry charcoal residue upon nutty molasses-sapped cocoa nibs.

Lactic milk chocolate consumed Gerry Dog Stout, an oats-sugared full body with dewy earthen soiling contrasting sweet toffee at the backend.

Just as easily defined as a sour stout, Love Dog Raspberry Chocolate Stout allowed dry tobacco-roasted green grape tannins to desiccate its raspy raspberry tartness and powdery dark cocoa malting.

Wintry brown-sugared dried fruiting dappled Dead Of Winter Imperial Stout, where plummy fig tones grazed molasses-draped dark chocolate malting, mild coffee quips and dewy wet-grained sweetness.

www.bigelmbeer.com

NOBLE JAY BREWING COMPANY

Image result for NOBLE JAY BREWING UNTAPPD

NIANTIC, CONNECTICUT

Residing at a cement-floored Industrial mall inside an inconspicuous light blue-walled, black-ceilinged, 15-seat taproom (with track lighting and wooden US flag), NOBLE JAY BREWING COMPANY serves its quaint Mystic-area village of Niantic with a small variety of well-crafted homemade nano brews.

Owned and operated by proud military veteran, Mike Lincoln, Noble Jay dedicated three tap lines to lagers, a surprisingly large amount for such a small pub, during my mid-January ’19 afternoon perusal. Its diminutive interior features a small living room space with couch, rug and overhead TV plus multiple service academy flags along the walls. Led Zeppelin plays in the background as I down the three lagers, one rangy saison and a porter.

Musky German-styled pre-Prohibitonist flagship, Mo Pilsner, retained wet-grained pilsner malt breading and herbal Noble hop lemon rot.

Brisk orange-candied Lager Jammin Double IPL gained grassy-hopped astringency to contrast its sugared pale malt spine.

Perhaps the finest lager, stylistically dryer Chappy’s Red Valor regaled spicy red fruiting and dewy caramel malting to counter sour orange tartness in a briskly clean manner.

Inarguably, the most dynamic offering, complexly balanced First Ladies Saison coalesced its lightly sour fruit-spiced farmhouse dryness with the vanilla-sugared banana daquiri sweetness (and lemon meringue twist) of a heady tripel.

Image result for noble jay brew

On the dark side, Fatty Boom Boom Baltic Porter contrasted soy-milked peanut oiling with sweet hazelnut-glazed caramel malts, leaving dark cocoa traces on the back end.

Open for business since August ’18, Noble Jay joins Niantic Public House as one of Niantic’s initial craft breweries.

noblejaybrew.com

BARLEY HEAD BREWERY

Image result for barley head brewing

MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT

Just down the road from famous Mystic Pizza in the basement of a red brick warehouse building, BARLEY HEAD BREWERY opened in this quaint seaport village during 2017.

Taking the rustic gray cement-floored space of a former jewelry store, Barley Head’s diminutive low-ceilinged two-barrel nanaobrewery includes several small sectioned-off brew tanks, three-seated wood serving bar (with large blackboard menu), right-walled couch, four left scattered seats, two window seats and many one-off homebrews by ex-Cottrell brewer Drew Rodgers.

I visited the humble underground pub during mid-January ’19, soaking up one signature staple and seven limited edition elixirs.

Approachable flagship offering, Saison du Maison IPA, coalesced dry saison yeast with IPA-like citric hops, leaving orange-peeled pineapple, mango and tangerine juicing upon mild herbal peppering, lemony grape esters and light earthen musk.

Another crossbred saison, Haley Farm Farmhouse IPA, brought sour lactic acidity and leathery barnyard funk to the lightly embittered citrus hop profile.

Dewy peat contrasted spicy yellow-orange fruiting for moderate Interstellar Secret IPA, an engaging English-derived, New England-styled moderate-medium body.

Floral citric herbage spiked 2nd Enthrallment IPA, leaving lemony grapefruit and orange rind bittering upon piney-hopped grouted oats.

Tart cherry piquancy inundated Love & Pop, an easygoing fruited Belgian ale with murky grain malting.

Lightly creamed specialty grain ale, Chevy Levee & Rye let peaty caraway-seeded rye malting run amuck on brusque herbal citrus hops.

