A Saturday Ramble

I bought my first-ever, brand-new car almost two years ago and I did it before turning 60! Quite the feat for me.

A Subaru Forester, stick shift no less. Built-in theft protection nowadays. Klaire, from Planet Subaru in Hanover worked with us, and while they aren’t always perfect, they’ve been a pleasure to work with. We bought into the total maintenance/protection plan they offered us because it really forces us to keep up on regular, routine (as opposed to belated, e.g., broke-down) maintenance.

Sooooo, to get to the point, we recently had the 18-month service, and Planet provides a loaner car if you drop off your vehicle for the day.

Our plan was to explore the Bridgewater Triangle area between Bridgewater and Attleboro, winding through the back roads of Hanson, Abington, and beyond. Believe it or not, there are actually still scenic back roads in eastern Massachusetts, despite open space being rapidly gobbled up by endless, repetitive, big-box-store strip mall developments.

Our first stop was donuts at Sandy’s Coffee Corner in Hanson and they did not disappoint. The counter attendant was a friendly lady, the real deal, no pretensions here, just good old-fashioned donuts and bakery. I may be a food snob (among other things), but I like down-to-earth real people, who don’t let the groovy success of their place go to their heads. ‘Nuff said on that.

Next up were twisting roads that took us over to Bridgewater, home of Bridgewater State College, surrounded by farm country, surrounded by — you guessed it — strip malls and industrial parks! But it’s amazing how you can connect to the wild unknown in unlikely ways, through people and places. For me/us (the man was with me), this is usually through food and craft — whether craft beer, craft coffee, craftwork, and more.

In Bridgewater it was coffee at the Better Bean, with latte art created by the charming barista, Peri, who is also a young Reiki practitioner. I loved the fact that her business cards were hand drawn and written by her, and the energy she radiated was so welcoming and nurturing, a loving healer. The coffee and sandwiches are stellar, the interior a bit broody, and sparse, but it has a good coffee shop vibe going on.

Next stop was Black Hat Brew Works. We had the stout which was quite good, and we would have stayed longer, but one thing we’ve discovered on our jaunts is that no matter how excellent the product may be, if the hospitality is nothing remarkable to write about, we tend to move on, and move on we did, to Crue Brew Brewery in Raynham. It’s the heart of this story, a family-run brewery owned by brothers Keith and Kevin Merritt, along with Kevin’s wife, Tammy. It’s in an industrial park, as are many breweries, and it is a large space, perfect for many of the events they host — music, yoga, cornhole, and more with the friendliest brewermaster and hardest-working owners you could ask for. Both Kevin and his wife still work other jobs, Kevin as a schoolteacher in Boston. They are also raising two adorable girls who get in on the act, and their dog reminds me of our dog, Bob!

Kevin was happy to share his crue brew mojo magic with us, and I find it particularly special that he is a hometown Raynham boy, who was determined to keep the business there. Needless to say, we bellied up to the gorgeous bar, while Randy, the redneck brewmaster (his words, not mine!), pulled some porters for us. We had some good laughs, and I learned how cans are filled, sealed and labeled. According to Kevin, Randy belly rolls the labels on!! Joking, joking! Crue Brew was definitely one of the high points of our day, and while we popped into a couple more spots on our ramble, nothing quite measured up to our Crue Brew experience. And on that note, hope to see you there on our next visit. Looking forward to some oatmeal or maybe a coffee milk stout, Randy and Kevin! And don’t worry, if you’re into IPA’s and lighter brews, Crue Brew has plenty of those!