Cape Ann Brewing Company, Gloucester, MA

We recently stopped at the Cape Ann Brewing Company, located in Gloucester, MA.

From their website: “Fisherman’s beer — whose bold flavor and character reflect the spirit and courage of the sailors of the North Atlantic fishing fleet — is a tribute to hard work and a salute to friendships that endure.”

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IMG_2673 a look at the brewery from outside

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their very extensive beer menu

We arrived wanting a snack, and to try new beers. They had a few options- we could each buy a pint, or a flight of 6. We chose to purchase two flights of 6, so we could try all of their current offerings of beers.

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Mark with the beers

IMG_2682Me with the beers

Fisherman’s Brew: had an IPA flavor. 5.5% ABV. American Amber Lager. Dry, hoppy finish

Fisherman’s Ale: I wasn’t a fan of, but Mark enjoyed. 5.0% ABV. A German Style Kolsch Ale. Easy drinking beer with a touch of noble hops.

Fisherman’s IPA: strong flavor. Too strong for me. 5.5 % ABV.

Fisherman’s Great Wit Whale: tastes like I would expect it too. Very refreshing. 6.3% ABV. Light and refreshing, brewed with coriander and orange peel.

Fisherman’s Pils: good, slight strawberry fruity flavor. 5.4% ABV.  Light and refreshing, yet dry and crisp.

Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout: Perfect blend of pumpkin and a stout. Second time around, felt a stronger pumpkin nose than flavor. 7.0% ABV.

Fisherman’s Sunrise Saison: great flavors of strawberry and rhubarb. 150# rhubarb & 250# strawberries! 7% ABV Rhubarb toned the strawberry down, to make it refreshing versus overwhelming.

Fisherman’s Chili Stout: Perfect undertone of chili. Second time around, tastes of chocolate. Reminded me of chocolate-chili truffles I made. 5.4% ABV Brewed with both jalapeno & habanero chilies.

Fisherman’s Navigator:  a traditional doppel-bock. I wasn’t a fan, but Mark was. 7.0% ABV

Fisherman’s Honey Pilsner: was an interesting combination, especially after having had honey wine (mead, at Moonlight Meadery).  Sweet honey wasn’t overwhelming, but made you think about the beer you were drinking. 4.6% ABV. Made with 20# honey.

Fisherman’s Spruce Tip Biere de Garde: spicy. Smelled and kind of tasted like the holidays without being strong or dark in taste. 7.3% ABV, brewed with spruce tips and orange peel.

Fisherman’s Glosta Strong Ale: typical strong ale. The big deal about this beer was that 100% of proceeds of this ale are going to the Boston One Fund, which made me want to try it even more. 7.5% ABV.

IMG_2677Fun way of holding condiments on the table. 

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Mark ordered clam chowda, he said it was really good- clams were ground up

IMG_2686I ordered a chicken quesadilla

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We had sat on the back deck, after eating we went out and took pictures of the area

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Fun taking photos outside after 🙂

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Milly’s Tavern, Manchester NH

A brewpub on our list showed up on groupon?! Yes please. There was recently a group for Milly’s Tavern, located in Manchester NH. The groupon was for 1 tasting tray, 2 pints and an appetizer. Nice, inexpensive way to try out a new place and have/start dinner!

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Milly’s Tavern is a brewpub, having at least 18 beers on tap at a time.

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We went on a Saturday night, as we both had worked all day. When we arrived, we were uncertain of what to do, where to go. The bar and restaurant were set low, down a small flight of stairs. We looked around for a sign stating if we should wait to be seated or to seat ourselves… We must have looked confused, because the bartender came over and told us we could sit wherever we would like. We walked over to a high top table.

It took a few minutes for a waiter to acknowledge that we were there. Once he came over, we told him (as groupon tells you to), that we had the groupon. Bad move. More on that later.

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Brew offerings

We were given a sheet of paper with six squares on it to write down which six beers we wanted to try. This was nice, because we had a choice. Many times a tasting tray is set for you, without giving you the option. We chose: Twisted Ale, Raspberry Hefeweizen, Pumpkin Ale, General John Stark Dark Porter, Manch-Vegas IPA, and the Oatmeal Stout.

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Our three favorites were: Pumpkin Ale (much better than Sam Adam’s!), Oatmeal Stout (very smooth), and Twisted (tastes of iced tea, lemonade and beer). I didn’t make the connection until much later that the Twisted was similar to a Twisted Tea.

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Mark ordered a Pumpkin Ale for his first pint, followed by an Oatmeal Stout. I chose the Twisted for both of mine.

IMG_2620Pumpkin Ale

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Twisted Ale

We ordered chicken nachos for our appetizer. We didn’t get them loaded because we (well I) tend to pick off most of that, and it was a ton of stuff that would be added. They were really good, and were devoured.IMG_2618

Following the nachos, we ordered one of their nightly specials, a Buffalo BBQ Chicken Pizza. It was sooo good (and of course I forgot to take a picture of it). The crust was perfect- light but fluffy and crispy all at the same time.

