Anheuser-Busch, Merrimack NH

100_0779  100_0783We recently visited Anheuser-Busch, located in Merrimack, New Hampshire with Jason (who went to Plymouth Winery, Mayflower Brewing and Blue Hills Brewery with us) and Maureen. The Merrimack location is just one of their 12 regional breweries. Each location produces for their region. 100_0785  100_0784

After we checked in (no reservations required, but we were there early and wanted to make sure we could get in on the last tour of the day), we walked to see the Clydesdales. On our way there and back, there was a good smell wafting through the air, to me it smelled like pistachios. We walked past a couple of playing fields for local youth teams on our way to the stables. 100_0811Inside the stable, the horse stalls were roped off for their protection. Many of the Clydesdales were sleeping when we were there.100_0787  100_0788  100_0789  100_0790  100_0791   
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After visiting the Clydesdales, but before leaving the stable, we saw a Clydesdale show, a sleigh, and signed up for free stuff! 100_0810  100_0809  100_0803  100_0805  100_0802  100_0797  100_0796  100_0795The sign stated a free, six-pack, but the coupon you receive I think varies depending on what state you live in (I received a $5 mail-in rebate). Almost free beer here I come! 100_0794We walked back towards the welcome center, just in time to hear the tour gathering call.

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Our tour began outside, by the Clydesdale statue. We were told that our tour guide for the next hour would be Beth. Beth told us a brief history of how Anheuser-Busch was started, and about the Clydesdales and how they came to be part of the Anheuser-Busch family in 1933. We were also told what Anheuser-Busch looks for when choosing a Clydesdale. We then stopped to take group photos (taken by factory staff) and started to walk towards the factory. We were told that the factory tour would be 30 minutes of walking and 20 minutes in the hospitality room.

On our way to the factory, we passed a hops garden. Anheuser-Busch has two hop farms, located in Germany and Idaho. The hops garden is for demonstration purposes. Located nearby were the grain rail carts. The smell that smelled of pistachios was stronger by both the hops garden and the rail carts. Our guide explained what grains were brought in (mostly rice from Arkansas and California) and barley malt. Before we headed into the factory/brewery we were told to turn our phones off- any static signal could cause an explosion in grain handling. 100_0820
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Throughout the tour of the building, the brewery process was described in great detail, and every step was gone over. 100_0824  100_0825  100_0826  100_0827  100_0828  100_0829  100_0830  100_0831

Some facts:

  • 2 of their mash tanks make one really big batch of beer
  • they recycle 99.6% of their solid waste
  • in just one room, 5.3 million gallons of beer were present
  • they have 12 regional breweries
  • they were the 1st American brewer to pasteurize beer, before milk was even pasteurized

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We were shown a video when we arrived at the bottling room, since they were not bottling at that time. The video wasn’t very informative, and as Mark said, “it didn’t really tell us anything.” 100_0842  100_0843  100_0848 100_0847

The tour ended in the hospitality room, where we were told we could each have 2 beers, and snacks (bags of pretzels). Maureen ordered first, and ordered a Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat, and a Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. Jason ordered a Stella Artois and a Bud Light Platinum. Mark ordered a Bud Light Platinum and a Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. I ordered a Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat and decided to try the Straw-ber-rita (to see if it was the same as in the can). I was happy that I went with Apple instead of Pumpkin, as the Pumpkin was good, but not amazing. The Apple I would definitely purchase.  This was a nice set up- only 2 downsides: 1. You had to drink QUICK. 20 minutes might seem like a lot, but it is not. 2. You can only try two beers (or pass yours around to friends and share). 100_0844  100_0845  100_0846  100_0849 100_0851

Anheuser-Busch was the largest brewery we have been to. It is crazy to think that there are 11 other breweries! I wonder how big the St. Louis brewery is… it is 5x larger than the size of the Merrimack location!100_0853  100_0854

Photo after the tour-Mark, Megan, Jason & Maureen

100_0855 Jason found a new hat!

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Madison Brewing Co.

