Boyden Valley Winery

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We recently visited Boyden Valley Winery, located in Cambridge, Vermont (in 2013). Their tasting consisted of trying 7 wines and cream liqueur of your choosing, 7 wines for $7. You also received a wine glass or mug for the $7.

Offered:

White Wines:

  • Seyval Blanc
  • Cow Tipper

Rose Wines:

  • Rose La JuJu

Red Wines

  • Riverbend Red
  • Big Barn Red
  • Glogg

Fruit Wines

  • Rhubarb
  • Cranberry
  • Vermont Maple
  • Blueberry

Dessert Speciality Wines

  • Cassis
  • Gold Leaf

Ice Wines

  • Vermont Ice Cider
  • Vermont Ice
  • Vermont Ice Red

Cream Liqueur

  • Vermont Ice Maple Creme
  • Vermont Ice Apple Creme

The woman who was working at the winery was very pleasant, and the other person visiting was as well. We had stopped at Dunkin Donuts on our drive there, and apparently still smelled of it. As an ice breaker, the other visitor mentioned that. haha

Although they had a great selection of wines, something I don’t like when we go to wineries or breweries is when they limit what you try. This isn’t because I want to drink everything, it is because we often go to learn about the different wines/beers and when told to pick some off a list, you often pick ones you feel comfortable with. Mark and I both try to pick wines/beers that might not be ones we would typically try as well as those that sound perfect to us. My theory is that you might not try a particular wine/beer because you don’t know enough about the variety, or  haven’t liked the variety in the past… but, the way this wine/beer maker creates their wine/beer might be the perfect fit for you. I don’t typically like red wines, but I try them in hopes that I will find one I enjoy. Anyways, back to the wine we tried…

We both tried “Cow Tipper.” It was similar to Pinot Grigio, and fresh and fruity. It had a similar semi-dryness to a Riesling.

I tried the Rose La JuJu, which had a blend of Frontenac and Cayuga wines. It was somewhat dry for my liking, but still delicate with a hint of tartness.

Both Mark and I tried the Vermont Maple wine. It was the perfect blend of maple syrup (that they make there on the farm), and apples (Northern Spy). It was light and sweet.

Mark tried the Blueberry wine next. It was made from low-bush blueberries and was sweet and smooth. It was similar to a Port wine.

Next on the list was the Gold Leaf, a Dessert wine. It was similar to the Vermont Maple (maple syrup & apples), but richer. This is also a barrel-aged wine. The woman working there mentioned that it had undertones of vanilla, toasted nuts and coconut, but I didn’t really get that. If I were to choose the Vermont Maple or the Gold Leaf, I would most likely choose the Vermont Maple due to the ability to drink it. Since the Gold Leaf is a dessert wine, it comes in a small bottle and you typically have a small amount at a time. This is a wine that you need to only have a small amount at a time, as it is rich.

I tried the Vermont Ice Cider next. It is made with three types of Vermont grown apples (Northern Spy, Macintosh, and Empire) and barrel-aged. Sweet and Complex. It is perfect. I enjoyed this one so much. I love cider anyways, but the richness that this Ice Cider possessed… delicious. For an Ice Wine, it was also reasonably priced, at only $29.99 for 375 ML. Left with a bottle of it!

Mark tried the Vermont Ice Red. It had flavors of plum, raisin and raspberry. Not really a wine for either of us (also $60 for 375 ML).

We both tried the Vermont Ice Maple Creme. It was exactly as described to us, similar in thickness to Bailey’s. The flavor consisted of Apples, Brandy, Maple Syrup and Cream. It was very smooth, and was suggested to add to coffee, ice cream, etc. If we had been more financially able to, we would have  left with a bottle of this as well.

The last wine we tried was the Glogg, a red wine. This was served out of a crock pot. It is a Swedish mulled red wine. The flavor and spices reminded me of Christmas! My father makes a Glugg with friends, so we left with a bottle of this for him to compare.

We had both previously had Boyden Valley’s Cranberry Wine. My Dad had brought a bottle back for my sister and I a few years ago while he was out on business. Since then, but before our visit, I had purchased their Rhubarb wine as well as their Vermont Maple wine.

