Welcome back for this week's Western Mass Brews! We are in Ludlow at Iron Duke Brewing where in this brick building is the best of both worlds. Good beer inside, but with a great view of the outdoors.
Let's head in and check it out!
"We have been working on this at this point it seems like all of our lives," explains Michael Marcoux.
Mike and his partner and brewmaster, Nick are all about beer.
"We get to do something we love every day," Mike tells us.
Shakespeare once asked what's in a name, so we asked Mike how they came up with Iron Duke Brewing...
"My partner was building a jeep and we put the engine into that was undersized for the jeep and the thing ran like it wouldn't believe. So we got the idea of celebration of hard work from what the engine was able to do. So from there we got the work boot. But that engine was known as Iron Duke in the industry."
Their motto is in big letters over the door and there are a lot of beers on tap.
"Always try to have 8 on. We have a wide range from light to dark hoppy and everything in between," Mike notes.
In fact when we stopped by they had 10.
"We have a barrel aged 52 which is our one year aged Russian imperial aged in a wine barrel for about six months then we aged it in a bourbon barrel for a few months," he adds
Plus a sour twist on a traditional IPA.
"Ours is a sour IPA so you will get a bitter but there is no doubt you'll get that tart sour on the back end…. Ours is on the lighter end so you can drink it year round."
And it's hard to notice the names of the beers…
"Naming the beers is a lot of fun but more tough than you might think."
There's the 'Baby Maker'…which Nick brewed while his wife was 9 months pregnant.
"If I'm going to be home all day I'm going to make a beer," Mike says.
He made an Irish style porter and while the beer was fermenting his wife had their first child so it kind of named itself.
Or 'Dead Nuts' which speaks to Mike and Nick's hand in the building of the brewery from the ground up over an 18 month period.
"We said a lot during construction is it's dead nuts which means leveled. The first time we tried this IPA Nick's dad said "It's perfect!" (So) we figured we could call it Dead Nuts," Mike explains.
Their space is slightly industrial and very open.
"We will leave the garage door open you can be outside but not really... we bring the elements in if we can," he tells us.
Mike says that many of their customers pull up stools as strangers only to find friendship at the bottom of a pint glass.
"We have seen friendships between patrons who come in together who didn't know each other 2 and a half years ago," Mike says.
They offer flights, growlers, and mini growlers called grunts. And they've got some new beers brewing for the coming weeks.
"Bunch of new beers coming on an amber lager generosity….We add vanilla beans so you get that sweet vanilla but also a lager finish. We will have our '4 A.M.' Our New England style IPA coming back around," Mike adds.
Iron Duke Brewing is open Thursdays 3:30 - 8p.m. Friday 3:30-10:00 p.m. Saturday 12-10 p.m. and Sunday 12-4 p.m.
One thing left to do ... that's cheers!
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