Chocolate-y raisin sweetness uplifted Dave The Great Dubbel, allowing mild burgundy, fig and date illusions to encounter dewy peat serenity towards the midst. The nitro version added mildly creamed walnut, hazelnut and black cherry nuances to the Raisinette-candied glaze.

www.barleyheadbrewery.com

 

 

30 MILE BREWING CO.

Image result for 30 mile brewing co Image result for 30 mile brewing co
OLD SAYBROOK, CONNECTICUT

Hidden inside a brick terra cotta warehouse-garage along the railroad tracks of Long Island Sound-bound Old Saybrook, 30 MILE BREWING CO. opened its doors in 2016. A quaint cement-floored dig with green and grey walls, indoor patio setup and 3 TV’s, its charm lies in its lean simplicity and good beers.

As of my initial mid-January ’19 fling, there were bottles and cans available for outside consumption. I got to sample eight well-defined homebrews on my early afternoon stopover with wife and dog, Roscoe, before escaping the oncoming snowstorm.

Signature India Pale Ale, Baby Fight Club, stayed tarter than tangy as its spangling citrus gleam allowed spicy grapefruit, orange and tangerine juicing to rise above mild lupulin-oiled pine tones and dry pale malts.

Dryer citric conciseness saddled Baby Fight Club (Double Dry-Hopped), a zestful IPA securing tingly lemon, grapefruit, orange and tangelo licks with herbal-licked grassy hop astringency.

Easygoing Mosaic-Citra-Cascade-hopped smoothie, Sum Pulp New England IPA, retained its stylish grapefruit, pineapple and orange zestfulness above gentle coniferous pining and modest crystal pale malting.

For audaciously wondrous one-off, Going Sour: Pomegranate, mild acidic salinity underlined pleasantly tart pomegranate sourness contrasted to perfection by sweet vanilla sugaring (and picking up latent gooseberry-cranberry snips).

Nearly as fine, Going Sour: Black Currant utilized subtle blackcurrant-spiced tartness to appease its moderately acidic salinity, leaving white grape, green plum, green apple and gooseberry illusions in its wake.

Stylishly soft-toned Rymley’s Winter Warmer, a dryer-than-sweet barleywine, placed muted red grape, red cherry and plum tones above aridly earthen caramel grain malts.

Happily abstruse Raison Saison plied golden raisins to its banana daquiri-sweetened Graham Cracker spine while wispily white-peppered lime tartness secured the rustic grained underbelly.

Coming across like a delightful creamed coffee, Astute Stout brought vanilla-beaned espresso adjuncts to the fore while sweet caramel latte, cinnamon and dark fruiting shaded the jaunty java juggernaut.

30milebrewingco.com

 

NIANTIC PUBLIC HOUSE

Image result for niantic public house and brewery Image result for niantic public house and brewery
NIANTIC, CONNECTICUT

Inside an inconspicuous beige-bricked square edifice tucked in behind the village of Niantic’s Main Street just down from the Long Island Sound, NIANTIC PUBLIC HOUSE came into fruition during the autumn of 2018. The spacious blue-walled interior echoes to its black pipe-exposed ceiling height and a few small community tables sidle the bar.

Readied to expand their limited house beer lineup (only two available on my mid-January ’19 late afternoon sojourn), Niantic did also feature ten well-selected local outside brews and fine wines. The electronic blackboard at the L-shaped wood-lacquered serving station listed all liquids.

During my friendly half-hour binge, tried well-balanced Audens Pale Ale, a double dry-hopped moderation utilizing the tropical Nelson Sauvin variety and leaving spicy orange-tangerine-grapefruit tanginess, tingly lemon zest and grassy musk upon its dry pale malted bottom.

Also quaffed crisply clean Shell Yeah! Imperial IPA, where floral-perfumed orange peel sweetness and tangy yellow grapefruit zest got glazed by candied malt sugaring.

www.nianticpublichouse.com

CYPRESS BREWING COMPANY

See the source image

EDISON, NEW JERSEY

Despite its small, demure serving station area, CYPRESS BREWING COMPANY has the warehouse capacity for enormous growth. Open since 2015, its large silver tanks prove expansion doesn’t have to take place off-site anytime soon. Residing at a tucked away tan-bricked Industrial Park just off the Garden State Parkway near the Raritan River, Cypress currently specializes in a few recurring draughts, some canned fare (such as the popular cranberry-pureed Thanksgiving offering, Miigwetch Pale Ale) and sundry tapped one-offs.

