Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Central Mass. On The 4th Of July

B.R. and I spent a few days over the 4th of July weekend in Belchertown, Mass., the home of SHELTON BROTHERS IMPORTERS. (FULL DISCLOSURE: B.R. is an employee of Shelton Bros.) Yes, a beer importer located in a place called BELCHERtown. And while we thought that we'd be able to get some kind of coherent interview with the notorious founder of one of the most reputed importers of craft beer, Dan Shelton, over the weekend, let me just set the scene for you:
A lake-side Independence Day party; beer flowing from noon till midnight; an endless supply of bottles of the best beers from Germany, Belgium, England and elsewhere; and keg of HIGH AND MIGHTY "BEER OF THE GODS" on the deck, just for good measure.

After numerous sudsy swims (one involving floating about among a dozen beer denizens, beer mugs deftly kept above the waterline and the floating dock acting as the watery supply depot), by the time we got around to hitting the record button on the mini-disc player, it was kind of a lost cause.

To make it even more lost, I forgot my mini-disc recorder when we left.

The worse loss of the weekend, though, was that of RAY DETER, the founder of DBA, who passed away Sunday night after a week unconscious in the hospital following a bike accident -- Ray was toasted a number of times over the weekend.

Adding to everything else, I inadvertently downloaded the "lake app" to my Blackberry (in other words, the phone went for an unscheduled swim). And though we might have lost many things that weekend, all was not lost!

We were pointed in the direction of the very hidden away LADY KILLIGREW pub at the Montague Book Mill.
A Steep Drop to the Mill Stream Below the Lady Killigrew
It's about as beautiful a stream-side woodland setting that you could ever wish for in a secret country pub. I had a dark TRöEGS DOUBLE BOCK, while B.R. opted for the lighter Belgian wit style -- CISCO's LADY GREY. At first the double bock seemed the better choice, with it's fullness and richness, but in the warm summer afternoon air, that gave way more and more to a heavy licorice-like flavor that was hard to finish off. Though we made a new bug-pal who loved it!
We seriously got this bug, which is hard to see, drunk. Please don't tell the A.S.P.C.B(ugs).
The CISCO was perfect, though, with mild tartness, lightness and refreshment. The book shop next to the pub was insane! Anyone who might like to get lost in a maze of new and used books of every subject, strewn about in a creaky old mill building -- you've got to plan a visit.

There were many beer moments at many different locations over a short three days, but one of the best was our first ever taste of local brewing heroes HIGH AND MIGHTY. We were delighted to BEER OF THE GODS, a crisp satisfying Pilsner on draft at THE DIRTY TRUTH in downtown Northampton (the beer bar in town), as well as their full-bodied, flavorful Stout, DOUBLE HEADED BEAST. The next day we got to try their XPA, which is basically a very easy to drink, completely balanced Pale Ale. Want an "extreeeeme!!!" pale ale? Don't order this. This is strictly for simply like well made beer.

We tried the XPA at one of the the most idiosyncratic bars that we've visited in a while, the BRASS CAT in East Hampton, Mass., a place that sports maybe 8 taps and a diverse bottle list, all varied enough to please bikers, townies, tourists, beer geeks, drunks, weirdos, moms, off duty cops and your uncle floyd, all of which could be expected to be seen at the bar on any given afternoon. It's a beautiful bar and should be visited for that reason alone, but the beers and free salted peanuts in the shell from the barrel are added incentive.

Why were we in Easthampton? To meet Peach and to see the (possible) future home of HIGH AND MIGHTY.
Could this be the future site of 20bbl fermenters of Beer of the Gods?

And if so, will they leave the pin-up pictures from a previous tenant from god-knows-which decade?

1 comment:

  1. A New Orleans style "Second Line" memorial will take place on Monday July 11 at 7:30pm at DBA, 41 First Ave. More info on the DBA FB page.