Garrison City Beerworks, Dover, NH

 

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Garrison City Beerworks is a new nanobrewery in Dover, NH. They opened in December of 2014. They operate on a 3 barrel system and make “batches of original, hop-forward beers, with a focus on uniqueness and quality over quantity.” We have heard a good buzz about this place, and they have not disappointed. We waited to finish writing this after a second visit, knowing we would be back again.

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First Visit Beers:

Citra – American Pale Ale – 5.1%
Smells fruity – citrusy and tropical, as well as hoppy. Citrus flavor forward taste, hoppy second taste, dry finish. Citrus flavor is balanced nicely by the hops, we both liked, Mark got a Crowler to go, more on that later.

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tasting paddle

Balefire – American IPA – 7%
Somewhat standard IPA taste, though a little more malty than hoppy, a hint of piney taste, fairly easy to drink. Hoppiness was not overbearing.

 

Tropic Rage – American Double IPA – 8.4%
Malty flavor, more robust than Balefire, Mark liked this better. Good balance of malty flavor and hops. Not what Megan was expecting from a DIPA, better taste and easier to drink than she anticipated.

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Crowbar – Porter – 5.8%
Dark color, chocolaty, slightly roasted taste, easy to drink. Easy to drink enjoyable.

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We came in and ordered at the bar, they told us we could take a seat and they would bring the sample trays over to us, which was nice. It was a good touch

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Megan sipping some Crowbar.

 

 

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The Crowler

 

The Crowler is in place of the traditional glass growler. It is a 32oz can that they will fill up for you, fresh that day. There is no charge for the Crowler and you just recycle it. This is refreshing, because at many breweries we visit, we have to buy a growler (can’t use another brewery’s growler due to the law), so to be able to leave without paying a deposit on the container…
They had a few they had filled up earlier when it was slow, so we didn’t get to see them fill it and seal the top on, but we know it was fresh that day.

 

Second Visit:

We had a similar experience the second time we visited. The service was good, people were nice and friendly, and the beers were good.

 

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Jenaya and Ryan

 

On this visit we brought our friends Ryan and Jenaya. They enjoyed trying all the beers that were on tap, as did we.

 

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full paddle!

 

 

They had 6 beers on tap this time, several different from our last trip.

 

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Enamored – 4.6%
Chocolatey, really good flavor with notes of coffee. This stout was somewhat light in body but good and flavorful. This was most people’s favorite.

 

Anomalous – 7.5%
Really good Double IPA, says Mark. In this new style of northern New England IPA’s, it is a bright and slightly fruity IPA with a low and bitterness but lots of hop flavor. Mark got a Crowler of it to go.

 

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Citra was on again as well, this seems like one of their flagship beers. Everyone enjoyed this beer, citrus and hoppy pale ale.

 

Mosaic – 5.1%
Hoppy, piney pale ale, a powerful taste. We enjoyed this, but not as much as some of the other beers, Megan was not a big fan. Exclusively dry hopped with Mosaic hops.

 

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Crowbar was on again as well. Everyone enjoyed this beer as well. Smooth and a bit roasty, fairly standard porter, not quite as flavorful as Enamored.

 

Balefire on again as well. Again, we all enjoyed this. Seemed slightly more favorable than Mosaic. Flavorful IPA, piney and hopped with Simcoe and Centennial.

 

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We generally liked all the beers. Mark is excited to have a place like this close by. Jenaya usually doesn’t like IPA’s, but she did like these. Ryan agreed none of the beers were terrible, quite a compliment from him.

 

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They have 3 tables that can seat 6 people and a bar that seats about 12.

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You can see some of the tanks and brewing equipment through the windows

 

 

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Shirts for sale

 

Update Spring 2016:

We have visited quite a few more times since this original post. The bad news is they have pretty much phased out the 32 oz Crowler can to go, which is too bad, Mark liked those. The good news is they have been canning all their beers in 16oz cans, so you can still get every beer they make to go in cans, 4 packs or single cans.

Their strong point seems to be their hop forward, New England style IPA’s. They are currently releasing a very delicious IPA called Daybreak about once a month that Mark highly recommends. Citra is still being released regularly and is still quite tasty and flavorful. They have released a bunch of other new beers that are all worth going in to sample.

There have been several limited bottle releases in the past year. Brett Raspbeerience was a sour ale brewed with raspberry’s and brett yeast, if you couldn’t tell from the name. A good, tart beer with a raspberry flavor and light body.

