Hopsters, Newton, MA

 

 

IMG_7041

 

Mark’s sister Michelle got us all a brew session at Hopsters in Newton, MA for Christmas. We tried some of the beers they brew themselves while we were brewing and waiting.

 

IMG_7025

 

Their Beer

 

Newtonian – 7.4%
Medium body IPA with a piney hop flavor. Not that hoppy or that bitter, a little bit lacking it seemed.

 

Newton Corner Porter – 7%
Megan said it was delicious. Robust, not that chocolately, with some subtle dark fruit notes. Mark likes this as well, robust, light in body with a smooth, clean finish.

 

IMG_6885

First round of beers. Newtonian, ABC and Porter

 

Comet Citra – 5.5%
Not that hoppy for a citra IPA. They describe it as having ‘subtle tropical notes and grapefruit’, but these tropical fruit notes were very, very subtle. This was kind of lacking overall flavor, low hop flavor, not very bitter, very subtle fruit notes. This was significantly lower in alcohol than the other ipa’s.

 

Sour Vacation – 3.5%
A tart beer with a lemon flavor. Mark liked it, Megan thought it was just ok, maybe it was the lemon flavor, she wonders if it would have been better served with a lime.

 

Leaf Blower – 5%
Maureen ordered this, said ‘yup, it’s a beer’. It was described as a ‘clean, crisp, light american ale’, Mark’s agree’s.

 

IMG_6917

 

Ship of Fools – 6.3%
More hoppy, more flavor, more bitterness than the other 2 IPA’s. A little bit of a juicy hop flavor, not that much, but more. Jason and Mark agreed it was the best of the IPA’s, Jason said more identifiable hop flavors.

They have a few guest taps as well:

ABC Ginger Libation – 8.7%
Everyone liked this, Maureen and Michelle got glasses of it so we all tried it. It was fairly sweet with a good ginger flavor, light in body. Does not taste like it is 8.7%. Maureen thought it was delicious.

Citizen Cider – Dirty Mayor – 6.9%
Pretty good ginger cider, not as sweet as the ABC Ginger Libation.

 

IMG_6903

 They offer all sorts of food, too. We got a Buffalo Chicken Dip while
we were waiting for the mash to boil.

IMG_6904

 

The Brewing

IMG_6897

We decided to brew the German Hefeweizen beer. We figured that is a style of beer all 5 of us would like. We ordered our first round of beers, and shortly after that met up with our brewing guide.

 

IMG_6889

We started out in the ingredients room where he gave us an overview of what we would be doing, and to gather the ingredients we needed.

IMG_6891

 

IMG_6890

Maureen helping to measure out the Red Wheat.

 

IMG_6893

Jason measuring out the Cara-pils Dextrine wheat.

 

IMG_6892

This is the Liquid Malt Extract. It is basically the wort, pre-made. If we were to make the beer from the beginning, called all grain brewing, that would take all day. That is the way Hopsters makes the beers they serve, and the way most breweries make their beer. In order to make it more time efficient, they have the extract for us to use. We are basically just skipping the first time consuming step.

 

IMG_6896

Michelle is cracking the grains to help release the flavors.

 

IMG_6901

We learned a little bit about hops, got to smell them, and pick out which ones we wanted to use, on the recommendation of our brewer. We only used an ounce of hops for bittering near the beginning and an ounce of hops near the end of the boil for aromatics. There is not very much hops in a german hefeweizen.

IMG_6900

 

We went with one traditional choice of the Saaz hops for bittering. We decided to go with Cascade hops for the late addition aromatic hop, on the recommendation of Mark. Mark wanted to mix up the recipe, just a little. The brewer recommended that we use the Cascade as the aromatic hop, so that’s what we did.

 

IMG_6905

Jason inspecting the beer.

 

IMG_6907

Jason removing the grains we steeped for 15 minutes. We put them in bags so they are easy to remove.

 

IMG_6908

Megan added the Liquid Malt Extract while Michelle slowly stirred it in.

IMG_6911

Everyone making sure Michelle was stirring it right.

 

After the Liquid Malt Extract and Saaz hops were added it had to boil for 1 hour. We grabbed a few seats near the bar and got some more beers, and Buffalo Chicken Dip.

 

IMG_6912

Hop pellets.

 

IMG_6919

The final stir after we added the Cascade hop pellets.

 

IMG_6920

Sanitizing the bag with Iodine so we could transfer our beer into the plastic keg.

IMG_6925

Michelle had to sanitize her hands, too, before poking the bag funnel into the keg.

IMG_6926

Our beer passed through a small cooling system as it was being transferred into the keg.

IMG_6921

There is our beer!

Bottling Session

IMG_7030

Jason starting out the bottling session.

IMG_7031

Bottles sanitized and drying.

IMG_7032

Push the middle lever down, it puts the sealer top down over the bottle.

IMG_7033

IMG_7035

Michelle holding the lever on the right down for 2 seconds, it fills the bottle with CO2.

IMG_7034

Michelle filling the bottle up, hold the lever on the left down until the bottle
is filled almost to the top, leave about and inch of space.

IMG_7037

Mark helping Michelle figure out where the beer level is, sometimes
its hard to see, the beer foams up as it starts to fill.

IMG_7223

Our beer! You can upload a jpg file to the website and they print out labels for you. Make sure you send it at least a week before you are going in to bottle. Mark made this custom label for us in Photoshop.

