Lord Hobo Brewing Company, Woburn, MA

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We stopped by Lord Hobo Brewing Company for a quick visit in Woburn, Mass. They are not quite a year old and have already made a name for themselves. We think the names of their beers help them stand out, as well as the fact that they started canning right away.

 

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They are located in an interesting, re-habbed building. It may have been a tile store or showroom before. They have a very large tasting room, see picture below. It looks like they have plenty of room out back for expanding their brewing capacity down the road.

 

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They seem to be focused on making IPA’s, since they had 3 beers and all 3 were IPA’s, with a fourth IPA that had just kicked. Only 3 beers on tap, but all are available for growler fills, as well as in cans, which we like to see.

 

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They also have a temporary permit to pour pints. They will pour pints on Friday and Saturday nights, through the summer it sounds like. They just lowered their prices for their beer to go, which is good to hear as well.

 

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Megan is not a big fan of IPA’s, so Mark just got a sample size
of each of the 3 beers they had available.

Hobo Life – Dry Hopped Citra Session IPA 4.5%
A session ipa, light in flavor overall, with the main hop flavor being piney with a light bitter finish. This was Mark’s favorite beer, bought a 6 pack. Citra, Horizon and Chinook hops were used.

 

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Steal This Can – IPA 6.5%
Kind of light in body for a 6.5% IPA. Pretty good IPA up front, but has a heavy, bitter finish to it. Zeus, Warrior, Centennial and Chinook hops used.

 

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Boomsauce – Double IPA 7.8%
Seems a little less bitter overall, maybe the malts and higher abv balance out the bitterness a little bit. Still very ‘drinkable’ at 7.8%, good, semi fruity ipa taste upfront, finishes with the same bitterness as the rest.

 

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All 3 beers have a somewhat similar taste, like different variations of the same beer. With only making IPA’s, we would expect a little more variation from them. They do have a decent New England style flavor to them but all finish with a lingering bitterness, not Mark’s favorite. If you like IPA’s though, you should definitely check them out.

Want to visit? Check out their facebook page for hours ūüôā

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Special Release NH Beers, Somewhat Recent

Here are some special release beers we have tried over the last several months. All of them are NH beers, and most are not available anymore, but still an interesting read.

 

Smuttynose – Big Beer Series
Gravitation – Belgian Style Quadrupel Ale – 11.5 ish %

 

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A heavy style Belgian beer, red in color and flavor, Belgian base with lots of flavor. Mark enjoyed it, Megan did not.

 

Smuttynose – Big Beer Series
Zinneke – Belgian Style Stout

 

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Complex flavor. A dark, robust taste with a roasty and malty flavor, all built over a dark Belgian base.

 

Smuttlabs – Smuttynose Specialty Line
Gose – 4.75%

“tart wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt”

 

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That’s what’s on the bottle, and that’s what it taste like. A light style wheat beer, a tartness, not overly sour, with a coriander taste and a slight salty finish.

 

Smuttlabs
East Coast Common Ale

 

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This was a Smuttlabs collaboration brew with Stoneface and Great Rhythm Brewing. Mark had this on draft and several bottles. Hoppy with a hint of citrusy smell.¬†Medium body with slight bitterness or malty taste.¬†Very good overall beer, too bad it’s a special release.

 

Smuttlabs
Farmhouse Pale 
‘ale brewed with French Saison yeast and Brettanomyces’

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Really light in body, definite Saison taste/ finish. There is a little tartness to it which compliments the Saison nicely. We both liked this better than the Daily Brett.

 

Smuttlabs
Daily Brett – 5.9%
‘ale brewed with Brettanomyces’

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Smells like a sour but only has a slight tartness to it. The tartness fades quickly and you get more of the malty  beer flavor. Medium body with a with a slight off taste. We were hoping for more sour.

 

Stoneface Brewing Company
Special Releases

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Hopulization – Double IPA – 8.9%
Smells of hops. A malt flavor base with lots of hoppy after flavors. Definitely a strong, hoppy beer. Good beer, and definitely worth trying if you can, but not quite as good as the regular IPA.

Hopulization was first released in late October, then again in late January, with the RIS in between.

 

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Russian Imperial Stout ‚Äď 9.5%

It’s been a while since we had a taste, we were holding onto the bottle for something special, I guess. They have bourbon barrels that they are aging another batch in, hopefully we get our hands on some of that, too.

