Liar’s Bench Beer Company, Portsmouth, NH

We just visited Liar’s Bench Beer Company in Portsmouth with Mark’s sister Michelle. Liar’s Bench has been open for a little less than a year, we just hadn’t made it over there yet.

 

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They do full pours as well as samples. Megan and Michelle just did samples of the first 3, Mark tried all 6 beers on tap.

 

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New Norman – Kolsch 4.9%
This was a collaboration brew with Magnolia Brewing Company. Megan thought it was kind of basic, Mark thought it was not quite as clean as he expected from a Kolsch, with an earthy flavor to it.

 

Doctor Criminal – Berliner Weisse 3%
A light, sour beer with a dry finish. Pretty classic in style. “There is no fruit added to the beer, so you can appreciate it in all of its sour goodness.” Mark and Megan thought it could have been a little more sour. Michelle did like it, and she is not a big fan of sour beers, so its made to be more approachable.

 

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Megan and Michelle’s samples

Hai Ikki – Rice Saison 5.7%
Really smooth, from the rice we assume, with a mild peppery saison finish. This was Megan and Michelle’s favorite.

Punxsutawney Swill – Brown Ale 5.2%
Has a roasty nose, a smooth brown ale, pretty flavorful for the style, better than the average brown.

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Young Upstart – IPA 6.6%
A hazy New England style ipa, smells really, really fruity but doesn’t taste quite as fruity. They say balanced in the description, Mark wanted the flavor to follow the nose. Still a good ipa, medium body, hoppy – fruity/ citrusy with a very minor bitter finish. Pretty good overall.

Pound of Flesh – British Strong 7.5%
Clear with a reddish tint. Not what Mark was expecting, a sweet, malty beer that was better than expected.

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This is a cool, popular spot on the West end of Portsmouth. Michelle noticed when we first walked in that everyone there was our age or younger. More people came in as we were there, some older people, but the crowd was generally pretty young.

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Megan and Michelle

They serve food, just a few selections, hot dog, bratwurst, and sausage. They serve food so that they can serve pints, as that is the law in New Hampshire for serving pints, you need to have food.

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A pretty small place, but they use the space well. They have 2 long tables that people can stand around, they fit about 12 people each and 1 long table to sit at.

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There is room to stand around and some standing counters around the edges of the room. There is Foosball as well.

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Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 2:00 – 9:00
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 – 10:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00
Monday: Closed

As always, check Facebook or their website for updated hours.

Northampton Brewery, Northampton, MA

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We recently visited Northampton Brewery out in Northampton, MA. We were on our way out to western Mass with our friend Bre and stopped there for beer samples and dinner. This has been on our list for a while, they have a long history and connections with some local breweries in NH.

 

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Northampton Brewery opened in 1987 and was the second brewpub to open in the region. They are currently the oldest operating brewpub in New England. A brief history: Northampton Brewery was founded by brother and sister Janet and Peter Egelston. In 1991 they opened another brewpub, Portsmouth Brewery in NH. In 1994 they opened another brewery, a small production brewery called Smuttynose Brewing Company. In 2000, Janet and Peter bought each other out of their respective businesses, which left Janet the sole owner of Nothampton Brewery, and Peter owner of Portsmouth Brewery and majority owner of Smuttynose.

 

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Similar frothy mug to Portsmouth Brewery

 

Northampton Brewery has gone through several renovations over the years, which leaves them with a pretty good sized brewpub, which includes a rooftop bar area, which we did not go to since it was December.

 

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One of the renovations added this large back room with high ceilings and exposed beams.

 

 

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They do flights of 4 beers, you can pick any 4 off the menu so we each got a flight so we could try as many beers as possible.

 

Redheaded Stepchild 5%
Pretty good for a red ale, described as ‘well balanced’, we agree.

Deckbier 4.5%
A golden ale with slightly more flavor than a typical golden ale. A light bodied beer with a light citrus flavor.

 

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Greyhound IPA
Smells like grapefruit. Light in body for an ipa, super cloudy with a very strong grapefruit flavor. Bre liked this and isn’t usually a fan of ipa’s.

ESB 5.7%
Better than a standard ESB, not quite as bitter, balanced and drinkable.

