Matthew Wright

Craft Beer Can Learn From Western Mass

If you measure success by volume, number of breweries, or fan-base size, craft beer is growing strong. What does that mean to craft beer and its bloggers?

5 places to visit near Portsmouth

Portsmouth is a great area and we’re always seeing new things and eating and drinking up a storm.

The Alvah Stone

An amazing place run by some of the nicest people in the Pioneer Valley. Several visits later we’re impressed with everything we’ve tried there. And you can’t beat the view.

Amanouz Café

This quintessential “hole in the wall” is quirky, busy, and absolutely delicious.

Artisan Beverage Cooperative

Local Artisan Beverage Cooperative is at the forefront of a Ginger Boom in the brewing world.

Bison Moussaka

We love moussaka, but it’s a pain in the ass to make. It’s not too difficult, just time-consuming. Cooking time is about an hour and prep is at least that long. It’s worth it though, and nice a month or so later to pull an extra one out of the freezer and enjoy it without any work involved. Every time we go to the trouble of making one, we make two.

The Black Sheep

At times unpredictable, but always good, The Black Sheep is the best place for a sandwich, especially if you like yours with progressive political opinions.

Blue Heron

The perfect mix of rustic fine dining and casual charm. Inspired cocktails!

Blueberry Jalapeño Cocktail

Three in San Mateo makes the Halle Berry, a truly dynamite blueberry jalapeño cocktail: sweet, spicy, with the weight and satisfaction of the best margaritas.

Brad’s Place

If you took a diner and crossed it with a dive bar, you’d come up with this friendly local hangout with solid grub.

Bread Euphoria

For dining in, the best pizza in the 5-college area. We keep trying other local options and after a half dozen plus Bread Euphoria remains firmly at the top.

Captain Jack’s

Reliable without much of a wow factor other than the atmosphere (which is summer fun at its finest)

Chez Albert

Don’t be intimidated by the menu. At Chez Albert the Bouillabaisse and Escargot are cozily at home with the best burger in Amherst.

Coco + The Cellar Bar

Even in cramped quarters the kitchen at Coco turns out some amazing food and the Cellar Bar doubles their modest seating.

Commonwealth BBQ

Excellent BBQ. I found myself uncontrollably saying “legit” a lot while I was there.

Cushman Market + Cafe

Cushman has great coffee-based drinks, good pastries, excellent staff, and the perfect understated college-town atmosphere.

The Dirty Truth

The Dirty Truth is a downtown Northampton staple for excellent local and international drafts and tasty snacks to go with them.

Elevation 66. El Cerrito, CA

Our only complaint about a lot of brewpubs is that the food coming out of their kitchen doesn’t match the quality of their beer. El Cerrito’s Elevation 66 is a BIG exception to the rule and we love it.

Esselon

Great pastries. Great espresso-based drinks. Rock-solid brunch.

Flayvors

We adore Mt. Tom’s in Easthampton, but Flayvors doesn’t disappoint either. It’s consistently good with occasional forays into greatness.

The Foundry

A cozy spot with a beer-savvy staff ready to guide you through their short but exceptional list of drafts.

GoBerry

A frozen, tangy, wonderful not-so-guilty pleasure with locations in Northampton and Amherst

The Green Bean

A local favorite for brunch and bitchin’ baked goods, The Green Bean is the older sister of The Roost a few blocks down in the heart of Northampton.

The Green Room

The Pioneer Valley finally has a true, dyed-in-the-wool cocktail bar. And it’s glorious.

The Hangar

Excellent wings and massive draft selection on the Hadley/Amherst border.

High Horse

High Horse’s ‘Beyond The Pale’ British-style ale is extraordinary, but the rest of their line up is also quite good. The bar food is tasty, but a little pricey for what you get.

Hope + Olive

like eating at your grandmother’s, if she was a giggling, eccentric chef and filled her house with a few dozen tables.

Jim Rockford Memorial Tacos

As big fans of The Rockford Files we were both sad to hear of the passing of James Garner. We decided to pay tribute with a beer, a favorite episode, and a Jim Rockford Memorial Taco.

Joe’s Cafe

Joe’s Cafe is good, and braving the soup-Nazi experience adds its own level of satisfaction.

Why Julia Herz Is Our New Hero

Herz shows beer bloggers a lot of love, but points out that something many of us have in common, other than beer, is that we aren’t necessarily welcoming the uninitiated.

Little Star Pizza. Albany, CA

Little Star Pizza is one of our favorites and not just for the pizza. The decor in the Albany location is cozy and rustic, the draft selection is always good, and the staff is the best.

Magpie

A pizzeria as cozy and cool as that friend’s kitchen you wish you could transport into your own home.

McCarthy’s Pub

Somehow this local not-quite-a-dive favorite makes families with kids and dudes on Harleys equally at home.

McLadden’s

a glossy, overly-manicured craft beer experience, but damn good all the same.

Mission Cantina

Strong and creative margaritas, with several fruit-infusions offered. They even make their own sour mix. The food is excellent, so much so that we hardly go anywhere else for Mexican.

Mrs. Murphy’s Donuts

If you’re going to have donuts, suck it up and drive to Mrs. Murphy’s. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Mt. Tom’s Ice Cream

There’s no question for us. Mt. Tom’s is the best ice cream in the Pioneer Valley.

The People’s Pint

The People’s Pint is as good at smoking meats in-house as they are at brewing top-notch beer.

The Problem With Beer Festivals

Do beer festivals actually care about local craft brewers and the fans who drink their beer? We’d love to hear your opinions.

The Roost

The Food Network named their egg sandwiches one of the best breakfasts between bread, but we’re usually there to get our favorite Chai Latte in the area.

Rustic Bakery. Larkspur, CA

For several months that was our Sunday routine: food trucks followed by a Rustic latté. Finally though we decided to try Rustic’s grub. We haven’t been disappointed yet, and it now shares equal time with visits to the food trucks.

Saw Mill Site Farm

Locally made (and wonderfully exotic) horseradish.

Share Coffee Roasters

Share Coffee roasts their beans and hosts tastings at their Hadley hub. They also have cafés in Northampton and Amherst.

Tart Baking Company

So far the only place in town you can get an espresso + tonic. Their pastries are usually spot-on too.

Tipping Well For Bad Service

How should tipping go after you’ve had an across-the-board disaster?

The Wagon Wheel

Big Wheel Pancakes are one of those menu items you must try before you leave this earth: sweet, savory, and packed with flavor.

Craft Breweries Can Learn From Wineries

While most wineries make and keep new fans on social media, many breweries seem to be completely asleep at the wheel when it comes to their online presence.

White Barn Inn

For Five Star dining I expected at least a little stuffiness, but it just isn’t what The White Barn Inn is about. It’s definitely luxurious, but it’s like a celebrity interview that leaves you thinking, “you know, that George Clooney is just an everyday guy.”