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Mozaccalypse – Double IPA – 8%

This was a really good beer. Great taste, bright, smooth flavor. This beer was double dry-hopped with Mosaic & Azacca hops. Hopefully they consider bringing this back. Update: They brought it back! We wrote this after the first growler-and-keg-only small release.  Then they did quite a large bottle release, and 2 weeks later still had bottles and then offered growler fills.

What have you tried recently that is worth sharing? Let us know here or on our facebook page!

Garrison City Beerworks, Dover, NH

 

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Garrison City Beerworks is a new nanobrewery in Dover, NH.¬†They opened in December of 2014. They operate on a 3 barrel system¬†and make “batches of original, hop-forward beers, with a focus on uniqueness and quality over quantity.” We have heard a good buzz about this place, and they have not disappointed. We waited to finish writing this after a second visit, knowing we would be back again.

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First Visit Beers:

Citra – American Pale Ale – 5.1%
Smells fruity Рcitrusy and tropical, as well as hoppy. Citrus flavor forward taste, hoppy second taste, dry finish. Citrus flavor is balanced nicely by the hops, we both liked, Mark got a Crowler to go, more on that later.

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tasting paddle

Balefire – American IPA – 7%
Somewhat standard IPA taste, though a little more malty than hoppy, a hint of piney taste, fairly easy to drink. Hoppiness was not overbearing.

 

Tropic Rage – American Double IPA – 8.4%
Malty flavor, more robust than Balefire, Mark liked this better. Good balance of malty flavor and hops. Not what Megan was expecting from a DIPA, better taste and easier to drink than she anticipated.

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Crowbar – Porter – 5.8%
Dark color, chocolaty, slightly roasted taste, easy to drink. Easy to drink enjoyable.

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We came in and ordered at the bar, they told us we could take a seat and they would bring the sample trays over to us, which was nice. It was a good touch

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Megan sipping some Crowbar.

 

 

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The Crowler

 

The Crowler is in place of the traditional glass growler. It is a 32oz can that they will fill up for you, fresh that day.¬†There is no charge for the Crowler and you just recycle it. This is refreshing, because at many breweries we visit, we have to buy a growler¬†(can’t use another brewery’s growler due to the law), so to be able to leave without paying a deposit on the container…
They had a few they had filled up earlier when it was slow, so we didn’t get to see them fill it and seal the top on, but we know it was fresh that day.

 

Second Visit:

We had a similar experience the second time we visited. The service was good, people were nice and friendly, and the beers were good.

 

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Jenaya and Ryan

 

On this visit we brought our friends Ryan and Jenaya. They enjoyed trying all the beers that were on tap, as did we.

 

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full paddle!

 

 

They had 6 beers on tap this time, several different from our last trip.

 

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Enamored – 4.6%
Chocolatey, really good flavor with notes of coffee. This stout was somewhat light in body but good and flavorful. This was most people’s favorite.

 

Anomalous – 7.5%
Really good Double IPA, says Mark. In this new style of northern New England IPA’s, it is a bright and slightly fruity¬†IPA with a low and bitterness but lots of hop flavor. Mark got a Crowler of it to go.

 

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Citra was on again as well, this seems like one of their flagship beers. Everyone enjoyed this beer, citrus and hoppy pale ale.

 

Mosaic – 5.1%
Hoppy, piney pale ale, a powerful taste. We enjoyed this, but not as much as some of the other beers, Megan was not a big fan. Exclusively dry hopped with Mosaic hops.

 

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Crowbar was on again as well. Everyone enjoyed this beer as well. Smooth and a bit roasty, fairly standard porter, not quite as flavorful as Enamored.

 

Balefire on again as well. Again, we all enjoyed this. Seemed slightly more favorable than Mosaic. Flavorful IPA, piney and hopped with Simcoe and Centennial.

 

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We generally liked all the beers. Mark is excited to have a place like this close by. Jenaya usually doesn’t like IPA’s, but she did like these. Ryan agreed none of the beers were terrible, quite a compliment from him.

 

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They have 3 tables that can seat 6 people and a bar that seats about 12.

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You can see some of the tanks and brewing equipment through the windows

 

 

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Shirts for sale

 

Update Spring 2016:

We have visited quite a few more times since this original post. The bad news is they have pretty much phased out the 32 oz Crowler can to go, which is too bad, Mark liked those. The good news is they have been canning all their beers in 16oz cans, so you can still get every beer they make to go in cans, 4 packs or single cans.

