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Sensi

One in, One Out

Sep 13, 2018 06:21PM ● By Dan McCarthy
A snapshot of two attention-worthy eateries in and out of Boston proper.


Stone Cow Brewery
50 (B) West St., Rt. 122 / Barre MA

by Jameson Viens— Maybe it’s the smell of fresh-cut hay on the breeze, or of smoke drifting from the wood-burning grill in the open air kitchen nearby. A leisurely 90-minute drive from Boston gets you out to Barre, Massachusetts and away from the chaos of urban life. Call it magic. Call it a sojourn into a bucolic American farmland. Or just call it by its name: Stone Cow Brewery (STONECOWBREWERY.COM).

Currently in its fifth generation of ownership, the Carter & Stevens family farm serves mainly as a dairy farm, but is also home to the two-year-old brewery—an odd if affable mashup. But manager Sean DuBois says diversifying was vital if the farm was to see a sixth generation. “Dairy is at the heart of this project,” DuBois says. “It’s farm first, then brewery.”

With wholesale milk prices at an all-time low, the farm decided to broaden its consumer appeal, expanding into selling produce, local provisions, and even from-scratch ice cream made with the milk from their 200 milking cows. Stone Cow is also one of the few places you can buy fresh unpasteurized milk which, despite getting the kibosh from the FDA, is worth buying a gallon or two.
As a brewery, Stone Cow is an open-fermentation setting where suds are exposed to the open air while yeast works its magic in the brewing vessels. Modern-day brewers tend to avoid this practice, as it requires more attention and maintenance, but the reward is a depth of character and flavor

“People crave authenticity, and we’re doing things in the purest and hardest way possible,” DuBois says. The hard work is paying off, as the brewery has grown from two to ONE IN AND ONE OUT {tastebuds} A snapshot of two attention-worthy eateries in and out of Boston proper. sensimag.com SEPTEMBER 2018 21 40 employees since 2016, and regularly sees upwards of 6000 visitors on any given weekend.
While the current craft beer craze for New England-style IPAs (see: pork broth) is at fever pitch, the brewery offers a variety of styles for the hops snob and pedestrian sipper alike. Head brewer Chris Courtney, formerly of Worcester’s Wormtown Brewing, says they are close to capacity on the 14-barrel brew system. They fire up the kettles two to three times per week like clockwork and are already considering an expansion. Also on the radar are barrel-aged beers and a more robust canning operation and product line.

As with most things in New England, almost every structure on the farm has a story, including the barn itself. Following a tragic fire in 2014 (thanks to twenty-somethings, fireworks, and dry hay), the original structure was destroyed. Neighbors came to the rescue with an 1820s post-and-beam barn from down the road, which was moved and re-sided by DuBois and his family to become the main brewing facility.

“The thing about dairy farming is you have to be able to fix your own situation.” DuBois says. The whole family works on the farm. Even the massive wood-fueled barbecue smoker is a product of DIY Yankee ingenuity.

Seeing themselves as part of a growing grassroots movement in Massachusetts, the brewery and farm at large use as much local product as possible. Their exceptionally approachable strawberry sour, for example, is brewed with strawberries from Hadley, Massachusetts. The farm grows its own hops and plans to grow barley and rye in the coming year. “We try to control as much as we can, all the way to hand-splitting wood for the hot [water] tank, and heating the barns in the winter,” says DuBois. “Not to get too spiritual, but I look out at the farm and think about all the people that have cultivated this land, and how we are connected through time, and what my role is in this.” Certainly a major part of that role is as a hub for the community. The farm hosts various obstacle courses and races such as the Navy SEAL-inspired Bonefrog Challenge and the Reebok Spartan race, which draws close to 13,000 guests. Between the yoga nights, farm workshops, weekly local music, and the upcoming Harvest Fest on Columbus Day weekend, it’s no wonder those suffering at the hands of the MBTA during the week are venturing out to get a dose of the good life on the brew farm. There’s an unmistakable sense of peace and tranquility here. Families, older couples, and beer geeks alike converge on some of the most fertile and verdant space in the state. “Breweries are the new public house,” DuBois said. “I’m just along for the ride.”

One tip before you go: Wear dark clothes. It helps hide the stains from a wide-impact blast radius after you dive face-first into a plate of ribs and endless pints of ale. It’s the American way, really.

 

Orá Trattorizza
653 Boyslton St. / Boston / 617-247-1212

by Dan McCarthy— One of life’s greatest lessons embraced by those of a particular philosophical disposition, is that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Nietzsche is the source of that axiom.

And while there’s no hard proof that he added “Also, when there’s a new spot for killer Neapolitan style pizza in Boston’s Back Bay, forged in an imported hand-built brick oven from the mother country for a proper taste of Italy, you go and eat there,” if he had the chance, and many other factors involved came together, he would have. Maybe. Shut up.

Anyway, feast your pie-lovin’ eyes on Orá Trattorizza, (ORATRATTORIZZA.COM) which recently threw open its doors and arms for the good of the house-made sausage, balsamic cipollini onion, and ricotta Salsiccia pizza-consuming masses. Owner Josephine Megwa, (also owner of nearby tourist and local-loved Piattini) aims to bring in the classic elements of a trattoria and pizzeria under the same roof. Hence the mashup description as being a “trattorizza” (much better than “pizzattoria,” which sounds like the name of a crappy slice joint in Idaho trying to sound authentic).

Besides the pies, which use the coveted 00 flour to achieve the primo chewy crispy crust in the Marra Forni oven, you can look forward to other apropos delights of the homeland (Mediterranean Branzino in wild mushroom sauce, killer fried calamari, Saltimbocca with prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula).

Be sure to offset all the patio lounging and people watching with a glass or three of the house Ora red or white wine sourced from their own stretch of vineyard in Tuscany.

Which reminds you—you should really look back into landing your own winery in Italy.