Squam Brewing, Holderness, NH

 

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We were heading up North to go skiing and visit with our friends Jamie and Andrew, so we stopped at Squam Brewery on the way. You have to schedule a tour ahead of time. This is a 1 man, 2-3 barrel nano brewery.

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The brewery

 

The brewery is actually in the barn on the owner’s parent’s land. He has been open since 2010, selling 22 ounce bomber bottles, mostly in the Lakes region but he has expanded down to Manchester, and a little bit on the Seacoast. He began kegging beer in early 2013.

 

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Guard dog that will attack unannounced visitors.

 

The tour costs $10 each, you get a pint glass and free samples while John shows you around the brewery.

 

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We learned a lot about the operation- being the only employee John knows all the answers, because there is no one else! He sells more beer in the Summer to all the tourists who want some local beer. Right now he is trying to stockpile beer so he won’t run out during the summer.

 

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Bottle filling machine and bottle capper.

 

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We actually got to try the capping machine, it was fun.

 

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The labeling ‘machine’.

 

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Bottles conditioning in the cooler, all the beer is bottle conditioned.

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Coasters for sale. All the artwork on the bottles are watercolor paintings done by the owner’s mother in law. They are cool and really detailed, and most have a personal story behind them.

 

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Golden IPA
A bit heavier in body, not overly hoppy. Good flavor, more on the bitter side of an IPA. Tastes a little sweet at first, but after drinking a full glass you taste more of the bitterness.

On the tour we learned he uses Australian Yeast for the IPA, it keeps the temperature down when fermenting. There is no cooling on the tanks and Ale Yeast would get too hot.

 

Imperial Loon Stout
We both liked this when we tasted it at the brewery. A heavy Stout with vanilla notes and a slight coffee taste.

 

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Unfortunately, he only had the Golden IPA and the Imperial Loon Stout when we were there. We sampled both those, actually we drank both bottles. We stopped at a local store to see if they had any other varieties and we found the Covered Bridge Pale Ale and the Ice Harvest Porter.

 

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Covered Bridge Pale Ale – 6%
This is one of the bottles we bought at a local store up North. This is also a slightly heavier beer with a stronger malt base. Hop flavor is there to add to the overall flavor but does not dominate, a well balanced beer. Has a touch of sweetness to it.

 

Ice Harvest Porter
A touch of chocolate at first with a medium to heavy body. A dark porter taste with a hint of sweetness to it.

 

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 Want to Visit?
Schedule a tour! There are no regular hours.

7th Settlement, Dover, NH – many visits in one

Looking through our stops, we realized that we hadn’t posted about a brewery we have been to quite a few times, as it is fairly local for us. Megan posted a visit when she had gone with Kristen from Good ‘n Good for Ya, but Mark and Megan hadn’t posted a joint visit. We’ve enjoyed some great food and beers at 7th Settlement, located in Dover, New Hampshire.

7th Settlement is a Community Supported Brewery, serving Progressive American Pub fare. All of their food is farm to table- even their ketchup. They know what local farm each cow, chicken or pig came from and support local farms with their produce as well. Their baked goods and pasta are also made in house. With everything made to order, you don’t have to worry about allergies.

Throughout our various travels to 7th Settlement, we have been able to enjoy many different beers and food.

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long bar on the right and long community tables on the left. Dining room further back

 

 

 

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On one visit a while back Mark had had the Red Winter Wheat Ale and really enjoyed it. Megan had the Czech Untz, a Kolsch style ale with Czech hops. A bit heavier than expected, as we usually have a more fruity Kolsch, but it was good.

 

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We tried their main entrees, Mark their Pork special, which was a pork chop in an apple glaze with apple sauce and Gouda polenta with Brussels sprouts. Mark enjoyed the pork, the polenta and even ate most of the Brussels (even though he isn’t fond of them).

Megan had the Chicken feature, which was a Statler chicken, with Pancetta baked on, served with fingerling potatoes and carrots (which were traded for string beans). There wasn’t a bite left!

Another time we went back to visit we both got burgers. The burgers are big and really tasty.

 

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Megan went on a tour of the brewery during the Dover Mini Maker Faire, and learned a lot about the way they do things at 7th Settlement. With her was the Barrett family, Peter, Mary, Chris and John, as well as Bre.