A beautiful backwall-painted Cypress banner salutes patrons to the left side hunter green-walled, blacktop-slated, stone-laid serving station (with eight taps, two TV’s and blackboard beer listing). Its porcelain grain wood floor tile, three rounded black-hued Industrial tables and inlaid cypress tree mural on the opposing wall bring a sterling feel to the pristine bantam space.

See the source image

My wife and daughter join me on New Year’s Eve 2018 as I down five worthy afternoon draughts – four of which leaned to the dark side.

First up, vivacious dry-hopped medium body, Insane In The Grain IPA, brought sharp yellow grapefruit tanginess and sweet orange peel zest to the fore as resinous piney hops subsumed the backend (where wispy mango, peach and pineapple tropicalia snuck in). A true counterpoint to the following darkies.

Dry Northern English Nut Brown contrasted its walnut-seared hop char with less enthusiastic glazed hazelnut sweetness and soap-stoned peanut shelling.

Ample nuttiness also welcomed Alva Imperial Porter, leaving molasses chocolate-sugared dried fruiting on the tongue alongside serene walnut, Brazil nut and charred chestnut licks.

Fully realized dessert treat, Nice Imperial Lactose Stout, let cocoa-beaned milk chocolate richness gain cinnamon-spiced ginger leaf minting.

Its more aggressive chili-peppered version, Naughty, allowed its fudgier cocoa persuasion to retain tidy brown-sugared cinnamon coffee tones.

cypressbrewing.com

 

EPICURE BREWING

Image result for epicure brewing

NORWICH, CONNECTICUT

Inside the large brick-walled expanse of an old printing press, EPICURE BREWING took hold June 8, 2017. Its high ceilings, cement floor, exposed pipes, metal-wood furnishings and old mill setting offer the perfect “lofty Industrial vibe” for brewers Ken Thiffeault and Jim Bojarski to craft their fine stylistically standard fare.

The 12-stool L-shaped bar features twelve-plus taps, a white Epicure banner and several mugs-growlers. Eight high-chair tables sit across the bar while several wooden pews and silver brew tanks don the rear. A vintage 1950 Sunbeam motorcycle hangs bear the front wall.

As I settle in on a cold December ’18 evening before dinner at neighboring These Guys, there are seven elixirs to consume.

Lovely light-bodied Kolsch, Cool Side Of Beautiful, stayed crisply clean as spritzy yellow fruit spicing, herbal hop astringency and straw-dried graining reached a pleasant pilsner-malted biscuit base.

Three rangy India Pale Ales hit the palate next. Briskly Citra-Mandarina-Eldorado-hopped Good Old Tom, a hazy New England-styled IPA, loaded juicy yellow grapefruit tanginess and navel orange peel sweetness alongside a slightly soured lemon zing, leaving mild wood tomes at the sunny citrus finish.

Stylishly bitterer, Damned Yankee IPA evenly spread grapefruit, orange, tangerine and lemon zest across piney hop resin and light herbal nuances.

Despite its lofty 8.5% ABV, easygoing Little Coat Double IPA will appease less heady pale ale fans with its playful lemony orange-grapefruit spritz, cereal-grained caramel malt roast and mild dry hop astringency.

Sweet ‘n sour raspberry puree draped silken brown chocolate malting for Raspberry Porter Chocolate Porter, a dessert-bound dark ale finishing with a lemon-soured berry piquancy that crowds its mocha mightiness.

Dark chocolate bittering and soy-sauced earthen dewiness garnished semi-enigmatic Lightning Struck Twice Oatmeal Stout to its milk-sugared oats base.