Nefarious was a flavorful and strong russian imperial stout, and Authenticity was a barrel aged saison fermented with wine yeast, we still have our bottle of this. They have several more specialty bottle releases planned for this year, with varying wild yeast strains and several different barrel aged beers set to be released.

 

Want to Visit?

Right now they are opened:

Thursday 4 -7

Friday and Saturday 12 -7

Check their facebook page for the most current hours

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Boston Wine Expo 2015

If you follow Megan on instagram, you know we had a good time at this year’s Boston Wine Expo. Were you able to attend?

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We went to the expo for the Saturday Grand Tasting, and were able to spend time with some of our contest winners as well!

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Some photos from the day:

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Each ticket includes a collectible glass

We tried so many amazing wines. One of the great things about this event is that you can try such a great variety. Wines from all over the world are present, as well as all varieties. We were able to talk to those representing the vineyards more this year, and learned quite a bit about each wine.

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Chatom Vineyards, California. The owner of the vineyard was serving the wine, which was terrific. The knowledge she had was spectacular, and a good way to start our day.

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Anne Amie table- this Cuvee wine was delicious! This was a fun, and enjoyable summer wine.

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more from Anne Amie: Vin Doux & Vin Glace Dessert set. Comes as a pair. Vin Doux was like candy. It was pretty amazing. The Vin Glace was good as well, fortified with pinot noir brandy (almost made by them).

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we spent a fair amount of time at this table: Marisco Vineyards. The winery is located in Marlborough, New Zealand. The two guys at the table were fun and knowledgeable and walked us through the wines. They also knew were their wine was available locally, which is a plus if you are local.

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Thirsty Owl Wine Company, located in the Finger Lakes of New York. They offer a Pinot Noir Red, Diamond, Vidal Blanc, Dry Riesling and Snow Owl. Delicious!

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Standing Stone Vineyards, Finger Lakes, New York

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Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, Finger Lakes, New York. Red Cat Wine is part of them, being “unpretentious and delicious.” We had a “cocktail” while at the table “Red Cat on the Beach.” This was Red Cat poured over ice, with a squeeze of fresh lime. We also enjoyed a piece of dark chocolate with the wine.

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Hazlitt is also home to hard cider!

 

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don’t you want one?

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barefoot

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meatballs!

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Mark and I with Kristen and David, two of our contest winners!

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chicken pot pie!

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Cucina Aurora Risotto! From Salem, New Hampshire and delicious!

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Yancey’s Fancy Cheese

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Milly’s Organic Salad Dressing- very good! Will be looking for it!

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MainleyHRT’s bottle tote. Great for traveling!

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More wine!IMG_1854 IMG_1855 IMG_1857 IMG_1859 IMG_1856 IMG_1858 IMG_1863 IMG_1867 IMG_1865 IMG_1866 IMG_1871 IMG_1876

 

Banded Horn Brewing Company, Biddeford, ME

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We visited Banded Horn Brewing Company on a recent Sunday afternoon. They are located in Biddeford, ME in the 150 year old Pepperrell Mill complex.

From their website: No matter the style, no matter the strength or the flair, the best beers share one common virtue: balance. At Banded Horn Brewing Co. we strive for a harmony of flavors with each brew, from traditional styles to cutting-edge beers that defy classification.

 

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Pepperell Pilsner – 4.6%
German style pilsner. A light pilsner, ok taste, did have some flavor, neither of us are fans of this style of beer.

 

Veridian American IPA – 6%
Light in body, hop flavor but no bite, more of a citrusy hops aftertaste, with a touch of piney taste.

 

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Norweald American Stout – 6.5%
Good stout, robust flavor, not overly dry, good balance of flavors, nothing overpowering.

 

Jolly Woodsman – 7.5%
Coffee taste, decently heavy stout, good overall flavor. Strong coffee taste, not bitter, made with cold brewed espresso. A special blend of Norweald Stou and Mountain Stout.

 

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Eldir – 5%
A rauchbier, smoked lager. Light in body, smoky flavor. After just several sips from the taster glass, smoky flavor dissipates, leaving just a dryish taste.

 

Banded Souls DIPA – collaboration with Barrelled Souls
A slightly heavier IPA, a touch piney, not as much as the Viridian. It was dry hopped with lime zest, which we think cuts the hoppy flavor.

 

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Barchen – 2.9%
A berliner weiss, sour up front, really really light in body, sour and citrusy. Megan was hoping for a little bit  more sour, but overall a pretty good sour beer.

