The Beerhunter Abroad: Norway – Despite strict alcohol laws, a new generation of craft brewers is born
May02

The Beerhunter Abroad: Norway – Despite strict alcohol laws, a new generation of craft brewers is born

As a New Englander accustomed to long, cold winters, I had never put the Arctic Circle atop my summer vacation list. But in case you missed the billboards along Interstate 91, Norwegian Air now offers discount flights to Europe from Boston, Providence, and New York City, some priced at around $100 (sadly, service into Hartford was short-lived). That’s how I found myself in the Arctic last July, dancing to Nordic pop music at the Riddu...

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The Beerhunter: It’s Almost Kölsch Weather
Apr04

The Beerhunter: It’s Almost Kölsch Weather

Despite what you’re seeing out your front window, hot afternoons in New England are not so far away. Once spring really hits, from the beach to the backyard, we’ll be reaching for lighter beers that are, to use an all-American term, “thirst-quenching.” For the past couple of centuries, Czech and German-style lagers have fit that bill stateside. It’s been a market dominated by beer giants like Bud, Coors, and Miller, which all sell...

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How to Fight Big Beer
Mar07

How to Fight Big Beer

In 2011, Anheuser-Busch InBev bought the Chicago craft brewery Goose Island. Today, the international conglomerate owns stake in a dozen formerly-craft American breweries. (Leah Kelley photo)   I used to bartend at one of the oldest dive bars in Western Mass, pouring drinks for the proudly unhip. Such neighborhood joints watch the decades pass with a warm and studied slowness. Behind these doors, familiar routines trump most...

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Beerhunter: Veteran-owned Arcpoint Brewing Company takes root in Belchertown
Feb12

Beerhunter: Veteran-owned Arcpoint Brewing Company takes root in Belchertown

Chris Peterson tweaks his craft beer recipes the same way he works on multimillion-dollar military aircraft: very, very carefully. Peterson is a tech sergeant in the 439th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. As a technician and avionics expert, it’s his job to ensure that a plane’s communication, navigation, and guidance control systems are running smoothly. Peterson and his fellow Air Reserve...

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The Beerhunter: Craft Beer Goals for 2018
Jan08

The Beerhunter: Craft Beer Goals for 2018

Local brewers share their predictions and plans Cheers, America! According to the Brewers Association’s 2017 year-end report, there are now more than 6,000 breweries nationwide — an increase of 500 breweries from just six months ago. And here’s some even better news: 98 percent of those breweries are small and independent, and 83 percent of citizens over the age of 21 now live within ten miles of a brewery. Here’s an early glimpse of...

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The Beerhunter: Schwarzbier, that German-style black lager, returns!
Dec11

The Beerhunter: Schwarzbier, that German-style black lager, returns!

Now that the colder months have blown in, bar managers across the Valley are pulling IPAs, pale ales, and pilsners from their tap handles to make room for some thicker, darker brews like stouts, porters, and barrel-aged specials. Seasonal variety is all well and good, but I’m not always in the mood for a beer that eats like a meal. Most winter beer styles are as filling and thick as those hazy, juicy New England IPAs we can’t stop...

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The Beerhunter: Westfield Welcomes Tin Bridge Brewing Company
Nov08

The Beerhunter: Westfield Welcomes Tin Bridge Brewing Company

Family-run business is the city’s first visitable craft brewery As the Valley’s local craft beer bubble continues to grow, Westfield looks primed for business. Downtown on Elm Street, Skyline Trading Company — a craft beer bar and homebrew shop — has proven a welcome recent addition to Westfield’s nightlife. And residents here often hop in the car (or on a bike) to visit the large barn that houses Westfield River Brewing Company in...

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The Beerhunter: Would You Like Squid With That?
Nov06

The Beerhunter: Would You Like Squid With That?

If you weren’t expecting this craft beer column to start with a plate of silkworm larvae, believe me, I’m as surprised as you are. But there they were, next to my glass: half a dozen off-white baby bugs, each about an inch long and doused with a honey balsamic sauce. I had no idea how this snack would go down (answer: soft and crispy) or whether the larvae would pair well with my short pour of Madrugada Oscura, a Belgian-style sour...