Syrupy chocolate overwhelmed the toasted coconut adjunct of Zussamen Chocolate Coconut Stout, leaving subtle burgundy, espresso, marshmallow and dried fruit reminders.

epicurebrewing.com

IRON BREWING COMPANY

Image result for iron brewing south norwalkImage result for iron brewing south norwalk

NORWALK, CONNECTICUT

Right in the heart of downtown South Norwalk, IRON BREWING COMPANY opened in 2017 and soon became a well-attended local destination. Utilizing the slogan “better beer thru chemistry,” this red-bricked pub (formerly housing Guvnor’s Brewery) is run by three home brewing research chemists competing for recipes to fill its four sterling glass-encased copper tanks placed directly behind the serving station.

At its fifteen-seat copper-topped bar (with four sports-centric TV’s), seven tap handles serve homemade beers and cider.

Three community tables and fourteen dining tables sidle the bar while three back-spaced lounge sofas bring subtle sophistication. Industrial furnishings, Edison lights and exposed pipes fill out the medium-sized high-ceilinged venue. Burgers, wings and appetizers don the light menu.

My wife and I grab some hummus while imbibing four fine house offerings available this cold December ’18 afternoon.

Brisk MF Kolsch retained a spritzy lemony orange spicing delicately enjoined by grassy hop astringency and dry pale malt bliss.

Stylistically robust Hierro Miguel Vienna Lager brought toasted caramel spicing to frisky red-orange fruiting in a serene manner.

Approachable Washington Street IPA linked light grain-hopped musk to vegetal-tinged herbal hop restraint, recalling a lighter pale ale. Yet its orange-spiced grapefruit, pineapple and peach tang and mild wood tones (IPA trademarks) soon took over alongside teasing vanilla cream sugaring.

Sedate Nitro Winter Stout may’ve lacked seasonal Christmas spicing, but its soft-tongued cocoa powdering, dark chocolate rift, black coffee bittering and mild hop char sustain.

ironbrewing.com

THESE GUYS BREWING COMPANY

Image result for these guys brewing

NORWICH, CONNECTICUT

A few doors down from Epicure Brewing in the historic harbor town of Norwich, THESE GUYS BREWING COMPANY resides inside the space once occupied by an 1890′s-built Prohibition Era pub. Its bronze stamped tile ceiling, rustic wood columns and exposed pipes bring back the feel of yesteryear while brewer Becka Alberts (formerly a Willimantic Brewing apprentice) crafts easygoing fare to go alongside healthy portions of pub food. A few well-chosen outside brews such as Allagash Wit are also available.

Open since August 2015, These Guys 15-seat front bar (with corner TV) serves several four-seat tables and a quaint solarium-draped back dining room.

During my mid-December ’18 dinner excursion, imbibed five stylishly well-rounded brews (crafted at the hidden back tanks) to go alongside nachos, butternut squash and guacamole.

First up, approachable straw-hued moderation, Effed Up On Pils, brought peated corn whiskey snips to delicate yellow-orange fruiting, sweet oats-sugared pilsner malts and pithy Hallertau-hopped herbage.

Unfiltered American-styled wheat ale, Batch 100, stayed placid as mildly spiced citrus tones gained grassy hop astringency. light white wheat malting and wispy herbal notions.

Polite autumnal seasonal, Lil Narwitch Imperial Pumpkin Ale, pleated yam-spiced pumpkin roast into lemondrop-candied souring and caramelized pale malts.

Semi-sweet milk chocolate creaming eased into Kaiser Willie Oatmeal Stout, leaving ancillary dark-roasted coffee, cocoa nibs and espresso illusions to saddle toffee-spiced rye malts.

Before heading out, stylishly mild Timeout Corner Barleywine (a bashful 10% ABV collaboration with nearby Outer Light Brewing) placed tingly toffee-spiced sweetness alongside caramelized almond-buttered baked apple sedation.

theseguysbrewing.com

 

BATTLE HILL BREWING COMPANY

Image result for BATTLE HILL BREWING

FORT ANN, NEW YORK

Residing in the sleepily rustic Washington County village of Fort Ann (ten miles from the Vermont border) at a brown-shingled red brick Colonial edifice on the second floor, BATTLE HILL BREWING COMPANY opened Labor Day, 2015. The pride of entrepreneurial brewer, Jim Hume, its cozy diner-like setting and fine pub food (salads/ sandwiches/ wings) go well with the well-realized handcrafted draught brews.

