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Berkshire Brewing Company - South Deerfield, MA
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NAVIGATION: Home > Beer Place Search > MA > South Deerfield > Berkshire Brewing Company
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Type: Brewery
Berkshire Brewing Company
Overall: Awesome!    Score: 83.6 / 100
12 Railroad Street
South Deerfield, MA 01373
United States
(413) 665-6600
Listed Since: August 1996
Last Updated: December 2005
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22 Reviews / 4 Photos
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Overall Average User Rating
Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
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Individual User Reviews
Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good N/A N/A N/A N/A
2012 Holidale revisited.

Just opened one of the bottles I laid down.

The gold color has turned porter-dark. The rich, sweet malt has dried out. The various malt and hop flavors have given way to semi-sweet chocolate and underlying cinnamon. The head has mostly disappeared. The microscopic bubbles and the clarity have turned cloudy.

I think I need to buy more because I'm looking forward to the beer this shall become.

There are the beginning hints of sherry (although a dry one). The dark fruit is beginning to emerge. The alcohol is moving forward as the yeast re-activates and ferments a bit more.

Damn, I like aging big beers.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Ralph S. Sturgen Ralph S. Sturgen, Easthampton, MA
(08/18/2014)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great N/A N/A N/A N/A
As promised, I'm enjoying my last bottle of the 2001 Holidale. After 11 years in the bottle, nothing remains of this originally-harsh-to-near-undrinkability barleywine.

The color has deepened to a medium/dark amber. There is no longer more than a hint of a head. I smell deep, complex malt and dark fruit: raisins, currants, and dates. I taste those things as well as a sweetness I do not remember at the first tasting. The alcohol does not seem to have gone away; it still warms one. There is also a coffee note to it and a licorice flavor which has developed since I opened the bottle about a half hour ago. That developing oxidative flavor suggests to me that this beer is near the end of it's life so, if you still have a couple of bottles in your cellar, soon may be time to enjoy them.

All in all, I'm very happy that I laid down some bottles of this. My initial hope was that it might become drinkable. My patience has rewarded me with a wonderful bottle of beer with which to finish my weekend.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Ralph S. Sturgen Ralph S. Sturgen, Easthampton, MA
(12/16/2012)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great N/A N/A N/A N/A
I'm sitting here enjoying another bottle of the 2012 Holidale. These folks have come up with a very big, pretty well balanced barleywine this time. Very drinkable immediately but with enough oomph to last a long time (meaning that I'm going to put a few bottles back to age).

Nice dark gold color. Almost microscopic bubbles giving a long-lasting head.

Aroma and flavor of hops and malt. Interesting hop aroma and flavor because they used locally-grown hops that give citrus, resin, fall leaves, and earth notes. (The citrus and resin notes are reminiscent of Cascades hops but are quite subdued by comparison......more orange than grapefruit for instance.)

Drinking this at cool room temperature (65F?) makes the malt quite apparent: big, mouth-filling, rich, and complex. It almost balances the hops - making it an American-style barleywine.

Thed alcohol is definitely present but does not overpower any of the other ingredients.

In all, quite a good beer for a winter evening ...... but certainly not a session beer. This 22 oz bottle shall be enough for now.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Ralph S. Sturgen Ralph S. Sturgen, Easthampton, MA
(12/09/2012)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great N/A N/A N/A
Congratulations, BBC.

The 2009 Holidale is "not so bad, could be worse". Actually, it's a good American-style Barleywine:

Clear dark gold. Small head that lasts a little while (very hard to do better at high alcohol levels). Big malt and bigger hops in the nose and mouth. Alcohol is quite noticable (9% ?). Lots of fruity esters. Overall, well balanced (although my personal taste would request less hop bitterness - I prefer the less bitter English-style).

I've been waiting for years for BBS to release a Holidale that was ready to drink when released (not by waiting 5+ years for it to mellow into drinkability). I'm happy to see that they did so this year.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Ralph S. Sturgen Ralph S. Sturgen, Easthampton, MA
(12/19/2009)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good N/A Great Great
Well made beers, but they were all a bit "thin". The Pale Ale was exceptional and the Hefeweizen a true German though lacking in malt. Well made for a 1.042 beer, but you need more.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from John Aitchison John Aitchison, Northridge, CA
(10/20/2009)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good Good N/A N/A N/A
I'm happy to report that the 2001 Holidale has turned out quite well, contrary to it's early lack of promise. I put 2 bottles by to see how they would age and have just opened one.

It's fruity and sweet up front, then dries out in the mouth and the dark fruit flavors come out along with the alcohol warming. The flavor keeps building until the mouth and nose are full of a glorious warm fruitiness with the malt still resting on the tongue. There is little apparent hop presence (although it must be there or this would certainly cloy).

I won't take back anything I may have said about it in 2001 ("hot", "harsh", and "undrinkable" come immediately to mind), but my patience and the $4.95/bottle that it cost then have been rewarded. I'll probably open the other one in a few more years.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from BruPilgrim (Ralph S Sturgen) BruPilgrim (Ralph S Sturgen), Easthampton, MA
(02/24/2008)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A N/A Awesome!
This is absolutely the best beer in the world. The traditional pale ale and the dryman's porter are highly recomended. However, the Cabin Fever Ale is by far their best beer yet. This is a seasonal beer starting in Nov. This beer's finish is so smooth. It's by far the best i've ever tasted. I will be disappointed when the season is over.

