Sons of Liberty Spirits Company, South Kingstown RI

We have to expand our goal now to include the state of Rhode Island. Megan’s sister Sam’s boyfriend Dustin lives in Newport and there are several places right there. Well, everything is close in Rhode Island (true story. Megan went to school down there).

We had Sam and Dustin show us the “local” places…

Our first stop- Son’s of Liberty Spirits Company. Sam and Dustin had been there before, and really enjoyed the tour and tasting. Hence, our first Rhode Island stop.

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 One of the reasons they started Sons of Liberty was to make good whiskey that other people aren’t making. They started the tour off by saying ‘What do you think of when I say American whiskey?’ Most people think of bourbons and Tennesee whiskey.

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Then he says ‘What do you think of when I say single malt whiskey?’ Most people think of Scotch, made in Scotland of course. ‘So why don’t American whiskey companies make single malt scotch?’ Well, Sons of Liberty does, and it’s really good. And they pose for pictures.

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Another question they had when they started thier distillery is why don’t people make seasonal whiskey? Some places make flavored whiskey, mostly honey, but why not make seasonal whiskey like seasonal beers. When we were their they had a Summer Hopped Whiskey and a fall Pumpkin Spiced Whiskey, which won the American Distilling Institutes’ world’s best flavored whiskey.

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 In order to make whiskey you have to make a distillers beer first. We didn’t know that! Then you distill it into whiskey.

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Distillers beer in the tank

 

All the distillers beer start with the same grains and then you add different malts.

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4 tanks of distillers beer

There are no hops used in distillers beers, they are added later.

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the still

Distilling too high strips the flavor, a lower distilling point keeps the beer flavor.

 

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Lots of inspirational t-shirts

They use mostly the heart of the whiskey. This is mostly what comes out in the middle of the distilling process. They put the heart of the whiskey in stainless steel barrels with a ton of oak staves from the barrels. This kick starts the barrel flavoring process. All sides of the oak now touch the whiskey instead of just one side. Then they barrel age the whiskey for a shorter period of time.

 

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Uprising
American Single Malt Whiskey born from a stout beer
This has a smokey and oakey flavor, really good, really smooth taste. Mark bought a bottle and shared it with several people, including an expensive scotch drinker, and he really liked it as well.

 

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Battle Cry
American Single Malt Whiskey born from a belgium beer
Smoother but less smokey and oakey. Megan like this better, less of a harsh taste to her

 

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Pumpkin Spice Flavored Whiskey – Fall Seasonal Release
Pumpkin spiced, not overbearing flavor, generally favorable among us. Sam wanted a little more pumpkin flavor. This didn’t hold up quite as well against the first two because they were so good, thought Mark. Won the World’s Best Flavored Whiskey by Whiskey Magazine.

 

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Hop Flavored Whiskey – Summer Seasonal Release
Born from an IPA
Not as flavorful, Sam liked it. Mark was really excited for this one, but same as the one above. The taste just didn’t quite compare to Uprising and Battle Cry because they were so good.

 

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Loyal 9 Vodka
Really smooth, really good, not much flavor but no bite at all. They say they distill it 99 times because they just keep sending it through the still over and over again.

 

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Loyal 9 Vodka – Mint Cucumber
First Seasonal Vodka – Summer Release
More mint than cucumber, very interesting flavor. Good for a mojito.

 

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Loyal 9 Vodka – Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean
Winter Seasonal Release
Good flavor. Mix with coffee syrup and whole milk

 

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The bartender wasn’t talking a lot, there were about 30 people at the bar tasting so he was really busy. When we did asked questions he answered them and gave us lots of info.

 

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Tours & Tastings

$10 Includes Tasting Glass

Saturdays every half hour between 12 and 3:30pm
Fridays 4:30-7:30pm (Self-guided tours)

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Boston Wine Expo, February 14-15 2015!

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We recently went to a “sneak peek” of the 2015 Boston Wine Expo.
Delicious and worth the trip to Boston.

***

With the upcoming event, we wanted to share some of the awesome vendors and wineries that will be at the Boston Wine Expo 2015 AND…

OFFER YOU a PAIR of TICKETS to this years event! More on that later…

***

The Boston Wine Expo will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center, on Valentine’s weekend (February 14 & 15, 2015). Last year’s event was fantastic- we tried wine we wouldn’t of otherwise, and learned about wine as well as cheese and Italian beer. This year, w expect nothing short of excellent.