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The Beerhunter: A Crafty New Crop
Oct09

The Beerhunter: A Crafty New Crop

Stone Cow Brewing helps keep an old dairy farm going Massachusetts used to be covered in dairy farms. But industries change with the times. “You can’t really make it in New England solely as a dairy farmer anymore,” says Sean DuBois. “Wholesale milk prices have really fallen off a cliff.” DuBois lives in Barre, a rural Worcester County town chock-full of scenic views of Central Mass. It serves as a quiet mirror image of Valley...

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The Beerhunter: The Imperial Strikes Back
Sep11

The Beerhunter: The Imperial Strikes Back

Earlier this year, I reached into a friend’s beer fridge to grab something light and refreshing before heading outdoors for a hike (as far as I understand the rules, writing this column gives me free access to everyone’s beer). That afternoon’s chatter distracted me, however, because I made it two or three swings into my bottle before I felt what was hitting me. I glanced down to find I was sampling a beer called Olde School by...

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The Beerhunter: Roadtrip to The Hudson Valley
Aug04

The Beerhunter: Roadtrip to The Hudson Valley

The thing to remember about summer in the Valley — aside from which SPF to use and which local farm stands sell the best corn — is that it will be over before you know it. Sure, the swimming holes don’t really warm up until September, and the cows at Cook Farm gamely enable our ice cream habit into the chillier months. But that special windows-down, afternoon road trip is a fleeting thing. With that in mind, I’m putting the August...

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The Beerhunter: The Eight-Day Cheers
Jun05

The Beerhunter: The Eight-Day Cheers

Any out-of-towner who would guess Western Mass has a quiet craft beer scene is bound for a rude, brewed awakening. But even locals may be surprised at the scope of the second annual Western Mass Beer Week, which runs June 10-17. Last year’s series of events at breweries, bars and restaurants around the Valley attracted 35 businesses, which hosted (by my count) 52 events. This year, more than 50 businesses are participating in 70...

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The Beerhunter: Stay Chilled, My Friends
May08

The Beerhunter: Stay Chilled, My Friends

In beer, as in life, context matters. If you crash a friend’s wedding in basketball shorts, you may be riding that easygoing reputation of yours a little too far. Conversely, if you’re mowing your lawn on a hot day, and you decide to dress up your lunch break by popping open a bottle of imperial stout, your chances of getting back off that cool, comfy couch drop to virtually nil. There’s a reason we eat, drink, and make merry by...

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Monday April 17: Laverne Cox Visits Smith College
Apr10

Monday April 17: Laverne Cox Visits Smith College

Our Lady Laverne Laverne Cox grew up in Mobile, Alabama, raised by a single mother in a Christian family. Back then, it wasn’t at all clear that she would end up attending college in New York City and pursuing a career as an actress, let alone that she would become one of the most celebrated names on television (notably for her role as Sophia Burset on the series Orange is the New Black, for which she became the first openly...

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The Beerhunter: Turnpike Two-Stop
Apr10

The Beerhunter: Turnpike Two-Stop

Two worthwhile breweries off exit 9 The naturalist John Muir once observed that “when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” I’m no bearded environmental philosopher, but I do like to kick back with a pint sometimes and dwell on our interconnectedness. In the realm of craft beer, brewers and buyers often muse on the national and international history of the craft — but that must square,...

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Calling All New Bands!
Apr10

Calling All New Bands!

We’re still a few months out from July’s annual Green River Festival in Greenfield, but we’re right on time to share a special early announcement from producers Signature Sounds. This year, the festival will add a new stage called the Next Wave Stage, which will host a youth band contest to showcase five of the most promising up-and-coming young Western New England music groups. The Next Wave Stage is open to musical acts from Western...

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Film Screening: Holding Hands with Ilse
Apr10

Film Screening: Holding Hands with Ilse

Strangers No More In the 1950s, Hampshire College professor Abraham Ravett relocated with his Polish Jewish family from Eastern Europe to the United States. Ravett was just three at the time of the move, but he carried with him a memory — and a single black-and-white photograph — of the German teenage girl who used to care for him while his parents were at work. He knew only her first name: Ilse. Fast-forward to 2011, when “a major...

