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.

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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

 

Saco River Brewing, Fryeburg, ME

While we were up camping and tubing on the Saco River, we decided to visit Saco River Brewing Company, what a surprise! They opened just over a year ago, in July 2016, in Fryeburg, ME. They are located in a building or two out behind a restaurant with a decent amount of parking.

They do 4 oz pours and full pints. We ordered a 4oz pour of each beer so we could try all 7 beers they had on tap.

D.O.T. Special – Czech Pilsner     5%
Has a strong pilsner/lager taste. Strong additional flavors added by the spicy saaz hops. Not bad for a pilsner, which is neither of our favorite styles. 

Driftwood IPA – American IPA     6.5%
Pours super clear. Does have a malt presence but the hops balance that well and add a good amount of hop flavor to it. Good, not Marks favor style IPA but it’s pretty good and worth a try for IPA drinkers. 

Clearwater Pale Ale     4.8%
Pours pretty hazy. Flavor matches description ‘Easy drinking, silky mouthfeel and citrus hop character’, we agree. Nice overall hop profile (citrus) for a pale ale. 

Flip Flop IPA      6.7%
Marks immediate reaction “oohhh this is good”. Pours super hazy, you can’t see through it, a definite  New England style IPA. No malt character, all hops, on the herbal/grassy but still super tasty.

Sweet Fern Saison     4.5%
Good, easy to drink Saison while still having flavor, spicy and citrus notes. On the lighter side for a saison.

Buck Brown Ale     5.4%
Megan said it had an almost a dull coffee flavor, but in a good way, not an overly bitter coffee taste. 

Mark said pretty light overall, not very roasty, more sweet caramel with citrus. 

Old Colony Porter     6.5%
Sweet and roasty. Light body for the style, but more roasted here than the Buck Brown Ale. 

We sat outside to have our samples, it was a pretty nice day. They have several picnic tables with umbrellas and pop up tents for shade.

They have a fairly small bar area, but another decent sized room off of that with a ping pong table, shown above, and their outdoor space, so they have plenty of seating.

Mark at the bar. There is a whole wall of glass behind the bar so you can see everything happening in the brewery, shown below, not much happening on a Sunday afternoon though.

They have a cool, custom made cement bar with
the river built into it, cool details.

This was a nice visit. They are doing well for only being open a year.  It was better than we expected, as we went in assuming it was a “tourist trap.” However, it seems to be a nice combo of tourists and locals based on the amount of growlers we saw being filled.

Check Facebook for hours, we assume
they change with the seasons.

Neighborhood Beer Company, Exeter, NH

We recently visited Neighborhood Beer Company  which is located close by us in Exeter, NH. We have been planning to visit for awhile. They specialize in German style beers with an American twist.

Our production brewhouse is a 4-vessel, 4-barrel custom-fabricated
system designed specifically to brew complex and innovative
German-style ales and lagers.

When they first opened, they hired a well known German brewer to help design their brewhouse and work with them the first year in traditional german brewing styles.

The tasting room is on the smaller side, but still has plenty of room. In the nice weather, like now, they have an outdoor area sectioned off with picnic tables and corn hole.

 

 

 

They started out as just a tasting room and have grown to a brewpub, serving food as well as wine and beer from other local establishments.  When we visited, the guest beer was from Deciduous Brewing Company and guest cider from North Country Hard Cider. They have also increased their hours recently to make them easier to visit.

 

They have tasters for $2 each, 3/4 pints and full pints. We started with 2 flights so we could try all the beers.

 

 

Hallowed Hammock – blonde ale 4.9%
A good blonde ale, better than the average, light and easy drinking, Megan liked it. Megan typically finds Blonde Ales to be boring, so it had a little something extra to it.

 

Junkyard Pedigree – copper ale 7.5%
Described as ‘malty and complex’, it is, malty and a touch sweet. Megan tasted caramel notes, Mark said dark fruit. Again, better than we expected.

Boss Flamingo – Bronze ale 7.2%
Complex flavor up front with a smooth, clean finish. A mix of fruity, malty and hoppy flavors as described.

 

Bastardly Blitz – German style IPA 8.2%
Dark in color, well balanced, so not super hop forward like American style IPA’s. Not Mark’s favorite style.

