Had a nice little drive out to Mass this weekend to check out how some of my favorite breweries and butcher are doing. A way too short visit to Tree House’s new location in Monson, followed by my first stop at Trillium, picking up some growlers and the last of the Barrel Society bottles at Night Shift then rounding out the trip with SausageFest at The Meat Market, all before getting home in time for AJ’s 30th birthday. Let’s dive into the pics shall we?
Last Saturday night we braved the elements to head to Night Shift Brewing for the party to celebrate the culmination of the their 2013 Barrel Society. For those not in the know, the Night Shift Barrel Society includes the party, tekus, shirts, first rights to the next year’s membership and of course some exclusive barrel aged beers available only to members. The beers range from wine barrel aged Belgian Double IPAs to golden ales with pineapple and Brett and a few other iterations in between. The Barrel Society party debuted the last two beers to be released for this year.
Now, if any of you know me you know I do not go crazy trying to obtain all of the (extremely overhyped, in my opinion) barrel aged variations of many of the most highly sought after beers on the market. Most times I’m just as satisfied with the base version of the beer and it’s not worth the driving around and giving up some of my favorite New England beer to trade for these, so I generally don’t seek them. That said, barrel aging usually does not detract from the original experience, and there are plenty of beers that are aged in barrels because the style dictates it and they’re presented best when aged in a barrel, like sour/tart farmhouse saisons, lambics, etc. So please, count me in as a fan of barrel aged beer, but understand that comes with its caveats.
Wait, wasn’t I just saying that I’m out of space in the beer cellar? Not sure how this happened. I blame Elise.
We haven’t been out to Night Shift in a while, and it’s been even longer since I’ve been to Tree House. Since we had some bottles graciously waiting for us at Night Shift that Elise couldn’t wait to get her hands on, and after seeing Heather Vandenengel’s article on DigBoston (with a shout out to yours truly in there) I wanted to make a stop and finally check out Tree House’s new brew house, so we skipped out of work early yesterday and hit the pavement to head to Mass. Continue reading
After my trip to Plan B, I ended up heading back to MA early the next morning to go to Night Shift Brewing. Between Plan B, Night Shift, Tree House, and beer shopping at Spirited in Lenox, I feel like I have cheating on Vermont! Anyway, Elise specifically had her eyes on the new Fallen Apple, a new Golden ale of theirs brewed with fresh MA apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and allspice; aged in rum and brandy barrels. As much as I love Spirited for my MA beer hookup, Night Shift doesn’t make it that far West. It was worth making the trip for that beer alone. Sounds pretty delicious, right?
The first thing I noticed was just how much Night Shift had grown since the last time I was there just a couple months earlier, while I was in town for the Night of the Funk. The souring room is completely different and there’s a lot more storage outside the garage door, plus a few other changes.
Being Elise’s first time there, after touring the changes we did a full tasting of everything they had on tap, and just my luck they also had a growler of both Wild King and Wild Queen for us to try. I didn’t really expect that they’d have any of the Oncemade boxes left, but they did and after tasting both beers Elise convinced me to grab one, along with the Fallen Apple and a couple of growlers to go.
It’s good to see a brewery expand at such a rate. Between this and their aggressive barrel aging program I see some pretty good things happening for Night Shift down the road. They have also taken on a few new employees so this gives some credence to their Barrel Society I mentioned here. These guys are going to stick around for a while.
Speaking of the Barrel Society, the trip out there gave me a chance to do a little recon on what barrels these guys have in the works (I hope the guys don’t mind me posting this!):
- Brett Golden + Rye on Red Wine Barrels
- Wheat Wine on Brandy Barrels
- Taza Stout on Rum/Bourbon Barrels
- Jim Beam Barrels
- Turkey Shore Distilleries (Rum Barrel, I believe)
A pretty solid lineup and a taste of what’s to come. Hopefully some of these barrels are going to be used for Barrel Society beers over the next year,
I’m Elise is very much looking forward to it!