Big Elm Brewing, Sheffield, MA

We visited Big Elm Brewing in Sheffield, MA, while we were on vacation out in the Berkshires. They have been brewing beer as Big Elm Brewing since 2012. The owners are a husband wife team who have plenty of experience brewing. They actually owned and operated a brewpub in the area, but left the business of running a restaurant to focus on just brewing.
They have a small bar, but a pretty big tasting room, basically 2 adjoining rooms.
Cool lamps above the bar that they made from malt bags.
They sell flights as well as 8 oz pours and 16 oz pours. We
got 2 flights of 4 so we could try most of the beers.
American Lager      5%
Clean, crisp and on point for the style, but a little too boring for us.
Luna      6%
Pretty good for a blonde, apricot notes maybe, it had a little something extra that was nice.
413 Farmhouse Ale      6%
Had a slightly fruity/funky aroma. Megan liked this beer, easy drinking with a pleasant farmhouse funk to it.
Lion’s Ale      5.3%
Darker in color, we were not sure quite what it was, the style was not written on board, it was not hoppy. Megan was not really a fan. We found out from their website it was an amber ale.
Zorro – Golden Sour      6%
Not very sour. Had a golden-mildly tart flavor upfront with a dry finish, but not in a salty gose way.
Thunderlips – New England Pale Ale     6%
Fruity hoppy smell, but that does not come through on the flavor. Kind of bland flavor in the middle with a hoppy bitterness at the end.
Big Elm IPA      7%
Mark- super different hops. Spicy and clove. Unusual flavors for an ipa. Megan said it was creamy, which was different for an IPA
Gerry Dog Stout      6.5%
This was the best beer we thought. Mildly chocolate flavor, really smooth, no bitterness.
 We peeked out back, they have pretty decent sized tanks. They also do all their own canning. They sell their beer to go in cans, on a limited rotation it seems, and also do growler fills.
 Hours
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00
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Backyard Brewery and Kitchen, Manchester, NH

Backyard Brewery and Kitchen is a fairly new brewpub in Manchester, NH. They opened in July of 2017 and have been getting pretty good reviews from what we have heard.

 

Backyard Brewery and Kitchen is a new venture to revitalize this very large restaurant space. The Yard restaurant was in this location since 1975. The owner wanted to modernize and update the restaurant. Two of his children are co-owners as well, they decided a brewpub was the way to go.

 

The restaurant is really big inside with plenty of space for functions. The bar and main restaurant area have all been updated, but one of the side rooms still has old chairs and furniture. The inside is decorated fairly rustic, with lots of fencing made to look like you are in a backyard.

 

 

Since they are a restaurant they serve 4 oz tasters, half pints and full pints as well as flights. We all ordered a flight of 4 tasters, which was only $7.

 

 

Lazy Daze IPA – New England IPA     6.2%
A very good IPA. Classic New England style IPA, hazy, fruity tropical hoppyness dominates this beer, and it is very good.

 

MONKee Bars – Belgian Dubbel    7.6%
A dark Belgian Dubbel, malty and sweet with notes of clove and pepper, a classic Belgian Dubbel.

 

Marks flight

 

A – Line IPA – Classic IPA     7.5%
Fairly clear with a reddish tint. Hoppy as well as malty, with grapefruit and pine hoppy notes. Ok for a classic style ipa, but not really what Mark and Ian are looking for.

 

Aussie Oatback – DIPA     8.6%
A good beer, you definetely get the oats on the mouthfeel and gives it that haze. Not super hoppy for a DIPA, may be the Australian and New Zealand hops they used, very smooth at 8.6%

 

Megans flight

 

Kafija Alus – Baltic Coffee Porter     8.1%
A nice bitter coffee flavor. The coffee is well balanced in this beer.

 

Oh My Gourd – Pumpkin Spice Ale     5.5%
Megan really likes this beer. Nice pumpkin spice flavoring, a good fall beer.

 

There She Gose – Gose     4.1%
It is sour but not much else to it. It has a decent base, needs more to it though, maybe make it a fruited Gose? There wasn’t that typical salty dry finish either. We thought it was lacking a little bit.

 

Novemberfest – German Festbier     6.3%
Darker than an Oktoberfest, but pretty smooth and easy drinking, malty with a decent amount of flavor. Pretty good.

 

 

 

We were there mid afternoon so we just got a few appetizers to split. The Trailer Pork Nachos, Smothered Pretzel Tots and Chicken Fingers were all good.