It was a nice visit all in all. Image

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What we went home with

Baxter Brewery

We had the pleasure of going to the Baxter Brewing Company over the summer of 2013.  399687_704283603173_760340994_n

We took a tour as part of the Lewiston-Auburn Mini-Maker Faire, that we were attending for research for Mark’s work. They had a tour set up as part of the event. We took the short walk over to the brewery to find that the tour guide wasn’t in yet, and they made plans for us to go back an hour later. Arrived an hour later, and had the tour.

Tours are always interesting… Not always for what the brewery staff are telling you, but often because of the questions and comments raised by the other visitors. We have taken tours at most of the breweries we have gone to, and honestly, most are the same. There is usually something small that each place does differently. So, often nowadays, we pay attention to what other people are saying as well.

563197_704283628123_1254829664_nA big difference between Baxter Brewery and other breweries is that all of their beer is canned. They don’t bottle anything.  They chose to use cans instead of bottles for 3 main reasons.

  1. Better for the environment. Their cans are made by Ball, and are made out of 50% post-consumer recycled aluminum. It has been found that Americans are twice as likely to recycle aluminum than glass, so it will continue to help the environment for a longer amount of time. Cans also use less energy to recycle than glass does, and use less fuel to ship. 
  2. Cans aren’t see-through. The beer has a greater chance of staying fresh, since it does not see UV light. Cans also have a lower dissolved oxygen level than glass, so the beer remains fresh.
  3. Cans can go where glass cannot (so many places don’t allow glass containers, but cans are fine).

After the tour came the best part- trying the beer.
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Baxter keeps up to 8 beers on tap, but only 4 of them are “regular” beers, available to purchase. The other 4 are tasting room only- beers that they are testing out, seeing how the public enjoys them. A great way for the brewers and other brewery staff to try new recipes.

We tried their Pamola Xtra Pale Ale, Amber Road Amber Ale, Stowaway IPA and their Hayride Autumn Ale. All were good, but what I enjoyed the most was a beer in their small batch series. Raspberry Stout. Tasted just like a chocolate covered raspberry. Delicious!

We went to Baxter at the end of last summer, and according to their website, it seems like they might limit the amount you try after a tour. Check here before you go and if they give you more, awesome 🙂

Before leaving, as we made our purchase of a six pack of the Hayride Autumn Ale, we were lucky enough to be given a pair of tasting glasses to keep.

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Mark enjoying the Hayride Autumn Ale 546445_704283673033_1014076101_nMe, enjoying the Raspberry Stout!

Cheers!

UrbanFarm Fermentory

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We recently went to the UrbanFarm Fermentory in Portland, ME (in early 2013). They are technically a winery, although they produce cider and kombucha.

When we entered the fermentory, we had a warm welcome. I am currently on a crutch due to a knee injury and they wanted to know all about it. It felt like we were entering a friend’s house with the welcome presented. We told them that we had found them online and were excited to try out some cider. They create their cider using fresh Maine apples that are spontaneously/wildly fermented (makes even the yeast local) until it is bone dry and tart. My 1st thought- ehhhh bone dry? I don’t like dry… Oh no. Then I remembered what I really didn’t like- tannins. They make you think “dry” and often, unexperienced wine pourers will describe a wine as “dry” when they are talking about the amount of tannins inside.

First up for their cider- dry cider. Similar to other ciders in flavor, but not as sweet. Dry and not sweetened with additional sugars, only what nature packed in the apples. Bought a bottle to bring home.

Little Jimmy was next- they take their dry cider and age it in old Jim Beam barrels (passed from Jim Beam to a brewery to them). Great flavor. Added that nice bourbon taste at the beginning of the glass and remained consistent throughout.  I am not a bourbon drinker, and I still enjoyed this. Mark is a bourbon drinker and liked this better than the dry cider. Bought 2 bottles- 1 for me and 1 for Mark.

Their website spoke of mead (wine made with raw Maine honey), but they did not have any available.

