Thirsty? Check out the breweries, wineries, cideries and more across the happy valley.

Scene Here: On Tap Festival at Berkshire East
Jul19

Scene Here: On Tap Festival at Berkshire East

Last Call, Franklin County This past Sunday’s inaugural Franklin County On Tap festival drew over 400 intrepid fans of craft beer, cider, and mead to Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont to sample brews from a dozen local operations, including the newest: Hitchcock Brewing in Whately, pictured here, which shipped its first keg May 15. Visitors wandered among two floors of vendor tables inside the lodge, but the most fun was to...

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The Pour Man: Graduate to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Jul19

The Pour Man: Graduate to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Nobilo, Sauvignon Blanc, 2015; Marlborough, New Zealand; $13.99 During the last couple of decades, some of the world’s top wine critics have declared that the best Sauvignon Blanc comes from New Zealand, and I would agree with them. However, I also realize, as with most things, that it’s a matter of taste. For example, if you are a fan of the syrup that canned peaches or pears swim in, then you might prefer Sauvignon Blanc from France...

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The Pour Man: Champagne Chuck; inexpensive bubbly
Jul11

The Pour Man: Champagne Chuck; inexpensive bubbly

Dibon Brut Reserve Cava, of Penedes, Spain; $12.99 I’ve been thinking about sparkling wine lately because it’s well suited for steamy summer nights; just one glass will go a long way to ease the heat. Sparkling wine also came to mind because someone gave me a bottle of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne, which my wife, Sandy, and I savored during a recent special occasion. The wine is made by one of the most respected Champagne...

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Vodkamelons: Fact or Fiction?
Jun27

Vodkamelons: Fact or Fiction?

The staff at the Valley Advocate have been to many picnics, parties, hootenannies, hoe downs, shindigs, and festivals, but only one of us has ever tasted the infamous vodkamelon. Amanda Drane, our Third Eye Roaming yogi, claims to have made a vodka infused melon with her boyfriend that turned out, well, edible. According to Drane, the vodka and the melon never set, so serving pink fruit triangles wasn’t an option. At the beach with a...

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The Beerhunter: Five O’Clock Everywhere: Western Mass Beer Week June 11-18
Jun06

The Beerhunter: Five O’Clock Everywhere: Western Mass Beer Week June 11-18

The Beerhunter’s ears are always pricked to news of local craft beer happenings, and this month, they’re positively tingling. All that excitement in the air is thanks to the first-ever Western Mass Beer Week, a series of events at breweries, bars and restaurants all around the Valley June 11-18. Eighteen breweries and more than a dozen eateries have teamed up to celebrate the beer brewed around here. All told, 52 events are scheduled...

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Oh, Honey: Can spoonfuls of the all-natural sweet stuff help ward off allergies?
May31

Oh, Honey: Can spoonfuls of the all-natural sweet stuff help ward off allergies?

Ah, spring: The time of year when nature wakes up from its deep winter slumber: birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and allergy sufferers are miserable. A runny nose, itchy eyes, and constant sneezing are facts of life for the nearly 8 percent of Americans that suffer from allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than a minor nuisance to some, seasonal...

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