Today we're hitting the road and heading west to the Berkshires where a husband and wife brewing duo serve a wide variety of styles with their own fun flair!
The motto for the town of Sheffield has deep roots at Big Elm Brewing.
"He who plants a tree plants hope. It was a long journey for us traveling from Victory outside Philadelphia to Pittsfield to finally end up here in Sheffield and we were just trying to get back to our roots when we saw our iconic tree we sort of attached ourselves to it," explains owner, Bill Heaton.
The brewing duo met when Bill hired Christine at the Victory Brewing Company.
"He's more the creative type I'm more of the scientist..." Christine says laughing.
She had started home brewing in college while pursuing a career in chemistry. One day she traded the lab for this:
"She does a really good job with balance and that's what most of our beers are flavorful it's not just a one note kind of beer," notes Bill.
The Heaton's canned their 1.5 millionth can of beer a week before we visited and have been in business for four and a half years.
The taproom opened in October and before the doors open on Saturday it's not unusual to have a line waiting to get in.
On tap today are a variety of options for your standard lager there's the aptly named American Lager.
"It's just good old beer," says Bill.
Still to come an all local pale ale...'The 413 farmhouse' Belgian saison which Bill calls the kitchen sink of beer:
"It's a golden ale but we also use chamomile and orange zest so it's herbal and fruity," he adds.
There's the Red Lion Ale a solid pub beer named for the inn in downtown Stockbridge. And the 'Transformer:'
"We use a different hop each time hence the name Transformer. This one is a eureka hop from Four Star Farms outside of Greenfield," explains Bill.
Their IPA is pretty traditional west coast style bitterness stone fruit in the aroma.
"Then there is our Fat Boy. That is the one we can't make enough of it's a double IPA's are all the rage it's super juicy over the top mango citrus but it's beefy, it's 8 %," notes Bill.
And if you tend to stay away from the dark side Bill and Christine's 'Jerry Dog Stout' is for you.
"Not overly acrid.'
To round out the list is the Thunderlips a New England pale ale at 6% ABV which makes it a super hopped up pale ale.
As the weather gets warmer Bill works on what he calls his sour side project:
"I get blueberries and raspberries or whatever is there and I naturally fruit these beers. It’s a really nice balance between sweet and sour."
The two say they love seasonals and specialty items and keeping the tap room open for all:
"Kids and dogs are always welcome," they tell us.
They also believe in giving back to those in Sheffield. Coming up on June 17th is their Hopped Up for Health to benefit VIM Berkshires which provides healthcare for those without insurance.
And while their tap list is expansive there is always some experimenting taking place in the tanks. Christine says for the first time she plans to brew a Goza, an old German style beer brewed with salt.
"It's sweet, sour amazing one of those things you take a sip and it leaves your palate and you want more."'
"Fridays and Saturdays from 12 to 6. Come on down the beer is cold! Prost!"
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