The Berkshires is a rural region in the mountains of western Massachusetts, dotted with quaint villages and towns. A popular vacation destination, it’s known for outdoor activities, fall foliage–viewing, a farm-to-table food scene and thriving arts institutions. More recently, it’s become a Mecca for craft beer fans.
The beauty of the Berkshires now has the Berkshire Beer Trail to add to its list of worthy attractions. Recently, the trail was enhanced by the addition of Antimony Brewing, the vision of former chemical engineer Rob Trask.
Growing up in the town of Lee, the heart of Berkshire County, Rob’s ties to the landscape, culture, and community are strong. After several years as a chemical engineer, he decided to make a switch to business and finance.
A few years later, a car accident put his life on hold and while in recovery, with a baby on the way, his priorities changed. Presented with an opportunity to buy a restaurant and have control of his own hours and destiny, Rob decided that was the way to go.
Taking over the restaurant in Lee, MA was ultimately a great move and after several years of success, his ongoing interest in home-brewing and developing the restaurant’s draft lineup led to Rob’s decision to open a brewery and create a destination.
The biggest obstacles Rob faced were finding the right location and the cost of renovations. After three years of searching, he eventually came across a building that had previously contained a similar business and had everything necessary to have both a brewery and a restaurant. The abandoned building required a significant investment, but the location in central Berkshire County was a big selling point (as was the 90-plus-room hotel across the street). Being adjacent to Kennedy Park, popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and cross-country skiers, was another boon.
Things were coming together and during the search for the right location, Rob also put considerable effort into sussing out the best brewing equipment available. He heard that Specific equipment was excellent and the support was top notch, but it wasn’t until he visited other Specific customers and heard their unanimous praise that he was convinced there was no other option.
With the equipment in place, the kitchen renovated and a chef ready go, Rob brought on Jeff Egan as the head brewer making Antimony Brewing ready to launch. When the doors opened in June, business levels were crazy, but with the colours of Fall being such a big attraction in the Berkshires, Antimony Brewing had a record-breaking weekend in October. It’s no wonder, offering 14 varieties of delicious beer, American fare “scratch cooking”, live music every week, indoor and outdoor seating – Complete with firepits and heaters, it has everything the doctor ordered.
You can take the man out of chemical engineering, but you can’t take chemical engineering out of the man. This explains the name and logo. Antimony is the 51st element on the periodic table and it is known as the “wolf of metals”, devouring everything except gold. According to Rob, antimony bonds well with other materials and was used to purify gold during the age of alchemy. Hence, the double wolf head symbolizes being “bonded by beer.”
Rob’s plans for the future are to take things one day at a time and work on growing the brand. He feels fortunate to have assembled an amazing team who have both the talent and energy to ensure lasting success. With Antimony Brewing in the centre of the Berkshire Beer Trail, they will without a doubt be one of the favourite stops for anyone looking to improve their day.