 

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2 row barley start with for grain

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Grain room

 

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During tour, we smelled chocolate malt (smelled like fire burning a little), and learned that the hops are even local! The hops are through a hop exchange, out of Strafford.

The tour was given by one of the brewers, which had very good analogies for those not familiar with the beer process- like rowing through fondue cheese, like when you add water to oatmeal, etc
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A good description was given for the way the water buckets operate- one way entry, helps keep bacteria out

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They have large kegs in their refrigerator, for in house use. They feed into the lines at the bar, 78 feet away. This is the furthest the beer goes, unless they are going to a festival.

All beers are vegan– which is unusual, but it is due to the finding agent they use- seaweed based instead of fish based.

 

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Their average time to brew- 3 weeks. The least amount of time for one of their beers is 2 1/2 weeks, with the most at 5 weeks.
Since the tour, they have added 3 more fermenters, and 4 more conditioning tanks- nice to be growing so quickly!

Both brewers are looking to further their beer education, and hope to never stop learning.

 

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Chris enjoying his beer

Chris had recently turned 21 before the visit to the Dover Maker Faire and 7th Settlement, so it was exciting for Megan to have a beer with Chris during this trip!

 

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Chocolate Bacon Cake!

 

Another time we went back to visit we both got burgers. The burgers are big and really tasty.

We had some of their Peter Peter Pumpkin Ale as well.  A heavier, darker style pumpkin ale with a subtle pumpkin taste. It is conditioned with bourbon and vanilla beans.

 

There have been some changes recently. When 7th Settlement opened, they were sharing space with One Love Brewery. One Love has moved out, and up to Lincoln NH, so they both have more space to do their own thing.

 

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We both agree that this has benefitted 7th Settlement. They have a lot more variety of beers on tap, and have become a little more experimental, at least more than they were. We have visited more often recently because they have new beers more often, and more beers that intrigue us.

 

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Chicken wing special. The sauce was really hot, but very tasty. Megan may or may not have been crying a little… The wings were good, nice and crunchy, and homemade blue cheese was laid beneath them, very good as well.

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A beer cheese fondue with homemade bread. This was really good as well, great taste and helped Megan cool off from the chicken wings.

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We had the Gerrish IPA and Milk Stout while we were their this time. Both were good. We also tried the Kris KOLSCHstofferson, it was a little darker than we were expecting, the ‘gentle malt flavor’ they described was a little more prominent than we were expecting.

 

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Yup, those are Megan’s ski’s

 

Most recently, we skied down to 7th Settlement during the Blizzard of 2015. Yes, this month. We accepted the Facebook invite telling us snow shoes and ski’s were acceptable forms of transportation.

 

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Mark only had a little snow frozen in his beard, it was windy!

 

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Beers on tap most recently

 

Mark started with the Hero Pale Ale. Very hoppy with a good flavor, Mark liked it. A little too hoppy for Megan, not her type of beer.

 

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Mark also tried the NH Common. A good beer, light style but still flavorful, it did not taste cheap.

 

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beer menu, during the Blizzard of 2015

 

 

Megan had the Black Day Porter. Nice coffee notes, balanced flavor, good dark beer. We both liked it.

 

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an exhausted Megan, after skiing (not downhill)

 

 

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Honey Chipotle Flatbread

 

We ordered the Honey Chipotle Flatbread. It was tasty, crunchy onions with a good sauce. The Potato Bites were good as well. Mark liked the Horseradish Aioli, Megan used some of the homemade ketchup instead. The couple seated next to us ordered the potato bites after seeing ours come out- good choice!

 

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Potato Bites with Horseradish Aioli

 

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What’s on tap and what’s coming

Burlington Beer Company, Williston VT

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While we were in Vermont visiting John and Lindsay, John took us to Burlington Beer Company. They are: setting out to brew farmers’ market inspired beers that celebrate the culture and agriculture of Vermont. They have been open for less than a year at this point, and have room to grow in the space that they are in.

 

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menu by the bar

Our tasting:

Barista Coffee Porter – 7.3%
We thought it had a good balance of coffee and beer. Smooth tasting porter. John thought it had too much coffee flavor, but he doesn’t like porters anyway.