 

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They had The Jolly Woodsman in a 4 pack of bottles, which we bought, and Veridian in 6 pack of bottles.

 

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They have some extra open space, and fooseball table, corn hole, and a ping pong table set up for visitors to use.

 

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Want to visit? Hours are ….

Wednesday and Thursday 4 – 8pm

Friday 4 – 10pm

Saturday 1 – 9pm

Sunday 2 – 6pm

 

 

 

Hidden Cove Brewery, Wells, ME

 

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A few weeks ago we visited Fire N Brew, which is the home and tasting room to Hidden Cove Brewery. The place was formerly occupied by a steak house, owned by the same couple. They chose to change it, to focus more on the beer. They now are a full brewery, with brick oven pizza.

 

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Megan had had a long day, so Mark thought it would be a good idea to go out and try Hidden Cove. He was right! When we entered, we were greeted and asked what we like to drink typically. We were then given recommendations as well as a quick taste of two. We decided we wanted to try them all, and ordered two flights.

Harvest Bounty ISA – 4%
They grew 15 lbs of hops and locally sourced the rest. Only 4%, but good flavor for it, very drinkable, used Brett yeast to add more flavor.

 

Scally Pale Ale – 5%
‘Simple can be better’. Subtle hops flavor, hints of Brett, dry finish.

 

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A’rye IPA – 6%
Hoppy but good flavor, 50% rye, you can taste the rye. Brett adds a little something extra, good, interesting IPA. We both liked.

 

Strumpet Wild Pale Ale
‘Wild pale’ flavor, not quite sure what that means, but it makes sense. Flavors hard to explain, complex, good. Was aged in rum barrel that previously had held Tortuga Wild Sour Pineapple. Took some of that flavor in this beer.

 

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Cutlass Brown Ale – 7%
Sweet taste, marshmallow and caramel,  smooth brown but all the extra flavors were great additions

 

Pumpkin Ale – 4.5%
Warm and cozy, nutmeg spice and vanilla taste, smooth body, subtle pumpkin taste, slight tartness at the end. This is not a leftover fall beer, but a winter beer made with actual pumpkins, that do not get harvested until mid-fall, so how do other places put out pumpkin beers in September, hmmm? #whatsreallyinthosefallpumpkinbeers

 

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Crowsfoot Black Ale – 5%
Roasty, good dark beer flavor, but light in body, really good taste. Went really well with the spicy pizza Mark had

 

Jali (apricot jalapeno) – 8.5%
Spicy, sweet, tart, a little bit of everything. Good flavor, really complex but really good. Pretty spicy, we had 8oz pours after the taster, very spicy by the end.

 

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Red pepper, sausage and jalapeno

The pizzas were also very good. The crust was light, not heavy. The pizzas themselves were great combinations.

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Gouda, mushrooms and onions

 

All the beers are made to be paired with food; most of these beers end with a dry finish.

 

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The owner is a CIA trained Chef, who owns a few establishments in the area. Since his background is food, he has great visions on what he wants his beer to be, as well as great descriptions of his beers.

We can’t wait to see what they will come out with next! Their summer line up looks amazing!

Want to visit?
Open 12p-9p Friday & Saturday
Pizza available at 4pm

 

Another contest!

As you may recall, we went to the Boston Event Guide’s Beer Fest this past November.

Wellll, they have invited us back! We will be attending both the Wicked Wine Fest and the Beer Fest this April.

The best part? You are invited!
We have two pairs of tickets for each event to give away!
Sign up here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can’t wait for the giveaway to be pulled? Buy your tickets here!

Come and try beer or wine that you haven’t had before. Find a new favorite!

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Let us know if you will be there!

Border Brewery, Salem, NH

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On a recent Sunday afternoon we stopped at Border Brewery in Salem, NH. They are a home brew supply store and brewery. They have a decent size tasting room considering they are inside a store. They have taken their home brewing pro and have been pouring beers since 2012.

 

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Our tasting:

PB Stout – 7.2%
A subtle peanut butter flavor, more nutty than sweat and creamy. A good smooth stout, good aroma, reminds Megan of a chocolate shop. This was Megan’s favorite.

Pecan – 5.7%
Light body, sweet, hint of caramel. Reminds Megan of pecan brittle.

 

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Porter – 5.9%
Mark thought it was a good, well made porter. Megan thought it was too plain, fairly standard.

 

Ambah – 5.9%
Just ok, not too flavorful, a little bland.

