New England Distilling, Portland, ME

 

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New England Distilling is located in Portland, ME. This was our first stop on our most recent trip to Portland. We went up with Mark’s brother Jason and his fiancée Maureen.

 

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New England Distilling was started in 2011 and in 2012 started releasing Gin, Rum and Rye Whiskey. They are working on a Bourbon Whiskey now, but that will not be ready for at least a year and a half.

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Ned is the owner and distiller at New England Distilling, NED for short. He is a 6th generation distiller with family history in distilling going back 150 years to Sherwood Whiskey being made in Maryland.

 

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Original Sherwood Whiskey bottle…

 

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with a prescription on the back! This was used during Prohibition.

 

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Old pictures and bottle from the family history.

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Matt explaining the distilling process

 

The whiskey and gin are both grain based, and are first made into a distillers beer. They take special care in this process, it is where the flavor starts. The rum is made from a sugar water base.

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Rum fermenting

 

Each batch size is about 450 – 500 gallons. They ferment on the grains, which is not done while making beer because it can spoil or alter the flavor.

 

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Grain shaker machine

 

They give all the spent grains to a local farmer to feed the cows.

 

The still they use is not a super high efficient still, but it keeps more of the flavor.

 

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They have 2 copper stills

 

They run the whiskey and rum through the still 2 times at different temperatures. They run the gin through a third time with extra botanicals added for flavor.

 

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They use charred, white American oak barrels. They can only use them once, by law, to make American whiskey. A lot of the flavor comes from the barrel, and the charring in particular. The charring helps to release natural flavors and sugars from the wood.

 

They are considering making a non-American style whiskey so they don’t have to turn over barrels so quickly.

 

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Maureen tasting the rum

 

Eight Bells Rum
This is a New England style rum. It starts with molasses, instead of sugar cane which is used in Caribbean rums. The rum is aged in the barrels for 22 months.

The name Eight Bells comes from the bells rung during a duty period upon a ship. The bell was run at every half hour interval for a four hour duty period. Once the eighth bell pattern was complete, your duty was. End of duty meant time for your rum portion!

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The Eight Bells logo is a Winslow Homer painting. They were given permission to use it from the Museum of Art in Portland.

 

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Gunpowder Rye Whiskey
This is a Maryland style rye whiskey, there is no corn used to make this.

 

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It is aged in the barrels for 12 – 15 months in the smaller barrels, 2 years in the 53 gallon barrels.

 

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Grains in the whiskey

 

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Mark and Megan tasting

 

 

Ingenium Gin
The Gin has a floral smell and a floral taste, along with the gin taste. Good balances of flavor, not too much juniper. Both Jason and Megan purchased a bottle of gin!

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Gin

 

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Jason and Maureen having fun

 

 

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Hand bottling ‘machine’

 

IMG_1192They have a lot of stuff in their little gift shop.

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Candle holder made from wine barrel staves

 

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Want to visit?

 

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 12-4
Saturday 10-4
Tours on the hour

Check out their facebook page for more information!

Other places we have visited in Portland:

Urban Farm Fermentory

Shipyard Brewing Company

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The Lone Wolfe Brewing Company, Wolfeboro NH

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We stopped at The Lone Wolfe Brewing Company in Wolfeboro, NH on the way down from a visit to North Conway. They are a one man, one barrel nano brewery.

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fun wooden sample tray

 

Witbier – 4.3% 19 IBU
Megan really liked this beer. Good spice flavor, light taste, and a tiny bit sweet.

 

Brown Ale – 5.6% 37 IBU
Pretty light, not much flavor to it.

 

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our tasting

 

Oatmeal Stout – 5.6% 30 IBU
Lighter in body than expected, good smell and smooth, good flavor.

 

Rye IPA – 5.6% 83 IBU
Reddish in color, good smell. Slightly red taste mixed with smooth IPA flavor, not super hoppy, tingled on Megan’s tongue.

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It was a friendly environment, and we chatted with other people about breweries and this blog. Since we talked about the blog, they gave us, and everyone there at the time, and extra sample of something special, a Spruce Porter.

 

Spruce Porter – 12.5%
Blue spruce tips aged on vanilla bean and cinnamon. Has that aged flavor, Mark tasted vanilla bean the most with a hint of cinnamon with a strong smell of spruce tips.

 

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They are planning to release bottled beer soon. The beers that are coming soon are their flagship beers, the ones they plan to bottle. They are just waiting for the labels to be approved. Hopefully we see them in stores soon- can’t wait to try what else they have to offer! Rumor has it… we will see them very soon!