We tried Kombucha for the first time. Kombucha is fermented tea. It is created with both bacteria and yeast. As noted by the guys at the fermentory, it is not a beverage to be consumed for the purpose of getting drunk. It is used as a health benefit by many, and dates back thousands of years. It does not have a high alcohol content, but has to be sold as an alcoholic beverage due to the content (1.5%) (we were told it has the same content as 7-Up).

We tried their Ginger Kombucha. Tart, and with an acidic bite. Definitely had a good tea flavor, with a strong ginger flavor. Mark says it reminded him of ginger ale, without the fizzyness.  After trying their Ginger Kombucha, we tried their ChagaChai Kombucha. This Kombucha is made with the chaga mushroom, which is a parasite on birch trees, appearing typically after the tree is dead. It is considered a medicinal mushroom in Eastern European and Russian folk medicine. The ChagaChai did not taste like “mushroom,” instead had more of a Chai flavor. Prefered over the Ginger Kombucha, mostly because I am not a huge ginger fan. I can think of a few friends who would enjoy their Kombucha.

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The Brewery at Trapp Family Lodge

Last week we went to a lovely wedding at the Trapp Family Lodge. (Last week being 2013) Upon arriving, we found out that there was a brewery on site! YES!! Being under a time crunch, we visited it during our late breakfast that Sunday morning. Besides being a working brewery, the site also is a Deli-Bakery, offering delicious croissants as well as sandwiches.

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 Left to right: Trosten Bier, Dunkel Lager, Vienna Amber, Golden Helles

We ordered a flight, which was a sampling of their 4 beers-

Golden Helles:
Golden in color, crisp, easy drinking beer for all occasions.. Emphasis on malt flavors with a touch of hop to finish. Moderate alcohol content of 4.8% ABV

Vienna Amber:
An amber lager style that has all but disappeared over the last century. This soft, delicate beer has a touch more of a sweet finish than Helles. With a slightly higher alcohol level of 5%, this lager is still very drinkable. A subtle hop finish rounds out this delicious lager.

Dunkel Lager: 
Our darkest year round beer however, looks can be deceiving. Dunkel features notes of chocolate with a full malt back bone. Contrary to its dark color, this beer finishes crisp and clean with a round hop flavor. 5.4% ABV

Trosten Bier/Winter Lager – Seasonal:
Trosten Bier. Translates to “comfort beer” A black lager with notes of roast and smoke. Rich flavor up front that finishes smooth and clean. 5.4% ABV

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My favorite was the Trosten Bier- just enough of a smokey flavor.

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 This is well worth the trip to the Brewery at Trapp Family Lodge

 

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Flag Hill Winery

488041_745753412343_149977491_nTo begin my February Vacation and end Michelle’s (Mark’s sister), the three of us went to Flag Hill Winery in Lee, New Hampshire in 2013. Little did we know, it is also a distillery.

Flag Hill’s tasting room is on location. We have found that some of the wineries in Northern New England have separate facilities for their wine making and wine tasting, but Flag Hill has it all on the same land plot. It appears to be a beautiful place, somewhere worth going back to during the summer, to enjoy a picnic before or after a tasting.
Upon arrival, we were each given a list, with wine on one side and liquor on the other. We were told to pick 8 from the list, but still remaining in order from the list given. Try wines before liquors and whites before reds. They also have a port wine. They create wine that reflect the flavors of grapes that are grown only in the Northeast region, so you won’t find a Chardonnay or a Merlot, but other delicious white and red wines. They also create delicious fruit wines, including Apple Cranberry and Blueberry.
 

Apple Fruit Wine, similar to a Crisp Apple Cider. Michelle took this one home

Vignoles, semi-sweet white wine. Enjoyed this one, but it wasn’t exactly for me. Not sweet enough
Cayuga White, DELICIOUS, sweet, white wine. I left with two bottles of this one!
 
Josiah Bartlett Barrel Aged Apple Brandy, great apple/brandy flavor. 
 White Mountain Moonshine, white whiskey. Mark bought one of these. Really enjoyed it. Loved that it was called moonshine as well
 

Strawberry Liqueur, would be perfect in a mixed drink! We all tried this one

Flag Hill Winery and Distillery offers tastings
Wednesday-Sundays 11am-5pm
Definitely worth the time to go. 