Their strong point seems to be their hop forward, New England style IPA’s. They are currently releasing a very delicious IPA called Daybreak about once a month that Mark highly recommends. Citra is still being released regularly and is still quite tasty and flavorful. They have released a bunch of other new beers that are all worth going in to sample.

There have been several limited bottle releases¬†in the past year. Brett Raspbeerience was a sour ale brewed with raspberry’s and brett yeast, if you couldn’t tell from the name. A good, tart beer with a raspberry flavor and light body.

Nefarious was a flavorful and strong russian imperial stout, and Authenticity was a barrel aged saison fermented with wine yeast, we still have our bottle of this. They have several more specialty bottle releases planned for this year, with varying wild yeast strains and several different barrel aged beers set to be released.

 

Want to Visit?

Right now they are opened:

Thursday 4 -7

Friday and Saturday 12 -7

Check their facebook page for the most current hours

Fall Beer Fest, by the Boston Event Guide, Boston MA

We were lucky to go to Boston Event Guide’s Fall Beer Fest in November. They had three sessions; we went to the 12:00-2:30pm session.
We also had two pairs of tickets to give out to our readers- thank you to everyone that entered!
We hope that those of you that went had a great time!

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The Boston Event Guide prides themselves for being the leading resource for the best events in Boston. It was started in 1995 by Jeff Popkin to connect young professionals with events occuring across the city. He had been hearing about events AFTER they happened, instead of knowing first hand that they were happening. The Boston Event Guide also sends out a weekly newsletter to it’s members (membership is FREE) about what’s going on, what social events and netowkring events are approaching, and any great deals.

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The Fall Beer Fest was held at Cyclorama. The building was easy to find, however parking was not. Next time, we will definitely take the T in (the Boston area train).

When we arrived, we had our IDs checked outside, and then proceeded in.
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After checking in, we each took a cup to use for the day, and were given a map of where we could find the beer.

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map for the afternoon

 

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Cyclorama’s fun ceiling

Some of the many breweries present, and the beer we enjoyed…

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Foolproof Brewing Company
Foolproof Brewing Company opened 2 years ago in Pawtucket, RhodeIsland.
Farmhouse Ale Saison was very good
Backyahd IPA was pretty standard but tasty
Raincloud was a robust porter, good, chocolate and coffee notes
We recently added Rhode Island to our travels, so we will be visiting Foolproof sometime in the future
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Finch’s Beer Company
Finch’s is located in Chicago, Illinois. They are beginning to expand into the Massachusetts and New England market.
We had the Hardcore Chimera (double IPA) and Cut Throat (Pale Ale). Both these beers were really good.
Keep your eye out for these beers, and others by Finch’s Beer Company.

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Strange Brew
Strange Brew is currently a beer and wine home brew supply store, that also offers classes. Rumor has it, they should be opening as a brewery sometime soon…
They had a lot of interesting beer flavors:
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Granny Strange was a sour and/or tart cider. Good but very different flavor.

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Sour Power, as they label it, is an extremely sour ale. A very interesting, very sour and tasty ale.

 

Downeast Cider
Very good traditional cider taste- as Megan says “it’s like getting a jug of cider, but it is alcoholic.”
We have had many family mebers and friends try this cider- and no one has disliked it. In fact, it it now the favorite of many!
We just visited here, look for our post coming soon.

 

 

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Spiked Seltzer
This was a different take on beer. They brew it like a lager, but it drinks like flavored seltzer, despite being 6% alcohol! Spiked Seltzer is all natural and has low sugar, low carbs and is gluten free. They had lime, orange, and grapefruit flavors available to try.

All the flavors were pretty good, grapefruit was subtle and the orange tasted like orange soda. Megan can’t wait until they are all over New England, so she can pick up a six pack! Want to see if they are available near you? Check here

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Redhook and Kona
They were both there. We tried the Winter Hook because we’ve had their other beers plenty of times. The Winter Hook is a super hoppy ale with dark malts.

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Goose Island
We tried their IPA and Festivity Ale.
There’s no doubt they are a craft beer maker, but now they are owned by Inbev, owner of Anheuser-Busch. They like it, they can¬†get what they need when they need it, they have the support of a company that has some pull.

