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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.

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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).

Soft-toned meditational moderation, Evolve New England Double India Pale Ale, brought bright yellow grapefruit tanginess to lightly creamed crystal malting, leaving subtle orange, peach and pineapple sweetness in the floral-herbed recess.

Equally soothing, Onward New England India Pale Ale let bitterer yellow grapefruit and orange rind juiciness lead the way as light pine lacquering eased the way for ancillary lemon, pineapple and peach zestiness above sugary pale malts (and leaving a wispy alcohol burn).

Tangy clementine fronted Upward New England Double IPA, a floral-tinged 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 hop char.




NORTHAMPTON BREWERY - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - TripadvisorWESTERN MASSACHUSETTS

Heading down countrified Route 91 a few miles South of Amherst, NORTHAMPTON BREWERY & GRILLE remains the oldest Northeast brewpub, operating since 1987 and bottling for on-site distribution only. I first visited this enchanting bar and grille April ’05.

Located near the center of town inside a yellow brick building next to an auto repair shop, the rectangular-windowed freestanding lodge offers a cozy ground-level horseshoe-shaped oak bar, right side Sun Room dining, an enormous outdoor Biergarten, exquisite wooden furnishings, detailed oak-set cork ceiling tiles and a spacious loft level.

Besides offering good sandwiches and burgers, head brewer Chris O’Connor crafts a nice assortment of stylishly diversified elixirs in the glass-encased brew tanks behind the bar. On my initial family visit, the cordial brewmeister joked with us after lunch.

Dry caramel-malted, apricot-skinned, grape-estery, floral-twanged Daniel Shay’s Best Bitter, Munich-malted, citric-centered, prune-finishing Spring Bock, and softly citric St. Patrick’s Day hybrid lager ‘celebrator’ Steamer had notable fruity auspices. These were welcomed choices to begin my journey.

Honey nut-roasted, hop-oiled dark ale Old Brown Dog, harshly currant-embittered, nut-roasted, raspberry-seeded Raspberry Brown Dog, and soft-toned, chocolate-powdered, cocoa-resinous, maple-sapped, oat-toasted Black Cat Stout were nourishing digestifs.

Moderate-bodied coffee-beaned crossover Hoover’s Porter draped molasses across oaken black cherry souring, ashen cocoa powdering and leathery red grape esters, finishing closer to a sour ale.

Bottled brews quaffed afterwards included unorthodox, peat-soiled, sour-fruited, fungi-vegetal Paradise City Gold Ale; caramel apple-fastened, orange-twanged, barley-roasted, tin-foiled Unquamonk Amber Lager; bitterly sharp-hopped, orange-peeled, butterscotch-corned, syrup-sweetened Northampton Pale Ale; and malt-heavy, bubble-gummy, peach-cherry-fruited, Sangria-toned Maggie’s Wee Heavy Ale.

During subsequent October ’07 quest, new rooftop beer garden was in operation. Munched delicious honey-glazed salmon while quaffing sweet raspberry-splurged, lemondrop-candied, wheat-biscuit-y Raspberry Gold Lager and sensational cherry-pureed, banana-bruised, raisin-plum-soured, hazelnut-speckled, alcohol-doused Dunkelweizen.

On the way home from two-day post-Thanksgiving ’11 journey, rediscovered the quaint atmosphere and ambitious brews of Northampton Brewery. My wife and I kicked our feet up at newly designed lounge area next to main bar, watching the pre-game Monday night football show on side-walled TV.

Three previously untried India Pale Ales crowded a large menu featuring many of the above-mentioned beers plus a nifty chocolate cookie-styled dark ale.

Dry-hopped Humbug Holiday Ale, an adjunct IPA, brought buttered apple warmth to acidic grape-skinned esters and astringent iodized salting. Better was ‘hop-hammered’ Imperial-styled Mean Green IPA, an approachable medium body easier to drink than Humbug. Its piney bark dryness contrasted oats-sugared grapefruit and orange zest. Not as aggressively hopped but probably besting its in-house rivals, Pucker Power IPA danced gently on the tongue as polite crystal malt sweetness embedded mild floral-hopped grapefruit-orange rind bittering.

For dessert, the delectably-dubbed Milk N’ Cookie Milk Stout layered lactic cacao nibs and cocoa beans inside chewy oats-toasted chocolate-vanilla sweetness, heavenly cookie dough likeness and dewy peat-tobacco nuances.