Rarely do I turn down a chance to try a brewery for the first time. It’s always a little exciting to go into an untested — by me, anyway — establishment and checking out its own twists on styles of beer I’ve certainly tried before.
And with that anticipation, disappointment can sometimes follow. I’ve yet to walk away from a place completely disgusted; normally, the disappointment comes in the form of me being underwhelmed.
Such was the case Saturday night at the Northampton Brewery Bar and Grille. By no means were the beers — which ran from $4-$5 — I tried the worst I ever had. Rather, they were just slightly unmemorable.
My first beverage was “Maggie’s Wee Heavy,” and having been on a scotch ale kick lately, I was really looking forward to this. Expecting bold flavors from an 8% ABV bruiser, I was slightly disappointed as the brew lacked the smokiness of others I had tried in this style. There was a decent caramel-y malt flavor, but nothing as strong flavor-wise as I had anticipated and very little carbonation in the medium bodied beer.
I also tried “Scuba’s Marzen,” which while the better of the two beers in my opinion, wasn’t anything spectacular. The marzen had a sweet malty flavor and was smooth, but managed to taste restrained, like something was missing. Maybe I came across a bad batch — all house beers are brewed at the brewery — or maybe the beers just weren’t the ones for me.
A saving grace came in the form of the food at the brewery. Between the beers, I had a wonderful dish of roasted pork with garlic mashed potatoes, vegetables and apple sauce, which was outstanding and priced well at around $14.