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
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Far From the Tree Cider, Salem, MA

We visited Far From the Tree Cider in Salem, MA with a group of friends. Far From the Tree is owned by a couple with a background and interest in wine making. It dawned on them that in New England making cider makes a lot more sense if you want to grow your own ingredients. Apples grow great in New England, grapes not as much.

 

They released their first cider in 2014, and opened the tasting room in 2015. They started with a limited variety of ciders released in bottles, but now have a wide variety of styles and seasonal releases in bottles and cans.

 

We had wanted to visit here for a while after searching and finding a special release of theirs, Lei, a pineapple jalapeno cider that was fantastic.

 

Bre, Sammie and Megan

 

Deryl, Mark and Dustin

 

 

They had flights or full pours available, we started with flights and a few of us got full pours after.

 

Megan drinking

 

Roots – 6.9%
Original barrel aged cider. This was a very dry cider, light, not sweet at all.

 

 

Granny MacCort’s Blend – 7.5%
Still a dry cider but slightly sweeter than Roots. Made with Granny Smith, Cortland, and Mcintosh apples.

 

 

Nova
A dry hopped cider. You can smell the dry hopping, more pine on the nose but tropical flavors dominate on the pallet. A good cider, everyone liked it, Mark like the additional flavors from the dry hopping but Megan liked it as well, as the hops were not too much for her.

 

 

Gallagher’s Hammer – 7.3%
Smells and tastes like melon, more like melon than watermelon, but still pretty tasty.

 

 

Apple of My Chai – 7.5%
Smells strongly of chai, tastes like Chai with a hint of cinnamon though Mark. Bre and Megan really liked this cider, Bre went specifically looking for this one. They both bought cans to go of this.

 

 

 

Mark and Megan with cider to go

 

 

They have a pretty large patio outside with picnic tables, chairs and umbrellas. It more than doubles the space they have inside, which is great for the nice weather.

 

 

There was no door to the patio, you have to go through the building. We had a little trouble finding the door, it was hidden in a mural.

 

 

They had a food truck, The Porch, there that day so Mark and Bre got some food, mac and cheese and pulled pork sandwhichs.

 

There is not very ample  parking there, they have just a few spots and there is limited street parking. We parked down the street.

 

 

Cool murals inside.

 

 

Bre and Deryl

 

Mark and Megan

 

Sorry, no cute pic of Dustin and Sammie, just Sammie and her cider

 

 

 

 

Hours

Monday – Thursday: 4:00 – 10:00
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 -11:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 10:00

 

Furnace Brook Winery at Hilltop Orchards, Richmond, MA

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While out in Western Mass with our friend Bre, we visited Furnace Brook Winery, which is located at the Hilltop Orchard in Richmond, MA. This was actually a place Bre found and wanted to go to because they make their own cider as well as wine.

You can sample any 1 wine for free, or 5 wines for $5, so we all tried some different ones.

White Wines

Pinot Grigio – A crisp, golden white wine, slightly dry.

Riesling – Mark and Megan both liked this. Fruity but not too sweet, nice flavorful balance. We both skipped the Dry Riesling for this one.

Mead – A light, sweet mead with a very strong honey flavor. Honey sourced locally from Westfield, MA.

 

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 Red Wines

Shiraz Special Reserve – Peppery with hints of berry, dry but not overly dry.

Ruby Port – Mark really liked this, very tasty. Bre and Megan both thought it was sweet. It is wine, fortified with Brandy.

 

Sparkling

Blanc de Blancs – Bre tried this, slightly fruity, easy drinking.

Muscato – Very sweet, crisp, a bubbly muscato, Bre and Megan really liked this, we bought a bottle for Mark’s sister Michelle.

 

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Ciders

Johnny Mash Dry Gold – A very dry, but refreshingly clean cider. Made simple on purpose, goes well with anything, for day drinking we were told. Did we give off that vibe?

 

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Cidre Special Reserve – Light and a little sweeter than the Dry Gold, still dry. The apples were fermented whole, with the skins on, in stainless steel tanks, then aged in French Oak barrels.

 

Johnny Mash Hard Cider – Light, slightly sweet, minor oak notes, aged in American Oak, good cider, 6%.

 

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Ice Wine

Berkshire Winter Harvest Ice Wine – Sweet, tasty, a complex cider ice wine. They grind the apples and make juice (cider) they freeze the juice, then remove the nectar and ferment that. It takes about 45 apples per bottle.