After the long drive to Vermont for the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival at Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont and our quick tasting at Northshire Brewing, we had to stop for lunch. A brewpub? Why not!? We stopped at the Madison Brewing Co, located in Bennington, Vermont.

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I ordered the Southwest Chicken Sandwich (grilled chicken, pepperjack cheese, bacon, lettuce… Chipotle aioli and tomato were also part, but I left those off) which came with a side of fries. 100_0625 Mark ordered the Brewmasters Steak Sandwich (sliced bistro steak, portabella mushrooms, shallots, Vermont smoked cheddar, and garlic mayo served on herb ciabetta) which came with ale fries.  100_0623

We started our beer drinking there with their sampler- 8-4oz pours. They were presented nicely.100_0621  100_0622  100_0626

Our tasting:

Sucker Pond Blonde

Mark: really, really light with a dull, citrus flavor

Megan: tasted like tap water mixed with cheap beer

Buck’s Honey Wheat

Mark: Not very honey-ish. I think I should be able to taste honey and would expect it to be sweet.

Megan: good balance of honey and wheat. More honey would be too sweet. Once we added the lime wedge, I enjoyed it even more

Wassick’s White Wall

Mark: nothing “standoutish,” which is good. Liked.

Megan: Similar to a Blue Moon or Shock Top. Good with the lemon added

Crowtown Pale Ale

Mark: Light start with a hoppy finish. Like

Megan: similar to the first beer, but slightly more hoppy. Unfiltered water flavor

Mike’s Irish Red

Mark: Like it (usually does)

Megan: Don’t mind it, which is surprising because I typically don’t like reds. Might be more flavorful or different

Old 76 Strong Ale

Mark: agrees with the description provided. Fruity undertone for such a “heavy” beer

Megan: Indifferent, would drink it if it were given to me, but I wouldn’t choose it

IPA (seasonal selection)

Mark: Almost tastes light, better than the average IPA

Megan: love the smell. Rich, complex. Very flavorful

Battlefield Stout

Mark: good flavor, a little sweet on the tongue

Megan: Interesting smell, good flavor. A good stout

Mark: They seem to be more about the variety… good to be a local kind of place…. Odd choices, but a little bit of everything (in regards to both food and beer)

The food was really good, but none of the beer really stood out. If you are in the area and looking for a bite to eat, I would recommend it, just stick with the style of beer you usually drink.

Bathroom signs:100_0630  100_0631

Brewery:

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Bar/wall near bar:

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Northshire Brewery

Northshire Brewery is located in Bennington. Vermont.  We had traveled there for the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival at Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont100_0612It is a small operation, a husband-wife team with a part time sales person. They started in 2010, making beer for local bars and restaurants to serve. They are now available at a few retail establishments as well as a few local Hannaford. They now sell bottles of their beer as well.100_0616 100_0617

We had a quick visit, where we were able to try three of their beers. Their tastings were $5 for the glass and a taste of whatever they currently have on tap.

100_0613Our tasting:

Northshire Hefeweizen: somewhat sweet, flavors of clove and citrus

Battenkill Ale:  A little brown in color but not dark in taste, with subtle hints of coffee.  This beer was their 1st!  5.7% ABV

Sicilian Pale Ale: made with blood oranges. I am not usually a Pale Ale person, but this was very good! Nice flavor! Also great when we had it from the bottle later.

We bought a Sicilian Pale Ale and a Chocolate Stout to bring home. We had to buy the Chocolate Stout- they only had it in bottles so we weren’t able to try it, but we had seen it on their website and a sign in the brewery.

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It was a good tasting, and I hope they continue being successful so we can eventually find them at our local stores!

After our tasting, we went to the Madison Brewing Co for lunch. Look here to see more about our visit to Madison Brewing Co!