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Blue Point Brewing Company
Our options were their toasted lager (which is their flagship beer), and a pumpkin ale, which was good- not overly spiced so you could taste the pumpkin

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Off Shore Ale Company
One of the many breweries in Massachusetts that we haven’t been able to visit yet- this one is on Martha’s Vineyard.
They had their Beach Road Nut Brown Ale and Hop Goddess.

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Uinta

All of the beers we tried here were good. They had their Black Lager, Yard Sale, Double IPA, and Session IPA. Our only fault with them? We would have to go to Salt Lake City to visit!
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Cape Ann Brewing Company
They brought a fair selection. We both liked the Fisherman’s Brew, but the Pilsner we did not like that much.
If you are interested in visiting Cape Ann Brewery in Gloucester, check out our post about our visit there.

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Ballantine
They just relaunched the brewery after being closed for 10 years. They have been around for a long time, in the 40’s and 50’s the were sponsoring the Yankee’s, they were¬†the 4th largest brewery back then. Now the only beer they make is the Ballantine IPA which was a pretty good, fairly standard IPA.

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They were giving out free waters, which was great- always a good idea to hydrate during and after drinking! This water has a pH level of 9.5, to help keep you hydrated

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We thought the beer fest was good, and different in a good way. The event space fit it well- and allowed for you to walk around without bumping into others. We also liked that we had the opportunity to speak with the brewery representatives at many of the tables. Many tastings/festivals you want to ask questions, but really aren’t allowed to because the focus is to push everyone through the line. Here, the focus was fun and education when wanted.

Interested in going to one of these events, or something else by the Boston Event Guide? Be sure to sign up for their newsletter list to stay updated!

Ready to go drinking? Their Spring Craft Beer Fest 2015 is right around the corner- April 12th.
Tickets are $69. but you can buy them for $19 through December 31st! It looks like an event you can’t miss!

While at the beer fest, we ran into a few co-workers of Megan. They had taken a bus to the event, which was such a great idea!
Group photo, post beer fest!

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Newburyport Brewing Company, Newburyport, Mass- visit 41

Newburyport Brewing Company, located in Newburyport, Massachusetts has been open since 2012. It was the idea of Chris Webb & Bill Fisher, locals who like beer and great music. It is located in an industrial park and is fairly easy to find. The outside of the building is very distinctive.

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Their tasting room is more than just a tasting room- you get the feeling that it is a place to go and hangout. Bill and Chris’s 8-piece funk band plays there, as well as other local bands. You can go in and have a tasting, or a pint. It is a nice, big room with a twelve seat bar, and two-twelve seat tables as well as a Foosball table, as well as plenty of space for their live music.

 

Our tasting:

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The Signature Beers

Plum Island Belgian White: good, citrus-y, with coriander. Unfiltered witbier. 5.4% alc

Newburyport Pale Ale: hoppier than a typical pale ale… almost an IPA. Slightly citrus-y with a light toasted sweet malt finish.¬†I wasn’t feeling the hoppiness when we went- just one of those days. Mark enjoyed the hoppiness 5.5% alc

GreenHead IPA: a West Coast style IPA. Almost a double IPA 7.2% alc

On Rotation at the Time

Double IPA: almost has a candy/chocolaty/sweet caramel feel

Joppa Stout (1635): great mocha smell. Easy to drink stout. We went home with a growler of this

Mark enjoyed all of the beers, with the Plum Island Belgian White being his favorite. He enjoyed the Double IPA for the different flavor, but wasn’t sure how much he would be able to drink. Mark didn’t have a beer he disliked. I, on the other hand, was not in the hoppy mood.

The brewery only cans and kegs and started distributing about 8 months ago. They choose to use aluminum cans instead of glass bottles, for many reasons. Aluminum keeps the beer cooler longer, and can naturally protect beer from light and oxygen. Aluminum is more likely to be recycled than glass, and is easier to do so. 

The tastings are free (which is great for the amount that you get!!), and once you find one you enjoy you are encouraged to buy a pint and hang out. It is a very welcoming place and we would love to go back.

Oh, one other thing. They have really cute sweatshirts- with their logo as seen on the building. The last of the women’s sweatshirt, with the small logo across the front was purchased while we were there. It was cute, and didn’t scream BEER unless you were in the know ūüôā If we are able to go there again, one of those zippered sweatshirts will be going home with me.

Want to visit? 
Hours:
Thursday & Friday: 3:00pm to 8:00pm
Saturday: 12:00pm to 8:00pm
Tours: Fri & Sat at 5:00pm

 

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