Big Elm Brewing, Sheffield, MA

We visited Big Elm Brewing in Sheffield, MA, while we were on vacation out in the Berkshires. They have been brewing beer as Big Elm Brewing since 2012. The owners are a husband wife team who have plenty of experience brewing. They actually owned and operated a brewpub in the area, but left the business of running a restaurant to focus on just brewing.
They have a small bar, but a pretty big tasting room, basically 2 adjoining rooms.
Cool lamps above the bar that they made from malt bags.
They sell flights as well as 8 oz pours and 16 oz pours. We
got 2 flights of 4 so we could try most of the beers.
American Lager      5%
Clean, crisp and on point for the style, but a little too boring for us.
Luna      6%
Pretty good for a blonde, apricot notes maybe, it had a little something extra that was nice.
413 Farmhouse Ale      6%
Had a slightly fruity/funky aroma. Megan liked this beer, easy drinking with a pleasant farmhouse funk to it.
Lion’s Ale      5.3%
Darker in color, we were not sure quite what it was, the style was not written on board, it was not hoppy. Megan was not really a fan. We found out from their website it was an amber ale.
Zorro – Golden Sour      6%
Not very sour. Had a golden-mildly tart flavor upfront with a dry finish, but not in a salty gose way.
Thunderlips – New England Pale Ale     6%
Fruity hoppy smell, but that does not come through on the flavor. Kind of bland flavor in the middle with a hoppy bitterness at the end.
Big Elm IPA      7%
Mark- super different hops. Spicy and clove. Unusual flavors for an ipa. Megan said it was creamy, which was different for an IPA
Gerry Dog Stout      6.5%
This was the best beer we thought. Mildly chocolate flavor, really smooth, no bitterness.
 We peeked out back, they have pretty decent sized tanks. They also do all their own canning. They sell their beer to go in cans, on a limited rotation it seems, and also do growler fills.
 Hours
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00
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Neighborhood Beer Company, Exeter, NH

We recently visited Neighborhood Beer Company  which is located close by us in Exeter, NH. We have been planning to visit for awhile. They specialize in German style beers with an American twist.

Our production brewhouse is a 4-vessel, 4-barrel custom-fabricated
system designed specifically to brew complex and innovative
German-style ales and lagers.

When they first opened, they hired a well known German brewer to help design their brewhouse and work with them the first year in traditional german brewing styles.

The tasting room is on the smaller side, but still has plenty of room. In the nice weather, like now, they have an outdoor area sectioned off with picnic tables and corn hole.

 

 

 

They started out as just a tasting room and have grown to a brewpub, serving food as well as wine and beer from other local establishments.  When we visited, the guest beer was from Deciduous Brewing Company and guest cider from North Country Hard Cider. They have also increased their hours recently to make them easier to visit.

 

They have tasters for $2 each, 3/4 pints and full pints. We started with 2 flights so we could try all the beers.

 

 

Hallowed Hammock – blonde ale 4.9%
A good blonde ale, better than the average, light and easy drinking, Megan liked it. Megan typically finds Blonde Ales to be boring, so it had a little something extra to it.

 

Junkyard Pedigree – copper ale 7.5%
Described as ‘malty and complex’, it is, malty and a touch sweet. Megan tasted caramel notes, Mark said dark fruit. Again, better than we expected.

Boss Flamingo – Bronze ale 7.2%
Complex flavor up front with a smooth, clean finish. A mix of fruity, malty and hoppy flavors as described.

 

Bastardly Blitz – German style IPA 8.2%
Dark in color, well balanced, so not super hop forward like American style IPA’s. Not Mark’s favorite style.

Old Salt – Helles lager
What Mark expected from a Helles, very light, not a strong flavor to it, on point for the style just not a very interesting style. Megan liked it more, better than other lagers.

 

Mellow Grove – summer Hefeweizen
Pretty light body, even for a Hefeweizen, a strong clove flavor to it with a light body and feel. Decent summer beer.

 

Obstinate Goat – strong blonde ale 7.1%
Light body for a strong ale. Decent flavor to it, slightly complex, hard to pin down specific flavors, malty with a mild citrusy finish.

 

We ordered a pretzel, served with homemade mustard and beer cheese. Yum!

 

 

Mark had a 3/4 pint of Boss Flamingo and Megan had the NBC Snakebite, their Mellow Grove summer Hefeweizen mixed with a North Country Hard Cider, which was very good. She also tried it with the Obstinate GOAT, which was a good drink but the flavors if the Mellow Grove and the Original Blend North Country Hard Cider blended even better.