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On Exhibit: Mary Witt and Brianna Ashe at Oxbow Gallery
Apr10

On Exhibit: Mary Witt and Brianna Ashe at Oxbow Gallery

Full Spectrum Painter Mary Witt (who composed the piece on the left) and multimedia artist Brianna Ashe (the piece on the right) are showing their new work in a playful exhibit called Colorplay, in the front room of Oxbow Gallery this month. They both love working and playing with color in their abstract artwork. Although different, their art sets up an interesting dynamic, and a stylistic conversation. Colorplay: Through April 30....

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April 13: Noam Chomsky at UMass Amherst
Apr10

April 13: Noam Chomsky at UMass Amherst

Close to Noam Leftist hero Noam Chomsky, now 88, has been around the block a few times, picking up new fields of expertise like normal people pick up groceries. He’s a world-renowned linguist, philosopher, author, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, analytic philosopher, political activist, and libertarian socialist who has written more than 100 books. His talk at UMass this week, sponsored by the Political Economy Research...

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On Stage: Where War Meets Food and Music
Apr03

On Stage: Where War Meets Food and Music

War and Music Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes has jumped onto our cultural radar many times over the years — she received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Water by the Spoonful, and she wrote the book for the musical In The Heights alongside future Hamilton star Lin-Manual Miranda — but we get to delve into a somewhat quieter (but no less powerful) part of her repertoire this month with the UMass production of her...

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Thursday: Easthampton Salon Hosts Michael Musto and Mickey Boardman
Apr03

Thursday: Easthampton Salon Hosts Michael Musto and Mickey Boardman

Dynamic Duo Easthampton City Arts+ kicks off the third annual Easthampton Book Fest with the first installment of the new Grist for the Mill speaker series, with inaugural guests Michael Musto (a longtime writer at The Village Voice) and Mickey Boardman, the editorial director of PAPER Magazine. Musto and Boardman riff off each other hilariously, like professional verbal ping pong players, and they’re sure to add a big dose of levity...

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Album Release Party: Children of the Wild’s Traveling Rock Opera
Apr03

Album Release Party: Children of the Wild’s Traveling Rock Opera

The Tribe That Quests In recent years, ensemble theater group Children of the Wild has managed something nifty: the full integration of the musical band dynamic into their touring acts. Music and theater fused completely in the show The Wastelands, an original experimental folk opera inspired by Dante’s Purgatorio that toured the Great Lakes region from June to October 2016, taking over real-world settings like abandoned factories and...

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Saturday Live: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective
Apr03

Saturday Live: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective

One of the Greats New Orleans native Terence Blanchard has become one of America’s most respected jazz musicians, working as a trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer. He was an integral figure in the 1980s jazz resurgence, and his trumpet can be heard on nearly 50 film scores. But he’s pushing boundaries with his new quintet, The E-Collective — a project that fuses funk, R&B, dance, and blues. The...

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On Exhibit: “Luminous Muqarna”
Apr03

On Exhibit: “Luminous Muqarna”

History Hangs Overhead If you’re looking to get out this week and into an immersive installation inspired by Islamic architecture — we’ve got just the local exhibit for you (actually, it’s the only one). Soo Sunny Park created ”Luminous Muqarna” for the Islamic Arts Festival in the United Arab Emirates in an effort to transform our experience of light from something merely perceptual into something big, heavy, and physical. The work’s...

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New Thursday Series: Award-Winning Documentaries at Next Stage
Mar27

New Thursday Series: Award-Winning Documentaries at Next Stage

The World in Frame Since opening its historic church doors in 2011, Next Stage Arts Project has been working to bring world-class events into the small town of Putney, Vermont (just north of Brattleboro). Never has that mission been more clear than with the group’s newest project: a curated screening series for feature-length documentary films called [framed], each one presented by the filmmaker, who will be present at each screening...

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Saturday: Talk by Punk Photographer Cynthia Connolly
Mar27

Saturday: Talk by Punk Photographer Cynthia Connolly

Smile! (Or Don’t) Artist, photographer, and punk for the ages Cynthia Connolly made a name for herself in one fell swoop when she published Banned in DC: Photos and Anecdotes from the D.C. Punk Underground (79-85). That scrappy yearbook-style achievement snuck into stores in 1988 with a first print run of 2,000 copies, and stayed in print through 2005. Ten years later, it came back into print, so the moment is perfect to catch up with...

