Sea Dog Brewing Company, South Portland, ME

 

We went on a little brewery hopping trip in Portland, Maine near the end of the summer. We were with Megan’s sister Sam and her boyfriend Dustin. We went to some places we hadn’t been before, and Sam and Dustin wanted to visit Sea Dog. We visited the South Portland location, which is definitely outside the downtown Portland are.

 

 

Sea Dog opened in 1993 with a single location in Camden, Maine. Sea Dog is now owned by the two men who own Shipyard Brewing Company. We thought this was an interesting description, not owned by Shipyard but owned by the owners of Shipyard.

There are Sea Dog “Brewpub” locations in Camden, Bangor, Topsham and South Portland, Maine. Also in North Conway, New Hampshire as well as Clearwater and Orlando, Florida.

 

 

On their website they say: Our beers are brewed in a traditional English style using only the highest quality ingredients like English two-row malted barley and British top-fermenting Ringwood yeast. Our English brewing results in brews with a distinctive, refreshing taste and crisp finish.

 

Each couple got a flight of beers to share, you can pick
your own. Either 6 or 10 beers, we both got 6.

 

Bluepaw Wild Blueberry Ale     4.6%
Very, very light beer with a blueberry flavor. A wheat ale base, we all agreed it had a good blueberry flavor, natural and not syrupy.

 

Raspberry Ale     4.5%
Not quite as good as the blueberry but pretty decent. A light wheat ale with raspberry flavor.

 

 

Sunfish Wheat Ale     4.6%
Megan, Sam and Dustin really liked this. Flavorful, good mix of peach and grapefruit flavors. More peach on the nose and grapefruit on the finish. Mark did not really like this because of the grapefruit flavor, just personal preference.

 

Summer Ale
Mildly fruity, a light summer ale, basic but decent. Megan thought it was citrusy.

 

 

Old Gollywobbler Brown Ale     4%
Clear but copper colored. The sweetness stands out the most, described as ‘rich and malty’ but we didn’t get that, a mild, sessionable, sweet brown ale.

 

Hazelnut Porter     5.6%
Bitter barley flavor, dark, a little roasty, not much nuttiness. Did not quite match the description or what we were hoping for.

 

 

We were actually impressed with most of the beers. They do a good job
with the light, fruity beers. It was better than we were expecting.

 

 

 

Hours

Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 1:00
Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 – 1:00

 

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Bone Up Brewing Company, Everett, MA

We visited Bone Up Brewing Company in Everett, Ma. They are located in the same neighborhood as Night Shift, which we went back to visit while in the area.

The husband-wife team of Bone Up Brewing started brewing at their location May 2016, after a long renovation process. They describe their beers as ‘American brewing with a Belgian accent’. Their tagline is ‘made from ingredients’ so their is a little bit of sass there.

 

 

It turns out the day we visited they were celebrating their 1 year anniversary of opening the tasting room. We actually had to wait in line to get in. They had the whole parking lot roped off for the party.

 

 

They serve full pours, half pours and flights of 4 beers for $8. We ordered flights, and they come with your choice of a small snack.

 

Key Lime – white ale     4.8%
A light beer with a strong key lime flavor. They were going for maximum fruit flavor and got it, might have been a touch too much key lime for Mark, but pretty good for Megan.

 

 

Jollybringer – tripel aged in triple sec barrels      8.6%
Mild Belgian taste, fairly sweet with a touch of heat on the backend. It left a little to be desired.

 

Cosmic Showers of Love – dipa     7.5%
Smells fruity, has a mild hop character, a little bit malty with a touch of sweetness. It smelled better than it tasted unfortunately.

 

 

Gnasher – grisette     4.8%
Light, a slight peppery taste to it, mild overall but true to style.

 

Megan and Mark

 

Their tasting room is pretty small, a long bar with a few small tables. It was crowded when we were there, but they did a good job serving everyone. We went outside to have our beers.

 

 

 

Dustin and Sam enjoying their beers.

 

Sam insisted on taking Megan’s phone and
taking pictures, so we used them!

 

 

Hours

Wednesday: 3:00 – 11:00
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 12:00 – 11:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 8:00

Mystic Brewery, Chelsea, MA

We recently visited Mystic Brewery with Megan’s sister Sam and Sam’s boyfriend Dustin. We have only had 1 beer from Mystic before, it as good, and we’ll get into that later.

 

 

Mystic is located in Chelsea, MA and have their own parking lot, which is always a plus, especially in a city. According to their website:

Mystic Brewery is a brewery specializing in farmhouse-style
ales
utilizing locally sourced yeast and other ingredients. Drawing on historical methods, our increased focus on fermentation allows us to impart a sense of unique
New England terroir into all of our beer.

