Lookout Farm Brewing and Cider Co, Natick, MA

 

Lookout Farm Brewing and Cider Company is located out in the suburbs of Natick, MA. We visited near the end of the summer with Megan’s sisters Heather, Sam and Sam’s fiancee Dustin.

It is one of the oldest operating farms in the USA, started in 1651. They have over 65,000 apple tree’s on their 180 acre farm. They grow 29 varieties of apples and have recently planted 14 varieties of hops.

 

 

They started making cider in 2015, we have tried a few varieties and liked them but never made it out for a visit. In 2017 they started making beer as well, and serve both out of their tap room on the farm.

 

They serve 8 oz and 16 oz pours as well as flights of four 4 oz pours. We all got flights to try as many styles as possible.

Beer

So Many Silos – kettle sour with guava and tangerine 5.4%
A kettle soured beer, tasted sour with a hint of fruit. Mark would have liked a little more fruit flavor but pretty good overall.

Super Yellow Pilsner – pilsner     5.6%
A regular Pilsner, not Mark’s favorite style but crisp and easy drinking, on point for the Pilsner style.

Hold Your Horses – neipa     6.3%
Listed as a New England IPA, but it did not look very hazy for a neipa, it was actually fairly clear. It was a decent ipa,  a little bit on the fruity hop side with a touch bitterness. It did not really come across as a neipa though, not hazy and not really ‘juicy’ like Mark expected from a neipa.

 

 

Harvest Day – IPA     6.5%
Decent ipa, a little bit malty with hop flavors more on the bitter side, a pretty good west coast style ipa.

Big Red Barn – red ale     6.1%
A red ale with a slightly darker flavor on the malt side, not sweet like Mark expected, a slightly interesting take on a red ale, a pretty good beer overall.

 

 

Ciders

Farmhouse – 5.2%
Megan and Sam said easy drinking, not too sweet, not too tart, not too dry. Heather said nothing really stood out about this cider.
Lazy summer – lemon grass and ginger     5.2%
Sweeter than the Farmhouse cider. Sam and Heather didn’t care for it, weren’t sure if it was too grassy for them, or if it was the ginger.
1st American Cherry –     5.5%
Good, with a cherry tartness to it. Nice aroma, and still very drinkable, everyone liked this one. At the time, cans were not available but if they had been, many would have gone home with us.
Row 7 – Heriloom blend     6.5%
More juicy, “like a jug of unfiltered (nonalcoholic) cider”. Everyone liked this as well. Sam said it was crisp, like biting into and apple.
They serve food as well, wings, pizza etc, but
we didn’t get anything.
They also had cans of beer and cider to go. There were a lot of different brands in cans than what was on tap to try.
They have a lot of other activities to do at the farm as well, apple picking, trolley rides as seen below, event spaces, barbecues and more.
Heather said the place was really cute
Hours
Wednesday – Friday: 3:00 – 10:00
Saturday: 12:00 – 10:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00

Night Shift Brewing, Everett MA

IMG_1400Night Shift Brewing is located in Everett, MA. They have been an official brewery for 2.5 years, and they were obviously home brewing before that. This is a new location for them, they have only been there a few months. The previous space was the size of their new tasting room.

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one side of their barrel room

They do a lot of barrel aging with different barrels for the different styles of beer. Aging in the barrels gives the beer a different flavor. They reuse all of their yeast, recycling and remixing it so it is all the same. They still use the original recipe for one of their first beers, Trifecta. Their beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, that’s what they use the brite tank for. They did 750 barrels last year, and they will significantly increase this year in the new space.

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signs as you enter the taproom

When we arrived, midday on a Saturday, it was a bit crowded (usually a good sign!), and a little loud, but lots of bartenders were on and we were served quickly. There was plenty of standing room and several different seating areas. It looked like a tour bus had arrived shortly before us. The tasting room reminded us of SoMe Brewing in ME, because it was designed as a place to come and hang out and drink some beers. There was matching décor, a big bar, tables, plenty of room, it was just a cool atmosphere to be in. It was more like a typical bar and not just a tasting room, which is what they were going for.  On the tables were giant bowls off pretzels- yum!

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bowl of pretzels on one of the picnic tables they have inside

 

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the fun lights they have

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wall of beers! aka whats on tap

Beers

They offer a variety of beers to be enjoyed as part of a flight, in a 4oz pour, or a 12oz pour. Some have a limited availability, and are available either only by the bottle or only on tap. Beers you can take home are available in a 32oz or 64oz growler or a 750ml bottle.

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our tasting

 

Whirlpool

Juicy pale ale, citrus flavor but not sour. Mark used the word tangy. Notes of ripe peach as well

 

Mud – Art Series #24

Session rye ipa, not super hoppy, decent flavor, pretty easy drinking.

Night Shift “Art” is a series of experimental, test-batch beers and beer-blends that are thoughtful expressions of our current creative process. Some might become larger production batches, some will fade into the night. The goal is unique, artistic beer experimentation.

 

Viva Habanero

Nice after burn, intense at first but tames down quickly. They describe it:

Brewed with rye malts that bring their own natural spice, this invigorating cerveza gets its zesty kick and peppery flavor from habanero peppers that we add after fermentation. Agave nectar, produced in Mexico, helps to sweeten and lighten the body, while our Belgian house yeast strain tempers the beer’s fiery disposition.

 

Grove

Juicy/ fruity, good grapefruit flavor, not overpowering or sour, farmhouse saison

 

Stop, Collaborate, & Glisten8.9% – sparkling golden ale fermented in wine barrels with sauvignon blanc grape must and a blend of wild yeast strains

Our first thought was it was carbonated differently, reminded me of something but couldn’t quite figure out the sauvignon blanc flavor, but knew it was familiar.

