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.

Hidden Cove Brewery, Wells, ME

 

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A few weeks ago we visited Fire N Brew, which is the home and tasting room to Hidden Cove Brewery. The place was formerly occupied by a steak house, owned by the same couple. They chose to change it, to focus more on the beer. They now are a full brewery, with brick oven pizza.

 

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Megan had had a long day, so Mark thought it would be a good idea to go out and try Hidden Cove. He was right! When we entered, we were greeted and asked what we like to drink typically. We were then given recommendations as well as a quick taste of two. We decided we wanted to try them all, and ordered two flights.

Harvest Bounty ISA – 4%
They grew 15 lbs of hops and locally sourced the rest. Only 4%, but good flavor for it, very drinkable, used Brett yeast to add more flavor.

 

Scally Pale Ale – 5%
‘Simple can be better’. Subtle hops flavor, hints of Brett, dry finish.

 

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A’rye IPA – 6%
Hoppy but good flavor, 50% rye, you can taste the rye. Brett adds a little something extra, good, interesting IPA. We both liked.

 

Strumpet Wild Pale Ale
‘Wild pale’ flavor, not quite sure what that means, but it makes sense. Flavors hard to explain, complex, good. Was aged in rum barrel that previously had held Tortuga Wild Sour Pineapple. Took some of that flavor in this beer.

 

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Cutlass Brown Ale – 7%
Sweet taste, marshmallow and caramel,  smooth brown but all the extra flavors were great additions

 

Pumpkin Ale – 4.5%
Warm and cozy, nutmeg spice and vanilla taste, smooth body, subtle pumpkin taste, slight tartness at the end. This is not a leftover fall beer, but a winter beer made with actual pumpkins, that do not get harvested until mid-fall, so how do other places put out pumpkin beers in September, hmmm? #whatsreallyinthosefallpumpkinbeers

 

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Crowsfoot Black Ale – 5%
Roasty, good dark beer flavor, but light in body, really good taste. Went really well with the spicy pizza Mark had

 

Jali (apricot jalapeno) – 8.5%
Spicy, sweet, tart, a little bit of everything. Good flavor, really complex but really good. Pretty spicy, we had 8oz pours after the taster, very spicy by the end.

 

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Red pepper, sausage and jalapeno

The pizzas were also very good. The crust was light, not heavy. The pizzas themselves were great combinations.

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Gouda, mushrooms and onions

 

All the beers are made to be paired with food; most of these beers end with a dry finish.

 

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The owner is a CIA trained Chef, who owns a few establishments in the area. Since his background is food, he has great visions on what he wants his beer to be, as well as great descriptions of his beers.

We can’t wait to see what they will come out with next! Their summer line up looks amazing!

Want to visit?
Open 12p-9p Friday & Saturday
Pizza available at 4pm