 

 

They have a pretty big bar and a big tasting room with picnic tables and plenty of standing room. They serve flights of 4 beers, full pours, and have bottles for consumption on premise. Mark got a flight, Sam and Dustin shared a flight, and Megan got a sample and full pour.

 

Flare – ipa     7%
Supposed to be a ‘juicy, cloudy’ ipa. It had an odd bitterness, not very juicy and not quite enough body to it.

 

Saison Renaud     6.5%
A fairly basic Saison, peppery flavor from the saison yeast.

 

 

Aperture – belgian white    5%
Light, bright, good fairly standard belgian white.

 

Mosaic Position – dipa    8.4%
Smells super hoppy, pretty smooth, cloudy, not quite as hoppy as it smells but pretty tasty.

 

Voltage – ipa     7%
The best ipa Mark thought. Cloudy, juicy, not that much body to it, maybe they don’t use as many oats in their neipa’s,  but a good beer.

 

 

Wild Field Beer – saison with Brett
Megan liked this beer, good thing because she got a full pour of it! Mark was hoping for a little more sourness from it, it had more of a funky tartness, typical of Brett.

 

 

We had a little trouble deciding what to order, with flights, full pours and bottles available. Mark wanted to try the ipa’s, but overall they were just ok. Since they focus farmhouse styles and have some other styles, maybe we should have tried some of their other beers. A lot of the bottles they had available sounded interesting, but we were both driving so we could not indulge too much.

 

 

 

There is a lot of rustic wood and some really big beams
that give the tasting room a cool vibe.

 

 

We drank this bottle of Entropy at home, Megan got it as a Christmas gift. Bottled in 2014, it is uncarbonated, on purpose, a”still” ale, aged in French and American oak, and was 14.2% !

This is the most complicated beer Mystic Brewery makes. entropy is fermented in four stages, with four different yeasts. A house Trappist strain “brings out earthiness and dark fruit, amplified and rounded by a French white wine yeast.” A six-month fermentation with Sherry yeast follows, and the beer is completed with an English barleywine yeast.

It had a definite oaky flavor, with a hint of red wine. That’s what we tasted, a very complicated flavor  with scents of vanilla, sherry and almonds.

 

Hours

Monday – Saturday: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 to 7:00

 

Oxbow Brewing Company, Newcastle, ME

 

We were up visiting Megan’s Aunt, Uncle and cousin in the Boothbay area near the end of the summer. Oxbow was our third visit of the day, we had visited Boothbay Craft Brewery as well as Split Rock Distilling. Megan’s family was curious about Oxbow Brewery, and we had heard a lot of good things about their beer. We visited the brewery in Newcastle, Maine. This is the location where the brewing is done, in a rural, wooded area.

 

 

They also have a tasting room in Portland, Maine. Portland is their blending and bottling location. Not sure how they transport the beer down to Portland, but it is smart to have a tasting room in Portland.

 

 

We have heard good things about Oxbow, but have not visited or had any
beer from them, until now. From their website they say:


Oxbow is an American farmhouse brewery specializing in
traditional Belgian-style ales with contemporary American
influence. We brew small batches of beer in a renovated
barn in rural Newcastle, Maine.

 

 

They had 5 drafts on sale to sample, as well as bottles to purchase for on site consumption. We got a flight of all 5 beers. Aunt Terri and Uncle Steve just tried 1 or 2 samples on their own.

 

Luppolo – italian style pils     5%
Decent flavor, a light bodied lager, not that interesting though.

 

Loretta – grisette    4%
Very light to drink, with a mild farmhouse funk flavor, mildly hoppy. Nothing too crazy, but it did have and interesting, complicated flavor profile. Aunt Terri said it was very light and easy to drink.

 

 

Farmhouse Pale Ale    6%
Starts with a typical Saison flavor, followed by some Citrus hop flavor. The hops balance the Saison flavor nicely, pretty tasty beer overall.

 

Grizacca – american grisette     5%
Pretty good beer, farmhouse flavor with a good citrusy dry hopped flavor.

 

 

Momoko – barrel aged farmhouse ale    7%
Very, very good beer.  It smelled fantastic, like peaches and you could smell that it was sour. Strong peach flavor with a good sourness to it. This is the type of beer we were hoping for and looking for. We bought 2 bottles to go.

 

Seating inside the tasting room, barrels and stools.

 

 

 

There is plenty of seating outside in different area’s on the
grounds. And some farm life out and about.

 

 

Mark and Megan

 

 

Mural on 1 of the buildings

 

 

Summer hours. Check for seasonal hours, their hours do vary.

Split Rock Distilling, Newcastle, ME

 

We were in the coastal Maine area near the end of summer to visit with Megan’s Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. We went on a mini-alcohol tour featuring two breweries and a distillery.

