Interesting article/thoughts about craft beer… Things craft beer fans think but nobody says…

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Beer and wine festivals in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont

Although our goal is to go to all of the wineries and breweries (and meaderies and cider houses, etc) in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, sometimes it is fun to go to a festival. Any festivals that we go to are not counted towards our goal, but are simply an additive and give us more of a reason to visit.

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I don’t know about all of you, but my weekends can fill up pretty quickly- especially in the summer.

Have a weekend available, or just want to hit up a beer or wine event? I compiled a list for this summer. Know of any others? Leave me a comment and I will add it.

May

4th: Wine Tasting at Luke’s Liquors, Rockland MA. 1:00p-4:00p. Sampling of 300 wines from around the world. $5pp, purchase at the door. I have gone to this event many times. If you find wine you wish to purchase, you can at a discounted rate. 

15-19th: Nantucket Wine Festival, Nantucket MA. Grand Tasting for either $125 or $150. Something I would like to go to in the future. “Taste and discover over 700 wines from 150 prestigious wineries from France, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, California, Argentina, Chile and beyond.”

June

4th-9th: Kennebunkport Festival, Kennebunkport, ME. Grand tasting (June 8th) $55pp. 

21st-23rd: Stowe Wine and Food Classic, Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe VT. A bit pricey, but something to possibly add to the “bucket list”  (“This wonderful package includes two nights at the Trapp Family Lodge (double occupancy); Friday Night Seminars with Rowan Jacobsen (Wine/Chocolate) and Vermont Farmstead (Cheese/Beer) 5-7 pm; Saturday Dinner Gala and Auction 6-11 pm; Sunday Grand Tasting and Silent Auction Noon-4 pm. For Groups of TEN or more the rate is $1,150 per couple.”) The Sunday Grand Tasting is only $60 pp

22nd: (Not beer or wine…) Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, Dover-Foxtrot, ME. $0.25 for a whoopie pie!

26th: Taste of the Nation Portsmouth, Portsmouth NH. $85pp,is run by “Share our Strength Seacoast,” who raise money to ensure that no child in the community will go hungry. Food, beer, wine and entertainment. Would LOVE to go to this

29th: New England Brewfest, Lincoln NH. We went to this event last year. Somewhat pricey ($40), but we were able to snag a deal online. The location is great! If you enjoy camping or any outdoor activities, there are plenty of options nearby. 

July

19th-20th: Vermont Brewer’s Festival, Burlington VT. Not expensive! $30pp, purchase for a particular session. Includes a tasting glass and 15 beer tickets. 

19th-20th: Killington Wine Festival, Killington VT. “A collection of over 40 vineyards from around the world. Features more than 500 wines. The Killington region’s signature summer event” $35-$75 depending on which event you participate in

21st: Vermont Cheesemaker’s Festival, Shelburne Farm, VT. Location is close to Burlington- you could make a weekend out of it and go to both the Vermont Brewer’s Festival and Vermont Cheesemaker’s Festival. 20 wine, beer and spirits producers

27th: Lake Wyola Association Beer and Wine Tasting, Shutesbury, MA. $20pp for 5 tokens. Addl tokens 5 for $5.00

August

3rd: Midd Summer Festival, Middlebury, VT.  “a celebration of Vermont Beer, Wine, and Cheese” $20-25pp, includes: admission to event, souvenir glass, 10 tasting tokens for beer, wine, and cider, sampling of cheeses. Extra tokens for $1. Something I will definitely consider going to! 

Our first meadery- Moonlight Meadery

ImageYesterday (in April 2013) we went to our first Meadery. Mead is wine made from honey. It is the oldest fermented beverage, and believed to have been made accidentally at first, due to hunting and gathering. Mead is made from a combination of honey, water and yeast.

We went to Moonlight Meadery, located in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Their motto is “Romance by the glass,” and they name each of their meads accordingly.

Upon entering, we were immediately greeted. It is always a good feeling when you are recognized upon entering a building, especially at any type of winery/brewery, etc since they are all run slightly different. So, we were greeted immediately and let them know that we had a livingsocial deal. Our deal included a tour, tasting, 2 wine glasses and $10 off a purchase.

Tours start every half hour, and you should plan on being there for about an hour. We tried  a couple of meads (see descriptions) prior to the tour, and our tour started promptly at 5:00. We were the only people on the tour, but both the tours before and after us had a lot more (one following had 10 people). The tour was very informative, and lasted about a half hour. It did not feel lengthy, and had a laid back feeling to the tour. The tour had a story telling, hanging out with your friends, talking about a passion, feel to it. The meadery makes their products completely from beginning to end (minus making the honey themselves). Image

Fermentation tanks

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Fermentation tanks

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Bottling station, complete with cork machine & label “machine”

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These barrels are whiskey barrels, used by Sam Adams Brewing Company for their Utopian beer (between $100-$200 depending on the year). Moonlight Meadery uses them once Sam Adams is done, for their Utopian Mead.

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The tasting area

The meadery has about 56 different meads, with about 35 able to taste on a daily basis. Depending on which tour package you purchase, you are able to try between 4-8 meads. You can also purchase a keepsake glass, which would allow you to try either 4 or 6 meads.