It took awhile to be able to order more drinks, and to get the bill. At the end of our night there, a heavy metal battle of the bands started- made me laugh. The singer made more noises then singing or yelling. Was very… interesting.

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Although sites like groupon suggest that you tell the server you have a groupon, I have found that you are better off not. Typically, when I or others I know have told a server that we have a groupon or other deal, they disregard the table, expecting that they will not be compensated appropriately. We left a tip based on the total bill- including what we would have paid had we have not had the groupon. Although the service was not good, we wanted to prove a point that just because someone has a groupon does not mean you will not be compensated appropriately. We responded to Groupon when asked how our visit was, and let them know.  We did not hear back.

Redhook Brewery

We originally went to the Redhook Brewery, in Portsmouth, NH last summer (2012) with my friend Jamie. Our goal had not been completely thought out yet, so I (surprisingly) did not take any pictures.

Redhook Brewery offers tours for only $1! If you feel that $1 is simply too expensive, you can find coupons for free tours on those cute, cartoon-y maps. We actually had no idea that it was simply $1 and had brought the coupons. If its free, it’s for me!

We met Jamie at the Cataqua Pub (connected to the gift shop & brewery), as we arrived before the tour started. We all enjoyed a pint, and then went to join the tour. We had the best tour guide. He was an older man, who was passionate about the beer that Redhook offers. He told us about Redhooks history, about how they make the beer, and then ended with a sampling session. The tour was similar to most breweries we had been to, but what made it was our tour guide. He had tons of different stories and you could tell loved the beer. For the sampling session, he poured pitchers and we passed them around the room. Due to this being before we made our goal, I do not have exact tasting notes, but I can tell you that we enjoyed most, if not all, of the beer. We all left with a tasting glass, as well as some new favorites.

Mark and I returned to Redhook last night (2013) for a late dinner in the Cataqua Pub. The Cataqua Pub was named after the Piscataqua River, which divides New Hamshpire and Maine and has the third fastest current in the world. “Piscataqua” is a Native American term, metaphorically translated to “a place where people come together, and where they part on their separate ways.”

 Our waitress, Sarah, was great and knew her beer well.

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On tap:

Long Hammer IPA 6.2%

ESB 5.8%

Pilsner 5.3%

Audible Ale 4.7%

Mudslinger (Spring seasonal) 5.8%

Wit (Summer seasonal) 5.3%

Saturnaleia Double Red IPA 10% (PEASE Project)

They also offered Widmer (Portland, OR) and Kona (Kailua-Kona, HI) as guest drafts.

IMG_2538[1] Menu description of each beer.

After looking at the menu, I knew that I needed to have the Wit, a perfect summer beer.

“Redhook’s twist on the Belgian style is the addition of fresh ginger, which adds a refreshing snappiness to this lighter-bodied wheat beer.  Redhook Wit is perfect for warm summer months of outdoor BBQ-ing, sitting by the pool, or just taking a break by hanging inside enjoying the AC and watching old re-runs of Gilligan’s Island.

STYLE………………….Belgian Wit

ABV…………………….5.3%IBUS…………………..8.0 IBU

ORIGINAL GRAVITY..11.85 degrees platoBREWED SINCE………2011″ –Redhook.com

Mark decided to first have the mudslinger…

“Ah, Spring…the season that keeps us guessing.  Will it rain, or will the sun be out?  Do I take advantage of the last days of skiing, or the first days of hiking?  Do I put on jeans, or dare break out the shorts?  The season comes with enough uncertainty, so Redhook gives you something you can always count on…our Mudslinger Brown Ale.  This medium dark beer is layered with rich malty aromas and flavors of chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, and a hint of vanilla.  Although it may be dark in color, it’s refreshingly smooth and highly sessionable.  Mudslinger Brown Ale is the perfect beer for spring.

STYLE………………….Brown

ABV…………………….5.8%

IBUS…………….22 IBUORIGINAL GRAVITY..13.8 degrees platoBREWED SINCE………2003TIME FRAME………..Spring Seasonal” – Redhook.com

We ordered two appetizers to split-

Tap Room Chicken Strips, in Jamaican jerk seasoning & served with ranch dressing (homemade? It did taste that way)

IMG_2539[1] Nice flavor, definately needed the ranch to tame it down slightly, but all in all tasty. $10 (a little pricey for the size, but…)

We also ordered the Brew House Nachos with pulled chicken, bomber sized.

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THEY WERE LOADED! Tons of cheese, jalapeanos, olives, chicken… SO good!

The nachos were also layered, which meant you weren’t searching for toppings once you ate half of it.

Mark ended the night with the Saturnaleia Double Red IPA  (PEASE Project). Due to it being a PEASE Project beer, it is not on their website or their regular menu.

Mark said it was “pretty good, but defiantly heavy. Had the taste of a high-alcohol percentage beer.”  It had the taste of a red ale as well.

