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.

Sebago Brewing Company, Portland Brewpub, ME

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Our last stop during our most recent trip through Portland with Jason and Maureen was The Sebago Brewing Company – Portland Brewpub location. We figured after a long day of visiting breweries in Portland we should finish the trip off with some food, and more beers.

 

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The original Sebago Brewpub opened in 1998. After 6 years of brewing beer out of their brewpubs, they opened the main brewing and bottling facility in Gorham, ME. There are 4 brewpub locations and we visited the Portland Brewpub, right Downtown, under the Hampton Inn. It’s actually right around the corner from Shipyard.

 

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I don’t think we had actually tried Sebago beer before. Mark and Jason each ordered their own sampler tray to try all the beers they had on tap.

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Saddleback Ale – 3.9%
Light beer with a really light taste, not cheap or bad, just an ok taste that is not very flavorful.

 

Frye’s Leap IPA – 6%
Fairly standard IPA, good flavor, drinkable, but nothing outstanding.

 

Slick Nick – 7.2%
Malty, winter style beer, similar to the IPA in that it has a decent taste but nothing great. Winter style beers are not Mark’s favorite.

 

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Runabout Red – 4.4%
Fairly easy drinking amber with a malt base. Only 4.4%.

 

Royal Tar – 10.5%
Imperial stout, pretty good flavor, heavy tasting, you can tell by the taste it is a high percentage beer. Jason didn’t think it was a good beer to drink while eating, better for sipping on.

 

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Flora’s House – 4.3%
Described as ‘a love child of a pilsner and a Belgian wheat beer.’ Maureen didn’t think it was that great. Mark liked it, pretty good Belgian flavor, a little on the lighter side.

 

Imperial Small Batch – 4.2%
Fairly smooth, nutty flavor, good overall taste. Probably Mark’s favorite.

 

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2014 Barleywine – 11.1%
Heavy barleywine, not too enjoyable, bourbon barrel aged, we didn’t really like this one.

Food

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We ordered Potato Nachos as an appetizer. It was waffle fries instead of nachos, pretty good.

 

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Megan got a Caesar Salad and a Vermont Panini. The salad was ok, the panini was good.

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Mark ordered the Bacon Mac and Cheese and added chicken to it. The chicken wasn’t really added to it, it was just put right on top. He just mixed it in, it was really tasty.

 

IMG_1376Maureen got the Brewhouse Classic Burger and liked it.

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Jason ordered the Imperial Burger, a burger with a fried egg and
bacon on it. He described it as decadent.

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Megan and Maureen wanted desert, so they got a Molten Chocolate Cake to split, which they both really enjoyed.

Want to Visit?

Portland Pub Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 1am
Sunday: 11am – Midnight

Other places to visit in Portland:

Bissel Brothers

Allagash Brewing Company

Foundation Brewing

Austin Street Brewing

Urban Farm Fermentory

Shipyard Brewing Company

Coddington Brewing Company, visit number 80!

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Coddington Brewing Company is in Middletown, RI. This was our 3rd stop on our first swing through Rhode Island. We went for dinner and some beers with Sam and Dustin. Coddington is actually less than a mile away from the Newport Storm Brewery, so if you are in the area it is worth stopping at both.

 

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Founded in 1995, Coddington Brewing Company is committed to creating and serving the best beer available – period. Hand-crafted on the premises, all our ales and lagers are 100% natural and delicious. It’s the kind of taste and the kind of freshness that isn’t available anywhere but a brewpub like Coddington Brewing Company.

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Brewing tanks, with Dustin in the foreground

They have a 7 barrel capacity at the brewpub. That means they can brew about 217 gallons of beer at a time. They had a good amount of beers on tap.

 

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Placemat

 

Golden Ale – 4.3%
Really light, not too much taste to it, made for the person who doesn’t really like craft beer.

 

Blueberry Blonde
Subtle, not overpowering blueberry flavor. They start with the Golden Ale base to make it. Megan thought it was sweet. Dustin and Sam both liked the floating blueberries.

