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.
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.