Berkshire Brewing Company

31 Jan

After a lovely start to my brewery-birthday-weekend with Thomas Hooker and my friend Tony, we started out on Saturday morning headed up into MA to visit the Berkshire Brewing Co.  “We”, by the way, would be yours truly and two of my favoritest people in the whole world, Heather & Matt, with whom I became friends about 8 years ago when I lived in CT!

Two of my favoritest people!

They’re pretty cool… and not just because they mapped out a weekend of brewery tours for me for my birthday, up in their neck of the woods!

So, anywho, we headed out to Berkshire Brewing Co in South Deerfield MA, on Saturday morning.  Our guide for the day was Chip, and he did a lovely job of showing us all around.  BBC was founded in 1994 by Christopher Lalli and Gary Bogoffand, and while it was just the two of them at that time, they’re up to a staff of 45 people now and they’re pushing out 210 gallons at a time!  Their flagship beer is their Steel Rail which, unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to try.  So, instead of walking you through the basics of brewing (since it’s pretty standard from one place to the next), I’m just going to give you some of the tidbits of information that jumped out at me on this tour, either because they were funny or just plain interesting! 🙂

  • They have to get their barley delivered somehow, right? Well, they have a truck back up to the building & it ‘blows’ the barley into a tube that goes into the silo… and this silo can hold 65,000 pounds of barley!
  • BBC uses 11 different varieties of hops across their beers whether for bitterness, aroma or preservation… and the one they use most is Willamette
  • When Chip was describing how they analyze the hops from year to year, he said they “plug & chug numbers” 🙂
  • For their Raspberry Strong Ale they add whole raspberries during the secondary fermentation… a half pound of raspberries per pound of beer – that’s a TON of raspberries!
  • In 2003 they upgraded from bottling by hand to a machine which means that where they previously could only bottle 24 bottles per minute at the hands of 6 people, now they can do 48 bottles per minute between the machine and 4 folks!
  • BBC currently distributes in CT, RI, MA & VT… and Chip said that 75% of beer consumed in MA is along the 128 corridor.  If, like me, that statistic means nothing to you because you don’t know what the 128 corridor is… apparently, it’s the route that runs up & around the greater Boston area… ahhhhhh, makes much more sense now, huh? 🙂
  • BBC, like many other smaller breweries, doesn’t really do any traditional marketing.  They rely on word-of-mouth marketing generated through loyal customers, beer dinners, tastings, tours and, of course, FaceBook!  Visit them here!

The tour was short, sweet and very informative!  If for no other reason, you should definitely head over to BBC to check out their tasting room – every inch of their walls are covered in beer-paraphernalia & signage – it’s pretty cool!

Here are a few pictures that I snapped as we toured the brewery!
(boy did I miss having Jayd along with me!)

 

It's a much bigger scale than the one I have in my bathroom...

Who's that through the stairs? Oh! It's a Heather!

Mmmmm.... a big 'ol glass of hops!

Some IPA chillin in a cabernet (nee, bourbon) barrel!

 

And so concluded our trip out to Berkshire Brewing Company… but not our day of touring!  We piled back into the car & headed on down the road to Opa-Opa Brewery… come back in a few days for my post about that visit!

~HH~

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