 

When we were finishing our tasting,  they came around to all the tables to let us know there was a tour starting. We quickly finished our beers (don’t worry- we went back and had more later) and joined the tour…  

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view of the brewhouse

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tanks in the brewhouse

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empty kegs in the brewhouse, waiting to be filled

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box of Muselets used to help close the bottles

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bottling station

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bottles, bottles and more bottles

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growlers ready to be filled

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more beer being barrel aged

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the current brewery set up- another expansion soon!

 

Here is an excerpt from their website (this and more is gone over during the tour):

While refining our brewing skills, we also organized weekly beer tastings in an attempt to sample every style, brand, and region possible. As time progressed and palates developed, our appreciation for beers, both our own and on the market, began to shift. We realized that while the making of a truly great beer is by no means common or easy, it is possible.

As importantly, however, was our growing opinion that a beer’s greatness was often very closely linked to its memorability. The market seemed flooded with a collection of very similar beers in very typical beer styles.  When something unique AND great came along, we took notice, and we remembered it.

In our test kitchen, we applied these lessons learned. Because no one judged our beers but us, we experimented like mad scientists with unorthodox brewing ingredients, weird recipes and funky yeasts, attempting to create nearly every beer style imaginable. Years of testing and tweaking led to some especially horrible stuff, but also to some memorable, innovative, truly great beers. When everyone started demanding more Night Shift beer, we realized: brewing had become much more than a nighttime hobby.

The beers that we now offer to the Greater Boston community are the very best of all those years of fine-tuning – wholly unique brews with complex, interesting flavors. Everything is brewed, fermented, and bottled in-house at our Everett, MA microbrewery, where we spend most of our night AND day shifts. We continue to learn as we grow and brew more, and are loving the entire journey (even if it means very little sleep).

 

We would have to agree with them. After having visited over 65 breweries, wineries, and distilleries, the interesting beers are the ones that stand out. It’s even better when it is a little bit different, but really well done. Everyone now makes an IPA, and though some are better than others, eventually they all blend together. When you drink a Viva Habanero rye ale brewed with agave nectar and aged on habanero peppers, that tends to stand out. This is a nice place, we would love it if they were closer to us so we could visit more often, and try out whatever new beers were on tap. It’s a cool place to go and hang out and have some good beers with friends, while supporting a local brewery. They also offer BYOF, bring you own food, they have lists of local places you can order from and large picnic tables inside to sit at.

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Mark enjoying a beer after the tour, in the barrel room

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Want to Visit?

The Night Shift Taproom is open 7 days a week (except for certain holidays). Regular open hours are:

  • Monday-Friday, 3-9pm
  • Saturday, 12-8pm
  • Sunday, 12-5pm
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outside! yayyy beer!

 

Earth Eagle Brewings

picstitch (18)Mark and I visited Earth Eagle Brewings, located in Portsmouth NH as part of the Granite State Growler Tour (see here for our post on the tour as a whole!).

When we walked into Earth Eagle Brewings, we were greeted by Butch, one of two brewers. picstitch (14) He walked us through A&G Homebrew Supply, which provides supplies for local home brewers. In A&G, the four main ingredients to make beer were gone over- water, grain, hops and yeast. We were each able to feel, smell and taste some malted barley.picstitch (13)Hops help to change the flavor of the beer, making it taste fruity or nutty. Yeast is added, and produces alcohol.

Process: In the one barrel brewery, the beer moves from the hot liquor tank to the mash tank. The sugars are pulled out, and the liquid goes to the boil kettle. The left over spent grain then goes to a farm in Berwick, Maine. The liquid is then cooled from 212 degrees Fahrenheit to 65-70 degrees via a plate chiller. The beer then enters a fermentation room, moves to the refrigerator and then to the tap to be enjoyed.

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Butch explained that Earth Eagle is a one barrel brewery, and the beers are always changing. Earth Eagle Brewings produces empyreal ales made with hops (beer) and un-hopped ales called gruit. Gruits are ales made with herbs, a more traditional style before the use of hops.  Occasionally, they will add herbs to their beer, and hops to their gruits. They try to use fresh, local products when available.

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Following our tour, we enjoyed a tasting. During open hours, anyone can go in and have/buy a 4oz sample, a 32 oz growler or a 64 oz growler.

Our tastings:

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Sage Goose: immediate smell of sage. Smooth herbal sage and gooseberries. No hops. 4.7% ABV. We bought a growler!

Sol Sister: had a familiar flavor, almost of clove. Sweet, woodruff fern, eleuthero root. 5.6% ABV.

Purl the Elder: different flavor. Elder flower and ground ivy. Nice balance and flavor. 6.3% ABV

Diurnal Hoppy Blonde: Hoppy with a smooth finish. Most similiar to other beers, still different but not as different as others. 4.2% ABV

Fur Trapper: My immediate thought- I like this. Oh, it’s a dubbel, no wonder!  Belgian dubbel big bear. Each barrel contained 10 pounds of Belgian candied sugar! 7.1% ABV

Jack Wagon: Spicy nose. Double IPA. Typical, but good. Big Beer, 8.1% ABV

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We didn’t try a beer or gruit here that we didn’t like! One of the great things about us taking home a growler is that we have to go back soon to get a refill and try something new!

Want to visit Earth Eagle Brewings? They are open 7 days a week- Monday-Friday: 4pm-9pm. Saturday: 3pm-9pm and Sunday: 1pm-4pm. Great hours that allow those that work to visit while not on vacation. They are great with posting what is on tap on their facebook page, so check it out if you are curious before you go.