The only downfall to the expansive amount of mead they have available, is that we are new to mead, so we weren’t sure what to try. I had tried 1 or 2 meads at a beer tasting last year, but had no idea where to start. The man who was running the show was also the second brewer/mead maker, so he knew what he was talking about and was able to give us great recommendations.

Notes from what Mark & I tried (descriptions from meadery are in italics)

Deviant: Uniquely refreshing, sweet, smooth blend of honey, apple and ginger please from aroma to lingering finish. Deviant had a really good balance of honey, apple and giner with no flavor outshining the others

Desire: Our Flagship: Enticing, complex blend of blueberries, black cherries and black currants balanced with basic elements of mead; honey, water and yeast. Desire was one of the first that Mark tried

Kurt’s Apple Pie: One of the biggest selling meads made from local apple cider with Madagascar-bourbon vanilla and Vietnamese cinnamon spice added. Get your piece of pie. This was delicious! Kurt’s Apple Pie was one of the first that I tried, and I wanted more. I left having bought a bottle. They sell Kurt’s Apple Pie 2x the amount of any other mead.

Sumptuous: Made from honey and mangos, sweet, smooth, wonderful complexity between the flavors and the long lasting finish, with a light body. The mangos were not huge on the flavor front, but balanced with the honey well and made a good combination.

Breathless: Intense, gripping cinnamon candy sweet dessert wine. This decadent spicy candy like mead is very similar to a popular cinnamon candy. WOW! Was this cinnamon! Breathless had a very intense cinnamon flavor, maybe too much for me, but could be great if added to vanilla ice cream.

Utopian: We aged and fermented this mead in hand-selected, Samuel Adams Utopias casks from the award-winning Boston Beer Company. This flavorful, slightly fruity mead has a sweet, complex flavor that is reminiscent of a deep, rich vintage port, fine cognac or aged sherry. The Utopian had a sweet, bourbon flavor. The flavor seemed to be “thick,” as Mark described it. This was the second mead we tried. The Utopian is $50 for bottle of #4, or $100 for a bottle of #5 or #6. We tried #6.

Je t’aime: Created for the owner’s wedding this past August. It was a sparkling mead, and the first one that we tried.

Stiletto: Provocative statement of slick and sexy, blend of bold black currant with lighter tones of honey and apple sweetness. A good, summer mead with a slight tang to it. I enjoyed this one a lot, and left with a bottle of it.

Serenity: made with apricot tea (I believe a rooibos tea). Reminded me of the kombucha we had tried at the Urban Farm Fermentory.

Admiration: not many notes on this one, besides “YUM!”

Kisses: As delicate as a kiss, this honey strawberry wine is sweet.  The strawberry is ever so lightly represented against the floral flavors from the honey. Light on the strawberry flavor, which brings out the honey flavor. Was very good. Told that when it is cold, it truly “crisps up.”

Mischief: As in the conduct or activity that playfully causes petty annoyance.  These Black Raspberries are deep in flavor and only enhanced by the honey notes, this wine will continue to age and mature over time. Mark and I both tried this one, and enjoyed it. If we were buying three bottles, this would have been the third.

Seduction: Fermented with natural Chocolate Madagascar-Bourbon Vanilla and Sumatra coffee.  Dessert sweet honey notes, balanced by the bitterness from the coffee and oh so smooth vanilla in the background. At first sip, the chocolate and coffee weren’t very foward flavors, but wow! strong finish. Really liked this one at the last sip. Would be great with a small dish of vanilla ice cream.

Frisky: Are you inclined to frisk?  Enjoy a little “Joie de vivre” with this rollicking honey blueberry maple wine.  Light, playful and every so tasty.  Think Wild with a frisky touch of maple syrup.  Our newest release, available at the meadery, is aged in our Utopian barrels, and we added a touch more maple. After hearing about this one while on the tour, I told Mark he needed to try it- right up his alley. Mark said it was bourbon like, with blueberries & honey.

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Us, after trying some delicious mead!

ImageWhat we left with

We overheard another group being told that if they bring their glasses back, they can have another tasting- for free.

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Close up of the glass

We would definitely recommend Moonlight Meadery. Mead is different than wine or beer, and is a different taste overall.

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Moonlight Meadery is open for Tasting, Tours and Sales daily, starting at 11:00am.

Hours

Monday – Tuesday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday – Saturday 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 – 5:00 PM

*Tours happen as needed on weekdays, and every half hour on weekends.  No reservations needed.    We offer several different tour and tasting packages.

Romance by the glass…  Tasting glassware

     Small glassware

  • Taste up to 4 meads with keepsake glass    $5

     Large glassware

  • Taste up to 6 meads with keepsake glass    $8

     Tour & Tasting… $15 per person

  • Deluxe Tour
  • Large keepsake glass, with taste up to 6 meads.
  • $5 off purchase of 2 or more bottles.

