The Liberal Cup Public House and Brewery

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The Liberal Cup is a 7 barrel brew pub located in Hallowell, ME. We decided to sit at the bar for lunch. It is a fairly small place with a restaurant side and a bar side. The bartender was good and attentive, even though it was a little crowded and busy. It seemed like there was a mix of local people and tourists, as well as people just passing through, which is usually a good sign.

 

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Our selections are best described as approachable, with many being good complements to our menu. This is because we brew mostly session ales (with a few strong exceptions, like our cult favorite Smelt Camp Strong Ale). Our beers are not boutique or extreme; they are brewed (and priced) to be enjoyed time and again—in the same visit or over the years. Our pints are generous servings of 20 ounces (hence the name, The Liberal Cup; it’s not political, despite our location).

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The Liberal Cup opened in 2000, and then the owner opened Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery in 2007 in Saco, ME. We recomend visiting  They do have some of the same beers on tap at both places, so we decided to just try a few pints instead of ordering a sampler tray.

 

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State Budget Red Ale
Dark color, even flavor. A touch darker/ heavier than we were  expecting. Good beer.

 

 

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Dog Days Summer Wheat
A little heavier than other summer wheat’s we’ve had. This isn’t a fruit summer wheat though, no hefeweizen coriander flavor.

 

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Alewife Ale
Caramel in color with a bitter, malty flavor.

 

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 Beer Cheese Soup
Chowder-like consistency with very sharp cheddar cheese flavor. Very good, we should have ordered 2.

 

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 Cajun Caesar
Perfect level of spice.

 

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 El Cubano
Mark’s sandwich was good, but messy, so he had to eat it quickly. He tried something different and liked it.

 

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The brewery is in the back of the bar side. There are a few windows you can look in and see the 7 barrel system they have.

 

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They certainly don’t have much room back there, but they are able to get it done

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On Tap Now

Bug Lager
Alewife Ale
Dunkel John’s Band
Backhouse Bitter
1762 Rye PA

 

GUEST TAP

Allagash Black

 

Want to visit?
Open for Lunch & Dinner
11:30am -9pm Sunday-Thursday
11:30am- 10pm Friday & Saturday
Bar is open till the last person leaves  or 1AM.

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Federal Jack’s Restaurant and Brew Pub

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The beginning of Bre’s Birthday Weekend! Deryl, Megan, Bre, Mark

 

 

 

We visited Federal Jack’s Restaurant and Brew Pub, located right on the water in Kennebunkport, Maine during Bre’s birthday weekend festivities. We were headed to Old Orchard Beach to camp for this weekend, and this was at a good stopping point. It was also a good time to try to throw Bre off, because she didn’t quite know the full plan of the weekend…

 

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Megan & Bre

Federal Jack’s is one of Maine’s first brew pubs, and the birthplace of Shipyard Brewing Company’s award winning-line of ales. Federal Jack’s opened in 1992 by Fred Forsley and Alan Pugsley, with the opening of the Kennebunkport Brewing Company as well. Demand quickly increased, and in 1994, Shipyard Brewing Company was built Portland, Maine.

 

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All beers at Federal Jack’s are brewed downstairs, at the 7-barrel brewery of the Kennebunkport Brewing Company.

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KBC

 

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beer options!

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We ordered a sampler tray so we could try some of the beers we haven’t had before, and so we could share little tastes with everyone.

 

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our samples

 

Samurai
Hoppy but light and summery

 

Sirius Summer Ale
Served with a lemon- delicious. Not a ton of flavor but a good summer beer.

 

Sunfish Wheat
Good flavor, grapefruit and peach. Smells like peach but tastes like grapefruit. Smell is a lot stronger than the taste.

 

Taint Town Pale Ale
Smooth, better than most pale ales.

 

Fuggles IPA
Not too crazy hoppy. Probably because it is single hopped with fuggles hops from England.

 

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the menu

 

There was a group of us, so we ordered a couple of appetizers.

 

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Pretzel Breadsticks

 

 

 

Nachos with Chicken

Nachos with Chicken

 

Deryl and Bre aren’t big beer drinkers, but they did like some of the lighter, summer beers.

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Deryl ordered a pint of the Sirius Summer Ale. Bre went with a Frozen Strawberry Margarita.

 

 

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Mark ordered a pint of the Samurai. He liked it refreshing on a hot summer day, but also a beer that we haven’t seen in the stores around us.

 

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Megan got a pint of the Sunfish Wheat Ale.

 

We visited at the end of the summer, so we sat outside on the deck. There is a really nice view of the water from the deck.