Woodstock Inn and Brewery

Mark and I have been to the Woodstock Inn and Brewery a few times, most recently being this past summer (of 2012).

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The Woodstock Inn and Brewery is located in North Woodstock, NH. We have been there both in the Winter and the Summer. My first time there was during the winter. We had dinner there (delicious) as well as a Brew Sampler each. Their Brew Samplers are beer flights. You pick 4 of their beers that you want to try, and receive 5 oz of each. This was a few years ago, so I am uncertain as to which ones I had tried, but I remember enjoying their Old Man Oatmeal Stout.

Last spring I went to a Beer Tasting in Plymouth, MA (with my awesome parents) and Woodstock Inn and Brewery were there. There we had our first opportunity to try the White Mountain Raspberry Weasel Wheat. Great combination of a fruity wheat beer. Not too sweet and quite enjoyable on a warm day.

This past summer, while in North Woodstock, we stopped by the Brewery again. We were pleasantly surprised by the expansions they had completed on the building. There is now an expansive outdoor bar (DAM bar), and two other bars. The DAM Bar uses beaver trees as roof supports and other salvaged wood for the rest of the area. Gives it a great feel (that’s where we most recently sat). They also have a Brew Pub, which is styled after a traditional English Pub and a Main Bar. While on this visit, I enjoyed their Pig’s Ear Brown Ale- which is well worth the drive.

Pigs Ear Brown Ale“Pigs Ear Brown Ale won Grand National Champion for brown ales at the United States Beer Tasting Championships in 2004 and 2006. Medium bodied with a balance of roasted and crystal malts creating a hearty nutty flavor. Medium bitterness with a slightly sweet finish.
O.G. 1.054 / 25 IBUs / 4.3% abv”

Good to know:

  • All bars offer ½ price apps and discount pints daily from 3-5pm.
  •  Free brewery tours are offered daily at noon

555348_690427805303_580992622_n Mark, enjoying a cold one at the DAM BAR, growler ready to bring home

Magic Hat

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23771_545711008923_2802908_nMark and I have been to Magic Hat a few times, the most recent being this past Friday, in 2013. It is located in South Burlington, Vermont. If you haven’t been to Magic Hat before, it is a sight to be seen outside. Magic Hat considers the brewery to be an “Artifactory.” When you enter, you can take a tour if you wish (we haven’t in all the time we have gone), shop through their merchandise, or go to their Growler Bar. Their Growler Bar is changing all the time, featuring year round beers, as well as seasonal beers, experimental tastings and some that are only available in that area.

Recently, they have started to limit how many samples people have by placing a card in front of each consumer. You are allowed four stamps/check marks/beers. BUT- it is free!

Like other free stuff? Check in on four square. First check in will earn you a free bumper sticker. Ten check ins will earn you a free pint glass.

Free Pint Glass with $30 purchase

Artifactory Hours:

SUMMER (Memorial Day to Columbus Day):

Monday – Saturday: 10am to 7pm

Sunday: Noon to 5pm

WINTER (Columbus Day to Memorial Day):

Monday – Thursday: 10am to 6pm

Friday – Saturday: 10am to 7pm

Sunday: Noon to 5pm

Holiday Hours:

Thanksgiving: Closed Christmas Eve: Close at 4pm Christmas Day: Closed New Year’s Eve: Close at 5pm  New Year’s Day: Closed Easter: Closed 4th of July: Close at 4pm

 Free Guided Tours:

The tour ramp is open for free guided and self-guided tours, and you are invited and encouraged to come by and take one! No reservations needed, although if you have a giant group (15-20), please call ahead so we can accommodate everyone. Self-guided tours may be taken anytime during normal Artifactory hours.

SUMMER TOURS:

Tuesday and Wednesday: 3, 4pm

Thursday-Friday: 2, 3, 4, 5pm

Saturday: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5pm

Sunday: 2:00, 3:00pm

WINTER TOURS:

Thursday – Friday: 3, 4, 5pm

Saturday: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5pm

Sunday: 1:30pm

486132_747763045023_1440651520_n tasting glasses & my free bumper sticker!