     Romance Package… $50 per couple

  • Deluxe Tour
  • 2 large keepsake glasses, with taste up to 8 meads per person.
  • Cheese & Crackers
  • $10 off purchase of 2 or more bottles.

     Executive Room… (Pricing available on request.)

  • Private tasting room for up to 20 people.
  • Large keepsake glassware per person
  • Cheese & Crackers pairings
  • $10 off purchase of 2 or more bottles per person.
  • Meet the Mead Maker
  • Reservations Required

New Hampshire Breweries and Wineries MAP!

Mark and I went to Moonlight Meadery today, and before going I went online to consult my New Hampshire map to see what else was nearby… I didn’t have a New Hampshire map yet! Not sure how I overlooked it, but I did. Here it is! Once again, those on the map with dots on the markers we have been to. Breweries are blue, Wineries/Cider/Mead are purple.

Fun with Applehead

appleheadlyteWhile at Shipyard, we found a Applehead Cocktail sheet. All recipes listed here are courtesy of Shipyard.

Applehead & Juice: Mix 1/4 Orange Juice and 3/4 Applehead

Southern Applehead Ale: Add a shot of Southern Comfort to a pint of Applehead

Applehead-tini: Add of shot of Stoli Vanilla Vodka to a pint of Applehead

Not Your Mother’s Apple Pie: Add a shot of Pinnacle Whip Vodka to a pint of Applehead

Honeycrisp Apple Ale: Rim pint glass with honey, fill with 1/2 Applehead and 1/2 Cider

Captain Applehead: Add a shot of Captain Morgan spiced run to a pint of Applehead

Drunken Apples: Add 1/2 oz of Captain Morgan and 1/2 oz Pinnacle Whip Vodka to a pint of Applehead

McIntosh Apple Bomb: Pour 1/2 oz Pineapple Rum and 1/2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream into a shot glass. Drop the shot into a half pint of Applehead

Golden Deliciousness: Rim pint glass with honey or agave syrup. Dip in cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour 1/2 oz Goldschlager into glass and top off with Applehead

Black n Green: 1/2 Applehead 1/2 Shipyard Bluefin Stout

Bltized Apple Pie Ala Mode: Rim pint glass with cinnamon sugar mixture. Add 1 oz Vanilla Vodka into a pint glass and top it off with Applehead. Drop in a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Glass Rimming Options:

  • Caramel Syrup and Cinnamon
  • Agave Syrup or Honey
  • Cinnamon Sugar (1 tsp cinnamon:2 tsps sugar)
  • Brown Sugar and Cinnamon
  • Kinney’s Sugarhouse Cinnamon Maple Sugar

Shipyard Brewery

IMG_1825Upon entering Shipyard Brewery for a tour & tasting, you are directed to a “viewing room,” where there are benches set up in front of a large screen. Every hour, a short video plays, giving you a “tour” of the brewery. The video is quick, yet informative. After the video is over, you are asked to pull out your ID to head to the tasting room.

The tasting room has a long bar top, with two tap areas. The two tour givers pass out the first couple of beers, along with information on each one. After 2-3, you are on your own and can try whatever you would like. 🙂

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Applehead: nice spices of apple pie. Inspired by the flavors and success of Pumpkinhead (their #1 seller)

Export: 1st brew by shipyard. Nice malty start. Finishes clean. Session beer

Old Thumper: ESB (Extra Special Bitter), created at Ringwood Brewery in England. Only beer not created by Shipyard.

Fuggles IPA: not a big fan of this one. Mild IPA. British style

Monkey Fist IPA: West Coast American Style. More typical IPA flavor

Smashed Pumpkin: Pumpkinhead on steroids! Delicious! Mark didn’t like as much as the original pumpkinhead, but I did

Smashed Blueberry: 1st taste- chocolate covered blueberries. Strong blueberry flavor. Mark liked a lot, I did not as much

Blue Fin Stout: classic Irish stout. Full bodied, yet smooth. Had an espresso taste. Not as strong of a flavor as I would have enjoyed

Casco Bay Rip Tide Red Ale: Butterscotch notes. Clean finish. I’m not usually a red ale person, but it was good!

In their video tour room, the walls are covered with awards, retired bottles, bottles of beers they brew for others, and the Shipyard family. Some that we saw in there were surprising, but made sense seeing that Shipyard has the biggest brewing capability in Maine!

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Coming in May: Melonhead… Wonder how this one will be… They have used similar spices for Applehead and Pumpkinhead, but I don’t think that will work for Melon. Thoughts on what they might use or what it might taste like?

Snow Farm Vineyard- 2 mulled wine recipes

While at Snow Farm Vineyard, we were given 2 recipes for mulled wine. One uses the Baco Noir that I enjoyed. Seeing that the two recipes are similar, and use different red wines, I feel you could substitute a different red wine in, if you weren’t able to find the Baco Noir or the Leon Millot.

Enjoy!

 

1 bottle Baco Noir, 1/2 cup sugar. 1/2 cup water, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves

OR

1 bottle Leon Millot, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 3 cinnamon sticks, 6 cloves

Warm at low temperature for about 15-20 minutes.

I would recommend using a crock-pot.