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view of the Seaport World Trade Center

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what was available for our preview event

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what was available for our preview event

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delectable food- I wonder what there will be at this year’s event!

Some of the many featured wines

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the lady bug is a natural predator that feeds on insects harmful to plants.
the wine has flavors of black cherries and raspberries, with aromas of spice and espresso

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90+ Cellars, a favorite from last year

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90+ cellars

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We hardly ever say this, but we liked all three of these red wines. They all had a different place for enjoyment

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Megan’s favorite of the three

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Our tips from last year:

IF you go…
Go with a goal… maybe to try a particular country. At previous wine events, I have focused on a particular type of wine, however trying by country is easier with the layout here.
Try a wine you’ve never heard of
Don’t say that you don’t like a particular type of wine- you might just not like the way that winery makes it. Try it somewhere else.
Stay hydrated”

Are you going? Have you gone before? What are you looking forward to? Comment to let us know!

But wait! We have two pairs of tickets to giveaway!! Enter here!


Please note, you must be available the weekend of February 14/15 2015. Winners will be notified Jan. 23. Winner must respond within 24 hours, or another name will be pulled.
For Facebook and Twitter entries, you must like, tweet, follow, etc as it states, or your entry will not be qualified.

Downeast Cider House

This past fall, we took a trek into Boston with Mark’s sister Michelle, Megan’s sisters Heather, Jessica and Samantha, Samantha’s boyfriend Dustin, and friends Bre and Lizzie. We took a walk from the nearest train station to Downeast Cider House. On a warm day, this walk would be nothing. On a windy day (like the one we had), the walk was a little harsh. In good weather, walk. In cold weather, take a cab or drive.

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When they say they are located down under the Tobin Bridge, they are serious. Right under the bridge.

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A little farther in…

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Around the corner…

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And you are there!

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They give you these sampling glasses at the start of the tour. They come around and give you samples of what they have on tap during the tour. We all liked this, you get to drink while on the tour.

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We have had Downeast Cider plenty of times before, and we have had a lot of people try it as well, including everyone who came with us on this visit. They press from fresh apples year round, and it tastes like it.

Original Blend – 5.1%
It tastes like a regular jug of cider you would get from the produce department. It is a blend of freshly pressed blend of Red Delicious, McIntosh, Cortland and Gala apples.

Cranberry Blend – 5%
Good blend of cranberry flavor and cider, not too tart but just enough cranberry flavor. Several of us actually got growlers of this.

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Kegs, growlers, and cans, lots of cans.

Hard Honey – 5.1%
This was a spring release this year. A sweeter, definitely honey flavored cider. Good but sweet. When we had tried this, they had said it was the lemonade at first… So, many of us weren’t fans. After finding out that it was the Hard Honey, we wished for another taste.

Lemonade – 5.1%
This was a summer release, light and easy drinking.

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They have a Winter Blend out now that we did not get to try. It is 6.5% and aged on oak chips, cinnamon bark, and nutmeg, sounds like a good winter cider. Next fall they may be making a pumpkin cider, and possibly a hard iced tea for the spring, though that is just a rumor.

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Back row: Lizzie, Dustin, Mark Middle row: Michelle, Megan, Heather, Jessica, Samantha Front: Bre

We had quite a group of people visiting with us.

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It was a little hard to hear on the tour, it is an operating brewery, so equipment and coolers were running. We were on the largest tour of the day on a Sunday afternoon, too, so we couldn’t get too close to the tour guide. The tasting during the tour is a good touch. We recommend Downeast to everyone we think might like it. That includes you!

Want to visit?

Tastings, Tours & Growler

SATURDAYS 12-8pm, every half-hour, Last tour at 7pm
SUNDAYS 1-6pm, every half-hour, Last tour at 5pm

Schilling Beer Company, Littleton, NH

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While visiting our friends Jamie and Andrew, we took the drive to Schilling Beer Company. Andrew recommended we go here. He said they have really good pizza and some quality beers. We have to agree. They are located in Littleton, NH which is about 20 miles north of the Lincoln/Woodstock/Loon Mountain area.

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From their website: “Schilling Beer Co. is a family-owned artisan microbrewery centered on the values of family, community and excellence. These values are reflected in the three united grain heads that comprise our logo.

