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Zythophiles rejoice as two new brewpubs open

As close readers of The Berkshire Edge know, “Woman On The Verge” debuted last fall with a piece about Oktoberfest. A lot has happened since then, beer-wise.

When not one but two new brewpubs open locally, you know what they say is true: Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

And how could I be anything other than happy? As close readers of The Berkshire Edge know, “Woman On The Verge” debuted last fall with a piece about Oktoberfest. A lot has happened since then, beer-wise.

Upper Depot Brewing Company — Hudson, N.Y.

Six weeks ago, I traveled to Upper Depot Brewing Company in Hudson, N.Y. Co-owners Montgomery Bopp and Aaron Maas held their grand opening on December 28.

Sarah Wright mingling with other beer buffs at Upper Depot’s grand opening. Photo by Michelle O’Neil, courtesy of Barefoot Photography.

What a festive night! Arriving solo to Upper Depot around 6 p.m., I instantly felt the love of so many fellow beer drinkers. I also thought to myself: if these walls could talk.

As its name suggests, Upper Depot occupies a splendidly renovated train station built in 1871. Bopp and Maas’s vision of a repurposed space honors yesteryear in the same way that beer unites all who appreciate a cold pint. Indeed, Upper Depot’s shiny, happy stainless-steel tanks showcase the beer ingredients’ journey from all over the Hudson Valley and across New York State, straight to the glass.

The large stainless steel tanks at Upper Depot, visible from every seat in the house, run on Siemens’s high-tech fermenting system. Photo by Michelle O’Neil, courtesy of Barefoot Photography.

I sampled the Upper Depot IPA, which was everything I wanted it to be: quenchworthy. For his part, Maas gave me a private tour below deck where the smaller vats brew what many describe beer as: liquid bread. Then he showed me the larger tanks, visible from every seat in the house. Using Siemens’s high-tech fermenting system, this is the real deal.

Upper Depot co-owner Aaron Maas at the bar with four pints of “liquid bread.” Photo by Michelle O’Neil, courtesy of Barefoot Photography.

Bottom line: Upper Depot Brewing Company is an unbeatable spot for any and all serious beer lovers. Truly, I cannot think of a more logical station stop after an afternoon of strolling around Hudson. Upper Depot is located at 708 State Street and is open Wednesday through Friday, 4-10 p.m., and Saturday through Sunday 12-10 p.m. Enjoy the ride!

Hot Plate Brewing Company

As the second of two new brewpubs open for business, Hot Plate Brewing Company’s soft launch on Thursday, February 2 was a big bear hug for the people of downtown Pittsfield. Judging by the crowd, though, all of Berkshire County was there!

And I know what you’re thinking: hot bath, cold beer. What the heck does a hot plate have to with suds?

As the legend goes, Hot Plate Brewing Company also began in New York—specifically in Brooklyn. When their condo’s gas was shut off for several years due to a code violation, owner and head brewster Sarah Real started brewing on a hot plate, writing and revising her own recipes. Together with co-founder and general manager Mike Dell’Aquila, Sarah then wrote a business plan during the pandemic, and the rest is history.

Hot Plate head brewster Sarah Real and general manager Mike Dell’Aquila celebrating behind the bar at their soft opening on Thursday, February 2. Photo courtesy of Hot Plate Brewing Company.

However, this woman on the verge would be remiss if she didn’t mention that Sarah Real is also answering the call for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the craft beer industry, as a Latina brewster and brewery owner. To wit, earlier on her road-to-beer success, she collaborated with commercial breweries through the Pink Boots Society, which supports “women and non-binary individuals in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry through education.” Amen.

Of course, donning a Notorious RBG t-shirt while pulling the perfect pour or tapping a new keg has to be good for business, right? (Rhetorical question only.) If a picture is worth a thousand words, this one says it all:

Sarah Real connects with Hot Plate customers while channeling the notorious RBG. Photo courtesy of Hot Plate Brewing Company.

Sarah’s smile mirrored my own upon entering Hot Plate on Thursday. I have a friend who lives on the sixth floor of the building where the brewery is located. Said friend texted on Thursday afternoon to warn us just how packed Hot Plate was at 4:15 pm, just minutes after the doors opened.

No sweat. We simply delayed our grand entrance until later in the evening when there was still a good crowd, just a more navigable one.

No sooner had I walked into Hot Plate than my friend Rick appeared. He and I used to work together, and because Rick is a fellow beer buff, he’s a happy-go-lucky guy—great brewery company.

My friends and I ordered two flights of beer. They were everything I had hoped for: relaxing, crafty, and chill.

The obligatory beer flights offered a sample of what Hot Plate Brewing Company had to offer at their soft launch. Photo by Sarah Wright.

Bottom line: Hot Plate is the perfect rendezvous for beer lovers near and far. Hop over to Hot Plate for the welcoming vibe, the growlers, and the only Latina/woman-owned brewpub around. Hot Plate is located at 1 School Street, Pittsfield, MA. Soft launch hours are Monday through Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday, 4-11 p.m.; Saturday, 12-11 p.m.; and Sunday, 12-9 p.m.

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But Not To Produce.