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(left to right) Owner Rob Trask and Brewmaster Jeff Egan
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Trask has a background in background in chemical engineering.

Antimony Brewing Works to Build Connections in the Community

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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Antimony’s serves pizza, seafood, steaks, and burgers.

LENOX, Mass.—A little over a year ago, 51 Park Restaurant & Tavern, Rob Trask, tapped into a new type of restaurant with the opening of the brewery Antimony Brewing - Craft Brewery & Kitchen.

Following years of location scouting, renovating the space, and preparation, the restaurant opened with the mission to build connections through food, entertainment, and, of course, beer. 

Since its opening on Memorial Day last year, the brewpub, located at 55 Pittsfield Rd, seems to have been embraced by the community, garnering regulars and "a lot of compliments," Trask said. 

"A lot of the condo owners out back are very excited to have the building refurbished, turned around, and have something local for them to go to," he said. 

"We see a lot of regulars coming back. We have a mug club called the Wolfpack and a lot of Wolfpack members who joined when we first opened last year have rejoined for 2024. So that's a good sign."

For $200 a year Wolfpack members get "exclusive access to perks & benefits" including a free antimony brewing wolf pack t-shirt, 10 percent off merchandise, a free stein pour and meal on their birthday, early access to new beer releases, and more. The membership is limited to 100 members per year. More information here

"The community has given us nothing but praise, providing praise on an ongoing basis. They say that they love the fact that we're here being able to create craft beers here. We have a scratch kitchen. They're really, really excited that we're here and they've embraced us with open arms," General Manager Michael Brenes said. 

Building connections through beer and food is ingrained in the business from its name, business partnerships, and mission to bring people together through food, beer, and live entertainment. 

"The name, Antimony was a play on the restaurant name and [Trask's] background in chemical engineering, as it has the element has the atomic number 51," the website says. "Antimony means not alone so it also becomes a great connection for the vision of the brewery as we strive to bring the community together to share good times over great beer."

The logo of the two wolves further plays on this theme by referencing the atomic number's nickname "wolf of metals," which further demonstrates the pub's mission to build connections as "the wolf is a pack animal that thrives in the company of others," the website read. 

The pub brews all its beer in its seven-barrel brew house on site which can also produce 210 gallons of mead. Each batch can take two to three weeks to produce. 

The location being centrally located brings in people from all over the area, Trask said. Although they initially expected a certain age group to be interested in the restaurant, the demographic has been very widespread, from families with children, and seniors, to young professionals in their 20s and 30s.

"I think one of the things that really differentiates us is having a full-service restaurant. There are a couple other [breweries] that have restaurants, but the majority of them are strictly breweries. So I think that helps in bringing a lot of people in," Trask said

Trask said when they first opened a lot of people thought they were only going to serve beer but "pretty much everyone wanted food." He said this is typical which is why a lot of breweries are starting to bring in food trucks or temporary food offerings for their customers.

Antimony's serves pizza, seafood, steaks, and burgers. 

"The goal was to have a lot of great food that's, you know, good with beer. But trying to keep it like a good mix where  It's not just one focus. It's trying to serve as a large demographic," Trask said. 

"So, entrees as far as seafood and steaks. We have bought burgers. The most popular are burgers and chicken sandwiches, but we have pizzas and soups and specials each week. So, we're always trying to change it up and improve it."

Since introducing the pub's Antimony burger, it alone has received close to 10,000 orders, he said. 

Similar to its eclectic clientele, the craft brewery serves between 12 and 13 types of beer from its most popular Inner Displacements to its newest flavor Triple Chocolate Coldhead. 

The Triple Chocolate Coldhead was created in collaboration with Chocolate Springs Cafe,  located across the street at 55 Pittsfield Rd. 

"Basically, I use cacao husks in the mash, chocolate in the boil, and then nibs in the fermenter. So, that's where the triple-triple chocolate name comes from," Brewmaster Jeff Egan said. 

As for the mead, brewing it in-house allows them to fully control the quality of their product, Egan said. 

"When you're brewing in house, you have full control over everything that goes in from the water, to the grain, to the hops, to the yeast, and all the process steps," Egan said. 

"I'm big on if your process is good, that's what's going to make it better. So, that's where you get a huge advantage, you can control every step of the process."

To help build a community space the pub also holds events by partnering with local businesses and artists including a terrarium building class, a candle workshop, and more.

"Working for the company has been nothing short but amazing. The ambiance and atmosphere here is always exciting. We have live music that plays here on the weekends and the kind of commentary that we receive here on an ongoing basis is that customers are really, really happy that we are here," Brenes said. 

Full line up for musical events here

Prior to opening the location, which had been abandoned for four years, underwent a major renovation from the piping, to the plumbing, and installation of the brewery and the infrastructure for the brewery.