 

IPA – 5%
English style IPA, not as hoppy as Mark and Dustin expected, and a little bit bitter. Only 5% so not that strong for an IPA.

 

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Pumpkin Ale – 4.5%
The pumpkin taste was strong, a little sweet, but a good taste. The beer is an ale and fairly light in taste.

 

Munich Lager – 6.3%
Smooth, good tasting lager. Described as robust but was a pretty drinkable beer. Sam and Dustin liked it.

 

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ESB – 5.5%
Hoppy, smooth with a little bit of a bitter aftertaste, pretty good overall. Reminded Dustin of an IPA.

 

Barley Wine – 10.5%
Strong, a little sweet, robust taste. Described as a wine-strength thick bodied ale.

 

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Sam thoroughly enjoying herself

 

Irish Stout – 3.5%
Good stout, fairly typical, with a little bit of a roasted malty flavor, but only 3.5%, not sure why?

 

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The sampler was much bigger than we expected. It has 8 glasses at 7oz each, so you get a lot of beer for a sampler, and it costs $19, which is not that expensive considering how much beer you actually get.

 

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Megan got the turkey dinner, Good overall, plenty of food.

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Dustin got the cheeseburger, pretty average.

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Mark got the Tex Mex Burger, good, a little messy to eat, but tasty.

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Sam got the Pulled Pork Sandwich, really good, very filling.

Everyone thought the fries were really good. Spicy, flavored curly fries.

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It was kind of dark in the restaurant, maybe they were trying to ‘set the mood’ with the lighting, which seemed a little odd for a brewpub. That’s why some of the pictures didn’t come out that great.

Want to Visit?
Open Daily 11:00am
Serving Sunday through Thursday until 10pm
Friday & Saturday until 11pm

Visit #75 – Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Brewing Company was founded in 1994. The story started before that, though. In 1987 siblings, Peter & Janet Egelston, along with partners, started the Northampton Brewery in Northhampton, MA, which is now the oldest brewpub in New England. In 1991 they started the Portsmouth Brewery, New Hampshire’s first brewpub. In 1992 Peter and Janet bought out the other partners. In 1993 Peter attended the bankruptcy auction of the Frank Jones Brewing Company and bought the brewery that would become Smuttynose. In 2000 Peter & Janet Egelston bought each other out of their partnership, splitting the brewery ownership. Janet remains owner of the Northampton Brewery; Peter and his partner, Joanne Francis, own Smuttynose and the Portsmouth Brewery. Smuttynose Brewing Company was located in Portsmouth, NH up until this year, when they moved to their new location in North Hampton, NH.

 

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Eric explaining the brewing process

 

They have a wet grist mill, not dry as many breweries are.

 

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Plenty of beer here

 

They also use whole malts instead of split malts.

 

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Their bottling line, which you can kind of see in this picture, can do about 300 bottles a minute. They were going a little slower when we were there because they were doing mixed 12 packs, which need to be separated and boxed by hand.

 

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Fermentation tanks

This is certainly one of the biggest breweries we have been to. Look at all those tanks.

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They made a lot of decisions to be a green facility.

 

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Plenty of natural light. They also have motion sensor LED lights, which are much more energy efficient than fluorescents. They actually did such a good job in making green decisions that they are a LEED Certified Gold facility.

 

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A rain garden outside that helps with absorbing water into the ground and avoiding the sewer system.

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Showing off our safety glasses on the tour

 

At the end of the tour you can sample 4 beers. We tried to split up our tastings between us so we could try beers we haven’t had before.

 

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Vunderbar Pilsner – 4.9%
One of the better pilsners we have had. Light but good flavor.

 

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Farmhouse Ale – 7.2%
We both really liked this. Fruity with a slight earthy taste. Unfortunately they didn’t have any in bottles or we would have bought some.

 

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Just hanging out

 

Big A IPA – 9.5%
Strong IPA, not overpowering considering it is 9.5%. Good flavor, has a nice- little-something-extra taste to it.

