BBC is just awesome. My fav beer of all time is their Oktoberfest, especially if it is allowed to warm up a bit just before drinking it. Brewed in small batches of only 620 gallons, BBC produces 15 different styles of beer during the year. This is craft brewing at its best in my opinion. Everything they produce is unfiltered and unpasteurized with no chemical additives or preservatives. This means you HAVE to keep this beer cold. If you find it on the shelf at room temp, BEWARE, it is probably skunky. I use to volunteer here on either Mon or Fri morning early and work 7am-3pm, get a free lunch, all you can drink from 10am on and a case of 22oz at the end of your shift. It was simply amazing. A couple of older, retired guys use to work this gig every Mon and Fri since BBC opened. I hear they no longer do this because of liabilities and whatnot.
You can find these glorious beers in 22oz and 64oz bottles (Yeea! Growlers baby!) as well as 1/2, 1/4 and 1/6 barrel kegs. You won't find this available outside of New England which is a major bummer to me here in California. Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale is really the flagship beer, but I am more partial to the Berkshire Pale Ale. River Ale is great in the summer and the Maibock Lager is great during the spring. I have not tried the Hefeweizen but I imagine its great too. And I can never turn down a "Shabadoo" Black and Tan.
So for all of you lucky ones back East, do yourself a favor and find a BBC to wet your whistle. Cheers!
Growing up in New England afforded me the pleasure of drinking Magic Hat, but certainly not while under age ;). These beers are not your mass-produced "we use rice to ferment because it's cheaper and you will drink it anyway" swill you find coming from A-B, Miller, etc. These are tasty brews through and through.
I would argue the flagship beer is the #9. With it's apricot undertones, this pale ale is a good choice in any instance. Looking for an I.P.A.? Grab a Blind Faith and enjoy. Not hoppy enough for you? Check out the HI.P.A. I still stumble over how to properly pronounce it sober and after a few I give up trying to care. Need something smoother and crisp? Fat Angel is the ticket. During the summer the wheat-y deliciousness of a Hocus Pocus never fails to hit the spot. And my possible favorite is the Humble Patience. Check that, I just found out this wonderful Red Ale was retired. *tear* I will remember you always.
With this line up and so many, many more it would be criminal of you not to drink Magic Hat. And as I live so far away and have no access I hope that my Yelp brethren back East will drink one (or 5) for me. Oh, and go on a tour if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood.
As far as hefewiezens go, Pyramid might have to go in as my #1. Widmer Bros from Portland, OR is pretty good but Pyramid was so much closer to my place in Berkeley. And there is nothing like fresh beer. I loved the variety available at all my local liquor stores and going directly to the brewery for even fresher beer is wonderful.
The regular Hefeweizen is mighty tasty. The Apricot Weizen is a nice change of pace. And yes, I am a supporter of sometimes putting fruit into beer. I can't say that I am a huge fan of the Amber Weizen but it is not a bad beer by any means. The Thunderhead IPA adds a little spice to their lineup and has a great logo on the bottle. Not that I am easily won over or anything. My fav drink while going to A's games was the Curve Ball Kolsch. Light and summery, it hits the spot when the sun is beating down on your brow. The Snow Cap isn't too bad either.
Now, if you go to the brewery itself you can find beers not available on the market. Like the Crystal Weizen. It's a filtered hefeweizen. That is a complete contradiction in terms but oh so tasty. There are other exclusives like the DPA (Draught Pale Ale), Mac's Blackwatch Cream Porter and Mac's Ale. Get a Brewers Sampler and try them all out. Or even better, go on a tour and taste them for free!
As for the food I enjoyed it. They use to have a bucket of fresh potato chips and blue cheese that was great but I don't see it on the menu any more. Pizza and burgers were also enjoyable and solid choices. The Grilled Salmon BLT was REALLY good. There are plenty of TVs to watch whatever sporting game is on too. Plus a banquet room if you want to have a party. I didn't much like sitting in the upstairs part though. I felt disconnected from the crowd. But if you are looking for a more intimate dining experience I suppose it's a good choice.
I have never been to the brewery for dinner and probably won't for the foreseeable future. So all I can review is the beer I find at my local BevMo here in LA. And truth be told it isn't too bad.
I have checked out the Fire Rock Pale Ale. Pretty good but not exactly the most memorable beer. Same thing with the Longboard Island Lager. But when I first put the Pipeline Porter to my lips it was heaven. Dark, malty and full of body, this beer broke upon my taste buds like an unsuspecting surfer. With 100% Hawaiian Kona coffee, this porter is not one to disappoint. I see it is a 'limited release' and hope that this might be incorporated into the full time lineup. If not I am going to have to stock up now and try to make it until the next batch is released. I have not checked out the Big Wave Golden Ale but will next time I see it on the shelf.
A couple years back my buddy and I went on a little road trip to Cooperstown. It was a great way to kill some free time before college began again. While camping out we obviously had to have a couple cold beers right? So while shopping we happen to find a sampler pack of Cooperstown Brewing Company and tested it out. Lo and behold, it was pretty darn good. My favs were "Old Slugger" is a sold pale ale, "Nine Man" is a golden ale, and the "Back Yard", an IPA.
Come to find out that this place was only 10 miles (or so) south of Cooperstown and offers tours. So we decided to go check it out. It was on a small dirt road and I thought it was the wrong place at first. But inside it was quaint. I even bought a great t-shirt (which I still wear) of a beer I had not tried called "Benchwarmer", a Porter. It has a great line on the back that says "Don't be afraid of the dark." Another one had the beer line up and several baseballs that proclaimed "Beer with balls." HA, brilliant!
So in my ultimate wisdom I decided to ask a question. Mind you I was not completely back into the world of baseball after falling out of favor with sports in general during middle and high school. So I ask the proprietor "Hey, who is his Abner Doubleday guy on your Nine Man Ale label?" The look of shock and horror that fell over his face as well as my buddies was absolutely priceless in retrospect. Somehow he was able to compose himself to reply that Doubleday had in fact INVENTED baseball. Ooops! I was exceptionally embarrassed and made a quick exit.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed CBC and would recommend checking it out if you are ever in the Cooperstown area.
Matt Brewing Co. is responsible for Saranac, a great beer I drank with regularity when living back in MA. Either at home with friends or on the road camping at various state parks, I always enjoyed a cold Saranac. It has been a couple years since I had one but this is what I remember and can recommend.
The Adirondack Lager was my go to choice. Heavy it was not, nor was it especially light, the Adirondack was a happy medium and I never had anyone disappointed when I handed them a bottle from my fridge/cooler. I was also a fan of the IPA. During the holiday season I purchased a Sampler 12 pack with 12 different Saranacs in them. This included the core beers (Black Forest, Black & Tan, Pale Ale, Adirondack Lager, IPA, etc) as well as specials like the Nut Brown, Mocha Stout, Marzenbier and others.
But my all-time favorite was the Caramel Porter. I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this beer. I couldn't find it as by itself on the shelf and there was only one included in the sampler. So I just kept buying more samplers to get this lovely porter. In some ways I would compare it to the Kona Pipeline Porter, at least in body and deliciousness. Now I regret that I didn't even go searching for this during my visit home for the holidays.