 

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Blue Boots IPA 6%
Slightly hazy, smells citrusy and piney but tastes more piney. Decent ipa.

Hoover’s Porter
Megan smelled vanilla, Mark smelled coffee and chocolate. A good porter, smooth, well balanced, a hint of coffee and vanilla, not bitter at all. We were pleasantly surprised by this porter.

 

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Milk and Cookies 5.6%
A dark beer, medium to heavy body. A touch of chocolate with some roastyness, with a cookie sweetness to the finish. Bitter start, smooth sweet finish. Not quite as good as we were hoping for from the name, but pretty good.

Old Brown Dog 5.2%
A smooth brown all, creamy, with a touch of sweetness on the finish, not very malty at all.

Mark asked about Old Brown Dog, since that is one of Smuttynose year round beers. When the businesses separated they both had rights to the Old Brown Dog recipe. We think this tasted a little different than Smuttynose Old Brown Dog, but not quite sure.

 

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Northampton American Pale Ale 5.7%
Pretty good, nice and hoppy for a pale ale.

 

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Bre enjoying her samples

 

Food

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BBQ Chicken Pizza

 

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Green Mountain Burger

 

All the food was very good and so was the service.

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We were pleasantly surprised by the beers as well. They do make some of the less interesting, ‘typical brewpub’ beer styles, like a Golden Ale, ESB, Porter, but they put their own unique twist to their recipes, which makes the beers more interesting and enjoyable.

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They makes all their own beer in the brewery. The also can and bottle all their own beer in house as well. We bought cans and bottles to go, which is nice to have offerings other than growlers.

 

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Mark, Bre and Megan

 

Hours

Monday – Saturday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Sunday: 12:00 – 1:00 am

As always, check their website or Facebook for updated hours and offerings.

Lord Hobo Brewing Company, Woburn, MA

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We stopped by Lord Hobo Brewing Company for a quick visit in Woburn, Mass. They are not quite a year old and have already made a name for themselves. We think the names of their beers help them stand out, as well as the fact that they started canning right away.

 

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They are located in an interesting, re-habbed building. It may have been a tile store or showroom before. They have a very large tasting room, see picture below. It looks like they have plenty of room out back for expanding their brewing capacity down the road.

 

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They seem to be focused on making IPA’s, since they had 3 beers and all 3 were IPA’s, with a fourth IPA that had just kicked. Only 3 beers on tap, but all are available for growler fills, as well as in cans, which we like to see.

 

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They also have a temporary permit to pour pints. They will pour pints on Friday and Saturday nights, through the summer it sounds like. They just lowered their prices for their beer to go, which is good to hear as well.

 

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Megan is not a big fan of IPA’s, so Mark just got a sample size
of each of the 3 beers they had available.

Hobo Life – Dry Hopped Citra Session IPA 4.5%
A session ipa, light in flavor overall, with the main hop flavor being piney with a light bitter finish. This was Mark’s favorite beer, bought a 6 pack. Citra, Horizon and Chinook hops were used.

 

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Steal This Can – IPA 6.5%
Kind of light in body for a 6.5% IPA. Pretty good IPA up front, but has a heavy, bitter finish to it. Zeus, Warrior, Centennial and Chinook hops used.

 

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Boomsauce – Double IPA 7.8%
Seems a little less bitter overall, maybe the malts and higher abv balance out the bitterness a little bit. Still very ‘drinkable’ at 7.8%, good, semi fruity ipa taste upfront, finishes with the same bitterness as the rest.

 

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All 3 beers have a somewhat similar taste, like different variations of the same beer. With only making IPA’s, we would expect a little more variation from them. They do have a decent New England style flavor to them but all finish with a lingering bitterness, not Mark’s favorite. If you like IPA’s though, you should definitely check them out.

Want to visit? Check out their facebook page for hours 🙂

Deciduous Brewing Company, Newmarket, NH

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Deciduous Brewing Company opened in mid August of 2015. They are a ‘constantly striving, boutique brewery’ in Newmarket, NH. The brewery is co owned by Frank Zagami, his wife Maryann, and David Sakolsky. David is the head brewer at Deciduous, and formerly the head brewer at Blue Lobster.