Powder Keg Beer and Chili Festival, Exeter NH

100_0876This weekend, Mark and I went to the Powder Keg Beer and Chili Festival, located in Exeter NH. Outside the festival, was a small fall festival with a lot of children’s activities. It was nice to walk through to get to the Powder Keg.  Before entering the Powder Keg, we had our IDs checked, and received an “over 21” wristband. We were also given a map and list of what breweries were there. We then had our tickets ripped and entered. We were told to hang on to our tickets so we could come and go as we pleased. After we walked through the gate, we realized that we hadn’t been given glasses or tickets and realized the table to pick them up was to our right. We both received our glasses from a volunteer and started to walk away. We hadn’t walked too far when I realized my glass didn’t have tickets in it, but Mark’s did. I went back to the table, and at first they were uncertain what to do, but trusted that I was not given tickets and I received them. Thank goodness! We received 8 beer tickets and 5 food/chili tickets to start with; more were available for purchase.

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The beer notes will not be very detailed, as most are places we will go to or have gone to already.

The beers we tried:

Angry Orchard, Boston Beer Company

  • Cinnful- Good flavor, 1st sip reminded me of redhots. Tart apples and cinnamon, good combo

Tuckerman Brewing Company, Conway NH

  • ALTitude- a double bock. Mark thought it was “pretty good.” I agreed

Sixpoint Brewery, New York100_0878 100_0877

  • Sweet Action- A hopy cream ale.  Mark tried and enjoyed!
  • The Crisp- I tried, good!

Great Rhythm Brewing Company, Portsmouth

  • We were in line to try their beer, but noticed that they only had a pale ale (which I am not a huge fan of the style typically)

North Coast Brewing Company, Ft Bragg California

  • Le Merle- a Saison Belgian style Farmhouse Ale. Really good! Would be a drink I could have if I was going to sit back and enjoy one.
  • Pranqster- Belgian style unfiltered golden ale. Mark enjoyed

Prodigal Brewery, Effingham NH

  • Effinghamburgherbrau- a German lager. Mark liked, said it was very smooth. I didn’t like it- 1st sip nope! 2nd sip- not cold enough.

Berkshire Brewing Company,  South Deefield MA

  • Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale, a good light (Mark had)
  • Drayman’s Porter, yum good porter! Nice coffee notes.

Woodchuck

  • Woodchuck Pumpkin- not amazing, but definitely drinkable. Started to really enjoy it ½ way through
  • Woodchuck Dry Hop Cellar Series- hops infused cider. Tastes like a beer-cider combo. Not bad.
  • ******Woodchuck’s tasting room is scheduled to open in May!!!!

Earth Eagle Brewings

  • Puca- curry, pumpkin porter. Nice flavor. Curry adds something different to it. Mark said it was a heavier pumpkin than we are used to- really good, a different flavor.
  • We were able to catch up with Butch, one of the brewers while we were there

Lagunitas, California

  • Little sumpin sumpin- Mark had, thought it would be more like a pale ale but it was more like an IPA

603 Brewery, Campton (soon to be Londonderry)

  • 18 Mile Ale- a rye. good balanced beer
  • 19th State- a red IPA.  Mark tried. When I asked him how it was, he said “I don’t know. Gone?!”

Woodstock Inn Brewery, North Woodstock, NH

  • Autumn Ale- Really really good! Different, nice spices. Mark said it reminded him of an Oktoberfest, only because he has nothing else to compare it to.

Uinta Brewing, Utah

  • Pumk’n Harvest- typical pumpkin beer

 

The Chili we tried:

The Meat House, Exeter NH100_0879

  • Good amount of meat, not too spicy but a nice after spice. Mark- not anything crazy, a classic chili. Well balanced

Fast Eddies, Hampton NH

  • Good amount of meat. Good flavor, but either too watery or too oily, hard to tell

Stone Church, Newmarket NH100_0882

  • Good! Best so far! They add chips to the cup. Chili is a regular menu item. Option to add cheese, sour cream and other options. Spicy!

Tuckaway Tavern, Raymond NH100_0886

  • Topped with smoked cheddar. Nice smoked, almost BBQ flavor. It had a wicked spice to it, more of an after burn. After burn was ok because it meant they didn’t just add hot sauce to it, but a little too spicy for me! Needed some chips to eat it with or more cheese. Mark said it seemed almost pureed, it wasn’t chunky like many others. Most flavorful. If it was slightly less spicy it would be the best one yet!