 

Old Brown Dog – 6.7%
Described as having a ‘rich, malty flavor’.  It is a little more flavorful than some brown ales.

 

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Smuttlander – 9.8%
Double bock, smoother than expected, hints of toffee and molasses.

 

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Robust Porter – 6.6%
Flavorful, but light bodied to us. Good coffee flavor, hints of chocolate aftertaste. This is their most award winning beer.

 

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The table Mark is leaning on is in the tasting area for people to gather around. They are made from recycled shipping containers from their new brewing equipment and double as storage. Staying green.

 

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Part of what they are able to do with the new facility is produce more beer, but also different lines of beer. They started in 2007 with a short batch series which has become the Smuttlabs series. They say that:

our brewing staff has many ideas that can’t be done on a large scale; this is where Smuttlabs comes into play. From barrel-aging and beer souring to culinary collaborations and special projects that just don’t fit anywhere else, if a project is out of the ordinary, unique or time consuming, you can bet it’ll bear the Smuttlabs name.

 

We bought 2 different types of the Smuttlabs to try at home.

 

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Mark deciding what Smuttlabs beers to buy

 

Herbaceous – 2014 wet hopped ipa – 6.75%
Darker in color than a typical IPA. A hoppy flavor but a little smoother than a Big A or Finestkind.

 

Shebang – 2014 Triple IPA – 10.5%
Definitely a heavy beer, dark color, heavy malty flavor. Tasty but you have to be in the mood for a big beer.

 

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Big Beers and Smuttlabs

 

 

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Plenty of swag and beers in the gift shop.

 

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They have lots of plans for the land surrounding the brewery. The farmhouse that was on the property is currently being renovated to be a farm to table restaurant.

 

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They have plans to  renovate the old barn that was on the property to be a function hall.

 

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Do you recognize this old trailer? Maybe from the Finestkind IPA logo?

 

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They have plans to turn this into an outdoor beer garden during the nice weather, serving beer from the trailer with seating outside. This way you can actually come and hang out at the brewery and have a few beers.

TOUR THE BREWERY!

Tours and free samples daily. Last tour leaves at the posted time:

M-W Tastings: noon – 4pm
M-W Retail: noon – 7pm
Thursday: noon – 5:30pm
Friday: noon – 6:30pm
Saturday: 11am – 6:30pm
Sunday: 11am – 3pm

NO RESERVATIONS NEEDED

Martha’s Exchange, Nashua NH

100_0856We went to Martha’s Exchange  located in Nashua, NH for a quick bite after going to Anheuser- Busch in Merrimack, NH with Jason and Maureen. It was relatively close by, so going there for food made a lot of sense. Seeing that it was a brewpub, we had to try some beer while we were there. It was a nice fall afternoon, so we took advantage of the weather and sat outside. The outside seating area was part sidewalk, part in an alleyway.100_0859 The inside seating areas all had white linen tablecloths.

100_0857Prior to ordering, we noticed a sign on the table that said that some appetizers were half price and drinks were buy one get one for a penny until six pm. We asked if the sampler was included in the B1G1, and the waitress thought so, so we ordered two- one for Jason and Maureen and one for Mark and I. We also ordered buffalo chicken fingers and nachos. We found out a few minutes later that the sampler was not included, but the glasses were 4 ounce pours, so that was ok.

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Our tasting:

Volstead 33′: good, familiart flavor. Someone commented that it reminded them of a Harpoon beer

Warriors Gold IPA: Whoa! Hoppy! Good flavor.

Maureen said it was too hoppy for her.

Jason and Mark enjoyed it, said it was fine, that it taste like beer.

 

Summers Sunset: spicy notes, ginger

Jason, Mark and I thought it was good

Maureen said it wasn’t too bad

 

Dr. Hoppenstein: a Double IPA. Good first taste, but I felt it had a medicine like finish.