Old Salt – Helles lager
What Mark expected from a Helles, very light, not a strong flavor to it, on point for the style just not a very interesting style. Megan liked it more, better than other lagers.

 

Mellow Grove – summer Hefeweizen
Pretty light body, even for a Hefeweizen, a strong clove flavor to it with a light body and feel. Decent summer beer.

 

Obstinate Goat – strong blonde ale 7.1%
Light body for a strong ale. Decent flavor to it, slightly complex, hard to pin down specific flavors, malty with a mild citrusy finish.

 

We ordered a pretzel, served with homemade mustard and beer cheese. Yum!

 

 

Mark had a 3/4 pint of Boss Flamingo and Megan had the NBC Snakebite, their Mellow Grove summer Hefeweizen mixed with a North Country Hard Cider, which was very good. She also tried it with the Obstinate GOAT, which was a good drink but the flavors if the Mellow Grove and the Original Blend North Country Hard Cider blended even better.

 

For beers to go, you can get any of their beers in a growler. They also use a mobile canning company and have most of their beers available in 12oz 6 packs. They have a mixed pre-made 6 pack, which changes based on the season. We bought two of the mixed six packs to share with friends. The summer mixed six came with Hallowed Hammock, Mellow Grove and Boss Flamingo.

Tasting Room Hours

Tuesday – 4:00 to 8:00
Wednesday – 4:00 to 8:00
Thursday – 4:00 to 9:00
Friday – 12:00 to 9:00
Saturday – 12:00 to 9:00
Sunday – 12:00 to 6:00

Lithermans Limited Brewery, Concord, NH

We recently visited Litherman’s Limited Brewery in Concord, NH. They opened in April of 2016 and have been busy ever since. We had heard good things about their Saisons, but they had quite a few ipa’s on tap as well.

 

They are located in the back of an industrial park, luckily they had a sign out front with directions, very helpful!

 

 

The owners met and bonded over music, and ended up recording hip hop tracks together. Somehow that transitioned into making beer, and the tasting room has a definite music feel too it, and so do a lot of their beer names.

 

                        

 

The stools have records on them, and they have posters of their beer labels up on the wall which is fun.

 

And classic albums mounted on the walls.

 

They had 10 beers on tap, so Mark and Megan split a flight, so did Sammie and Dustin.

 

Misguided Angel – traditional New England style ipa
Pretty good version of a New England style ipa, hoppy, not quite as ‘juicy’ as some of the best though.

Little Miss Strange – dipa
Dry, more subtle flavors than the description, mild orange and pineapple, not quite a juice bomb, but pretty good.

 

Mark pondering the flavors

 

Simply Red Ale
Described as ‘big, chewy, malty, slightly sweet’ and that was right on. Not Mark’s favorite style of beer but they did a good job with this beer, Megan liked it.

Hall Street and Oats – dry hopped New England style pale
Tasty pale ale, dry hopped with Mandarin Bavarian hops, Megan and Mark both liked this beer.

 

Megan enjoying her beer

 

Orange Crushable – belgian orange ipa
An ipa with a super orange flavor too it, interesting (in a good way).

Chakra Khan – saison with lotus root
This was a pretty tasty saison, all 4 of us liked it, dry hopped with Citra.

 

Sammie tasting some beer

 

Tangled Up in Bruges – ever evolving saison
They use seasonal ingredients in this saison. Strong saison flavor with a little bit of funk.

Foolish Lovers Game – Berliner Weisse
A pretty drinkable Berliner Weisse, not that sour with a mild  apricot flavor.

 

 

Milli Banilli – banana vanilla porter
A porter with banana, and interesting mix of flavor and style.

Last Mango in Concord – mango green tea blonde ale
Tea and mango, with some sweetness, stand out in this beer.

 

Dustin read us a story

 

They had cool marble tables and a marble bar

 

 

Dustin being a goof

 

 

Dustin and Sammie being goofy together

 

Favorite beer names: Bow Wow Yippie Yo and The Ol’ Dirty Dipa,  neither were on tap when we were there. They mostly fill growlers, but occasionally bottle some batches of their beer.

Current Hours

Thursday 4:00 – 7:00
Friday 4:00 – 7:00
Saturday 12:00 – 5:00