Split Rock Distilling was our second stop after Boothbay Craft Brewery. Split Rock is located in Newcastle, Maine, which is just a short drive from Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta.

Split Rock is named after the road traveled by owners Matt and Topher in order to meet. Each spirit is small batch, created with organic grains, organic fruit and organic sugar. Yes, their creations are all organic!

 

Megan and Mark

 

Split Rock is an inviting place, whether you spend your time outside or inside. Plenty of tables and games are available outside, as well as local food vendors (check out their facebook and website for who is coming next!).

 

Jenn and Aunt Terri waiting for us outside

 

Scheduled food truck

 

Washers

 

Jenga

 

Inside, you step up to the bar to try a sample, or buy a mixed drink using their organic spirits.

Matt, one of the owners/distiller, served us our samples. Organic Blueberry Vodka, Organic White Whiskey, Organic Bourbon Whiskey and Organic Gin.

Organic Blueberry Vodka
Uncle Steve and Aunt Terri had two bottles of this at their Maine house… so Megan knew we were in for a treat. Split Rock takes their Organic Vodka and steeps Native Maine blueberries to create each batch. It was very strong, as you would hope a vodka is. After trying it straight, we tried it with a bit of lemonade, and it became the perfect summer drink.

Organic White Whiskey
Made from corn, barley and wheat. Megan was impressed with how smooth it was! It was a bit too harsh for Uncle Steve to enjoy straight.

Organic Bourbon Whiskey
This is Uncle Steve’s favorite. Their White Whiskey, barrel aged for 3-5 months in 5 gallon barrels. Very good, even smoother than the White Whiskey.

 

 

Organic Gin
Their recipe is top secret, but this is the second Gin Megan has actually liked. Usually, when she thinks of Gin, she thinks of the time when one of her friends handed her a gin and tonic and it was quickly passed along … Their organic Gin is citrus forward, with a peppery throat. Star anise is present as well. Complex, in a wonderful way!

 

Prefer a cocktail?

One of Uncle Steve’s favorite items there is organic maple syrup they sell made in Jackson, Maine. Frontier SugarWorks currently ages their organic maple syrup in Split Rock’s Bourbon Whiskey barrels. They didn’t have any available at this time, but they expect it to come in again this fall.

We also had the opportunity to try a secret project Matt is working on…

This was absolutely AMAZING, and we hope that you are able to make it for more than just for personal use.

Matt telling Mark about the distilling process

 

What to go home with?

 

Enjoyed a cocktail while you were there? All ingredients are available to take home, and recreate the perfect cocktail!

 

We ended up buying a bottle of Gin, Bourbon and Blueberry Vodka!

 

Want to visit?

Normal Tasting Room Hours
Open on the 4th of July
Monday – Thursday: Noon – 6 pm
Friday and Saturday: Noon – 7 pm
Sunday Noon – 5 pm
or by appointment call 563-2669

 

Boothbay Craft Brewery, Boothbay, ME

 

 

We went up to visit Megan’s Aunt Terri, Uncle Steve and cousin Jennifer in the Boothbay Harbor area. They were excited for us to try some of the local beer and liquor offerings. They had visited Boothbay Craft Brewery before and had their beers on tap, but this was our first time here.

 

 

Boothbay Craft Brewery offer flights of 4, 6 or 10 beers, as well as full pours of any beer. You check off the beers you want for a flight on the menu and drop it of at the bar. We sat outside so they brought the flights out to us. It was a little expensive at $3 a taster.

 

 

10 Lewis Ale – session ipa     5%
Light body, but a good amount of hops for a session ale, on the citrusy side.

 

Ken Brown – brown ale     5.6%
A mild caramel flavor with a light body, pretty mild overall for a brown ale. Made to be a drinkable beer, we assume. Aunt Terri likes this beer, easy to drink but has a good flavor she said.

 

Aunt Terri with her pint of Ken Brown

 

633 – flagship pale ale     6.33%
Mild body, a touch of sweetness, maybe from the vienna and caramel malts. It was not overly malty, but there was some sweetness. Citrus hop flavor with a touch of bitterness. This was actualy a well balanced beer, in a good way, a good pale overall. Mark bought a 4 pack.

 

Fear Not – belgian inspired blonde ale     6.5%
An interesting beer. Belgian yeast flavor is present, typical spice and clove flavors, but not over powering, with a fairly light body.

 

 

Southporter – vanilla porter     6.5%
Mild porter body, dark in color but not that heavy, with a nice vanilla flavor to it. This was a good beer, everyone liked this one. The vanilla came from a ‘house made vanilla extract made from spiced rum’. We bought some of this as well.

 

Black Rocks – nitro stout     6.7%
A dark and bitter beer. A decent stout, smooth from the nitro, but just ok overall, not a stand out to us.