 

20th Anninversary Old Ale: cinnamon, candied oranges and pears. Nice, flavorful, surprising.

Maureen didn’t like how it finished.

Jason, Mark and I enjoyed.

 

Oktoberfest Lager: typical tasting. Mark said it was alright.

Maureen liked it.

 

Revolution Red: Mark and Jason said it was alright. I thought it had a mediocre taste.

 

Steeplechase Porter: Jason gave it a thumbs up, Mark thought it was a light porter.

I thought it was a good porter.

Maureen thought it was disgusting.

 100_0866  100_0867  100_0868  100_0869 Where did our beer go?

After our tasting, we each ordered a drink. Maureen didn’t find a beer she liked, so she got a Washington State Riesling- Chateau ste Michelle Reisling. Jason, Mark and I all ordered the 20th Anniversary Old Ale (times 2!). 100_0874For the B1G1 for a penny deal, it was per person, not total across the check, so we had to enjoy more than one (with that Ale percentage, it was good that Maureen was driving us home!).

Our food:

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Before heading out, Maureen and I stopped at the candy counter inside the restaurant. Yummy and a good addition to the meal.  100_0871Maureen


100_0870 Mark

Want to visit?

Hours of Operation:

Monday & Tuesday – 11am to 9pm
Wednesday – 11am to 9:30pm
Thursday – 11am to 11pm
Friday & Saturday – 11am to 1am
Sunday – 11am to 9:30pm

 

Madison Brewing Co.

After the long drive to Vermont for the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival at Mount Snow in Dover, Vermont and our quick tasting at Northshire Brewing, we had to stop for lunch. A brewpub? Why not!? We stopped at the Madison Brewing Co, located in Bennington, Vermont.

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I ordered the Southwest Chicken Sandwich (grilled chicken, pepperjack cheese, bacon, lettuce… Chipotle aioli and tomato were also part, but I left those off) which came with a side of fries. 100_0625 Mark ordered the Brewmasters Steak Sandwich (sliced bistro steak, portabella mushrooms, shallots, Vermont smoked cheddar, and garlic mayo served on herb ciabetta) which came with ale fries.  100_0623

We started our beer drinking there with their sampler- 8-4oz pours. They were presented nicely.100_0621  100_0622  100_0626

Our tasting:

Sucker Pond Blonde

Mark: really, really light with a dull, citrus flavor

Megan: tasted like tap water mixed with cheap beer

Buck’s Honey Wheat

Mark: Not very honey-ish. I think I should be able to taste honey and would expect it to be sweet.

Megan: good balance of honey and wheat. More honey would be too sweet. Once we added the lime wedge, I enjoyed it even more

Wassick’s White Wall

Mark: nothing “standoutish,” which is good. Liked.

Megan: Similar to a Blue Moon or Shock Top. Good with the lemon added

Crowtown Pale Ale

Mark: Light start with a hoppy finish. Like

Megan: similar to the first beer, but slightly more hoppy. Unfiltered water flavor

Mike’s Irish Red

Mark: Like it (usually does)

Megan: Don’t mind it, which is surprising because I typically don’t like reds. Might be more flavorful or different

Old 76 Strong Ale

Mark: agrees with the description provided. Fruity undertone for such a “heavy” beer

Megan: Indifferent, would drink it if it were given to me, but I wouldn’t choose it

IPA (seasonal selection)

Mark: Almost tastes light, better than the average IPA

Megan: love the smell. Rich, complex. Very flavorful

Battlefield Stout

Mark: good flavor, a little sweet on the tongue

Megan: Interesting smell, good flavor. A good stout

Mark: They seem to be more about the variety… good to be a local kind of place…. Odd choices, but a little bit of everything (in regards to both food and beer)

The food was really good, but none of the beer really stood out. If you are in the area and looking for a bite to eat, I would recommend it, just stick with the style of beer you usually drink.

Bathroom signs:100_0630  100_0631

Brewery:

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Bar/wall near bar:

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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 🙂