 

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This is the bar and serving area. Everything is made from recycled pallets, except the bar top, which is a cool live edge slab of wood. Even the floor is made from recycled pallets laid out in an interesting, repeating chevron patter. The lights over the bar were cool too.

 

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Even the tables are made from recycled pallets.

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This was a great place- the beer was good as well as the atmosphere. It is definitely a place to visit again- especially since we paid them a visit after they were open for just over 6 months! Some breweries don’t seem as well put together when open for this amount of time (or a lot longer), so we wish them the best with their future!

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They are located in the Wolfeboro Marketplace. They are in the middle of the Marketplace, back from the main street. You can park out front on 109 or in the parking lot out back off of Mill Street.

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entrance, located up the back steps

 

 

Want to Visit?
Friday 5-9
Saturday 1-9

Check out their facebook page for more updates!

The Seven Barrel Brewery

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We stopped for a late lunch at the The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon, NH. We were on our way up to Vermont and stopped on the way. It is right at the border on NH and Vermont, right off of Interstate 89.

 

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 “The 7Barrel was opened April 20, 1994 by renowned brewer Gregory J. Noonan. While Greg is no longer with us, his tradition lives on …. Under the ownership of Upper Valley locals since 2010, we here at the 7Barrel are focused on continuing to provide our customers with high quality fare, great craft beer, and the enjoyable and unique atmosphere people have come to expect from our establishment.”  

 

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Queche Cream Ale – 4.5 % 14 IBU

Light but creamy flavor, smooth drinking. Good for the light end of the spectrum, we both liked this.

 

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Our sampler tray

 

New Dublin Brown – 4.5% 20 IBU

Good roasted malty flavor, a touch nutty. Not bitter, easy to drink, we both liked it.

 

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The Red #7 – 5%

Not a classic red style, so Megan drank it. A pleasant malt base and medium bitterness, not as hoppy as some reds. This is their most popular beer.

 

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Pumpkin Ale Seasonal – 4.9%

Good, comforting pumpkin pie spice. Light style beer but strong pumpkin taste. Megan really liked this beer. Makes you want to cozy up with a pint, a fire and friends.

 

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Champion Reserve IPA – 5%

Traditional style IPA, was a little bit warm though. More floral hops without much of a hoppy bite.

 

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Wet Hopped Pale Ale Seasonal – 5%

Smooth hoppy flavor without hoppy bite. Hop forward with a good taste, we liked it better than the IPA.

 

Oatmeal Stout – 4.8%

Dry, traditional style irish stout. Mark thought it was a little roasty and toasty. Megan was hoping for a little more from it.

 

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Conan the Destroyer Series: Imperial Coffee Stout – 8.3%

Not quite what we were hoping for. Megan didn’t think the flavors were bold or balanced enough. Mark liked it better than the Oatmeal Stout, but you could taste the higher alcohol content. Less roasty, hints of chocolate and coffee.

 

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All gone!

 

We each ordered a pint after the sampler tray. Mark got the Wet Hopped Pale Ale and Megan got the Pumpkin Ale.

 

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Their Special Burger of the day

 

The food was good, but the French fries were a small portion considering you had to pay $2 extra to get fries.

 

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Chicken Cheese Bagette

 

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Pretty good sized bar area

 

 

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Tanks full of beer behind the bar

 

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The dining area is a mix of booths and larger tables.

 

 

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Nearby? Going to be passing through? Time it well-from 4-6 pm everyday $3 pints

 

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Want to Visit?

Open Daily 11 am to Close

Mill River Winery, Rowley MA

 

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Mill River Winery is located in Rowley on the North Shore of Massachusetts. We had been meaning to stop in here for a while as we had heard many good things. We stopped on the way down into Boston for the Boston Wine Expo preview event.

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They renovated the Dodge’s Cider Mill from the 1890’s. The building has a rustic feel with a mix of original wood, reclaimed, and rustic wood that creates a cool environment for tasting wine.

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They had 2 predesigned flights when we were there, so we both ordered a different one so we could try most of their wines.

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Naked Chardonnay:
aged in stainless steel. Lemon zest and pear aromas. Dry, but not as dry as you expect a Chardonnay to be. Full bodied.

Plum Island White:
Balanced in sweetness. Semi-sweet with pear, citrus and honey aromas. Smooth and easy to drink.

Riesling:
Off dry, slight citrus flavor with a vanilla finish

Barrel Fermented Chardonnay:
Oak aged. Very smooth. Dry. Megan liked the Naked Chardonnay better, but could understand what the draw was for the oaked flavor.

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Plum Island Red:
Berry and light. Tried this wine both chilled and room temperature. Chilled, it took on more white wine/fruit wine characteristics. This wine they tried to model after and Italian style Chianti, so you can drink it throughout the day. 30% white wine, 70% red.