 

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They do 4 oz tasters for $1.50 each, we tried all the beers they had on tap. While we were there, they had 3 beers in bottles that were unfortunately not available to taste.

 

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Aggregation – 2.4%

Gose – 60% white wheat
A little tartness, really light in body. The addition of salt gives it a dry mouthfeel.

 

Arose – 4.8%
A strong smell of hops, well balanced. Hop and malt flavors, not overly hoppy or bitter, their take on a house pale ale or table beer.

 

Cumulation – 4.5%
Dry hopped ‘imperial’ gose
Tart, light in body, Megan tasted the salt on her tongue, had a dry finish.

 

Auroral – 4%
Berlinerweisse 50% wheat with blood oranges and lychee fruit
Really tart, a sweeter sour flavor. Megan said it was like a sweet tart. This was a very good sour beer.

 

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Lambent – 4%
Berlinerweisse 50% wheat with raspberries and passion fruit
Tastes less tart than the Auroral, more fruit flavor with a hint of tartness. Megan said it was juicy.

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Jack O Lambent – 4.5%
Roasted pumpkins with toasted pumpkin seeds from Coppal House Farms in Lee, NH
Slight tartness, toasted pumpkin seeds are the main flavor, with a dry unexplainable finish, does not finish tart.

 

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Agricultural – 6.3%
Dry hopped wheat IPA
Melon flavored hop taste, light to medium body, bitter and piney finish. Not either of our favorites.

 

Phenotype – 5.8%
Dry hopped IPA
Smells of tropical fruit hops at first. Had a tropical hop flavor with a bitter finish. Bitterness takes over as the main flavor and kind of over powers the good hop flavors.

 

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Epiphyte – 8%
DIPA
More of a malty style DIPA, heavier body and flavor, a touch sweet, slightly bitter finish.

 

Renascence – 8.1%
Multi grain porter, rye and peat smoke malts
Smokey porter, pretty tasty, we liked it.

 

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Introspection – 10.3%
A 100% Brett fermented Russian Imperial Stout.

We decided to buy the Introspection bottle, even though we couldn’t sample it. It was very tasty, we shared it with friends who like RIS’s and they really liked it as well.

 

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They do a lot of interesting styles of beer, which seems like where their strength is. The IPA’s Mark was not a big fan of, but the Gose and Berliner style beers and the Introspection were really good.

 

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They have a pretty decent sized tasting room. It wasn’t too crowded when we were there, we showed up right at 12:00 when they opened on a snowy Saturday. Shortly after, people began to stream in.

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They are located in a small strip mall across from the Mill in downtown Newmarket. We went to Panzanellas’s after sampling to eat. The moved into the newly constructed strip mall to double thier space, they have been opened in Newmarket for 13 years.

 

Current Hours

Thursday 4:00 – 7:00
Friday 3:00 – 7:00
Saturday 12:00 – 5:00

As always, check Facebook for their most up to date info and hours.

 

Bad Martha’s Brewing Company, Edgartown – Martha’s Vineyard

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We went to Martha’s Vineyard to visit the 2 breweries on the island, Offshore Ale Company and Bad Martha’s Brewing Company. Bad Martha’s is in Edgartown, so we took the bus from Oak Bluffs.


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They have a nice set up with a barn tasting room. They had 10 beers on tap when we were there. They do tasting flights and pints, with a few food options including cheese, meat and veggie platters.

 

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Roscoe’s Brown – 5.3%
A pretty good brown, medium body, smooth, good flavor. Dustin and Pete tasted coffee notes. This was Pete’s favorite.

 

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Heather and Pete tasting.

 

Obsession Ale – 4.3%
A light IPA with a piney hop taste. Dustin and Sam agree, light in body, no real bitterness.

 

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Blasphemous Black Lager – 5.5%
Light in body for a black lager, decent flavor

 

Belgian Blonde – 5%
Really good belgian, cloudy. Megan tasted honey and flowers. This was just about everyone’s favorite. A good over all, tasty beer.

 

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Summer Ale – 4.5%
Light, crisp summer ale, light in body but not flavorless. Megan and Al thought it needed something a little more, maybe a fruit wedge. They bottle this as a seasonal beer and distribute it off the island.

