We 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.
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. Inside the stable, the horse stalls were roped off for their protection. Many of the Clydesdales were sleeping when we were there.
After visiting the Clydesdales, but before leaving the stable, we saw a Clydesdale show, a sleigh, and signed up for free stuff! The 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! We walked back towards the welcome center, just in time to hear the tour gathering call.
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.
- 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
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).
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!
Photo after the tour-Mark, Megan, Jason & Maureen
Boston.com just published this post “New England Fall Beers”
What is your favorite?
Would love to try:
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.
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. 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.
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
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.
Bar/wall near bar:
Good article from the Boston Herald on Southern NH wineries!
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, Vermont. It 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.
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.
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.
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!
Oh no! Apparently, the government agency that approves brewery openings as well as new labels is part of the shutdown. It is not impacting the larger breweries, like Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors, but the smaller craft breweries (the ones we all love!) since they create new beers seasonally…
See more here