Well, what can I say? For a few days there I utterly abandoned the blog, but it wasn’t by choice. While TJ tends to the store I have retreated to the lovely, yet Internet-challenged, island of Martha’s Vineyard. It is here that I will dote on our children and warm my toes in the sand by day and toil on all things Urban Grape by night. Or so I thought. You see, adding to my challenge of dial-up internet is a completely defective iPad, and a Mobile Me system that has gone utterly beserk. Oh, and I forgot to bring the IP address to log into the back office of the website. I have everything somewhat under control, although not really. At the very least I was able to rescue our beer guy Noah’s first beer blog which was stuck in “the cloud” of Mobile Me for four days. Why is it a “cloud?’ I don’t know, but that cloud almost ended up on the bottom of the ocean… With no further ado, Noah’s blog.
When the unpleasantly shrill voice of my GPS informed me that I had arrived at my destination, I turned into a narrow driveway that took me through an alley to a sketchy parking square surrounded by big, old brick buildings and rusty metal fencing. I parked the car, stepped out, and asked myself, so whereʼs the brewery? I walked around cluelessly for a minute surveying the area for a sign or some sort of instruction, when a big metal door swung open. This particular door belonged to an enormous industrial building that seemed on its last legs. A man walked out gripping tightly to a growler. Excuse me! I called out, is this the Paper City Brewery? He nodded. So I pulled open the heavy door and stepped into the building. Inside was an old, dilapidated staircase. Nothing else. And so, I scaled the stairs to the second ﬂoor, then the third, the fourth, and ﬁnally the ﬁfth—the top ﬂoor—there alas, out of breath, I reached the beer haven.
The fifth floor was an enormous open space crowded with old pub tables, wooden stools, benches and a long, oak bar covered in nostalgic photographs. In the back of the room hulked big, metal beer towers and brewery equipment. But there was no one there. I tiptoed around cautiously. Then from a small office a voice called out: sorry, we’re closed. I explained to the young lady how I’d journeyed two hours to be there and asked if she’d at least show me around real quick. Without reluctance she called out a name and before I knew it the head brewer—a surprisingly young guy—emerged from behind the brewing equipment. After the lady debriefed him on my situation, he presented me with a high five and then escorted me on a private tour of the brewery. For the next two hours we explored, sampled his private, aged chipotle brew from an oak cask, talked about the Paper City Brewery operation, and went down the line of the beers on tap at the bar.
Did I mention they didn’t charge me a single penny for any of this?
When the royal treatment finally—and unfortunately—came to an end, my new friends bid me a warm farewell, but not before bestowing upon me a four-pack of my choice—any beer I chose might I add.
So this long—and perhaps seemingly pointless—prelude brings me to my main topic of this blog: Paper City Brewery’s Summer Brew. I drank a sixer of this stuff on the beach in Saco, Maine a few weeks ago. It was good. And it was nothing like I was expecting. The past few summer ales I’d had were bland and boring and almost interchangeable. But Paper City’s Summer Brew really stood out. At first sip I got a bit of semi-sweetness. But that sweetness quickly receded, giving way to a mildly hoppy citrus that masked the alcohol nicely. It ended with a dry, refreshing, florally finish that was really quite unique and well balanced.
I enjoyed the brew’s company well, and paid homage to my Paper City friends by finishing the six-pack right there in the sand.
So hobble on down to The Urban Grape, and instead of scurrying over to the Sam Adams Summer Ale, pick up a sixer of Paper City’s Summer Brew and go drink it in the sand. Or even better, if you live near Holyoke, stop by the brewery and see if you can squeeze your way into the royal treatment. I can’t make any promises though.