 

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Dustin, Al, and Sam posing for this pic!

 

Martha’s Vineyard Ale – 5.3%
Darker, red ale taste. Medium body, decent flavor. Megan thought it had a wintery taste, nutmeg or another earthy taste. This is one of the year round beers that they bottle and distribute off the island.

 

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Island IPA – 5.4%
Piney and flowery hop flavor, light in body with no real bitterness. Another beer they bottle and distribute.

 

Smokehouse Dunkel – 5.3%
Hint of smokeyness, very light in body, a touch sweet, good beer.

 

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Wasque Weizenbock – 7%
Sweet, light in body. A malty wheat beer flavor with a hint of ‘spiced darker fruit’.

 

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Cheese and meat platter- so good! Added so much to our experience

 

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They had a good size patio area outside with a bunch of tables and benches. They had a few games going outside as well, including cornhole.

 

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Cornhole

 

 

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Mark and Megan posing with Bad Martha.

 

Want to visit? You will have to wait until Summer as they are open from May through October and reopen for Christmas.

Geaghan Brothers Pub and Craft Brewery, Bangor, ME

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After spending the day drinking around Maine with Amanda, we decided to finish the night off with apps and beers at Geaghan Brothers Pub and Craft Brewery in Bangor, Maine. It is connected to a small hotel, and next door to the casino and appears to be at the beginning of the downtown Bangor area.

We ended up getting a table in the bar area because it was still crowded at 8:30pm on a Saturday night.

 

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From looking around on their website, it looks like Geaghans Pub has been family owned since 1975. They started brewing their own beer in 2011, and they are still owned and operated by members of the Geaghan family.

 

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Our beers:

Refueler – american style wheat – 5.25%
Definite wheat beer taste, has a slight hoppy taste. Megan didn’t like it, Mark and Amanda did.

 

Linemen – pale ale – 5.4%
Fairly standard pale ale, Mark thought it was just ok, light, with a touch of sweetness. It is ‘designed for the domestic beer drinker’ so it doesn’t have as much flavor or hops as we would like, made for the brew pub drinker who doesn’t really like craft beer.

 

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Presque Isle – honey blonde ale – 5.5%
Light blonde ale, very subtle sweetness, has a dry malty body. Megan and Amanda liked it, Mark thought it was ok.

 

Smiling Irish Bastard – american pale ale – 6%
Very strong hop smell, tastes strong, like and IPA. Mark likes it, strong hop flavor, not much of malt profile, but does have a little bit of a hop bite. Dry hopped with Cascade and Columbus hops.

 

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Higgins Irish Red Ale – 5.9%
A malt forward flavor, but light in body, good overall taste, pretty solid red ale.

 

Bangor Tiger – IPA – 7%
Strong IPA, citrusy and lime, a little bitter. Not Mark’s favorite IPA combo, but it was pretty good. Megan and Amanda did not like it.

 

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sometimes, after a day of drinking, water is a great beverage

 

Bangor Brown Ale – 5.11%
A light, malt forward brown ale, light chocolate taste with a bitter hop taste, a ‘true american style brown ale’. Mark liked the strong and complex flavor, Amanda and Megan not so much.

 

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Dad’s Oatmeal Stout – 5.5%
A strong and roasty flavor, definite dark coffee taste with a slight bitterness.

 

 

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Pub Cheese

 

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Irish Nachos

 

Want to visit?
Hours of Operation

Sunday – Thursday 11:00am – 11:00pm (Kitchen closes at 10pm)
Friday – Saturday 11:00am – 1:00am  (Kitchen closes at 12am)

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And a giant statue of Paul Bunyan next door, because, ya know, it’s Maine.

Westfield River Brewing Company, Southwick, MA

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A few weeks ago we went to Six Flags and were looking to visit a brewery, of course. Westfield River Brewing is nearby in Southwick, MA. They say on their website they are the “primary location for those who are seeking both drinkability in their beer and adventure in their glass”.

 

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They are located on a 100 year old dairy farm. The building had been converted into a steak house for many years, but that closed. The brewery moved into this location a year ago from an industrial park. They have a farmers license so they can sell anything they make on the property as retail. They have 3 years of commercial brewing, the owner has been home brewing for 15 years.