Uncle Steve with his flight of 4 dark beers

 

Bread and Buttercup – spiced squash beer     6.8%
This is their fall seasonal beer. Too much though. Spicy, medium body, maybe taste too much liked spiced squash for a beer? Uncle Steve said too much clove flavor.

 

Thirsty Botanist – juicy NEIPA     7%
Fairly clear for a New England IPA. Has the typical light body and juicy hop flavor Mark has come to expect when it is described as a juicy NEIPA. Definitely taste like a good amount of dry hopping was done, menu mentions Citra, Mosaic and Amarillo. This beer was a little bit of a surprise, it was a really good NEIPA. Mark bought a 4 pack of this, too.

 

Cryptos – triple IPA     11.2%
This was a seasonal summer release, interesting choice for a summer, an 11.2% beer! Hoppy, with a decently strong body to it. For 11.2% it was pretty smooth, but a strong and flavorful beer overall.

 

 

Steganos – barrel aged imperial stout     12%
A seasonal, July release. Strong – bourbon, coffee/ cocoa bitterness. A decent beer, but definitely a strong barrel aged flavor to it.

 

Look at the colors in Megans flight

 

 

 

They have a porch off to the side with outdoor furniture
and umbrella’s. We sat outside because it was a nice day.

 

 

 

They have a bocce court as well, which is fun and unique.

 

 

Chickens! They got pretty close to us.

 

 

We also ran into the owners and publishers of Edible Maine.  We
might have run into them at our next visit … or 2.

 

A peak inside the brewery.

 

 

Seating in the restaurant

 

Overall, the beer and the atmosphere was pretty nice. They also have RV packages listed on their website. They must have some RV spots out behind the brewery and restaurant.

The Watershed Tavern is the name of the restaurant that is attached to the brewery. It looked fairly small inside but pretty nice. Their hours are a little strange though. We were there at the  end of the summer, we got there around 3:30 and got our flights, then were told they close at 4:00. Seemed strange for a restaurant/ brewpub to close at 4:00 on a Saturday. We were able to stay and finish our flights, so that was good. Now on their website hours are listed as 4:30 – 8:00 Wednesday – Saturday. It looks like you can stop by and buy beer from the brewers, retail hours listed as 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday.

 

 

Check their website for updated, seasonal hours.

Far From the Tree Cider, Salem, MA

We visited Far From the Tree Cider in Salem, MA with a group of friends. Far From the Tree is owned by a couple with a background and interest in wine making. It dawned on them that in New England making cider makes a lot more sense if you want to grow your own ingredients. Apples grow great in New England, grapes not as much.

 

They released their first cider in 2014, and opened the tasting room in 2015. They started with a limited variety of ciders released in bottles, but now have a wide variety of styles and seasonal releases in bottles and cans.

 

We had wanted to visit here for a while after searching and finding a special release of theirs, Lei, a pineapple jalapeno cider that was fantastic.

 

Bre, Sammie and Megan

 

Deryl, Mark and Dustin

 

 

They had flights or full pours available, we started with flights and a few of us got full pours after.

 

Megan drinking

 

Roots – 6.9%
Original barrel aged cider. This was a very dry cider, light, not sweet at all.

 

 

Granny MacCort’s Blend – 7.5%
Still a dry cider but slightly sweeter than Roots. Made with Granny Smith, Cortland, and Mcintosh apples.

 

 

Nova
A dry hopped cider. You can smell the dry hopping, more pine on the nose but tropical flavors dominate on the pallet. A good cider, everyone liked it, Mark like the additional flavors from the dry hopping but Megan liked it as well, as the hops were not too much for her.

 

 

Gallagher’s Hammer – 7.3%
Smells and tastes like melon, more like melon than watermelon, but still pretty tasty.

 

 

Apple of My Chai – 7.5%
Smells strongly of chai, tastes like Chai with a hint of cinnamon though Mark. Bre and Megan really liked this cider, Bre went specifically looking for this one. They both bought cans to go of this.

 

 

 

Mark and Megan with cider to go

 

 

They have a pretty large patio outside with picnic tables, chairs and umbrellas. It more than doubles the space they have inside, which is great for the nice weather.

 

 

There was no door to the patio, you have to go through the building. We had a little trouble finding the door, it was hidden in a mural.

 

 

They had a food truck, The Porch, there that day so Mark and Bre got some food, mac and cheese and pulled pork sandwhichs.

 

There is not very ample  parking there, they have just a few spots and there is limited street parking. We parked down the street.

 

 

Cool murals inside.

 

 

Bre and Deryl

 

Mark and Megan

 

Sorry, no cute pic of Dustin and Sammie, just Sammie and her cider

 

 

 

 

Hours

Monday – Thursday: 4:00 – 10:00
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 -11:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 10:00