Blond ale, red ale, Berliner Weiss aged with different fruits — the glasses stand on a bar made from a local sugar maple tree. Andrew Crane and Nick Whalen opened the Shire Breu-Hous in the Stationery Factory in downtown Dalton in late summer, and even in its first months visitors were coming from as far away as Cambridge and Albany by word of mouth.
It has taken three years of work, they said, to turn a corner of the old mill into a restaurant and microbrewery — they have a dozen brews on tap. Their Rye aged imperial milk stout has a taste of vanilla and whiskey. Crane and Whalen are planning an English bitters, served warm in the traditional way.
They grow their own hops and harvest the mint for the mint lager from the Crane family’s century-old mint plant, and they source local ingredients for brews like their Saison, a Belgian beer. Traditionally, they say, a farmer would make for the farm workers out of whatever he had available.
They are also working with local farms: They get local malt from Turner Hill Farm, a fourth-generation dairy farm in Egremont, and meat and vegetables for the restaurant from Holiday Farm in Dalton and others. They also donate to local organizations. They want Shire Breu-Hous to be an old-world pub, Whalen says, a neighborhood pub. “People can walk here.”