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

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Map of Breweries & Wineries in Massachusetts

Massachusetts friends- let me know if you are interested in joining us at any of these! The ones on the map that have a dot within the

 

Note: We have not yet been to lowell beer works or tree house brewing, but the map isn’t letting me change the icon at the moment.

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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Maine Beer Trail

Yesterday, Mark and I went to a couple of Breweries in Maine. We brought along our Maine Beer Trail Passes to have signed (find yours here!). We had created a short list of ones we wanted to visit, as well as what time they were open for tastings. Along our way, I realized that my list was incomplete. Although I (thought) I had used all of my resources to create my list, I forgot to look at my Maine Beer Trail list. Please revisit my Breweries of Maine entry to see which ones are new. Also, refer to my Map of Breweries and Wineries in Maine for an updated map.

Back to the Maine Beer Trail Pass. It is a list of 25 different breweries in Maine. You bring the pass with you and have it signed and dated while on your visit. After you have been to 5 breweries, you fill out the bottom portion of it (the info section), make a photocopy, and send the photocopy to the Maine Brewers’ Guild, keeping the original so you can continue on your visits.

For visiting 5 breweries, you will be rewarded with a baseball hat from a Maine brewery. For visiting 10 breweries, you receive a T-shirt from a Maine brewery. For visiting ALL of the breweries listed, you receive a PRIZE PACK of Maine Beer Gear.

While at one of the breweries yesterday, we started talking to a woman who is on the receiving end of completed Maine Beer Trail Passes. She said to make sure that you note your T-Shirt size when sending it in. I asked her about the Maine Beer Gear Prize Pack and was told that it is whatever she can get her hands on from breweries across the state, but often times contains glasses, t-shirts, etc.  She also mentioned to make sure that everyone in your group should have a pass to have filled out, because even you and your significant other can receive prize packs at the same time. She also mentioned that since some of the breweries are seasonal, if you are able to get to a brewery, but it is not open (summer, but its at Sunday River or something), that you can take a photo of yourself outside and send that in with your pass and it will be honored.

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