 

Peasant Bread – 5.9%
This is a brown IPA with mild rice. This was an interesting beer, had some characteristics of brown ale with a light IPA taste.

 

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Hills and Hollows Pale Ale – 5.2%
A lighter style pale ale with strong floral notes. Mark thought it was good, Megan did not like it.

 

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Swag, growlers and beers

 

Mason Jar Mild – 4.5%
Light brown ale but still had plenty of flavor.

 

Mild on Bourbon Street – 5%
Really good flavor, has that bourbon barrel age flavor but is not overpowering. It is only 5%. Megan liked the Mason Jar Mild best, Mark liked the Mild on Bourbon Street better.

 

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Unfortunately, on the night we were there, a full sized coach bus full of people was also. They handled the crowd well, and we got to taste some beers and see the brewery, it was just too crowded to talk to the people in the tasting room much. Overall, they seemed to handle the crowd.

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Crowd of people- Megan was trying to not be creepy while taking this picture

There is a large space that customers can spread out in. It is designed so you can come and hang out, drink some beers and have some fun.

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Ping Pong table and couches

They also have tables to sit at with games on them.

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John Playing Jenga

 

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They have artwork in the tasting room and around the brewery.

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Tanks and barrels.

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They also offer Memberships for special release bottles that sound pretty interesting. Barleywine, Imperial Peanut Butter Maple Porter, Trappist Triple just to name a few.

Want to Visit?

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Shelburne Vineyard, Shelburne VT

IMG_0745While visiting John & Lindsay, we went to Shelburne Vineyard, located in Shelburne, Vermont. The vineyard has 4 different sites where they grow grapes. 57% of the grapes they use grown by them; that will go up because they have acres of vines that are too young to be used right now. Shelburne Vineyard started with 3 acres of grapes planted in 1998 as a retirement hobby. In 1999, 3 more acres were planted, and in 2000, a partnership was founded. In 2001, the first vintage was released. In 2008, their tasting room opened, and is ready for you to visit today!     IMG_0746

IMG_0737Our tasting:

2012 Louise Swenson
Sweet but dry, “drier than most reds”

2012 Cayuga White
Blend of Cayuga, Riesling and chardonnay. Definitely drier than most Cayuga that we have tried. 30 Different local restaurants have this as their table wine. 15 of those restaurants have it on tap!

2012 Lakeview White
This is their top selling wine. Lindsay thought it was easily drinkable due to sweetness, it is almost like a juice. An off dry Cayuga with chardonnay and Riesling.

 

They have 2 Rieslings, a Vermont (comes out in April) and a New York (their current offering)

2012 Riesling Honey and melon flavors. It was sweeter than Mark expected it to be.

2012 Cabernet Franc This was bottled in December. Dry medium body aged in oak. It had a fruity, cherry and blackberry, and a peppery bold taste. This was our favorite of the 2 reds.

2012 Marquette This is the leading red grape grown in Vermont. It was aged 8 months in an oak barrel, then 1 year in the bottle. Seemed a little drier than the first red.

Dessert Styles

Artesano is a new meadery in Coulchester, which opened in January of 2014. Since they are fairly new, they are utilizing the ability to offer their meads at the Shelburne Vineyard.

Artesano’s Sparkling Cranberry Mead John liked the cranberry flavor. Mark thought it was different but good.

Artesano’s Traditional Cyder 80% Applewine, 20% Mead. Drier than expected. Ha the bright acidity of apples.

2012 Vidal Blanc Late Harvest semi-sweet dessert wine. Balanced, fresh ripe stone fruits, pears and honeysuckle. Both Mark and Megan thought it was very good.

2012 Rhapsody Ice Wine Harvested in December/January in the early morning. Much sweeter than Vidal Blanc. We enjoyed.

Eden Ice Ciders Heirloom blend of eleven different varieties of apples, without spices added. Very good, sweet

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 The store/tasting roomIMG_0738 IMG_0744 IMG_0740 IMG_0739

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shelburne 4Want to visit? They are open 7 days a week, year round. 11-6 May-October, 11-5 October-April
Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day

Free tours offered daily at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.