WHYM, Portsmouth, NH 100_0891 100_0890

  • Hatch Green Chili- more of a stew. Made in a traditional New Mexico style, with chili’s directly from New Mexico. Even had potatoes in it! Same type of spices, but different style. Really good!

On the Vine Marketplace, Exeter NH100_0892

  • Mark tried, he enjoyed it. Good consistency. Good be a bit spicier, but it was also at the end of the day

McKinnon’s making their chili (Portsmouth)

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By 3pm, at least two of the vendors were out of chili. At least 2 vendors were out of beer. At 3:20, almost all of the vendors were out of chili. Point? Come early! It is a short day, only from 12-4, but you need to arrive early to enjoy all of the chili.

This is an event to go to. Just plan on eating your chili early!

 

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Powder Keg this weekend!

Although I have looked at the beer/brewery page for the Exeter Powder Keg Beer & Chili festival before, I just took another glance and am very excited to try some new beers! The event is this weekend, from 12-4pm, Swasey Parkway, Exeter, NH. View the beer list here or read on!

A sampling of what I saw on the website:

Blue Hill Brewery

Blue Hills Brewery

India Pale Ale

6.6% ABV

Black Hops

6.75% ABV

Comet Tail Pale Ale

5.4% ABV

Watermelon Wheat

4.8% ABV

henniker-brewing-logo-sqaure

Henniker Brewing

Amber Apparition

5.2% ABV

Hop Slinger IPA

6.5% ABV

Whipple’s Wheat

4.8% ABV

Working Man’s Porter

6% ABV

Wells & Young

Wells & Young’s Brewery

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

5.20% ABV

Well’s Banana Bread Beer

5.2% ABV

st-ambroise-labricot

St. Ambroise

St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat

5% ABV

green-goblin_front_label_

Green Goblin Cider

Green Goblin Cider

6.0% ABV

xingu-gold-

Xingu Beer

Gold Beer

4.7% ABV

wychwood1

Wychwood Brewery

Hobgoblin Dark English Ale

4.9% ABV

rince-cocho

Rince Cochon

Belgian Blonde

8.5% ABV

Angry Orchard

Angry Orchard Hard Cider

Crisp Apple

5% ABV

Cinnful Cider

5% ABV

Apple Ginger

5% ABV

Green Apple

5% ABV

Omission Logo

Omission Beer

Omission Lager

4.6% ABV

Omission Pale Ale

5.8% ABV

Gritty'sLogo_HR

Gritty McDuff’s

Halloween Ale

6.0% ABV

Best Bitter

5.0% ABV

Black Fly Stout

4.1% ABV

Maine’s Best IPA

6.8% ABV

sebago-150x176

Sebago Brewing Co.

Fryes Leap IPA

6.0% ABV

Bonfire Rye

5.7% ABV

founders

Founders Brewing Co.

All Day IPA

4.7% ABV

Centennial IPA

7.2% ABV

Founders Porter

6.5% ABV

Red’s Rye IPA

6.6% ABV

Redhook-150x98

Redhook Brewery

Redhook Pumpkin Porter

5.8% ABV

Redhook Longhammer IPA

6.2% ABV

Redhook Audible

4.7% ABV

603 Brewery

603 Brewery

Winni Ale

6.5 %ABV

18 Mile Ale

5.4 %ABV

9th State Red IPA

7.1 %ABV

Cogway IPA

Woodchuck logo

Vermont Hard Cider Company

Woodchuck Hard Cider Amber

5% ABV

Woodchuck Hard Cider Limited Release Fall

5% ABV

Rising tide logo

Rising Tide Brewery

Daymark

5.5% ABV

Ishmael

4.9%

Calcutta Cutter

9.1% ABV

uinta

Uinta Brewing

Hopnotch IPA

7.3 ABV

BABA Black Lager

4.5% ABV

WYLD Pale Ale

4.0% ABV

Punk’n Harvest Pumpkin Ale

4.0% ABV

Wachusett

Wachusett Brewing Company

Blueberry Ale

4.5% ABV

Green Monsta IPA

6.1% ABV

Widmer Brothers

Widmer Brothers Brewing

Hopside Down IPL

6.7% ABV

Okto Festival Ale

5.3% ABV

Alchemy Ale

5.8% ABV

KonaBrewingLogo

Kona Brewing Company

Longboard Lager

4.6% ABV

Big Wave Ale

4.4% ABV

Pipeline Porter

5.4% ABV

north-coast-new-logo1

North Coast Brewing Co.