 

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History of the property

 

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We ordered two sampler trays for each couple, four 6oz pours for $10. They had nine beers on tap, so they gave us the extra beer sample for free.

 

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Louie and Pepe’s – Mexican lager
4.7%    10 IBU
Really light beer, it was served with a lime in it, you can taste the lime. Megan, Sammie, and Dustin all liked it, a good summer beer.

 

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Strawberry Shandy – 1/2 strawberry blonde 1/2 lemonade
5.3%    6 IBU
A strawberry taste upfront, lemonade as the second taste. Pretty good balance, another good summer beer. We all went home with a few cans!

 

 

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Red, White and Raz – raspberry wheat ale
4.9%    11 IBU
Great raspberry taste, not super sweet but tastes like raspberries. Good taste. We all went home with a few cans!

 

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Sam and Dustin enjoying their samples

 

Oatmeal Stout – ‘hints of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla’
5.9%    14 IBU
Smells like coffee, toasted taste up front, a bit of a sweet 2nd taste. Sammie agree’s with us, Dustin thought it had a hint of a sour taste.

 

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Copper Roaster – copper ale
6.1%    19 IBU
Brewed with brown sugar as an english style ale. Pretty good for this style of beer, everyone liked it. Darker in color but light in body with a hint of sweetness. ‘Not offensive to the mouth’ according to Megan (she was super surprised that she liked it).  Dustin thought it was smooth.

 

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Big Red Barn – malty imperial red
9.5%    12 IBU
A heavy taste but light in body for this style and percent of alcohol. A little strange, sweet, maybe tangy, a strong flavor. Megan and Sam thought it tastes like dates, almost like one of their mom’s Christmas cookies.

 

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Farmhouse Honey – saison style ale brewed with honey
5.6%    10 IBU
Light in body, honey flavor, slight tartness or saison flavor, we would have liked to taste a little more tartness, but all in all it was good!

 

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Charlie – rye ipa with citrus notes
5.3%    57 IBU
Different than the other beers, it taste bitter. Citrus notes, but even that taste a little bitter, citrus and rye taste a little overpowering. This might be because everything else was so low in IBU’s and this was 57 IBU. Dustin felt that there was a juniper flavor.

 

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Session – ‘light in body with tropical fruit hops’
4.5%    42 IBU
Right on in the description, pretty good flavor, session ipa with a light body and flavor with tropical fruity hops.

 

A lot of the beers on tap certainly had a summer theme to them. We liked most, if not all, of the beers. The thing that stood out to Mark was the IBU’s. 7 of the beers on tap were under 20 IBU’s, the the Charlie was 57 IBU’s and the Session was 42 IBU’s. They make their beers to be drinkable.

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Unfortunately, when we were there the most popular beer was sold out, the El Dorado IPA at 7.5% with an IBU of 82. Must be good!

We all liked the atmosphere here. This is a place we would all hang out at if it was near where we lived. The building itself is welcoming, never mind the people who work there. We were very impressed with the whole feel of this visit, and really wish we could go back soon!

 

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Before leaving, we tasted an cask Honey Nut Brown beer they made in collaboration with the home brew shop that is attached to the brewery. This was tasty, and was Sam’s first experience with a cask beer.

 

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They have a decent size restaurant area inside. The place has a cool vibe to it, all old beams and rustic decor. We didn’t get any food, we were actually there on July 4th so the kitchen wasn’t open. They did however have AMAZING pretzels available… more on that below…

 

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The brewery out back, you can see from the restaurant. And lots of cans.

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They have a single canning machine behind the bar. You can get any beer you want that is on tap. You can also get any combination of beers, a 6 pack of them same, 3 and 3, or 6 different beers. We thought this was awesome.

 

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Sam and Dustin got 3 of the Shandy and 3 of the Red, White and Raz. The filled them right in front of us.

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We got a 6 pack of each of the Shandy and the Red, White and Raz.

 

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They also make giant pretzels to go from spent grain and home made spicy honey mustard. The flavor and texture were to die for, and the size- whaat. Well worth it.

 

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 Want to visit?
Hours

Wednesday – Saturday: 12pm – 8pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

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