A blue sign with white Battle Hill Brewing lettering leads patrons up the stairs to the oak wood interior. There are ten tables fronting the 12-stool serving station (with large blackboard beer menu, Edison lights and ten tap handles). An outdoor back deck creates more seating space.

On my early December ’18 afternoon perusal, my wife and I sampled eight delectable, well-rounded concoctions served by the convivial Hume while a host of women grab tables for lunchtime imbibing. Most offerings were named after historic Revolutionary War symbols from the 1777 Battle of Fort Ann.

Image result for BATTLE HILL BREWING

For starters, polite grain musk fronted semi-bold Grains Of Liberty, as maize-dried rye breading and raw-honeyed wheat malts combine with earthen herbal hop astringency.

A similar raw grain base solidified the lemon-dried watermelon rind pickling and delicate blueberry souring of Queen Berry Anne, a celery-watered fruit ale with a mildly embittered hop bed.

Mild Vienna-malted Hessian Ale maintained a mild buttery creaminess for its grain-toasted white breading.

Another grain-forward moderation was Fort Ann’s Amber, a barley-roasted pleasantry with bittersweet chocolate-coffee wisps and buttery astringency.

Delightful English-styled Burgoyne’s Red let sweet Maris Otter malts pick up honey-spiced caramelization and dewy earthen rye tones as well as tamped-down citric hop dryness.

Two approachable India Pale Ales were next. Sessionable War Whoop IPA kept its subtle piney citrus hop bittering enthused by tangy grapefruit-orange-lemon zesting and candied mango-peach sugaring, leaving crystal pale malt sweetness and dank herbal respites in its wake.

Just as easygoing (and brewed for Veteran’s Day), Hip Hip Hoorah IPA had a lighter bitterness and sweeter spiced pale malt setting as peachy grapefruit, orange and tangerine tanginess confronted latent herbal snips.

Many Battle Hill brews were anchored by earthen bottoms. Mocha-dried Cocoa Porter had one as well. Its murkily bittersweet cocoa-powdered dark chocolate, espresso and fudged brownie triage gained a sugared oats smidge to confront any soiled dew.

I bet English ale hounds would love the grainier beer profiles presented here.

battlehillbrewing.com

MEAN MAX BREW WORKS

Photo of Mean Max Brew Works - Glens Falls, NY, United States. Entrance on Glen Street.

GLENS FALLS, NEW YORK

Just across the street from the firmly established Davidson Brothers Brewing in the heart of Glen Falls, three-barrel nanobrewery, MEAN MAX BREW WORKS, came aboard during August 2014. Founding proprietors Matt Barry and Dave Wells craft fine standard fare that retain stylistic intent as well as interestingly robust ‘big beers.’

Four patina columns, reclaimed wood furnishings and several international flags don the narrow space. Clustered clear-balled chandeliers hang at the L-shaped serving station (with twelve taps, electric beer menu and refrigerated bottles and cans). The back-spaced brew tanks relinquish many well-designed liquids.

Image result for mean max brew works opened

My wife and I touched down at Mean Max during early December ’18, quaffing four swell dark ales and one ambitious pale ale on this overcast afternoon.

For starters, bittersweet More Funner proved to be a fruitfully balanced pale ale with juicy orange-peeled grapefruit, peach, pineapple, tangerine and mango tanginess guarded by light hop spicing and grouty malt graining.

Next came the darkies – each with its own fairly distinct personality.

Amiable dessert fodder, Shotgun’s Porter, retained sweet brown chocolate luster, glazed vanilla spicing and toasted coconut remnants over lightly embittered charred hops.

Sweet milk stout, Percolator Coffee, let its sugar-creamed coffee frontage gain fudgy dark chocolate undertones and mild cocoa nibs wisps.

Soft-creamed nitrogenated moderation, Stout No Doubt, brought mild nut-charred espresso coffee serenity to velvety dark chocolate malts.

Christmastime chocolate crème de mint knockoff, Twas The Night, proved to be a voluptuous porter as chocolate-chipped cookie dough malts gained dry cinnamon-barked spicing and delicate vanilla creaming.

There are also several Mean Max reviews of bottled and canned offerings in the Beer Index.

www.meanmaxbrew.com