 

For beers to go, you can get any of their beers in a growler. They also use a mobile canning company and have most of their beers available in 12oz 6 packs. They have a mixed pre-made 6 pack, which changes based on the season. We bought two of the mixed six packs to share with friends. The summer mixed six came with Hallowed Hammock, Mellow Grove and Boss Flamingo.

Tasting Room Hours

Tuesday – 4:00 to 8:00
Wednesday – 4:00 to 8:00
Thursday – 4:00 to 9:00
Friday – 12:00 to 9:00
Saturday – 12:00 to 9:00
Sunday – 12:00 to 6:00

Orono Brewing Company, Orono, ME

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This was the last place we visited on our recent Maine trip with Amanda. Orono Brewing Company is located right in downtown Orono, ME. They have not been open that long, only since late in late 2014. They have an intriguing tap list, and a nice little place to visit and taste some beers.

 

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We ordered 2 sample paddles to share between
the 3 of us, they were $7 for five 5oz beers.

 

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White Nitro Cream Ale (nitro) – 5%
Definite cream taste and mouthfeel. Light, easy drinking, with a light malt flavor. Nothing stands out, but a good beer.

 

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Megan and Amanda

 

Golden Grave Witbier – 5.1%
Classic Belgian flavor, citrus and chamomile stand out with hints of coriander. Amanda thought it was ‘aromatic tasting’, Megan thought it was a really good witbier.

 

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Tap Into Summer Blonde Ale – 5%
Smells of grapefruit, light in body. Mark liked it, nice balance of hops, slightly fruity, really good for a summer beer. Megan thought it was too hoppy. El dorado, Citra and Mosaic in the dry hop. A collaboration beer with Geaghans Brew Pub, Black Bear, and Penobscot Bay Brewing.

 

Dream Job Session Pale – 4.7%
Fairly light in body, more malty than expected, a touch bitter. In collaboration with Central Street Farmhouse.

 

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Lightning Tree IPA – 6.8%
Really good, piney and citrus with a bitter aftertaste. Mark really liked it, too hoppy for Megan and Amanda.

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Amanda’s ‘too hoppy for me’ face

 

Woodmans Red Ale (nitro) – 6.1%
‘Smooth, mellow and nicely malty. Great creamy mouthfeel’. Yup, they said it best. Megan thought it had a malty taste, Amanda said roasty or toasty, they described it as ‘distinctly biscuity malt’, so they were both kind of right.

 

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Existential Crisis Hibiscus Saison – 5%
Interesting, flavorful taste upfront with saisony second taste, ‘spicy and dry’ from the yeast strains. Megan’s favorite.

 

Siberia Farms Saison – 5.8%
Much lighter, less complex saison flavor, spicy and dry, but not as much as the previous beer, spicy aftertaste.

 

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Habanero Lemon IPA – 6.5%
Lemon, IPA, Habenero sequence. IPA dominates, surprisingly well balanced for the ingredients involved. Drinkable, hoppy, hint of spice is tamed down by lemon and hops.

 

Amorica American Stout – 7.3%
Mark thought it was a really good stout. Dark, roasty, full bodied. Roasted malt smell and taste, creamy mouthfeel. Megan said it was not bitter so it made it feel lighter.

 

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They have a small Draught Room menu, we ordered Brewery Grain Soft pretzels that came with a spicy IPA mustard, they were pretty tasty.

 

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If you want a full meal, they have either a close association or partnership with Woodman’s Bar and Grill, which is right across the street. They usually have all of Orono Brewing Company’s beer on tap. They open at 4pm for dinner and stay open late for drinks.

 

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They have a nice little Draught Room, as they call it. There are a hand full of tables and some space at the bar for tasting beers.

 

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The place has a nice feel to it. A lot of wood and metal, sort of mixing
rustic and modern design, we liked it.

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This was probably our favorite place we have visited up in the Bangor/ Orono area. We liked most of the beers, they had plenty of new and unique styles and were really experimenting with flavors and taste combo’s.

 

 

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Want to visit?
Hours of operation

Monday – Wednesday: 3pm-10pm
Thursday and Friday: 3pm-12am
Saturday: 12pm-12am
Sunday: 12pm-7pm

As always, check their website or Facebook for the
most up to date information about them.

Geaghan Brothers Pub and Craft Brewery, Bangor, ME

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