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view from the deck

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view of part of the deck

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Tables on the lower level- also nice

 

 

Lunch

Megan got the Chicken Caesar Salad

Megan got the Chicken Caesar Salad

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Bre’s Caesar Salad with Calamari

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Deryl’s hickory BBQ burger

 

Mark got Fish Tacos

Mark got Fish Tacos, really good with an interesting sauce

 

 

Caparse Sandwhich

Lizzie had the Caprese Sandwich

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Bre’s birthday lunch group! Lizzie, Deryl, Bre, Mark and Megan

 

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the ladies! darn sun

 

Want to visit?
Open year-round 7 days a week
11:30am – 1:00am
Late night menu after 9:00pm
Dinner served until 10:00pm Friday and Saturday
Brunch specials every Sunday from 10:00am – 2:00pm

Boston Beer Works – Fenway Park Location

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Near the end of the summer we went in to see a Red Sox game and got into Boston a little early. We decided to get some food and a few beers at Boston Beer Works, right across the street from Fenway Park. Of course, on game day they were really busy. They are used to it and they handled the crowd well.

 

View from front door of Fenway

View from Beer Works of Fenway

 

While waiting for a table we ordered beers from the bar. They had a designated spot to step up and order beers, then you have to move. This is something you don’t see at most bars, but we were very happy to see it here. Megan ordered the Watermelon, which she had before and really liked, and Mark ordered an Imperial Wit.

 

Imperial Wit

Megan smelled banana. It was tangy and maybe a little sour. Looks like an unfiltered beer.

 

Beer Menu

Beer Menu

 

 

They said it would be a 30 minute wait, but it was only about 15 minutes so we were happy.

 

We ordered a sample tray so we could tastes beers we have not had before. We had gone to Lowell Beer Works earlier in the summer, read the post here 

Beers on tap

Beers on tap

We wanted to try different beers than we had before, so we picked out some beers we may not have normally tried. They have 7 different Beer Works locations in and around Boston and we’ve been to 2 so far. We hope to try each one at a different time of year, so we can try all of their beers.

 

 

Beer Samples

Beer Samples

 

 

Castle Rock Raspberry

Great raspberry smell. Sweeter taste than we expected. Mark thought it was pretty good, defintily a light tasting summery beer with a raspberry flavor. A little sweet but not overbearing. Megan thought it was close to jolly rancher, a little too sweet for her.

 

Patriot Pilsner

Just ok, neither of us are huge fans of pilsners in general. The blonde beer we ordered wasn’t available so thy replaced it with this one. Not one we would have picked.

 

Imperial Pilsner

Mark liked this a lot better- more to it, more substance I guess. It definitely had more flavor.

 

Houblon Rouge

Belgian red IPA. Dark in color lighter in taste

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Food came out super quick, we just ordered a couple of appetizers since there would be food at the game.

 

 

Buffalo Wings

Buffalo Wings

 

Buffalo had good flavor, it wasn’t just hot. Blue cheese seemed house made, Mark thought it was really good.

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Pretzel Bread Balls

 

Rich cheese sauce

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All the beers they have on tap now are different from the 2 visits we had during the summer. Summer beers are gone and pumpkin and fall beers are here.

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Opposite Fenway Park since 1992
61 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215
617-536-BEER

Open Daily from 11:00AM – 1AM

SATURDAY & SUNDAY BRUNCH 11 AM – 2 PM
KITCHEN OPEN UNTIL CLOSE EVERY NIGHT
*FENWAY LOCATION – Opens early for Red Sox Opening Day, Marathon Monday and other early Sox/Event Days.

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batting practice before the game!

 

Oh, did we mention we had tickets in a suite, for free?

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View of the field

View of the field

 

Us at the game

Us at the game

John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House, Framingham

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entrance from the large parking lot (strip mall side)

“Where good people gather for great brews

For twenty years, John Harvard’s has brewed and served great craft beers alongside hearty meals at several permanent and seasonal destinations throughout the Northeast.

In 1992, John Harvard’s brewery was opened in Cambridge, drawing on the story and fabled recipes from Harvard and Shakespeare and pushing forward the tradition of craft beer as the center of life and community. We’re proud to serve in the storied legacy of John Harvard, the scholar and brewer; and invite you to continue new chapters in good company right here.”

We recently went to the Framingham location of John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House. The largest of their breweries by capacity, John Harvard’s Framingham offers up to 10 beers on tap in a family-friendly setting. If you are going here, it is located in the back left corner of the strip mall, we had a little trouble finding it, that’s why we are letting you know. It is a large restaurant with a long bar where you can see all the barrel’s brewing the beer.

They have locations in Harvard Square, Framingham MA, Providence RI, Lake Grove NY, Holiday Valley Resort NY, and Jiminy Peak in Hancock MA. From looking at their website it looks like each location has a head brewer who makes the decisions about what styles of beer to make.IMG_1804

We visited John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House for dinner with Jason and Maureen, after Jason had gone with us to Jack’s Abby and Angry Ham’s (a mini brewery/bar crawl if you will).

