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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!

Boston.com New England Fall Beers

Boston.com just published this post “New England Fall Beers

 

What is your favorite?

I’ve had:

Mayflower Autumn Wheat (loved it)

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale

Magic Hat’s Seance (had it tonight- really good!

Shipyard’s Smashed Pumpkin

Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead

Harpoon’s Octoberfest

Harpoon’s Craft Cider

Sam Adam’s Octoberfest

Sam Adam’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale

Would love to try:

Mayflower Thanksgiving Ale

Blue Hills Brewery‘s Pumpkin Lager

Cambridge Brewing Great Pumpkin Ale

Cape Ann Brewing’s Pumpkin Stout

Harpoon Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale

Sam Adam‘s Fat Jack

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.

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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!