TO: Chris & Gary - Please consider brewing cabin fever year round. "Things are looking up".

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Steve Jandreau Steve Jandreau, South Windsor, CT
(12/27/2006)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A Awesome! Awesome!
Great beer, great location, knowledgeable staff. Thanks for the tour and the free suds! Not much else to say but keep up the good work!

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Timothy J. O'Connor Timothy J. O'Connor, Troy, NY
(05/21/2005)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! N/A N/A N/A N/A
had a glass of Steel Rail in Holyoke at a restaraunt...delicious.....hauled a growler back to MN and it survived the transit well, enjoyed most of it this afternoon, a couple glasses left...great beer! I was impressed with the variety of grat beer available in New England

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from BIll Mollen BIll Mollen, Maplewood, MN
(07/16/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A N/A N/A
Ever since my first growler of Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale, I just can't get enough. Traditional Pale Ale, Lost Sailor IPA, and Gold Spike Ale are also excellent. I've still yet to make it out to S. Deerfield and go on the tour. I can't say enough good things about this beer.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Jonathan Jonathan, Worcester, MA
(07/09/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A N/A Awesome!
Ever since my first growler of Steel Rail, what can I say, a favorite is a favorite

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Adam Adam, Southampton to L.A., MA
(01/20/2004)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
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So can anyone explain to me why a brewery smack in the middle of the Connecticut River valley, and in Franklin County, is called "Berkshire Brewing"?

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Mr. Tattie Heid Mr. Tattie Heid, Springfield, MA
(02/09/2003)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! N/A N/A N/A N/A
My wife brought back a couple of big bottles of the Steel Rail Pale Ale & it blew my socks off. I've never been to their establishment but am thinking about stopping in next time we're in that neck of the woods. The beer is worth the drive.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Bill Layer Bill Layer, West Chester, PA
(04/02/2002)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
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Duh. Sorry, Gary, I was writing faster than my brain could keep up. I of course meant that I had interviewed Chris Lalli and GARY Bogoff. Getting old sucks, kids: DON'T let it happen to YOU!

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Lew Lew "Embarrassed" Bryson, Newtown, PA
(01/15/2001)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great N/A N/A Awesome!
I've been a huge fan of Berkshire Brewing for years, ever since I happened to pick up a bottle of Steel Rail Extra Pale in a Connecticut package store. Since then I've had almost all their beers, interviewed Paul and Chris a number of times, and visited the brewery. The brewery has the same kind of hustling, dedicated, "we're doing it!" vibe I felt when I visited Sierra Nevada in 1986. Beautiful setting, outstanding beer, hard-working people. And yeah, in response to Carl Woodbury, sometimes the crew at Berkshire can be a bit brusque. In this case, though, I feel that the beer excuses a LOT! My hat's off to this still largely unknown and often underrated brewery.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Lew Bryson Lew Bryson, Newtown, PA
(01/15/2001)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Great N/A N/A Great
This is a brewery that generally brews to the traditional styles. As a sometimes beer judge, I rate their Drayman's Porter as one of the best porters in the country. I'm really happy that they make their Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale because sometimes I don't want dark or heavy but I still want flavor and not many folks brew a blonde ale. Also, try their River Ale. I isn't to a traditional style but some innovation can be real good.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Ralph S Sturgen Ralph S Sturgen, Easthampton, MA
(01/15/2000)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Good So So Awesome! Awesome! So So

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review Belchertown, MA
(03/02/1999)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! N/A N/A N/A N/A
More Steel Rail...can't get enough!

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Lothar Lothar, Amherst, MA
(10/01/1998)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Great N/A N/A Awesome!
Beer IS one of the top beers bottled in Massachusetts. Always consistently good, and I've purchased it all over. Never have made it out there (so I too, cannot comment on the service out there), but I will have to soon . . .

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Matt Berg Matt Berg, Pepperell, MA
(07/30/1998)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A Awesome! Awesome!
Probably the best brew in western Mass. These guys know what they're doing and the brews are always consistant. Tours are held every Saturday from 1 to 6, and the folks there were very friendly.

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Roy S. Roy S., South Hadley, MA
(07/23/1998)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Awesome! Awesome! N/A N/A Awesome!
Not ever having the opportunity to visit with the folks at Berkshire I can't comment on their friendliness. I can however comment on their product. This has to be one of my favorite brews. The yeast seems to be consistant from type to type so even when the flavor changes by type it still is Berkshire. Although it stays somewhat on the sweet side, (much less so than Paper City), it has an addicting quality about it. I cannot recommend this brewery highly enough. Their best all around daily beverage is the traditional ale. But for bite, the "Holidale" must be tried. Exceptional.....

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Roy Baker Roy Baker, Easthampton, MA
(06/15/1998)

Beer Quality Beer Selection Food Service Overall
Great Good N/A Lousy Good
The beer is very good, but boy were they unfriendly when I dropped by for a visit! No samples, but after being "rushed" out the door, I bought some at the store next door. Were they having a bad day?

Write Your Review Reply to this Review Report Review See more reviews from Carl Woodbury Carl Woodbury, Contoocook, NH
(05/14/1998)





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