Brewery Visit: Trillium Brewing Co.
It seems like ages ago that Derek and I set off in mid February on our second Massachusetts beercation. The plan was to visit my Mom and John and crash at their place for the duration of our trip – 5 days. We had a wishlist of must stop at breweries and bottle shops. Even planned a quick jaunt to a few Maine breweries since where we were staying was near the border of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. On little scraps of paper, we fine tuned and perfected the itinerary in the few days leading up to our trip. We noted where we’d be each day at what time and how long we could afford to stay before having to be at the next stop. Maximizing our time so we could explore and hunt the most elusive craft brews in the state was the ultimate goal. A well plotted plan, indeed. We don’t mess around. #NotBeercationRookies
Fast forward to the early hours of the morning on Day 3 of our trip and Derek was illin’. I mean full blown chest/stomach pains, “we better go to the emergency room now” illin’. There at the hospital, we discovered Derek had gallstones. Several massive gallstones. “Need immediate surgery as soon as we would arrive home from our trip” gallstones. Doh! This isn’t how we wanted to spend our beercation. We were supposed to be hitting up Trillium Brewing Co on Day 3! That brewery had eluded us for a variety of reasons (mostly because there was no parking!!!) during our previous visit to Massachusetts when there was only the downtown Boston location. THIS trip was to be the time we finally got to get those luscious Trillium beers but THIS time at their new Canton, MA location. But there we sat at the hospital all Saturday long. No Trillium visit for us. Again.
But as fate would have it those pesky gallstones began making Derek even sicker. There was now no waiting until we got home to have the surgery. This surgery to remove his gallbladder was happening now! Happening 440 miles away from home. Extending our planned stay of 5 days to 17 days. While still in the recovery room, Derek’s immediate response to the extended stay news was “Who is going to take care of the beer I’m brewing at The Vegetable Hunter (back home)? And I guess now I have to send you to Trillium while I recuperate.” Umm. What?! The man just had major surgery!! There were some complications and a boat load of staples now across his abdomen and his biggest concern was about the beer?! The Beer!
He just had to have those cans to bring home. I mean, I now had a ton of time in Massachusetts to secure our wishlist beers. And, make that trip to Trillium Canton. We now facetiously started to call this vacation the “Gallstone Beer Tour.” Stay tuned for more posts about each brewery visited. But first, let’s talk Trillium.
Tucked away in an expanding manufacturing/storage zone just off of Rt 95, the new Trillium brewery and taproom is located at 110 Shawmut Road, Canton, MA. It’s a pretty quick drive from Boston if you’re not traveling during rush hour traffic.
Learning how to drive like a “Mass-hole” was part of this beercation journey. Did you know during some hours of the day certain roads turn from 3 lanes to 4 lanes by driving in the break down lane? Oh, and you have to weave in and out of cars going 80 mph only to slam on your breaks a few miles down the road when the traffic comes to a standstill. Otherwise you’re likely to get run off the road. Ha! Not really but you will get beeped at with those blaring horns that seem to sound every 10 minutes of your drive anywhere in the state. The Waze app is a must for navigating the Boston area and avoiding all them fender benders. If you’re going to Beercation right while in Massachusetts, you have to use this app.
The new 16,000 square foot facility has that industrial beauty inside and out. Rich red brick on the building’s exterior transforms into a mixture of concrete, glass and wood barrel accents in the interior space which opened its doors December 2015. Exactly what I’d expect from Trillium Brewing Co. Elegant, clean lines and raw design elements.
As you stand in the taproom or the takeout counter, you can see into the brewery and canning line. The hustle and bustle was fun to watch. Lots of beer is being made here. The facility has the capability to produce 35,000 barrels of beer a year.
The day I visited was a Wednesday. Absolutely no wait and no line to do anything. A big change from a Saturday afternoon where often I hear of long lines at both the front taproom area and the “to go cans” line toward the back of the building. Especially at the cans for takeout area. Had we gone on the Saturday afternoon we had originally planned, I was told by a fellow craft beer friend on Twitter that the wait was over an hour and cans disappeared quickly. Not everyone was able to get what they had waited in line for. Screw standing in lines. Go to Trillium Canton on a Wednesday!