Schilling is the embodiment of a dream for four brothers and Dad, who left professions and moved across continents to link up in the North Country to brew together. The name “Schilling” honors our grandfather, Dr. Richard J. Schilling (his picture hangs near the bar), and also reflects the continental European influences on the brewing.

We brew Schilling beers on a custom 5-barrel wirelessly controlled brewhouse here, in the oldest commercial building north of Concord, NH – a renovated gristmill dating to 1797.”

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outside seating- a bit too cold now! Love that they have it- maybe next time!

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let’s head on in!

It’s hard to describe these beers without using the term ‘Belgian style’ or ‘ Belgian taste’ in the description. Most of the beers have that as a taste with some extra flavoring or style in it. This is in part due to their European influences and experiences.

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 Our Tasting:

Erastus – Abbey-style Tripel – 8%
A heavy ‘blue moon’ flavor, a little earthy, Belgian flowers.

Foy – Belgian-style IPA – 5.9%
Andrew said it had the hoppy taste of an IPA, but not overpowering. We agree, almost like a toned down IPA with some Belgian flavors, you get both. Jamie got a little citrus fruit taste.

Trapu – Belgian-style Dark Ale – 6%
Smooth. Chocolate and light coffee notes, on the verge of a ‘cask strength’ flavor.

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Blonde Grisette – Belgian-style Saison – 5.5%
A tiny bit fruity and a little earthy, light beer. Andrew agree’s.

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Jamie enjoying her beers

Pater – Abbey-style Single – 4.8%
Spiced rather than hopped. Light, Belgian session beer, not super flavorful.

Grotius – Abbey-style Dubbel – 6.3%
Belgian style with a darker, malty taste with a little bit of ‘dark fruit aroma’s’, their term but we agree.

Resistance – Belgian-style Saison – 6.3%
An earthy saison.

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Dr. Oovert – Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale – 9.1%
Strong flavor, good taste. The description said ‘dark fruit and caramel’, we agree, fruity but a heavy taste. Andrew agree’s there were a ‘multitude of dark fruit flavors’, got stronger and more flavorful as you drank. Megan did not like this beer.

Le Nain – Biere blanche – 6%
50% wheat, cloudy, flavorful, a medium silky mouth feeling. German and American hops.

Schilling ‘Sticke’ Collaboration with White Birch – Wheat Ale – 5.5%
Fruity notes, smooth wheat ale. Megan said it was what she expected from White Birch.

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downstairs, bar area great atmosphere
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seating area at the top of the – love the look!

 Time to eat!

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Maple Bacon Pizza- AMAZING!

Yes, maple syrup, bacon, chicken and apples. Sweet and savory. This was a special, and it was everyone’s favorite. A slightly odd combination that really works.

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Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Good amount of spice, really good pizza

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Loaded Pizza

This pizza was good, but overshadowed by the other 2 because they were so good. Plenty of sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, caramelized onions, and roasted red peppers.

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Megan being …… an owl?

Jeff Cozzens, CEO, runs the place with his brothers. Very approachable, and was seen interacting with all customers, not just us. He was a great guy, and spoke with us and others about the beers, and how they came to be.

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Meg, Mark, Andrew & Jamie

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Want to visit?

Fall Beer Fest, by the Boston Event Guide, Boston MA

We were lucky to go to Boston Event Guide’s Fall Beer Fest in November. They had three sessions; we went to the 12:00-2:30pm session.
We also had two pairs of tickets to give out to our readers- thank you to everyone that entered!
We hope that those of you that went had a great time!

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The Boston Event Guide prides themselves for being the leading resource for the best events in Boston. It was started in 1995 by Jeff Popkin to connect young professionals with events occuring across the city. He had been hearing about events AFTER they happened, instead of knowing first hand that they were happening. The Boston Event Guide also sends out a weekly newsletter to it’s members (membership is FREE) about what’s going on, what social events and netowkring events are approaching, and any great deals.

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The Fall Beer Fest was held at Cyclorama. The building was easy to find, however parking was not. Next time, we will definitely take the T in (the Boston area train).

When we arrived, we had our IDs checked outside, and then proceeded in.
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After checking in, we each took a cup to use for the day, and were given a map of where we could find the beer.