 

Hilltop Orchards is one of the largest cider mills in New England. They make cider for lots of other places. They are proud to grow, pick, grind and mash, as well as ferment all their cider onsite.

 

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There are miles of trails on the farm, and they rent snow shoes and cross country ski’s. They get a lot of traffic during the winter, people coming to use the trails and then sample some wine or cider. There was not enough snow when we were there to take advantage of that. Maybe some day… we would definitely visit again if we are in the area.

 

They also use and integrated pest management system, IPM. This means they plan when to spray based on rain, wind, etc, they use the weather to their advantage to keep the apples and grapes and fresh and clean as possible.

 

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Of course we got some Cider Donuts before we left as well.

 

Hours

9:00 – 5:00 Daily, year round

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Wine Expo

It’s that time of year again- time for the Boston Wine Expo!
bwebannerWe are very excited to have been invited back as bloggers this year, and can’t wait to see you there! This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Boston Wine Expo, so it is sure to be even bigger and better than ever. To go with the Silver Anniversary theme, they will be showcasing what has happened with wine over the past 25 years, and the
way food and wine are looking to be trending for the next 25.

Over 1,800 wines will be poured from over 200 wineries from around the world. Food samples will be available from Boston area restaurants.

Interested in taking part in a seminar? There are so many to chose from, featuring wine from all over the world; cheese; cider and chocolate. You can learn to taste like a pro, enjoy Buffalo Trace Bourbon, or learn more about food and wine pairing. Want to register for one? Do so here

Please join us on February 13th and 14th at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center: https://bostonwineexpo.eventbrite.com/?discount=BLOGJAN (For $10 off either day at #BWE2016)

Previous visits to the Boston Wine Expo:

Boston Wine Expo, 2014
Boston Wine Expo,2014, Seminar: Love Brews for Cheeses of the Veneto
Boston Wine Expo preview of 2015
Boston Wine Expo, 2015

Wicked Wine Fest and Boston Craft Beer Fest, Spring 2015

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We were lucky enough to be asked to attend the Boston Event Guide‘s Wicked Wine Fest and Craft Beer Fest for Spring 2015.
On our way to the Wicked Wine Fest we got this cool picture of the Hancock tower in Boston.

 

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When we entered both the Wicked Wine Fest and the Craft Beer Fest, we were given a map and list of all the wines/beers, as well as a small plastic cup for sampling.

 

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La Perlina Mosacato
We both liked this wine, a good sweet Mosacto.

 

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Truvee – Red Blend
This sounded like an interesting blend, and we enjoyed it.

 

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Ripe Life – Clambake
A good white wine, despite not being sweet. Described as ‘light, crisp, citrusy, unoaked Chardonnay.’

 

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ERA Organic Wines
Syrah
We really liked this, despite not being huge red wine fans. The description was right on, saying it has ‘raspberry and mocha flavors are followed by sweet cigar tobacco and a lightly oaky finish.’

Montepulciano
This was good as well, a little more body to it with notes of ‘black cherry, plum fruits, sweet oak and peppery spice.’

 

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Enjoying the tasting!

 

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Spiked Seltzer
We tried this for the first time last fall at the beer fest. Good tasting seltzer with alcohol in it. They have Lemon Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, and Cranberry for flavors. We like this, a good summer drink, goes down like a Seltzer and not overly sweet like some other summer drinks. We have heard that you can purchase it in Market Basket, so we will be on the lookout.

 

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Probably Megan’s favorite ‘tasting’ of the day, Vino Gelato! This gelato is made from wine and was delicious!

 

Other wines we liked:

Chloe-Chardonnay
Chloe-Red 249

Terlato-Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon

Ruffino-Sparkling Rose

Anderra-Carmenere

 

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Both festivals are held in the Cyclorama. It is a cool atmosphere, and a large circular room, so it works well for a tasting.

 

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The real downfall to the wine event were the sample pours were very small. At most tables we got really just one sip, so it is kind of hard to judge the wine on just a sip. Then, because of the small pours, everyone would get right back in line. So there was a lot of waiting in line and not a lot of sampling.

 

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From the Craft Beer Fest, outside of the Cyclorama, waiting in line, moved pretty quickly.

 

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Down the Road Brewery – Pukwudgie Pale Ale
This is a new brewery in Newton, MA. They say that ‘we want our line of beers to recall the rich history of lagers and ales that is sometimes ignored or forgotten but never out of fashion.’