Pranqster

7.6% ABV

Le Merle

7.9% ABV

gooseisland1

Goose Island Beer Co.

Goose Island Harvest Ale

5.7% ABV

Goose Island Sofie

6.5% ABV

Goose Island Matilda

7% ABV

ommegang_logo

Brewery Ommegang

Scythe&Sickle

5.8% ABV

Hennepin

7.7% ABV

Oskar Blues

Oskar Blues

Dale’s Pale Ale

6.5%ABV

Mama’s Little Yella

5.3%ABV

holy_grail_logo_sm

The Holy Grail Restaurant and Pub

Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale

4.70% ABV

Fatty Bampkins

Fatty Bampkins

Fatty Bampkins Original

4.5% ABV

Fatty Bampkins Dry

6.8% ABV

unibroue

Unibroue Brewery

La Fin du Monde

9% ABV

Ephemere Cherry

5.5% ABV

Grande Reserve 17

10% ABV

Prodigal Brewery

The Prodigal Brewery at Misty Mountain Farm

Effinghamburgherbrau Lager

5.2% ABV

Sacopee Pils

5.4% ABV

Curse of the Rye Wolf

5.3% ABV

Blue Point Brewery

Blue Point Brewing Company

Toasted Lager

5.5% ABV

Hoptical Illusion

6.8% ABV

Pale Ale

5% ABV

Blueberry Ale

4.5% ABV

firestone-walker1

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Union Jack

7.5%ABV

Wookey Jack

8.3%ABV

Green Flash

Green Flash Brewery

West Coast IPA

7.3% ABV

Double Stout

8.8% ABV

mayflower

Mayflower Brewing Company

Pale Ale

5.1% ABV

IPA

6.1% ABV

Porter

5.2% ABV

Autumn Wheat

5.8% ABV

MagicHatLogo

Magic Hat

#9-Not quite Pale Ale

5.1% ABV

Seance-Dark Saison

4.4% ABV

berkshire_brewing_co

Berkshire Brewing Company

Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale

5.5% ABV

Berkshire Traditional Pale Ale

6.5% ABV

Drayman’s Porter

6.5% ABV

Lost Sailor IPA

6.5% ABV

Six Point

Six Point Brewery

Righteous Rye                6.3% ABV

Resin                              9.1% ABV

Sweet Addiction              5.2% ABV

Crisp Pils                        5.2% ABV

Crazy Mountain

Crazy Mountain Brewing Company

Crazy Mountain Amber Ale           5.25% ABV

Mountain Livin’ Pale Ale                5.7% ABV

Brooklyn_Brewery_Logo

Brooklyn Brewery

Brooklyn Lager

5.2% ABV

Brooklyn Scorcher Ale

4.5% ABV

Brooklyn Oktoberfest

5.5% ABV

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

7.6% ABV

Earth Eagle Brew

Earth Eagle Brewings

Puca (Curry Pumpkin Porter)

6.3% ABV

Gruit Beer (to be announced)

5.6% ABV

Yankee Bad Ass IPA

woodstock-inn1-150x150

Woodstock Inn Brewery

Pigs Ear Brown Ale     4.3%ABV

Pemi Pale Ale             5.7%ABV

Autumn Brew Ale       4.4%ABV

4000 Footer IPA       6.5%ABV

tuckerman_logo

Tuckerman Brewing Co.