Before I determined what cans of delicious things to bring home to Pennsylvania, I did my due diligence and purchased several small pours of just about everything on the tap list that day. 80s music playing overhead on the radio. “Everything you do is simply delicate. Everything you do is quite angelicate. Why can’t I be you?” sang Robert Smith of the Cure. Yeah! I could have spent way longer sitting here and sipping these sought after brews.
I should note the pricing. For half pours, expect to pay $3-6 each and for full pours $5-13 each. Pretty pricey. But well worth every penny. To me it was money well spent.
Trillium has really stepped up their brewing game over the past 2 years. Every thing I tasted was well balanced and had a delicate nuance in flavors with layers on layers of complexity. Truly art in a glass.
Even though I’m a hop head by nature, I’m really starting to dig funky and tart ales. So I was very much looking forward to trying some things from Trillium’s new barrel and wild ale program.
The Permutation Series didn’t disappoint. Permutation Series #6: Nelson Sauvin Dry Hopped Sour Wheat Ale had this wonderful musty white grape flavor notes with an overlay of tropical juiciness.
Permutation #5: Galaxy Dry Hopped Sour Wheat Ale leaned more towards a blend of lip puckering lemon and grapefruit. I wanted a little more floral flavor in this one. But still a solid brew.
“From our wild ales, fermented with our native New England mixed microbe culture, to our more hop-forward offerings, we aim to produce beer that is both approachable and engaging.” – Trillium Brewing Co.
Stillings Street IPA was all the juicy, crushable goodness I was seeking. A solid 5 rating from me in Untappd.
Fort Point Galaxy Dry Hopped Pale Ale is tropical and grassy all at the same time. An easy drinker with low bitterness.
Double Dry Hopped Melcher Street IPA is what I think one of the most perfect interpretations of a NE style IPA that you can get. There’s starting to be a lot of great options out there but this NE style IPA should go towards the top of your list of must-trys.
Free Rise Nelson Dry Hopped Saison is my go-to when drinking Trillium and this was the first time I would be able to experience a fresh pour from the source. Cans are great and all but I prefer draft beer – not an uncommon response from craft beer drinkers. Flavors are bolder, more pronounced when drinking fresh. Boat loads of apricot, lemon, peppercorn, banana with just a touch of clove in this lovely tart and funky saison.
Cellared Bottles Available
Feel like splurging on your Massachusetts beercation? Ask to check out the Cellar Bottles list. Here’s what was available the day I visited. Try not to drool.
Trillium’s beer label artwork designed by Kevin Cimo is hung on the walls around the space. Even my favorite of them all – that bone-chilling doll illustration used on the Sinister Kid Belgian strong dark ale packaging. I lucked out and got the very last women’s tee that they had left with that artwork. As if I need one more beer t-shirt! (yes. yes, I do.)
And, of course, the mother of all souvenirs are them cans. You can buy by the four pack which was nice. That way you can make a mixed case of brews.
Nope. You don’t see cases upon cases coming home with me. For one thing, I’m not a beer trader or mule. Yeah. I get a few cans for some local, close friends to try. But I don’t spend hundreds of dollars on beer just to turn around and trade it for something else that probably isn’t as good as or as fresh as what I just bought. Plus, shipping is freakin’ ridiculous. No thanks. I’ll be drinking these myself. Or if you’re a nice person, I’ll share one. (wink. wink.)
Make sure you keep your cans cold at all times. That means bring coolers of ice, put them in an insulated bag or get them in a fridge as soon as possible. The flavors won’t deteriorate as quickly. And, please, pretty please drink them and don’t hoard them. Tastes best if consumed before hitting the 3-4 month mark. Even better – drink them now!
This Just In… New Beer Garden Open
In partnership with The Greenway Conservancy, Trillium has an open-air beer garden in Boston not far from the Fort Point brewery location called Trillium Garden on the Greenway. It sits in the middle of a 17-acre park and green space between South Station transit hub and the North End of town. The beer garden operates in the summertime only.
More Massachusetts Beercation Info: