North Country Hard Cider, Rollinsford, NH

 

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We recently visited North Country Hard Cider with Mark’s sister Michelle. They have only been open for a few months, but we have seen them popping up in some bars in the area.

 

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They are locally owned and operate out of the Salmon Falls Mills in Rollinsford, NH. If you are visiting, drive to the back of the building. That’s where you will find their entrance ūüôā
They make all natural hard cider¬†with apples they get¬†from local orchards that they¬†know and trust. Most of their cider’s are around 5% ABV. We learned that is about as much as you can get with just fresh apples. Some other places¬†add extra sugars while brewing to up the ABV and sweeten the cider.

 

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Original Blend
Sweet, a little bit tart, really light in body but very tasty. Has a lot of bubbles. Michelle thinks it would be a good summer drink, sitting on the porch. They use a blend of 7 different apples for this.

 

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Bitter Brothers Bourbon Barrel
Aged 3 months in Jim Beam barrels. Dryer, not quite as sweet, still a little tart. You don’t get a bourbon flavor. A blend of 4 apples.

 

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Honey Badger
Made with just Honey Crisp apples. Sweet with a pucker at the end. This was Michele’s favorite.

 

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Sugar Shack
Starts with the original blend. They use Ginger, extra dark maple syrup, and black walnut. It is a more complex flavor, still sweet and tart, with lots of extra flavor. We got a small growler of this.

 

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Firestarter
Cider with habanero, cinnamon and pomegranate. Really good, very interesting flavor. It gave you a real warming in the chest. They had just run out of this on tap, but had a little bit left and let us try it. It was no wonder that they had run out of this! It was very good.

 

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View from the tasting room into the brewery. They have a handful of small tables and a bar that you can stand at.

 

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Swag

We bought a growler, and Michelle bought two. We already have Michelle’s empty growlers to be refilled- so we will be back soon!

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Want to visit?
Hours:
Thursday and Friday: 3:00 – 6:00
Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00

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Special Release NH Beers, Somewhat Recent

Here are some special release beers we have tried over the last several months. All of them are NH beers, and most are not available anymore, but still an interesting read.

 

Smuttynose – Big Beer Series
Gravitation – Belgian Style Quadrupel Ale – 11.5 ish %

 

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A heavy style Belgian beer, red in color and flavor, Belgian base with lots of flavor. Mark enjoyed it, Megan did not.

 

Smuttynose – Big Beer Series
Zinneke – Belgian Style Stout

 

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Complex flavor. A dark, robust taste with a roasty and malty flavor, all built over a dark Belgian base.

 

Smuttlabs – Smuttynose Specialty Line
Gose – 4.75%

“tart wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt”

 

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That’s what’s on the bottle, and that’s what it taste like. A light style wheat beer, a tartness, not overly sour, with a coriander taste and a slight salty finish.

 

Smuttlabs
East Coast Common Ale

 

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This was a Smuttlabs collaboration brew with Stoneface and Great Rhythm Brewing. Mark had this on draft and several bottles. Hoppy with a hint of citrusy smell.¬†Medium body with slight bitterness or malty taste.¬†Very good overall beer, too bad it’s a special release.

 

Smuttlabs
Farmhouse Pale 
‘ale brewed with French Saison yeast and Brettanomyces’

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Really light in body, definite Saison taste/ finish. There is a little tartness to it which compliments the Saison nicely. We both liked this better than the Daily Brett.

 

Smuttlabs
Daily Brett – 5.9%
‘ale brewed with Brettanomyces’

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Smells like a sour but only has a slight tartness to it. The tartness fades quickly and you get more of the malty  beer flavor. Medium body with a with a slight off taste. We were hoping for more sour.

 

Stoneface Brewing Company
Special Releases

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Hopulization – Double IPA – 8.9%
Smells of hops. A malt flavor base with lots of hoppy after flavors. Definitely a strong, hoppy beer. Good beer, and definitely worth trying if you can, but not quite as good as the regular IPA.

Hopulization was first released in late October, then again in late January, with the RIS in between.

 

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Russian Imperial Stout ‚Äď 9.5%

It’s been a while since we had a taste, we were holding onto the bottle for something special, I guess. They have bourbon barrels that they are aging another batch in, hopefully we get our hands on some of that, too.

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Mozaccalypse – Double IPA – 8%

This was a really good beer. Great taste, bright, smooth flavor. This beer was double dry-hopped with Mosaic & Azacca hops. Hopefully they consider bringing this back. Update: They brought it back! We wrote this after the first growler-and-keg-only small release.  Then they did quite a large bottle release, and 2 weeks later still had bottles and then offered growler fills.

What have you tried recently that is worth sharing? Let us know here or on our facebook page!

Squam Brewing, Holderness, NH

 

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jhfv

 

We were heading up North to go skiing and visit with our friends Jamie and Andrew, so we stopped at Squam Brewery on the way. You have to schedule a tour ahead of time. This is a 1 man, 2-3 barrel nano brewery.

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The brewery

 

The brewery is actually in the barn on¬†the owner’s¬†parent’s land.¬†He has been open¬†since 2010, selling 22 ounce bomber bottles, mostly in the Lakes region but he has expanded down to Manchester, and a little bit on the Seacoast. He began kegging beer in early 2013.

 

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Guard dog that will attack unannounced visitors.

 

The tour costs $10 each, you get a pint glass and free samples while John shows you around the brewery.

 

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We learned a lot about the operation- being the only employee John¬†knows all the answers, because there is no one else! He sells more beer in the Summer to all the tourists who want some local beer. Right now he is trying to stockpile beer so he won’t run out during the summer.

 

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Bottle filling machine and bottle capper.

 

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We actually got to try the capping machine, it was fun.

 

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The labeling ‘machine’.