 

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West IPA – 9.2%
Fairly smooth up front, hoppy second taste. Mark thought there was a good balance of flavors, good taste for a 9.2% IPA.

 

IPA – 7.2%
Good IPA, flavorful, a little hoppier than the West IPA, but good. Megan didn’t like either IPA.

 

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Sticky Paw Brown – 6.5%
A decent brown, pretty flavorful, good for a brown.

 

Belgian Strong – 8.3%
Interesting Belgian flavor, semi heavy flavor and taste light in color but not in flavor. Mark thought it was good, Megan did not like the heavy Belgian flavor.

 

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Vanilla Bourbon Oak Stout – 7.2%
Vanilla taste is good, nice stout base, bourbon oak adds flavor but is not overpowering, as bourbon flavors often are.

 

ESB – 3.7%
Bitter taste but light in body. Ok flavor, not our favorite though.

 

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They have 3 tables made from barrels with glass tops that 3 or 4 people can sit around, a bar with space for 6 people and a standing bar along the side wall.

 

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They were friendly when we came in, we ordered 2 sample trays so we could try all 10 beers, and sat at one of the barrel tables. They didn’t interact with us much until we were done and ready to leave.

 

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Home brew supplies.

 

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Giant balloon man in the home brew side.

 

Want to Visit?

Wednesday – Friday: 12 – 6:30

Saturday and Sunday: 12 – 5

 

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Able Ebenezer Brewing Company, Merrimack, NH

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We recently visited Able Ebenezer Brewing Company in Merrimack, NH. The brewery was opened in the summer of 2014 by a pair of former US Army Officers. Their name and branding is inspired by the Pine Tree Riot, when New Hamsphire citizesn rallied behind Ebenezer Mudgett  against the British in 1772. They have a lot of info on their website as well as depicted in the brewery about Ebenezer Mudgget and the Pine Tree Riot.

The pine tree is used is their branding and actual pine wood is used throughout the bar. They have a long live edge bar made from a large pine tree, and the sections they cut off the end they turned into small tables.

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Mike, the Head-Brewer and co-founder of the brewery, was working the tasting room for our visit. We appreciated the fact that the brewer was in the tasting room, since, as that day was as well, you are often able to learn more about the beers and the history of the brewery.

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The tap handles are custom made from pine as well.

 

We both ordered a sample tray, which was $8, they had 4 beers on tap when we visited.

 

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Auburn – Session Red Ale – 4.5%
A light, session ale, very drinkable. Light in body but still has some flavor to it. We both liked it.

 

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Broad Arrow – Vienna IPA – 6.5%
A bit lighter and slightly less hoppy in flavor than other IPA’s. Made with Vienna malts that add a little extra flavor to this beer, a little bit sweet.

 

Burn the Ships – Smoked IPA – 7%
Very smoky taste up front. It is a fairly hoppy IPA, but the smokiness cuts back on the bite a little bit. Really good flavor. They use cherry smoked malts to get the smoky flavor, but of the grains in this beer, only about 10% are the cherry smoked.

 

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Cherry smoked malts.

 

They sell pints as well, and we both got a pint of Burn the Ships after the tasters. The smokiness does fade a little bit as you get use to the flavor, but it doesn’t disappear, it is still there and a part of the flavor. This is probably the best ‘smoky’ beer that we have had, and yes, we have had quite a few.

 

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Tabula Rasa – 7.5%
Tabula Rasa means blank slate. It is technically a fruit beer, but they don’t like to label it like that, some people look down on fruit beers. They use apricot as the fermenter. It is smooth and flavorful, a bit heavier for a ‘fruit’ beer, not a light summery beer.

 

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The paddle is numbered to correspond with the blackboard, so you don’t get confused.

 

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They have a good size tasting room, and they serve pints, so it is a good place to go and hang out and drink some good beers. It was a little quiet when we were there on a Sunday mid-day, but we were happy they were open. They said the room does fill up on a Friday or Saturday night. We had a good time, enjoyed the beer and learned a lot about the brewery and the beer while there.

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They currently do not bottle their beer, but you can get a growler to go.

 

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They self distribute as well. They have beers on tap at a lot of places in Merrimack, Nashua, and some in Manchester. They haven’t made it over to the Seacoast yet, but maybe soon if they can get a few places interested in carrying their beer.

 

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You can see the tanks through a window behind the bar. They put together this system themselves.

 

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Want to Visit?
Monday – Friday 4-8
Saturday and Sunday 12-8

 

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