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map for the afternoon

 

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Cyclorama’s fun ceiling

Some of the many breweries present, and the beer we enjoyed…

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Foolproof Brewing Company
Foolproof Brewing Company opened 2 years ago in Pawtucket, RhodeIsland.
Farmhouse Ale Saison was very good
Backyahd IPA was pretty standard but tasty
Raincloud was a robust porter, good, chocolate and coffee notes
We recently added Rhode Island to our travels, so we will be visiting Foolproof sometime in the future
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Finch’s Beer Company
Finch’s is located in Chicago, Illinois. They are beginning to expand into the Massachusetts and New England market.
We had the Hardcore Chimera (double IPA) and Cut Throat (Pale Ale). Both these beers were really good.
Keep your eye out for these beers, and others by Finch’s Beer Company.

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Strange Brew
Strange Brew is currently a beer and wine home brew supply store, that also offers classes. Rumor has it, they should be opening as a brewery sometime soon…
They had a lot of interesting beer flavors:
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Granny Strange was a sour and/or tart cider. Good but very different flavor.

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Sour Power, as they label it, is an extremely sour ale. A very interesting, very sour and tasty ale.

 

Downeast Cider
Very good traditional cider taste- as Megan says “it’s like getting a jug of cider, but it is alcoholic.”
We have had many family mebers and friends try this cider- and no one has disliked it. In fact, it it now the favorite of many!
We just visited here, look for our post coming soon.

 

 

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Spiked Seltzer
This was a different take on beer. They brew it like a lager, but it drinks like flavored seltzer, despite being 6% alcohol! Spiked Seltzer is all natural and has low sugar, low carbs and is gluten free. They had lime, orange, and grapefruit flavors available to try.

All the flavors were pretty good, grapefruit was subtle and the orange tasted like orange soda. Megan can’t wait until they are all over New England, so she can pick up a six pack! Want to see if they are available near you? Check here

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Redhook and Kona
They were both there. We tried the Winter Hook because we’ve had their other beers plenty of times. The Winter Hook is a super hoppy ale with dark malts.

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Goose Island
We tried their IPA and Festivity Ale.
There’s no doubt they are a craft beer maker, but now they are owned by Inbev, owner of Anheuser-Busch. They like it, they can get what they need when they need it, they have the support of a company that has some pull.

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Blue Point Brewing Company
Our options were their toasted lager (which is their flagship beer), and a pumpkin ale, which was good- not overly spiced so you could taste the pumpkin

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Off Shore Ale Company
One of the many breweries in Massachusetts that we haven’t been able to visit yet- this one is on Martha’s Vineyard.
They had their Beach Road Nut Brown Ale and Hop Goddess.

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Uinta

All of the beers we tried here were good. They had their Black Lager, Yard Sale, Double IPA, and Session IPA. Our only fault with them? We would have to go to Salt Lake City to visit!
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Cape Ann Brewing Company
They brought a fair selection. We both liked the Fisherman’s Brew, but the Pilsner we did not like that much.
If you are interested in visiting Cape Ann Brewery in Gloucester, check out our post about our visit there.

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Ballantine
They just relaunched the brewery after being closed for 10 years. They have been around for a long time, in the 40’s and 50’s the were sponsoring the Yankee’s, they were the 4th largest brewery back then. Now the only beer they make is the Ballantine IPA which was a pretty good, fairly standard IPA.

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They were giving out free waters, which was great- always a good idea to hydrate during and after drinking! This water has a pH level of 9.5, to help keep you hydrated

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We thought the beer fest was good, and different in a good way. The event space fit it well- and allowed for you to walk around without bumping into others. We also liked that we had the opportunity to speak with the brewery representatives at many of the tables. Many tastings/festivals you want to ask questions, but really aren’t allowed to because the focus is to push everyone through the line. Here, the focus was fun and education when wanted.

Interested in going to one of these events, or something else by the Boston Event Guide? Be sure to sign up for their newsletter list to stay updated!

Ready to go drinking? Their Spring Craft Beer Fest 2015 is right around the corner- April 12th.
Tickets are $69. but you can buy them for $19 through December 31st! It looks like an event you can’t miss!

While at the beer fest, we ran into a few co-workers of Megan. They had taken a bus to the event, which was such a great idea!
Group photo, post beer fest!

