Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

Drinking Locally November 10, 2008

Filed under: Drinking Locally — blueheronlocal @ 4:21 pm
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(photo from by captjoe06)

(photo from by captjoe06)

Maybe the Eat Local Challenge has given you new resources for eating locally whenever possible. Maybe, like me, you did not participate in the Eat Local Challenge, but were inspired by other people’s hard work to find new ways to eat locally. We’re fortunate to live in Massachusetts, and not just because gay people can get married here.


It’s easy to sneer at the Alice Waters crowd: “Sure, eating locally all year round is a piece of cake when you live in Northern California; but what about March in New England when you haven’t seen a green vegetable in months and are beginning to worry about scurvy?!?” Although we can’t find local avocadoes sold for 10 for a dollar along the roadside, we can at least drink away the winter months in local style! (And gay people can’t get married anymore in California. Don’t get me started.). Last night, inspired by a challenge by No Egrets to find him a local milk stout, I did some research:


Beer is probably one of Massachusetts’ better local products. My favorite is the Berkshire Brewing Company’s line of delicious fresh beers. They are in South Deerfield, Mass., just down the road from Yankee Candles. They have 8 year-round ales ranging from Steel Rail IPA to Drayman’s Porter and 7 seasonal ales, such as Cabin Fever Ale, Raspberry Barley Wine, and Hefeweizen. The Coffeehouse Porter, my favorite beer ever as it combines dark beer with real coffee, is made with Dean’s Beans, a fair trade coffee roaster in Orange, Mass.


There are two breweries on the North Shore: Cape Ann Brewing Company and Mercury Brewing. Cape Ann Brewing Company based in downtown Gloucester. They make four beers: Fisherman’s Brew, Fisherman’s IPA, Fisherman’s Ale, and Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout. There are a few other beers that are forthcoming or available at the tasting room only. Fisherman’s Brew is a great medium ale and the Pumpkin Stout is subtle and tasty. Their brew pub should be open very soon (check them out at 27 Commercial St.). Also available is Fisherman’s Brew bread at Virgilio’s on Main St.


I drank Mercury Brewing Company’s Ipswich Ale in Cambridge when I first moved to New England and didn’t even know the North Shore existed (sorry, but it’s true!). You can find Ipswich Ale all around the Boston area. Their best product, in my mind, is their winter ale, which is light (but not too light!) and spicy, sure to keep you warm. Mercury Brewing Company also makes an impressive array of sodas in amazing flavors.


No local milk stout yet, but stay tuned for local spirits, and I don’t mean of the Salem variety.



What are you drinking? August 13, 2008

Filed under: Ethical Eating — blueheronlocal @ 3:40 pm
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latte art courtesy of Atomic Cafe on Cabot Street in Beverly, MA

latte art courtesy of Atomic Cafe on Cabot Street in Beverly, Mass.

I can’t stand coffee.  Not even coffee ice cream.  The smell, on an empty stomach, makes me almost nauseous. But there are all you addicts out there, and responsible coffee drinkers have a lot of issues to consider.  Goldlentil recently asked whether buying her coffee from a local roaster was better than from her standard fair trade, organic, shade grown brand.  First, kudos to goldlentil for buying lovely shade-grown (great for biodiversity), fair trade (back to the pay-your-farmers theme), and organic (generally environmentally beneficial) coffee.  All you crazed caffeine junkies who aren’t up to her standard, work on adding in a couple of those adjectives [Ed note: shade grown, fair trade, and organic is easy to find in places like Trader Joe’s] and then you can get down to the debate on local roasting. There are three major issues to consider with “local” coffee: 1. There (mostly) must be middlemen.  2. Community self-sufficiency.  3.  Coffee is inherently a luxury.