Tuckerman Pale Ale

5.5% ABV

Tuckerman Headwall Alt

4.75% ABV

Tuckerman ALTitude

7.3% abv

throwbackresized

Throwback Brewery

Spicy Bohemian

4.9% ABV

Hog Happy Hefeweizen

4.8% ABV

Campfire Smoked Porter

6.4% ABV

House of Shandy

The Traveler Beer Co.

Curious Traveler

4.4% ABV

Jack-O-Traveler

4.4% ABV

Time Traveler

4.4% ABV

smutty-web-377x299

Smuttynose Brewing Co.

Finestkind IPA

6.9% ABV

Pumpkin Ale

5.84% ABV

shipyard_brewing

Shipyard Brewing Co.

Smashed Pumpkin

9% ABV

Pumpkinhead

4.7% ABV

Monkey Fist IPA

6.9% ABV

longtrail-150x158

Long Trail Brewing Co.

Black Rye IPA

6.0% ABV

Blackbeary Wheat

4.0% ABV

Sam Adams Logo

Samuel Adams

Octoberfest

5.3% ABV

Harvest Pumpkin

5.7% ABV

Black Lager

4.9% ABV

Hazel Brown

5.2% ABV

Peak Logo 3

Peak Organic Brewing Company

Peak Fresh Cut Pilsner

4.7% ABV

Peak Fall Summit

5.7% ABV

Peak Pom Wheat

5.9% ABV

Peak Espresso Amber Ale

7% ABV

narragansett-150x120

Narragansett Beer

Narragansett Fest

5.5% ABV

Narragansett Lager

5.0% ABV

Millys-Tavern-150x75 (1)

Milly’s Tavern

Imperial IPA

7.2% ABV

Pumpkin

5.0%ABV

Bo’s Scotch Ale

9.5% ABV

Oatmeal Stout

4.9%ABV

lagunitas

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale

7.5% AbV

IPA

6.2% ABV

Harpoon-Brewery

Harpoon Brewery

Octoberfest

5.3%ABV

UFO Pumpkin

5.9% ABV

Great Rhythm Brewing Company

Great Rhythm Brewing Co.

Resonation Pale Ale

5.2% ABV

Blue Lobster

Blue Lobster Brewing Company

Red Door-Painted Black

7.0%ABV

Town Called Earth Exeter Edition

8.3%ABV

Lunatique Homard

8.4%ABV

Feeling thirsty and want to join the festivities? Buy tickets here!  I am very excited to try some of the beers that I have seen or heard of, but haven’t tried, as well as beers that are new to me!

Each full ticket includes a Exeter Powder Keg Beer & Chili Fest souvenir tasting glass, 8 beer sample tickets, 5 chili sample tickets and live entertainment

Full Ticket $35.00

Designated Driver Ticket $12.00

Youth Ticket $12.00

6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival at Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont

100_0734Last weekend, Mark and I went to Vermont for the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival, located at Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont.

We played tourists for the weekend, visited a couple of breweries and a winery, saw the beginning of fall foliage and went camping. 100_0741
100_0605  100_0607

We started our weekend early, heading over Friday morning. We arrived around 1pm, and started our weekend off with a quick chat and tasting at Northshire Brewing. Look here next week for a review and photos! We followed the beer with more beer (and lunch) at Madison Brewing Company, a brewpub. Look here next week for a review and photos!

We then checked into the campground, and went out on the pond for a little bit. 100_0653  100_0646 We followed paddle-boating with a dinner cooked over the fire and watched the fire glow… 100_0654  100_0672 100_0684  100_0683  100_0682

The next morning, Saturday, was the day of the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival. After making a quick breakfast of bagels toasted over the fire, we set off for a fun and alcohol filled day.