"Luckily, the kitchen was fairly intact, but all the bathrooms were redone. The dining room was totally reconfigured to have a different feel, a different vibe in the space," Trask said. 

Despite Trask's initial reservations, the pub brewery launched on Memorial Day last year.

Trask wanted to open in the dead of winter, when it is quiet to allot more time to work on training and to iron out the kinks.

One of their challenges was trying to hire a big enough staff, Trask said. 

"You see the staffing shortage in the Berkshires and everywhere,” he said. “So it was a hurdle."

Since opening they have been working on filling staff after the initial a large portion of staff went back to college in August. They have also been retraining to keep the service level up and maintaining the consistency of the food, he said. 

"We're working on that throughout this time. You know, things are feeling like they're really coming together. But it may take several months to kind of pull all the levers to get things where you want them to be" Trask said. 

More information on the pub here

 


Tags: brewery,   restaurant,   

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Ventfort Hall's 2024 Season: Reviving the Spirit of Festival House

LENOX, Mass. — Ventfort Hall is preparing for its 2024 season with a theme inspired by the 1950s Festival House era. 
 
The 2024 season at Ventfort Hall takes inspiration from the work of Bruno and Claire Aron and their daughters Madeline and Judy during the 1950s. A Jewish family, the Arons transformed Ventfort Hall into an inclusive resort, welcoming individuals from all walks of life and making it a hub for cultural expression. 
 
The Aron family embarked on this venture after experiencing a marked exclusion from Berkshire society as Jews.
 
"I'm thrilled Ventfort Hall is honoring my family's vision and the era of Festival House," Madeline Aron, daughter of Bruno and Claire said. "It was clear there was a vacuum in the area for places that were welcoming to anyone and everyone. Festival House became a magnet for diverse community and cultural expression. It was such an enriching time and its impact planted a seed for expanded accessibility to the beauty of the Berkshires and its cultural gems like Tanglewood.”
 
Season Highlights Include:
  • An exhibit titled "Breaking Glass & Breaking Barriers: An Obscured History of Baseball in the Berkshires," curated by Larry Moore, running from June 1 to September 20. This exhibit focuses on the stories of women and people of color in Berkshire baseball history. 
  • The Ventfort Hall Artist in Residence 2024 program, in partnership with the Berkshire Art Center, will provide a residency for a local Berkshire Artist, giving access and resources to an artist from a marginalized community within the Berkshires.
Public Events Schedule for 2024:
  • May 12: Mother's Day Tea
  • May 18-19: Community Weekend (Free Days!)
  • June 11: Tea & Talk with Louise Levy on "Mary Todd Lincoln- Hostess & Housewife" (2023 Encore and part I of II) 
  • June 18: Tea & Talk with Victoria Ross on "The Lenox Bachelors: The Misses Kate Carey, Heloise Meyer, and Mary Depeyster Cary"
  • June 25: Tea & Talk with Kathy Sheehan on "The Fox Sisters"
  • June 27: Concert: Piano Extravaganza by Prima Music Foundation
  • July 2: Tea & Talk on the History of Festival House
  • July 3, 4 & 5: Events to be announced
  • July 9: Tea & Talk with Elizabeth Winthrop on "Daughter of Spies, Wartime Secrets, Family Lies"
  • July 13: Paranormal Investigation with David Raby
  • July 16: Tea & Talk with Larry Moore on "Baseball in the Berkshires"
  • July 23: Tea & Talk: Claire Shomphe & Chelsea Gaia on "Beautiful But Deadly"
  • July 30: Tea & Talk: Victoria Christopher Murray presents "The Personal Librarian"
  • August 1: Concert: Prima Music Foundation's Jazz of the Gilded Age
  • August 6: Tea & Talk: Eleanor Martinez Proctor on "Untold Lives: Recovering the Histories of Eustis Estate Workers"
  • August 13: Tea & Talk: Chelsea Gaia on "Floriography, The Language of Flowers"
  • August 15: Concert: Prima Music Foundation's Chamber Music Soiree
  • August 20: Tea & Talk: Kate Baisley on "Hair and Makeup Through the Eras of Ventfort Hall.”
  • August 24: Special Event: Michelle LaRue in "Someone Must Wash The Dishes: An Anti-Suffrage Satire"
  • August 27: Tea & Talk: Louise Levy on “The Haunting of Mary Lincoln” (Mary Todd Lincoln Part II) 
  • August 29: Concert: Opera Meets Hollywood by Prima Music Foundation (Fundraiser & Season Closer)
 
Tickets, Memberships & More:
 
To purchase tickets and memberships, or to learn about Volunteer opportunities and upcoming events, visit GildedAge.org.
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