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VIDEO Teaser: The Greys play Advocate Sessions
Mar29

VIDEO Teaser: The Greys play Advocate Sessions

Jazz-inspired indie duo on vocals and bass When Cait Simpson sings and Chris Merritt plucks his upright bass, something simple and enchanting happens. The friends just released their first EP, The Landing, available on iTunes and Spotify. Catch the full video this Friday on Advocate Sessions, and browse full-set videos of your favorite local musical acts! Click to visit:...

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On Exhibit: “Unidentified Woman” at Historic Northampton
Mar27

On Exhibit: “Unidentified Woman” at Historic Northampton

You’re Wearing That? In her new exhibit, Jodi Colella engages with headwear and daguerreotypes from the collection of the Historic Northampton Museum and responds to forces that have shaped women’s identities since the 18th century. “Headwear has long played a role in indicating the class, status and occupation of the wearer – enforcing conformity and erasing individuality,” reads the gallery statement. “From the 18th-century poke...

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Music Spotlight: Jason Vieaux Plays UMass Amherst
Mar27

Music Spotlight: Jason Vieaux Plays UMass Amherst

Guitar Around the World To hear NPR tell it, musician Jason Vieaux is “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Vieaux’s album Play won the 2015 Grammy award for best classical instrumental solo, and he has played in hundreds of orchestras and music festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico. He plays a solo concert at UMass on Tuesday that is sure to speak to his remarkably expressive range —...

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Like Guthrie Meets MacGyver: The Suitcase Junket Rocks Out
Mar20

Like Guthrie Meets MacGyver: The Suitcase Junket Rocks Out

One-man band plays blues, rock, and folk on improvised instruments Some of us spend our days sitting at computers in nondescript rooms. In the new, handmade music video for his love song “Beta Star,” Matt Lorenz gives that a shot. He wakes up in the morning, washes his face, twizzles his long mustache into shape, puts on a tie, grabs a coffee, and sits down to type. It doesn’t go well. In his mind, he’s wearing a tutu and romping...

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Dance VIP Raja Feather Kelly Comes to Town
Mar13

Dance VIP Raja Feather Kelly Comes to Town

Team Raja “With spidery limbs and a sprawling imagination,” writes Dance Magazine, “Brooklyn-based Raja Feather Kelly brings a vivid boundlessness to all he does. Whether dancing for the likes of Reggie Wilson or cooking up his own darkly entertaining dance-theater productions, he seems insatiably curious.” Last spring, this restless life led the 29-year-old choreographer and dancer to create Andy Warhol’s Tropico, an archetypal...

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Live Thursday: Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Mar13

Live Thursday: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Stay Classy, South Africa For over 50 years, South Africa’s male a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has warmed the hearts of audiences worldwide with their uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves, and charming onstage banter. With a deep respect for both their cultural and personal history, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is ever-evolving with an eye toward their long musical legacy. Over the years, the original members...

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Glasstastic! at the Brattleboro Museum
Mar13

Glasstastic! at the Brattleboro Museum

In a Glass of Their Own Last fall, the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center invited kids in kindergarten through sixth grade to create drawings and descriptions of imaginary creatures, with the promise that some of those creatures would be featured in the upcoming “Glasstastic” exhibit at the musem. “The response was incredible,” says BMAC museum educator Linda Whelihan. “We received over 1,000 submissions, an amazing assortment of...

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Wednesday and Thursday: A Visit From Community Activist Iris Morales
Mar13

Wednesday and Thursday: A Visit From Community Activist Iris Morales

Street Smarts Hampshire College, Holyoke Community College, and Smith College host visits this week from community activist Iris Morales, who rose to prominence in the Vietnam era. As a teenage activist in New York City, Morales joined the paramilitary Young Lords Party, a multiethnic, primarily Puerto Rican organization. The party, which disbanded in 1976, addressed the many socioeconomic needs of the working-class Puerto Rican...

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Sweet! The SYRUP Festival Returns This Weekend
Mar13

Sweet! The SYRUP Festival Returns This Weekend

With the SYRUP Festival, Piti Theatre Company in Shelburne Falls has hit on a tradition that most of us would never have realized we were missing: all-ages live performance, featuring world-class artists, mixed with handcrafted food and sweets from local artisans. Now in its eighth year, SYRUP comes back around this weekend. On Saturday, Jonathan Mirin performs the new solo physical comedy piece Sammy and the Grand Buffet at 2 p.m. An...

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