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Visit #75 – Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Brewing Company was founded in 1994. The story started before that, though. In 1987 siblings, Peter & Janet Egelston, along with partners, started the Northampton Brewery in Northhampton, MA, which is now the oldest brewpub in New England. In 1991 they started the Portsmouth Brewery, New Hampshire’s first brewpub. In 1992 Peter and Janet bought out the other partners. In 1993 Peter attended the bankruptcy auction of the Frank Jones Brewing Company and bought the brewery that would become Smuttynose. In 2000 Peter & Janet Egelston bought each other out of their partnership, splitting the brewery ownership. Janet remains owner of the Northampton Brewery; Peter and his partner, Joanne Francis, own Smuttynose and the Portsmouth Brewery. Smuttynose Brewing Company was located in Portsmouth, NH up until this year, when they moved to their new location in North Hampton, NH.

 

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Eric explaining the brewing process

 

They have a wet grist mill, not dry as many breweries are.

 

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Plenty of beer here

 

They also use whole malts instead of split malts.

 

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Their bottling line, which you can kind of see in this picture, can do about 300 bottles a minute. They were going a little slower when we were there because they were doing mixed 12 packs, which need to be separated and boxed by hand.

 

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Fermentation tanks

This is certainly one of the biggest breweries we have been to. Look at all those tanks.

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They made a lot of decisions to be a green facility.

 

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Plenty of natural light. They also have motion sensor LED lights, which are much more energy efficient than fluorescents. They actually did such a good job in making green decisions that they are a LEED Certified Gold facility.

 

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A rain garden outside that helps with absorbing water into the ground and avoiding the sewer system.

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Showing off our safety glasses on the tour

 

At the end of the tour you can sample 4 beers. We tried to split up our tastings between us so we could try beers we haven’t had before.

 

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Vunderbar Pilsner – 4.9%
One of the better pilsners we have had. Light but good flavor.

 

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Farmhouse Ale – 7.2%
We both really liked this. Fruity with a slight earthy taste. Unfortunately they didn’t have any in bottles or we would have bought some.

 

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Just hanging out

 

Big A IPA – 9.5%
Strong IPA, not overpowering considering it is 9.5%. Good flavor, has a nice- little-something-extra taste to it.

 

Old Brown Dog – 6.7%
Described as having a ‘rich, malty flavor’.  It is a little more flavorful than some brown ales.

 

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Smuttlander – 9.8%
Double bock, smoother than expected, hints of toffee and molasses.

 

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Robust Porter – 6.6%
Flavorful, but light bodied to us. Good coffee flavor, hints of chocolate aftertaste. This is their most award winning beer.

 

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The table Mark is leaning on is in the tasting area for people to gather around. They are made from recycled shipping containers from their new brewing equipment and double as storage. Staying green.

 

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Part of what they are able to do with the new facility is produce more beer, but also different lines of beer. They started in 2007 with a short batch series which has become the Smuttlabs series. They say that:

our brewing staff has many ideas that can’t be done on a large scale; this is where Smuttlabs comes into play. From barrel-aging and beer souring to culinary collaborations and special projects that just don’t fit anywhere else, if a project is out of the ordinary, unique or time consuming, you can bet it’ll bear the Smuttlabs name.

 

We bought 2 different types of the Smuttlabs to try at home.

 

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Mark deciding what Smuttlabs beers to buy

 

Herbaceous – 2014 wet hopped ipa – 6.75%
Darker in color than a typical IPA. A hoppy flavor but a little smoother than a Big A or Finestkind.

 

Shebang – 2014 Triple IPA – 10.5%
Definitely a heavy beer, dark color, heavy malty flavor. Tasty but you have to be in the mood for a big beer.

 

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Big Beers and Smuttlabs

 

 

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Plenty of swag and beers in the gift shop.

 

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They have lots of plans for the land surrounding the brewery. The farmhouse that was on the property is currently being renovated to be a farm to table restaurant.

 

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They have plans to  renovate the old barn that was on the property to be a function hall.

 

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Do you recognize this old trailer? Maybe from the Finestkind IPA logo?

 

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They have plans to turn this into an outdoor beer garden during the nice weather, serving beer from the trailer with seating outside. This way you can actually come and hang out at the brewery and have a few beers.

TOUR THE BREWERY!

Tours and free samples daily. Last tour leaves at the posted time:

M-W Tastings: noon – 4pm
M-W Retail: noon – 7pm
Thursday: noon – 5:30pm
Friday: noon – 6:30pm
Saturday: 11am – 6:30pm
Sunday: 11am – 3pm

NO RESERVATIONS NEEDED