In an unassumingly raw green aluminum warehouse in the Berkshire Mountains industrial corridor, diminutive Pittsfield microbrewery, WANDERING STAR BREWING COMPANY, was established in 2011 – just after railroad-bound Pittsfield Brew Works went out of business.
A rustic cement-floored pub with scattered seating, puny lounge area, wood pews and a billiard table, its small wooden serving station featured eight draught lines serving rangy suds from the rear brew tanks.
An intimate garage hangout, Wandering Star’s gained credibility all over New England/ New York thanks to bustling entrepreneurial brewer, Chris Post, a guiding light concurrently advising nearby North Adams craft brewery, Bright Ideas Brewing.
On a frigidly sunny Saturday afternoon in February ’19, I sampled all eight beers currently on tap.
First up, summery Tangerine Cream Ale loaded pulpy navel orange, blood orange and tangerine tartness atop acidulated wheat-crackered pilsner malting.
Next, bone-dry Brut 66 brought bubbly champagne fizz to mildly vinous white wining, brisk El Dorado-hopped citrus zest and parched Amarillo-hopped wood tones.
Smooth New England-styled IPA, Wobbly Pop, fortified its mildly embittered piney grapefruit tang with oats-flaked wheat malts and dry-hopped Mosaic, Simcoe and Amarillo varieties.
Dewy English-styled Thunderbolt IPA placed orange-dried lemon rot above toasted grains, resinous pine and vegetal musk.
Year-round flagship, Loopy Juice Double IPA, retained a juicy lemony grapefruit zesting underscored by mild wood tones and sugared pale malts.
Better still, dramatic Nelson Sauvin-hopped Loopy Juice spinoff, Horatio, rallied limey gooseberry, guava and green grape tartness against sweet ‘n sour citrus tones.
Crystal rye malting anchored Catcher In The Rye, leaving sweet chestnut, bitter walnut and spiced citrus illusions at the pumpernickel-doused finish.
Fabulous dry Irish Stout, Mild At Heart Porter, brought dark chocolate syruping to peanut-shelled hazelnut, walnut and Brazil nut illusions as well as hop-charred molasses sap.
Candied tangerine-orange tang elevated cocoa-powdered black chocolate and dark-roast coffee for creamily mocha-bound Chocolate Orange Porter.
For dessert, gummy Arrowhead Apple Ale tasted like sweet apple cider with a mild sour citrus kick.