IMG_7224

The beer turned out pretty good and the process was fun. However, we have 2 major complaints. There is not enough room, anywhere in this place. There was no room at the bar or tables while we were brewing, the brewing area was pretty cramped, and so was the bottling area, there was no room at all. We would have loved it if they had put aside seats for those brewing. We would have ordered more, and wouldn’t have had a few seats stolen when we got up to perform a step.

The other issue was they sell just about all their beers for $8 each. That’s too much for every beer to be that price, maybe 1 or 2, but not all of them. We only had 1 beer each when we went back for our bottling session, then went somewhere else to drink.

 

IMG_7038

Hours

Tuesday – Friday: 4:00 pm -12:00 am
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am – 12:00 am

You can schedule your brewing and bottling sessions online at their website, or
check them out on Facebook for the most up to date info.

Advertisements

Our 40th Visit!! Walpole Mountain View, Walpole NH

100_1196
100_1197

We visited Walpole Mountain View Winery in mid December, which waiting for a snowstorm to set in. Walpole Mountain View Winery is located in Walpole, New Hampshire. We became slightly lost on the way there thanks to our GPS, but were able to get there in one piece. Definitely a food day to test out how my fairly new tires handled the snow covered roads.  100_1181 100_1182
When we pulled up to Walpole Mountain View Winery, we thought it looked very pretty, all dressed up for Christmas. When we entered, we were greeted by David, who introduced us to the Winery. The tasting room has a bar along the right side, and many bar height tables, with comfortable chairs to sit in to have your tasting. 100_1195 the menu100_1194David showed us the wine list, had us pick a glass (stemless or traditional), and told us to pick out 6 wines each. The wine list was extensive, but was easy to view. It was a two sided menu, with dry wines on one side and sweeter (greater than 1% residual sugar) on the other side. They were then listed by dryness or sweetness level. Once we picked out our six, David brought us to a different room to view a short video tour.

Walpole Mountain View Winery Facts:

  • Family run winery, with each member taking part
  • 2000- they began to think about the land (rolling hills, wind and sun) and how located elsewhere, it would be great as a vineyard. They started to look into grape varieties that would work for them
  • 2004- they started to plant the grapes
  • 2009- made their 1st wine
  • They currently operate on 5 acres, with 32 varieties of grapes, producing 28 wines. 4 varieties of grapes they grow are table grapes.
  • They are one of the few estate wineries in New Hampshire. An estate winery is when all grapes used in their wine comes from their property
  • March of every year brings pruning
  • Harvest is mid-September to October
  • Autumn–> Spring= wine production time
  • All grapes are hand picked
  • They add oak chips during some red wine fermentation
  • They strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible

When we finished our video tour, we went out to the deck area to see that setup. The deck area had 3 long, bar height tables with stools. Overhead heat lamps were set up, making the room good for most weather, although too cold for that particular day. 100_1183 Mark, testing the heating lamps  100_1185  100_1188  100_1184 100_1187 View from the deck area

We then went back to the tasting room, where Alysa had put together our tasting trays. David brought them over to us and instructed us on how to properly complete the tasting.

100_1189 My tasting tray

100_1191 the tasting table set up

Our tasting:

La Crosse: white varietal ’11. Oak aftertaste. Only oaked white in ’11. Crisp, warm tart flavor, slight lingering flavor.

Barnett Hill White: plum nose. Easy mouth. White blend, 2012

Seyval Blanc: white varietal, 2012. nose- honey/mead like. “Slowly tart,” a great description- not quite tart. Unfiltered

Marquette ’10: great red, tart and fig. Bold. Would enjoy with a steak dinner.

La Crescent ’12: Sweet with a tartness. Sweet apple and pear with a slight citrus flavor. Unfiltered, white varietal.

Frontenac Gris: white varietal, 2012. Mark said that Kiwi flavor was a good description, smooth also makes sense. Unfiltered.

Leon Millet ’11: off dry red. Nose- cranberry, cocoa, molasses, jam. Mouth- dry, maple, cherry. Yum & great nose! We really enjoyed this one!

1761 Walpole Red: red/white blend. Good nose- peppery. Fruity but not sweet, with a slight spicy tingle.

Mountain View Red: red/white blend, 2012. Raisin with a hint of chili pepper. Fruity taste, but not too sweet. Bolder.

Marquette ’11: red, roasted red pepper. Chili powder with a slight mushroom nose. Berry, cherry and bold.

La Crescent “Late Harvest”: 75% 2009, 25% 2010. Peach & Citrus. Notes of melon. Very sweet and tasty dessert wine.

Cayuga White “Late Harvest”: tropical like; dessert wine

We had a great experience at the Walpole Mountain View Winery. David was very friendly, and made us feel very comfortable.
The set up was interesting, in a good way. We liked that you sat down, chose your wines to taste and went to watch the video tour before coming back to enjoy the tasting. This not only made for a good experience for us, but we can envision this set up working very well during high traffic times.

Want to visit? They are currently closed for the winter, and typically reopen Memorial Day weekend. 

2013 Hours (check their website and facebook for 2014)

Memorial Day- Halloween
Fridays 5-7p
Saturdays: 12-6p
Sundays: 1-6p

November 1st-Late December
Fridays 4-6p
Saturdays: 12-5p
Sundays: 1-5p