When we arrived at Mount Snow, we (at first) went the wrong way. Although our GPS was giving us the correct directions, even once we were on the Mount Snow property, we tried to follow the signs to determine where to park. Unfortunately, it was a breezy day, and some of the signs had turned around, misdirecting us. Luckily, the hotel valet directed us the correct way (as our GPS had been telling us to do haha). 100_0717After we found parking, we checked in and proceeded to have our IDs checked. After receiving our “over 21” bracelets and a stamp stating we had paid, we proceeded to get our wine glasses, grab bags and 3 tasting tickets a piece.100_0718  100_0729

We decided to walk around the two large tents before really stopping to taste anything. There were wineries, cider, cheese farms, and distilleries, places sampling jam, pickles and candy…

Oh, a note on the tastes. Each taste cost 1 ticket. A size of a taste varied table to table, some saying it was 1 ticket per pour, others 1 for all they were offering, and others, 2 tickets for all that they were offering. We were not able to try all of the wineries, but were able to try most and didn’t spend too too much on extra tickets (about $13).

Many of our stops at the festival:

Grafton Village Cheese:

We tried:

  • 3 year cheddar (bought)
  • 5 year cheddar
  • Maple Smoked Cheddar (very dry, but good!)
  • Leyden- English style cheese. Really good!

All of their cheese was very delicious! Would have loved to go home with more- will look into buying at least another block next time we are in Vermont. One of the really great things about the Grafton Village Cheese table, besides all of the delicious cheese, is that although this was one of the first tables we went to, they remembered us at the end of our day, when we went back to make a purchase. Something as small as that gesture of remembering really helps make a difference.

Newhall Maple Syrup:

Woodfired, grade A maple syrup

Really good, nice, sweet and thick

Newhall also made a cider, and had it paired with two other small orchards for a tasting:

we tried them in the following order, from lowest to highest in both alcohol and acidity

  • Windfall Orchards Ice Cider- 30 different varieties of apples go into the making of. 9% ABV. Great with dessert or cheese
  • Eden Heirloom Blend-10 different varieties of apples, 10% ABV. Goes well with dried meats
  • Newhall Ice Cider-Won a double gold metal. 12% ABV.

We both liked all three, for different reasons. Each one was unique.

Caledonia Spirits and Winery

All products are made from honey

I was very excited about this brand, due in part to the “Barr” name of two of their products.

Our tasting:

  • Barr Hill Vodka- not harsh, slight honey flavor
  • Barr Hill Gin- honey more powerful here. A sipping gin. Although I am not a gin drinker, i enjoyed this.
  • Elderberry Cordial- really good! Would be great as an after dinner drink or mixed with Prosecco 100_0722  100_0719  100_0721  100_0720

Whistlepig Straight Rye Whiskey

100 proof. Highest rated whiskey, 96 points. Good taste, but pricey. I found out after the festival that Whistlepig is not made in Vemont as we were made to think (all the others were Vermont made). I was disappointed in this. I did, however, find out that the distiller who makes this used to work for Maker’s Mark, which could be why I enjoyed it.

Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company

Tried:

  • Lille- thicker than Brie. Really good! Great flavor
  • Governor’s Cheddar- good, dry cheddar

Mad River Distillers

  • Maple Finish Rum- tastes like whiskey to me (which in later discussions with a distiller I know, I found was actually the oak barrel taste that I associate with whiskey). The maple syrup is aged in bourbon barrels.Good flavor
  • First Run Rum- good mixer
  • Chocolate Rye- nice, spiced, smooth100_0723

Vermont Distillers

  • Metcalf’s Raspberry Liqueur- good, tastes like raspberry jam. Would be great added to other drinks, or even a splash in sprite
  • Metcalf’s Vermont Maple Liqueur- Really good. Mark said it could be his new skiing coffee mixer.

 

100_0724 100_0761 We stopped by their tasting room at Hogback Mountain Scenic Overlook on the ride home, but they were not present. We assumed their staff was at the festival.

Vermont Spirits

  • Vermont Gold Vodka- not too much of a burn. Distilled from maple syrup.
  • No 14 Bourbon Whiskey- Mark really liked; they suggested adding water to a glass of whiskey to make the flavors open up

Mother Myrik’s Confectionary

Had their Buttercrunch to sample. Really delicious! It is handmade and made with Cabot Creamery butter.