 

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Bottles conditioning in the cooler, all the beer is bottle conditioned.

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Coasters for sale. All the artwork on the bottles are watercolor paintings done by the owner’s mother in law. They are cool and really detailed, and most have a personal story behind them.

 

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Golden IPA
A bit heavier in body, not overly hoppy. Good flavor, more on the bitter side of an IPA. Tastes a little sweet at first, but after drinking a full glass you taste more of the bitterness.

On the tour we learned he uses Australian Yeast for the IPA, it keeps the temperature down when fermenting. There is no cooling on the tanks and Ale Yeast would get too hot.

 

Imperial Loon Stout
We both liked this when we tasted it at the brewery. A heavy Stout with vanilla notes and a slight coffee taste.

 

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Unfortunately, he only had the Golden IPA and the Imperial Loon Stout when we were there. We sampled both those, actually we drank both bottles. We stopped at a local store to see if they had any other varieties and we found the Covered Bridge Pale Ale and the Ice Harvest Porter.

 

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Covered Bridge Pale Ale – 6%
This is one of the bottles we bought at a local store up North. This is also a slightly heavier beer with a stronger malt base. Hop flavor is there to add to the overall flavor but does not dominate, a well balanced beer. Has a touch of sweetness to it.

 

Ice Harvest Porter
A touch of chocolate at first with a medium to heavy body. A dark porter taste with a hint of sweetness to it.

 

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 Want to Visit?
Schedule a tour! There are no regular hours.

Our 100th Visit! Cambridge Brewing Company

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We planned our 100th visit for the Cambridge Brewing Company. The brew pub has been operating since 1989, and is in an old mill building, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their beers are both traditional and experimental. They were the first commercial American brewery to produce a Belgian beer. Their food menu is just as diverse, offering food that shows what New England is about.

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Mark and Megan

We went on March 7th, the 2 year anniversary of our first post on this blog. We let our friends and family know we were going, and almost all whom had been on a visit with us before was able to go! 17 people came to celebrate with us (19 in all), so we have a lot of pictures.

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Sam enjoying her beer

 

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Andrea enjoying her ….. water.

 

 

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Heather …. just being weird.

 

 

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Dustin chugging his beer.

 

 

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Mark and Marilynn

 

 

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We ordered nachos for an appetizer. When the rest of the table saw them they put in another order or 2. Since there were so many of us they had pitchers of water on the table for us.

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Very cheesey nachos, with Sam making an angry face. But look in the background, as well as pitchers they sell a beer tube? tower? We didn’t get one, but we did see them.

 

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Pete noticed the camera.

 

Beers:

Regatta Golden
Al ordered this beer, the first beer on the list under year round beers. It’s the lightest beer they make, similar to what Al drinks regularly. He liked it, as well as Sam and Andrea, simple and light. Not enough flavor for Megan and Mark.

 

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Al sharing the Regatta Golden.

 

 

Tall Tale Pale Ale
Marilynn ordered, she did not like it, not what she was expecting. Dustin liked it, Mark thought it was a fairly hoppy, somewhat typical Pale Ale.

 

Morning Dew Saison
It has a bit of a funky smell to it, thankfully doesn’t taste like that. Marilynn and Heather liked it, refreshing. Andrea thought it was ok. Megan and Mark liked it,¬†light body, fruity-ish flavor, probably the elderflowers.

 

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The parents: Al, Sheila, Jim, and Marilynn

 

Machinery of Night
Whiskey¬†scent and flavor, followed by a sour aftertaste. There was a sweetness to it, probably from the barrel aging, and a tart finish. Light in body, especially for a barrel aged beer. Everyone liked this beer, wouldn’t drink a lot of it, but it is good for a pint.

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Big Man IPA
Hoppy IPA, a mild wintery spice taste, aggressively dry hopped, adds that extra flavor. Mark and Jason thought it was pretty good, hoppy IPA with a little extra flavor.

 

Charles River Porter
Robust, roasty, coffee flavor, good overall balance and taste. Most people liked this beer as well.

 

Sgt. Peppers
Amber color, spicy, peppery taste. Good, interesting flavor, after a whole pint it did get quite spicy. Mark liked it and bought a bottle.

 

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Look at that pour!

 

Kafka’s Hat Simcoe
Strong smell, piney, earthy style IPA. Chris, Jason and Mark all thought it was decent. Not Mark’s favorite style IPA, but it was pretty good.

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Smile from Chris.

 

 

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Moving down the table, Andrea, Bre, Deryl, Michelle, and Kevin. Big, cool mural in the background.

 

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Other side of the table, Sheila, Jim, Jason, Melitta, and Katrina.

 

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Mark chatting with Jim.

 

Food:

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Burger and fries

Mark got the burger and fries, good burger really good fries. A lot of people got the burger and liked it. Dustin got bacon on his and thought there could have been a little more.

 

 

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Steak, twice baked potato, and onion rings

Megan and Andrea both got the steak and liked it.

 

 

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Burger with salad

Heather got the BBQ burger with a salad. Burger and roll were good, could have used a little more BBQ sauce. Salad dressing was light and refreshing.

 

 

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Braised Chicken pizza

Katrina and Kevin got the Braised chicken pizza that had feta, potatoes, spinach and sundried tomatoes. An odd mix, but it was good.

 

 

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Panini and fries

 

Melitta got the Beet Salad and enjoyed it. Chris had the Duck, it was tasty.

 

 

 

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Dessert

 

 

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The whole table, all 19 of us, plus a random waiter.

 

 

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Want to Visit?

 

 Monday  11:30am- 11:00pm
 Tuesday РThursday  11:30am Р12:00am
 Friday  11:30am- 1:00am
 Saturday  11:00am-1:00am
 Sunday  11:00am- 11:00pm