 

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Stella Artois – Cidre
Pretty good, very light and refreshing.

 

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Urban Farm Fermentory
Dry Cidah and Kombucha from Urban Farm. We like there stuff as well, fresh and mostly dryer ciders.

 

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Megan and Mark at the tasting.

 

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Downeast Cider House
This is our favorite cider we have had. It’s like real apple cider, not a sugary light version.

 

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Cape Ann Brewing Company was there as well!

 

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By Sam Adams, The Vixen and 26.2 were both beers we haven’t had before, they were both pretty good.

 

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Curious Traveler is one of Megan’s favorite summer beers, but we hadn’t tried all that the Travleler Beer Company had made. Now was our opportunity! We tried both Illusive (grapefruit) and Forbidden (apple). Megan liked the Illusive!

 

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Foolproof Brewing Company
We learned about Foolproof at the last tasting, we liked all their beers. They are in Rhode Island, so we can’t wait to visit.

 

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Taylor and Megan enjoying the tasting.

 

 

IMG_2782Iron Duke Brewing- also local! Can’t wait to try them out!

These we just some of the beers we tasted. This was a good event, not too crowded, the lines weren’t very long, a good variety of breweries and beers.

 

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Taylor came in second place in the dance contest. We got a free round of pictures in the photo booth.

 

Want to go next Fall or Spring? Check out Boston Event Guide’s site! They always have something fun going on, including tastings, booze cruises, trips and more! Check them out! Hope to see you there next time!

North Country Hard Cider, Rollinsford, NH

 

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We recently visited North Country Hard Cider with Mark’s sister Michelle. They have only been open for a few months, but we have seen them popping up in some bars in the area.

 

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They are locally owned and operate out of the Salmon Falls Mills in Rollinsford, NH. If you are visiting, drive to the back of the building. That’s where you will find their entrance 🙂
They make all natural hard cider with apples they get from local orchards that they know and trust. Most of their cider’s are around 5% ABV. We learned that is about as much as you can get with just fresh apples. Some other places add extra sugars while brewing to up the ABV and sweeten the cider.

 

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Original Blend
Sweet, a little bit tart, really light in body but very tasty. Has a lot of bubbles. Michelle thinks it would be a good summer drink, sitting on the porch. They use a blend of 7 different apples for this.

 

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Bitter Brothers Bourbon Barrel
Aged 3 months in Jim Beam barrels. Dryer, not quite as sweet, still a little tart. You don’t get a bourbon flavor. A blend of 4 apples.

 

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Honey Badger
Made with just Honey Crisp apples. Sweet with a pucker at the end. This was Michele’s favorite.

 

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Sugar Shack
Starts with the original blend. They use Ginger, extra dark maple syrup, and black walnut. It is a more complex flavor, still sweet and tart, with lots of extra flavor. We got a small growler of this.

 

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Firestarter
Cider with habanero, cinnamon and pomegranate. Really good, very interesting flavor. It gave you a real warming in the chest. They had just run out of this on tap, but had a little bit left and let us try it. It was no wonder that they had run out of this! It was very good.

 

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View from the tasting room into the brewery. They have a handful of small tables and a bar that you can stand at.

 

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Swag

We bought a growler, and Michelle bought two. We already have Michelle’s empty growlers to be refilled- so we will be back soon!

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Want to visit?
Hours:
Thursday and Friday: 3:00 – 6:00
Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00

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Fall Beer Fest, Boston Ma- ticket giveaway!

Hey there! We are lucky enough to be going to the Fall Beer Fest, by the Boston Event Guide  next Sunday, November 9th.

It looks to be a pretty great event- check out who will be there:

Blue Point Brewing Company

Goose Island

Cape Ann Brewing Co

Red Hook

Omission

Kona Brewing Co

14th Star Brewing Co

Samuel Adams

Angry Orchard

Far From the Tree (hard cider)

Ballantine Pale Ale

Fool Proof Brewing Company

Strange Brew

Downeast CIder

Uinta Brewing

The Boston Event Guide hosts events for young professionals, in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

Want to go to the Fall Beer Fest next Sunday? Tickets are limited, but we were able to get you $30 off full price tickets for each session (12-2:30, 3:30-6, 7-10 SIN), using code: FBF14

Want to go to the 12:00p session— for free?! We are giving away 2 sets of 2 tickets! Enter here!

Winners will be emailed Thursday morning.