 

Saxtons River Distillery

  • Vermont Maple Liqueur- good, although somewhat harsh going down
  • Vermont Maple Bourbon Whiskey- Mark tried, he said it was good, but “weird” because the maple flavor is different
  • Perc Coffee Liqueur- tastes just like coffee

Comment made by Mark:

“There’s a lot of maple and cider stuff in Vermont.”

Everywhere we looked, there was maple flavored stuff or cider!

Shelburne Vineyard

Tasting:

  • Louise Swenson- driest of the whites. Not too dry, it had a nice pucker to it
  • Riesling- Mark “that’s good.” Me- dry Riesling, not typical for me.
  • Lakeview White- semidry blend
  • Marquette- dry red. Hybrid grape with pinot noir. I actually liked this one, which surprised me. Mark also enjoyed.
  • Harvest Widows Revenge- semisweet red. Best served chilled. Mark and I really enjoyed.

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North Branch Vineyard

Tasting:

  • Frontenac Gris- dry white. Nice flavor to it, white peach and citrus. Liked it!
  • Miss Maeve- red raspberries. Not strong raspberry flavor, dry rose. Not sweet like you would expect.
  • Traminette- semidry. Similar to a dry Riesling. Rose petal and grapefruit. Mark liked.
  • Lacrescent- semisweet. Intense sweet apricot. Liked it, it is a different flavor
  • Marquette- oaked. Dry, black pepper and cherries. Like it, sweet, although it doesn’t intend to be.
  • Marechal Foch- dry blackberries. We both actually enjoyed this wine, although we tend to not like dry wines (guess our tastes are changing!)

Comment by Mark:

“I think we’re spoiled by Lukes.”

Lukes Liquors, located on the South Shore of Massachusetts in Rockland, hosting a wine tasting twice a year. The cost is $5, and for that price you get a wine glass, booklet, pen, small bites, and the opportunity to taste more than 100 different wineries.

Fresh Tracks Farm

We had to pick 3 each to try

  • American White- Mark tried, it was alright
  • Vermont Rose- I tried, it was ok
  • Vermont Apple Wine- semidry, juicy apple juice front. Refreshing finish. Good apple wine- you don’t see many apple wines that aren’t ice wines, so it makes it to be a more affordable way to enjoy
  • 2011 La Crescent- Mark enjoyed, and later went back for a larger sample (1 ticket for a larger pour)
  • 2011 Frontenac Gris- I tried and really enjoyed. Good amount of sweetness. I went back for a larger sample later.

Crowley Cheese

Had to try this cheese due to it being a family name.

  • Unusually Sharp- soooo good!
  • Chive- really good!

Yum! Understood the high prices, but would have purchased if it were less expensive for what they had left when we got there100_0638 100_0730

Whetstone Ciderworks

Told us their ciders were as “dry as any other cider on the market” and “a food friendly product.”

Our tasting:

  • Orchard Queen- dry, crisp, refreshing
  • Barnyard Blend- more rustic, English Farmhouse style. I enjoyed this one more than the Orchard Queen
  • Orchard King- most carbonated of all. Mark enjoyed
  • Whetstone Reserve- a different flavor. Mark enjoyed

Grandview Winery

Our tasting:

  • Pear Wine- Eastern States Wine Convention “double gold” and “best in show.” We both thought it was really good
  • Cranberry Wine- Ok, have had other cranberry wines that I have enjoyed more (such as those from Plymouth MA!)
  • Mac Jack Hard Cider- fresh grown Vermont apples, carbonated
  • Strawberry Rhubarb- nose picks up strawberry, then mouth picks up rhubarb
  • Raspberry Apple Wine- great nose. Nice and refreshing. Great combination. This is the bottle we left with, which was enjoyed with our Grafton Village 3 year Cheddar Cheese by the campfire.

On Sunday, we packed up and set off towards home mid-morning, making a stop on the way at Honora Winery. Look for that post soon!

Want to go to the 7th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival? Look here for more information as the time gets closer.

Due to the nature of our visit (it being a festival), there is not a huge amount of detail for many of the wineries. Since it was a festival, they are all still on our list to visit.

 

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