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delicious bread and oil

We started with two samplers, with the ladies picking four and the guys picking the other four.

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Maureen & Megan’s sampler

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Jason & Mark’s sampler

Strawberry
Good balance, not too fruity but still good strawberry flavor. Mark thought the strawberry was a little light or subtle. Megan thought it was much sweeter the 2nd time.

 

American Gold
Good light beer, similar to Bud heavy but with a little something extra, maybe a little sweeter.

 

Cool as a Cucumber Ale
Megan did not like it, even though she eats a cucumber every. single. day. Maureen thought it was ok, but probably wouldn’t get it again. Jason didn’t taste the cucumber, thought it was sweet and lemony. Mark thought it sweet then tart. The menu had the quote from ‘The Other Guys’, remarkably refreshing, and we expected it but didn’t really get it.

 

Super Secret Pale Ale|
Good beer, slightly lighter than some other pale’s we’ve had, and a little sweet.

 

Raisin Hell (Barrel Aged)
Megan and Maureen didn’t like this either. One that we all weren’t quite sure why Megan choose it (she doesn’t like raisins)… Maureen likes raisins though. Megan thought it tasted too much like the barrel it was in. Mark liked it, it was heavy, he got the cabernet taste, reminded us of barley wine.

 

Framingham Rogue
Megan liked the malt base with added spices. Mark and Jason both liked it.

 

Chile Con Cacao Porter
Maureen didn’t like it, too heavy and flavorful. Megan expected it to be spicer, tasted the serrano, cayenne and chipotle. Mark liked it, good balance, not too spicey, not too heavy.

 

Hop Chronic
Good flavor, Mark and Jason both liked it. Not just hoppy and not too plain. A little sweet, maybe a ‘subtle caramel sweet flavor’. Best beer so far, said Mark and Jason.

 

We appreciate that they tried making some unique beers. Some just weren’t our style, but instead of playing it safe it seems like they were experimenting and trying to have fun with their beers, which ranked them high.

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brew tanks behind the bar

Our dinners:

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Grilled Cheese with House Salad

 

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Quesadilla

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Pastrami

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Texas Burge

Really good, what Mark was expecting

 

 

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Jason & Maureen

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Megan & Mark

 

On Tap Now

Kolsch, Half Wit, Cool as a Cucumber, Super Secret Pale Ale, Half in the Bagels, Octoberfest, Harvest Spice, California Daze, Raisin Hell (Barrel Aged), Rio Negro Coffee Stout

 

Want to visit? Hours vary by location

 

Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham, Massachusetts

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We have been to Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham several times, and picked up their beer in Massachusetts’s packies even more. We went back recently to visit their brand new facility at 100 Clinton Street in Framingham, MA with Mark’s brother Jason and sister Michelle.

 

Jack’s Abby opened in 2011. They are an all lager brewery, which is very unique, and means they use only lager yeast. This is a slow fermentation process, much longer than making ales, and they ferment cold. It is a longer process but you have more control over flavoring. Sugars and yeast cell counts are measured throughout the fermentation process. There is a 4 to 5 week turnaround for 1 beer, where ale’s typically take 2 to 3 weeks.

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On the first tour we went on we learned a lot about the brewery:

  • the three Hendler brothers own the brewery- Jack, Eric and Sam
  • the brewery is named after one of the owners, Jack, and his wife Abby, as a nod to Abby and to the traditions of European monks who created their beers in their abbeys
  • Jack studied brewing in Chicago as well as in Munich, Germany

 

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They purchased a new bottling machine in the Fall 2013. They bottle approximately half and keg about half of the beer they make. 75% of what they make is consumed within the greater metro west area of Boston. They just started canning at the new brewery as well, in 12oz cans as well as 16oz cans for 4 packs.

 

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Mass Rising – DIPL – 8%
Mark and Jason both buy this beer semi regularly. It is a double india pale lager, or DIPL. It is pretty hoppy, somewhat bitter but a well balanced and smooth ipl.

 

Baby Hammer – black lager with lactose – 6%
A brewery only release, very tasty, a really smooth beer, probably a combo of the lager base and the addition of the lactose.

 

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Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10%
A good, smooth baltic porter for 10%. Still a strong, dark beer, but well balanced and flavorful.

 

Sour Time – wheat lager soured in wine barrels – 4.8%
You get sour and wheat flavors from this, just ok but not a stellar sour, according to Mark.

 

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Hibiscus Blood Orange Leisure Time – wheat lager 4.8%
A brewery only release, Megan described it as joy and sunshine, not very descriptive, we know. Mark was hoping it would be a little bit better, not enough blood orange fruit flavor.