Plum Island Red Dory:
Dry mouth feel. Nice fruit flavor, with the aromas of plums and blackberries, without being overly sweet. 5% white wine. More complex than Plum Island Red.

Plantation Red:
Light in oak flavor. Dry. Well balanced with the aroma of raspberry jam

Pinot Noir:
Light bodied, smooth at first with a bite at the end. Cherry flavor, but not sweet. Megan liked the flavor at the end

Select Cabernet Sauvignon:
Not as dry as we expected. Full bodied. Flavors of chocolate and deep, dark fruit

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Bucket of Fun:
Rose. We both liked this one. At their blending bash, people create different wines and the winner receives a case of wine and their wine is created. This was the winner!

 

It was not busy when we were there, and we received plenty of attention. The server was friendly and knowledgeable about the wine and the winery.

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Before the tasting…

 

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fun chandelier made from wine barrels

They had a cool chandelier made from wine staves. You can see the post and beam construction in the background as well.

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They have a gift shop with locally made jams and all kinds of wine accessories.

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Wine serving tray

 

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A table you can stand around if it is busy

 

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Want to Visit?

Winter hours:
Tasting room open Fri 11 – 7pm, Sat & Sun 11 – 6pm
Tours Sat & Sun at 2 & 4pm.

The Flying Goose Brew Pub and Grille, New London NH

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We stopped at The Flying Goose Brew Pub and Grille in New London, NH on our way back from Vermont. It is only a mile of off Interstate 89. We sat on the dining room side for a late lunch, we only peeked into the bar side.

They have been open since 1996, and are have an interesting operation going. They of course use local ingredients and local products to make their beers, including the hops the grow and harvest right outside the restaurant.

 

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Solar panels are visible from the dining room. Solar power provides 100% of the energy to heat the water and tanks in the brewery.

 

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We did not know that!

 

 

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We ordered 2 samplers, the Seasonal Sampler and the Year Round Sampler.

 

Seasonal Sampler

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War Saison
Smokey, paprika flavor. Smooth taste, not overbearingly smoky.

Pale Rider Saison
Smells and taste similar to a Blue Moon. Light in color but malty and a little bit citrusy, with that coriander taste.

 

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Famine Saison
Smells like pickles, doesn’t taste like pickles though. Taste like a typical saison, was ok, but the first 2 beers were more interesting.

 

Novemberfest
Certainly has a fall beer taste to it. Lighter than an Okterberfest. Reminded Megan of Cherrios.

 

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The sampler trays are made from a hard plastic, which is a good idea. They could be washed a million time and will not get stained or damaged like everyone else’s wooden trays.

 

Galactus
Much cloudier, maybe a weiz with a sour? Gruit, somewhat sour, but not super sour. It was our favorite beer.

 

Year Round Sampler

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Wild Flower Honey Ale – 5.1%
Brewed with flower, honey and aromatic malts. Megan expected more honey upfront, but was hidden by the malts.

 

Perley Town English Style IPA – 6.69%
Good, unique ipa flavor. Smooth, a little less hoppy. Made with barista malts for a distinct bready malt influence.  

 

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Lupulin Suplex Double IPA – 8.7%
Really good double, flavorful, strong but tasty with a bright, citrusy, hop flavor. Megan liked this for a double, still not her type of beer though.

 

Crocket’s Corner Oatmeal Stout – 8%
Good, very dark color, smooth and flavorful taste, slightly roasted. Megan was hoping for a little more flavor from it.

 

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Mikey’s Vyce Black IPA – 7.74%
Very hoppy, strong flavor. A little too strong, you can taste the high alcohol content a little bit.

It was $5.99 for a 5 sampler tray. They had 8 regular and 5 seasonal beers on tap when we were there. We could pick the year round/regular beers, but they were out of 4 different beers that were on the menu.

 

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Kielbasa Flatbread

We ordered an appetizer to have with the sampler trays. It was really good.

For dinner…..

 

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Meatloaf Sandwich

 

Really good, homemade, good cheese, good bbq sauce, the fries were good. The bread seems fresh liked it was baked there.

 

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Siracha Chicken Sandwich

 Really spicey, but in a good way.

*

The restaurant was rustic, and very home like.

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Want to visit? Open for Lunch and Dinner!
Monday to Saturday – 11:30am-9:00pm, Sunday 11:30am – 8:00pm

Hobbs Tavern and Brewing Company, West Ossipee, New Hampshire

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While on our way to the North Conway outlets with Taylor and Lance, we passed Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Co. We did not know Hobbs Tavern was there prior to, but after looking it up and seeing that they do make their own beer, so we stopped on the way back.