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Served in a fancy glass

A sign on our table told us about two beers that Redhook now offers that are gluten free.  Omission Lager and Pale Ale. Both are available in bottles.

****Addition 5/20/13: Omission is brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing.****

Although neither Mark or I have a gluten intolerance, we know many people that do, and think that it is great that a company like Redhook offers these beers.

Redhook felt that everyone should be able to enjoy a beer.

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We will most likely return to Redhook for food and drinks another time.

Cataqua Pub Hours

Sunday: 12pm-8pm
Monday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 11pm
Last call 30 minutes prior to closing

Public Brewery Tours

Mon: 3:00, 4:00, 5:00pm
Tue:12:00, 1:00,2:00pm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wed & Thu: 1:00, 3:00, 5:00pm
Fri & Sat: 12:00-6:00pm, every hour on the hour
Sun: 1:00pm – 5:00pm on the hour
Starts at the Gift Shop desk.

Blue Hills Brewery

IMG_2247[1]This weekend, in 2013, we visited the Blue Hills Brewery, located in Canton, Massachusetts. With Mark and I were: his brother Jason, sister Michelle (who had visited Flag Hill Winery with us), and their mother, Sheila. Jason and Michelle had both been to a brewery before, but this was the first experience for Sheila.

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We went Saturday around 4pm, and it was packed! Always a good sign,  because it implies the beer is good, but sometimes means you can’t have a personalized experience or an opportunity to ask many questions. When we entered the brewery, we were greeted, but were still uncertain about where to go/what to do since different brewery’s have different systems set up. We also weren’t certain that the person who had greeted us worked there, as often breweries have a very friendly following. After a minute or so, space by the bar opened up and we moved in. We were told we could try the beers in order, or go from lightest to heaviest. We chose to move across the spectrum- lightest to heaviest. IMG_2246[1] The beers, lined up on the counter to try
 IMG_2252[1]IMG_2251[1]They had a booklet listing the beers they create, with descriptions. Helpful since it was so busy!



Pomegranate Wampatuck Wheat
: German hefeweizen & unfiltered. Not overly fruity, a good balance. Slight tartness with a wheat finish. 4.8% ABV. Michelle & I both bought a bomber of this.

Blueberry Wampatuck Wheat: great blueberry flavor. Tastes like it would be perfect with either a graham cracker rim or vanilla ice cream.

Watermelon Wampatuck Wheat: German hefeweizen & unfiltered. Initial smell- jolly rancher. Tastes just like a watermelon jolly rancher. Perfect beer for those overly hot, sticky, summer days. 4.8% ABV. Michelle bought one of these in a bomber.
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Antimatter: English Mild Ale. A session beer. sort of a “plain” beer. Nothing jumped out at you.
Red Baron Ale: seemed hoppy for an Irish Red
Black Hops Beer: fun label- black opps like. Description mentioned hints of coffee and chocolate, but I didn’t really taste either. Wish it has had a stronger flavor, but it also could have been because I was using the same cup and it might have not meshed well with the Red Baron Ale. It didn’t taste as dark as it looked, which I think most in our group preferred. 6.75% ABV
At this point, another staff member started to help pour the tastings, which helped immensely. We were then given more of an opportunity to ask questions about the beer and make comments about it.  
Comet Tail: brewed with “a healthy dose of hops.” Citrus, but sweet and mellow. I really enjoyed this one, and felt like it was a great summer ale. 5.4% ABV.  I went home with a bomber of the Comet Tail.
India Pale Ale (IPA): smooth flavor. everyone with the exception of myself really liked this one. I am not a big IPA drinker, so this made sense to me. 6.6% ABV. Jason bought a bomber of IPA.
Double IPA:  I liked this one much better than the IPA. Mark bought a growler of this.
Imperial Red IPA: unfiltered beer, a combination of their red ale and IPA. The man working stated “strongest one, misleadingly smooth.” It was too much for Michelle’s taste.
I had first heard about the Blue Hills Brewery while I was working nearby, at the Blue Hills Ski Area. The Ski Area had the pleasure of inviting the Brewery to events throughout past seasons, but I was typically working and thus, unable to try the beer. I had been looking forward to going to Blue Hills Brewery for awhile, and am glad we went.
They offer many seasonal beers and we might have to go back to try some again.
For purchase, most beers are offered in six packs, bombers (24oz) and growlers (64oz). The deposit for the growler is inexpensive compared to other breweries, at only $2 a bottle. Price per fill varies depending on which beer it is. Bombers are only $3. They do not use a distributor so they are able to keep prices low for their customers.
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The brewery offers complimentary tastings: Wednesdays 5-8, Fridays 3p-7p, and Saturdays 1p-7p. Check their website or facebook before you go.
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The cups we bought to add to our growing collection.
IMG_2253[1]Pomegranate Wampatuck Wheat, Double IPA and Comet Tail