 

Calyptra – session IPL – 4.9%
Pretty good overall IPL, not lacking in flavor for a session lager. They are releasing 12 oz cans of this soon.

 

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Excess – DIPL – 7.2%
Really good, smooth for a double. Really good hop flavor and overall balance.

 

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Lashes – red ipl – 6.8%
Michelle got a pint of this beer, which she enjoyed.

 

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One of the reasons we wanted to visit the new facility is that they have a new beer hall and they serve food.

 

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We got 2 pretzels for apps that were very tasty (that’s just one in the picture).

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Potato and Bacon pizza, pretty good.

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BBQ Pork Pizza, this was very good as well, interesting combo with the
pineapple and serrano chili, and BBQ pork.

When we visited it was only around 4:00, so we weren’t quite ready for dinner, we just got a few pizza’s. They were good. Their menu is not that big, and they don’t have everyday bar food, no burgers or sandwiches on the regular menu.

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They have plenty of room for all their new, and old, barrel aged beers. See those really
big barrels in the bottom picture? Must be something tasty in their!

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They have a much, much larger tasting area, or beer hall, now. It seems like it might not be quite large enough for the popularity they have achieved. We tried to visit a month ago, at around 7:00 on a Saturday. Couldn’t find parking or even get in the building it was so crowded.

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Even at 4:00 or 5:00 on a Saturday this is how crowded it was. Luckily we got a seat at one of the longer picnic tables. Unfortunately, they operate the beer hall as seat yourself, which probably adds to the crazyness on busy nights. It looks like they need more room already.

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Cool, reclaimed wood they use as ceiling panels with up lighting. They look
cooler in person, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

We were glad to see they do have a separate bar area, when you first enter, for beers to go, bottles, cans, growlers and swag.

The first time we visited Jack’s Abby Brewing was with Mark’s brother Jason as well. The guys had decided it was time to do a mini brewery and bar crawl through Framingham… Our visits included: Jack’s Abby, Angry Ham’s (featured on Bar Rescue), and John Harvard’s Brewhouse- Framingham.

 

Old sign, and their old logo.

 

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Old logo at the old brewery, hand painted by Jack’s wife, Abby

 

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They also cask condition a lot of beers in Bourbon barrels as well as red and white wine barrels.

 

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samplers before the tour- fun holder too!

 

Cocoa-Nut Barrel Aged Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Coconut smell, heavy coconut flavor with the bourbon flavor, not as much cocoa as expected. Mark thought the bourbon really played up the coconut, Megan wished there was a bit more cocoa

Jabby Brau – Session lager – 4.5% – IBU 20
No longer available?
Everyone liked it, Mark thought it had a touch of fruit.

Hoponius Union – Wicked Hoppy Lager – 6.7% – IBU 65
Year Round
Really good mix of hops and lager. One of their flagship beers, one of Jason and Mark’s favorite. We buy this often, and didn’t bother tasting it in the most recent visit because we knew we were both buying some.

 

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Jason’s sampler, after the tour

 

Leisure – Wheat Lager – 4.8% – IBU 15
available Year Round
Mark and Jason both thought it was a good summer beer. It’s what Megan likes, light and drinkable, citrusy.

 

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Berliner – Megan’s favorite

 

Berliner – Sour Wheat Lager – 3.5%
What Megan expected from a wheat sour, very good with a nice pucker.

Barrel Aged Cherry Berliner – Dark Sour Lager – 5.5%
Although it was barrel aged, the bourbon taste surprised Megan. It did have a god balance of sour and cherries. Mark liked this better than the regular Berliner.

 

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Mark’s sampler, after the tour

 

Framingham Lager – 4.5%
Light, easy drinking, nothing too special, Jason agrees.

Barrel Aged Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Very strong taste, maybe a hint of brown sugar. Strong bourbon taste as well.

PB&J Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Not as strong as the BA Framinghammer. Nutty with a little sweetness at the end. Made Mark smile when he had it, could get the PB & J taste, Jason thought it was more chocolate almond.

 

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Megan’s sampler, after the tour

 

Hopstitution – Extra Pale Lager
Good taste, hops up front, smooth lager base. Mark and Jason both liked it.

Session Rye IPL – 3.8% – IBU 40
Jason liked it, so he shared it, everyone liked it. Definitely had a lighter, rye taste to it.

 

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the offerings during our first visit…

  

 

 

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Yay lagers!

 

We had fun here, and we all found beer we liked, at the old brewery and the new one.

 

 

They also now distribute all over Mass, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Eastern Pennsylvania and into New York as well. Not in New Hampshire or Maine, too bad for us.

Want to visit?

New Beer Hall Hours
Tuesday – Thursday: 11:30 am – 9 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sunday 1:30 am – 9 pm

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love this sign!