Bright Ideas Brewing

Name: Bright Ideas Brewing
Location: North Adams, Berkshire County, Massachusetts
Recommended Beer: Bright IPA
Notes: Located in the MASS MoCA courtyard. Taproom open for pints, flights, growler fills, merchandise and crowlers to go. Outdoor seating in the summer. Outside food allowed. Parking is on the street or a nearby deck.

My wife and I were in Vermont twice this summer. Once to drop our daughter Kiran off at Sky Meadow Retreat for a wilderness camp and again to pick her up. We visited Burlington on our first trip and Bennington on the return trip. We also decided we would use the opportunity to do some college touring with our son Shaan at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts so booked a room in North Adams, Massachusetts to visit the college campus the next day. On the drive to North Adams, we stopped and had dinner and sample the ale at Madison Brewing Company in Bennington, Vermont. Bhavana and I sampled one ale each. I had the JU-C Double IPA which the brewery describes as a “super juicy, super smooth Double IPA utilizing Mandarina Bavaria hops and Summit for a distinct orange hop presence and finished off with delicious blood orange juice”. I was expecting more of a fruit-forward ale similar to what would be found in a West Coast Style IPA. I think the citrus flavours were too subdued.

On our way out of Bennington, we stopped at a beer retailer and picked up some more Vermont beer to bring back to New Jersey. We enjoyed the Cone Head by Zero Gravity Brewing on our visit to Burlington, so we bought two six-packs of Cone Head, a four-pack of Tribute by 14th Star Brewing Company, a four-pack of Nawch Hoppa Double IPA and Limited Access by Rock Art Brewery. We would have bought more Vermont ales back with us but we did not have any more space in the small cooler.

North Adam is just 30 minutes from Bennington so once we were checked into the hotel, it was still early. We left the kids to watch Steven Universe and we took the opportunity to visit downtown, North Adams. Bhavana had a chat with the bartender at the hotel restaurant and discovered that our hotel was walking distance from a beer garden at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA).

We had a pleasant walk over to Bright Ideas Brewing while enjoying the art painted on support poles of the overpass. We were at the brewery until closing. We chatted with a wonderful bartender couple (the place was quite busy so our conversations were sporadic) while sampling (2 ounce pours) every ale in the brewery. The gentleman bartender is from Connecticut and his wife is Australian. Before we left, we purchased two crawlers — canned growlers — one of the Bright IPA and the other of Bright Wheat. I enjoyed watching the canning process. The Bright Wheat has lemongrass and blood orange.

Vermont has excellent breweries and excellent beer. Try them all.

Zero Gravity Brewing

Name: Zero Gravity Brewing
Location: Burlington, Chittenden County, Vermont
Recommended Beer: Conehead (IPA)

The Church Street Marketplace is near several other Vermont micro-breweries, but we had time to visit only one that night. After dinner, we drove a few blocks away to Zero Gravity Craft Brewery on Pine Street. I don't remember where I read it. Still, I wanted to visit Zero Gravity because I read an online article about how they made beer in a more traditional method that brewers used before hops became popular. Apparently, before the use of hops for preservation and flavouring and the imposition of German beer purity laws, beer was "seasoned" with various herbs. I was excited to try the Zero Gravity Summer Gruit. Zero Gravity uses organic Sweet Gale, Yarrow, Stinging Nettles, Mugwort from Hallow Herb Farm, and Labrador Tea. The gruit was slightly sweet but quite enjoyable. The experience expanded my knowledge of craft ale brewing methods.

Zero Gravity Brewing | 16 July, 2016 | Apple iPhone 6 | iPhone 6 back camera 4.15mm f/2.2

Bhavana and I also sampled Conehead, C.S.A IPA, Bernie Weisse, Cote de Champlain and Little Wolf. I loved Cone Head. Bhavana, and it's better than Heady Topper. Zero Gravity may be underrated. We had fun chatting with a couple visiting from Massachusetts who were originally from Hamilton, New Jersey. Talk about a small world. We bought a four-pack of Cone Head and a 750ml bottle of Cote de Champlain to take back with us to New Jersey.