 

 

Hours

Monday – Wednesday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Pipe Dream Brewing Company, Londonderry, NH

We visited Pipe Dream Brewing with our friends Ian and Stephanie. Pipe Dream Brewing is in Londonderry, NH and opened in June 2016. They are veteran owned and inspired by the west coast. A lot of their beer labels and imagery relates back to the ocean, the beach, surfing, etc.

 

They have a decent sized tasting room. We were there in early fall, they had a pretty big outdoor area with tables where we sat.

 

 

They sell 4 oz, 12oz, and 16 oz pours of their beer. Flights come in a set of 5.

 

 

West to East IPA     6.8%
Hoppy, hazy with a mild bitterness and a sweet finish. This was a good ipa, Mark and Ian both agreed.

 

 

Coffee Stout     8.5%
A good coffee stout, dark with hints of coffee, did not have that bitter coffee flavor though. Stephanie thought it was a little sweet. Megan and Ian thought it was a little thin, light in body but still pretty good.

 

Single Hop Columbus     6.8%
An earthy and bitter ipa. Mark did not like this that much, maybe just not a fan of Columbus hops on their own. We like to see them experimenting though.

 

 

Ian tried the Double IPA and liked it.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout     11.1%
This was on nitro. Smells like a pb cup. Taste like peanut butter chocolate, sweet and not bitter, a very good beer. This was on nitro, probably added to the beer, the smoothness and mouthfeel of nitro.

 

Sour Brown
A dark sour beer, obviously. Sour and a little bit sweet from the malts. Pretty good sour brown.

 

 

They are technically a brewpub because they serve food. They have a variety of sandwiches, hot and cold, pizzas, nachos and a few other options. We did not eat while there, just stopped in for a quick sample of beers. We had never been here but Ian and Stephanie had visited shortly after they opened. Ian thought the beer had improved over the last year. We liked that they could do a variety of beers well.

 

Swag room

 

 

Hours

Wednesday and Thursday: 12:00 – 8:00
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 – 10:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00

 

 

 

 

 

Bunker Brewing Company, Portland, ME

 

On our trip to Portland, Maine near the end of the summer we visited Bunker Brewing with Megan’s sister Sam and her boyfriend Dustin. None of us had been there before, or had any of their beers.

Bunker opened in 2011. They were in a tiny brick building and built a following. They were ready to expand and did so in 2016. They moved across town to their new facility and tripled their output of beer. They were able to keep their unique brick logo, and style, by moving into another industrial brick building.

 

They have a pretty big tasting room with a long bar
and a bunch of picnic tables inside.

 

 

 

They also have 4 picnic tables and umbrellas for outdoor seating. It was a little warm and sunny the day we were there so we sat inside.

 

They have 4oz, 8 oz, and some 16 oz pours available. Between all of us we tried most of the samples available. We went with with a flight of 4 oz beers each.

 

Bunktoberfest – marzen lager     6.4%
A good fall beer, had the festbier type of flavor, a little hard to describe, malty but easy drinking, pretty good beer for the style.

 

Nice Life – session ipa     5%
Decent for a session ipa, mild hops on the grassy side and a touch bitter.

 

Salad Daze – citra lager     4.7%
Smells super citrusy and tropical, taste is a little more bitter than the smell would lead you to believe. Has a smooth lager finish,ok but not great.

 

 

They had a whole series kettle soured beers, Colourz, available while we were there. We believe those are summer seasonal beers. Overall, we were happy with the Colourz series, as they were made with fruit instead of syrup and it was noticeable.

Colourz – raspberry
Tart with good raspberry taste.

 

Colourz – peach
Tart with subtle peach flavor. Megan and Sam wanted more peach flavor.

 

 

Colourz – blueberry
Tart with a good blueberry flavor.

 

Colourz – watermelon
Tart with a really good watermelon flavor. This is a hard flavor to get but they did really well. This was our favorite of the Colourz series.

 

 

 

They had some cool decor. There was cool (old we assume) tin panels behind the bar and on the columns. They have growlers to go as well as most of their beer canned, mostly 12 oz cans, some in 4 packs and some in 6 packs, but a few 16 oz cans in 4 packs as well.

 

Sam and Dustin near the bar, buying some beer….

 

They went with the Colourz Watermelon.

 

Hours

Monday – Thursday: 2:00 – 8:00
Friday: 2:00 – 9:00
Saturday: 12:00 – 9:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00

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

 

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