Many snows ago, your Baron worked alongside a spectacularly loony lass who happened to be a proud alumnus of Deerfield Academy.  In celebration of her apparent inability to gain acceptance to Exeter, Andover, or St. Paul’s, said lass frequently donned a t-shirt emblazoned with the Deerfield crest where, in the place of its traditional motto, “Be Worthy of Your Heritage,” was printed an informative stand-in: “It’s Lonely at the Top.”  For years thereafter, many-a compatriot chastised the poor maiden with blithe abandon, confident that the statement was, and remains, patently ridiculous.  Today, the Baron offers his heartfelt apologies.  Greatness does, indeed, lie in the lonely corners of the Berkshires just a ten-minute drive from Mr. Morsman’s ghost.

Berkshire Brewing Company, located in South Deerfield, MA, is a triumph of locavore-cum-sudsy goodness.  Founded in 1994 by a duo of homebrewers, Christopher Lalli and Gary Bogoff, BBC produces a plethora of unfiltered, un-pasteurized, delicious brews spanning nine annuals and seven seasonals.  The result ranges from consistently excellent to truly outstanding.  In consideration of the Good Doc’s outstanding brewery-to-table appeal and thirsty from his earlier profile of Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Extra! Ale, I cracked into a 22oz Berkshire Czech Pilsner and spent a pleasant session sipping the flavors of Bohemia.

The brew poured a beautiful sunlight gold with a thick, cottony white head that yielded nice lacing.  Pungent, well-balanced notes from Czech Saaz hops intermingled with toasty, biscuity aromas of Czech malt and wafted assertively from my glass.  Crisp, spicy flavors quickly yielded to buttery, sweeter notes with just a hint of flora and straw on the finish.  At 5.5% ABV and 37 IBU I could have continued drinking this gorgeous, dare I say perfect example of a pilsner all night.  I dubbed the drink 3.5 hops and looked forward to sampling future offerings.

It has been years since your Baron visited the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, but our Berkshire friends offer a truly remarkable stand-in for Plzen.  Kde domov můj? Perhaps, in a pinch, in South Deerfield where it is undoubtedly lonely at the top for the noble and talented brewers at BBC.


  1. My sister and brother-in-law are both proud alums of UMass and used to host all of their undergrad and grad school “events” at a local bar that served almost nothing but BBC products. I loved everything the brewery made. When I graduated from high school, my brother-in-law purchased bombers of the entire suite of BBC offerings for me as a graduation present. While I’ve never been one to cellar beers (I don’t have Doc’s hoarding instinct), for some strange reason I STILL have a bottle of BBC Imperial Stout sitting in Gramps McHops cellar as we speak. 13 years and counting…

    Anyway, glad to hear they do justice to the oft-maligned Pilsner style. They’ve never made a bad brew to my knowledge. One of the true gems of New England.

  2. Berkshire Brewing is indeed a New England gem that few folks East of Worcester know anything about. That’s probably an overstatement, as any good Boston Alehead is sure to grab some Berkshire from time-to-time, but they don’t have quite the following that something like Watchusett would have on the local scene. I believe Berkshire Brewing is the best outfit in Massachusetts in terms of consistency, variety, and of course overall awesomeness. Do yourself a favor and seek out their Coffeehouse Porter (Made with locally roasted “Dean’s Beans”, some of the best coffee you’ll ever come across). That beer will forever be entrenched in my top 20, no matter how many other brews coming rolling along.

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