The Taproom in Hadley features host of local beers, wines

  • Bartender Tricia Fruchterman of Sunderland pours a Brew Practitioners Yellow IPA Sept. 8, 2017 at The Taproom in Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bartender Tricia Fruchterman of Sunderland pours a Lola's Saison from Abandoned Building Brewery Sept. 8, 2017 at The Taproom in Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A flight of beer at The Taproom in Hadley. The business, which opened late last month at 1 Mills Common off Route 9, exclusively serves local beers and wines. The offerings currently being served are all made in western Massachusetts, though owner Joe Eckerle said he may expand that to include areas farther out in New England. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A seating area in The Taproom is shown Sept. 8, 2017 in Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bartender Tricia Fruchterman of Sunderland talks with customers at The Taproom in Hadley last Thursday night, the opening night for the New England Patriots. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bartender Tricia Fruchterman of Sunderland, right, chats with customers Jennifer Lapis and Tojo Rowe, both of Hadley, at The Taproom in Hadley last Thursday. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bartender Tricia Fruchterman of Sunderland, center, works while customers watch the New England Patriots game Sept. 8, 2017 at The Taproom in Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

Staff Writer
Sunday, September 10, 2017

HADLEY — Enjoying local beers and wines is certainly a favorite pastime of many in the Pioneer Valley. So it probably should not come as a surprise that Joe Eckerle has put these beverages at the very center of his new establishment — The Taproom.

Located at 1 Mills Common in Hadley, right near the junction of Mills Valley Road and Route 9, The Taproom exclusively serves local beers and wines, every single one of which is from western Massachusetts, although he said that he’s not opposed to being supplied by other breweries or wineries further out in New England.

“My idea of local is having the brewer hand-deliver their stuff,” said Eckerle, who also expressed happiness at supporting local businesses.

Right now, The Taproom serves 12 beers and five wines, from six different breweries and two different wineries. However, Eckerle said that there would be a steady variety of different beers coming through.

“You’ll see these taps rotating quite a bit,” he said.

Because the establishment has a full liquor license, Eckerle said that he would like to start selling local spirits and ciders soon.

The Taproom served its first beer on Aug. 25 and had its grand opening a day later.

“It’s been good so far,” said Jon Christenson, a bartender and one of the four employees at The Taproom. “Great people come here.”

Indeed, Christenson said that The Taproom gives people the opportunity to try multiple different craft beers in one place, from such breweries that include Scantic River Brewery in Hampden, Iron Duke Brewing in Ludlow and Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton.

Eckerle said that the location has also been complimented by patrons, as he said that there was a need for another establishment that served craft beer in-between Amherst and Northampton.

The Taproom serves no food. However, through a partnership with Wings Over Amherst, patrons can order wings on a special “Food Fone” that directly dials Wings Over Amherst.

“They love the wings phone,” said Eckerle. “It’s kind of a cult thing we’ve got going on.”

The Hangar Pub and Grill, the bar that Wings Over Amherst is based out of, also serves craft beer, though Eckerle doesn’t consider the two businesses as competitors. He said The Hangar’s owner, Harold Tramazzo,is a friend of Eckerle’s and used to be his neighbor.

Indeed, he said that a sense of camaraderie is apparent throughout the craft beer community.

“It’s a tight-knit family,” he said.

Seven of the beers on The Taproom’s menu come from Brew Practitioners Brewery & Taproom, the Florence-based brewery that’s owned by Eckerle’s wife, Tanzania Cannon-Eckerle. One of them, Practice NE IPA, was brewed in honor of The Taproom’s opening.

Eckerle said that he’s gotten an inquiry to do a murder mystery event at the bar, and hopes to have more music at the establishment. He also said he’d like to expand the size of the space in the future, as well as expand into other locations.

Asked to name their favorite beers served at The Taproom, Christenson said it was Abandoned Building’s Lola’s Saison.

“It’s a fantastic Saison,” he said. “Can’t beat it.”

Eckerle meanwhile, named Brew Practitioners’ Yellow.

“I have it on tap at my house,” he said.