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Old style carriage outside

 

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It is a large restaurant area with lots of wood and exposed beams.

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Fireplace with couches

Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Co opened in Spring of 2014, after a 14 month renovation of the building.

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beer menu on display

Black Sheep Cream Ale – 5.3%
This beer was ok. It was not as creamy as Megan expected, which she liked. Mark and Lance got most of the taste as an aftertaste, Lance did not like it. Mark didn’t mind it. It was their light beer for non-craft beer drinkers, at least it didn’t taste cheap, it just didn’t have much flavor.

 

Something Went A Rye IPA – 5.2%
Everyone liked this beer. Everyone agreed, it wasn’t super hoppy, probably because it was a rye, and everyone liked the taste.

 

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Taylor and Lance

 

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Stay away from ….

 

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my beers!

 

Leaf Peeper Rauchbeer
This was an interesting beer. It had a secondary, surprising taste that was sort of smokey. It surprised us. Megan did not like the smell, Lance would not have a full beer of it. Mark said the more you drank of it the less surprising and strong the smokeyness was.

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Quick, drink!

 

Pebble Pale Ale
This was light and not as harsh as many pale ales. Megan thought it was creamier than expected, Lance described it as dry. Mark got a subtle, familiar taste. Maybe spruce tips?

 

Born to be Mild
This beer was ok. We were trying to figure out what it actually was. Lance thought it tasted like a Sam Winter Lager, but we couldn’t figure it out.

 

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They have a Chocolate Stout, a blonde, and a heffeweizen. We didn’t get to try these, due to not being available that day, but they all sound good.

 

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the menu

 

 We all ordered dinner- after a long day shopping, we were hungry!

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Lance had the Blackened Fish tacos, which were good and plentiful.

 

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Mark had the Marbin Cristo, which is their take on a Monte Cristo, which we didn’t know about. It was ham and turkey on French Toast with a side of NH Maple Syrup.
It was interesting and very tasty.

 

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 Megan had the Hobbs Burger with onions, which was gone in a matter of minutes.
She had truffle oil fries, which were good.

 

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Taylor had the Hobbs burger plain, which was good as well.

 

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 They had lots of interesting decorations and a certain rustic,
cabin like feel, which was cool.

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It wasn’t too crowded when we were there, however the service was not great. It seemed to take a long time to get our sample trays, only 2. We were checked on once after we were brought our food, and then didn’t see the waitress again until well after we were all done eating and waiting for the check.

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Just hanging out- don’t mind Meg’s hair

 

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On a rustic wagon wheel bench

 

Want to Visit?
Open 7 days a week

 

 

 

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What

 

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are

 

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they

 

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doing?

Burlington Beer Company, Williston VT

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While we were in Vermont visiting John and Lindsay, John took us to Burlington Beer Company. They are: setting out to brew farmers’ market inspired beers that celebrate the culture and agriculture of Vermont. They have been open for less than a year at this point, and have room to grow in the space that they are in.

 

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menu by the bar

Our tasting:

Barista Coffee Porter – 7.3%
We thought it had a good balance of coffee and beer. Smooth tasting porter. John thought it had too much coffee flavor, but he doesn’t like porters anyway.

 

Peasant Bread – 5.9%
This is a brown IPA with mild rice. This was an interesting beer, had some characteristics of brown ale with a light IPA taste.

 

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Hills and Hollows Pale Ale – 5.2%
A lighter style pale ale with strong floral notes. Mark thought it was good, Megan did not like it.

 

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Swag, growlers and beers

 

Mason Jar Mild – 4.5%
Light brown ale but still had plenty of flavor.

 

Mild on Bourbon Street – 5%
Really good flavor, has that bourbon barrel age flavor but is not overpowering. It is only 5%. Megan liked the Mason Jar Mild best, Mark liked the Mild on Bourbon Street better.

 

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Unfortunately, on the night we were there, a full sized coach bus full of people was also. They handled the crowd well, and we got to taste some beers and see the brewery, it was just too crowded to talk to the people in the tasting room much. Overall, they seemed to handle the crowd.

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Crowd of people- Megan was trying to not be creepy while taking this picture

There is a large space that customers can spread out in. It is designed so you can come and hang out, drink some beers and have some fun.

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Ping Pong table and couches

They also have tables to sit at with games on them.

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John Playing Jenga

 

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They have artwork in the tasting room and around the brewery.

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Tanks and barrels.

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They also offer Memberships for special release bottles that sound pretty interesting. Barleywine, Imperial Peanut Butter Maple Porter, Trappist Triple just to name a few.

Want to Visit?

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