Trillium Brewing Company, Canton (and Boston), MA

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We recently visited Trillium Brewing Company, the Canton, MA location. This was our 125th visit! We went with Mark’s brother Jason and his wife Maureen, Mark’s sister Michelle, and Megan’s sister Jess. We went on a Saturday afternoon with fairly high expectations, we have heard a lot about Trillium but have never tried any of their beers, until now.

 

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Trillium Brewing Company has been open since March of 2013, run by husband and wife owners JC and Esther Tetreault. They have built quite a following from their small scale operation in the Fort Point neighborhood of South Boston. In December 2015 they opened their secondary brewing location in Canton, MA with a tasting room and a much larger brewing capacity, a theoretical brewing capacity of 35,000 barrels annually. They still operate both locations. We had heard a lot about their beer, but waited until they opened their new Canton facility to visit them. They do not serve samples in the Fort Point location.

 

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Mosaic Fort Point Pale Ale – 6.6%
Smells very fragrant, tropical and fruity hops. Pours cloudy and unfiltered. Has a fruity hop taste to it, not super juicy, but pretty tasty. Fruity and tropical hops with a bitter finish.

 

Summer Street American IPA – 7.2%
Not nearly as fruity smelling or tasting as the Pale Ale. Smooth, not that hoppy or bitter, nothing really stands out with this beer, fairly standard IPA. Maureen thought it was pretty good and she doesn’t like most IPA’s.

 

Sleeper Street American IPA – 7.2%
This IPA was a little fruitier, with a hint of grapefruit. A little bit juicy, not too hoppy or bitter, but a little more interesting flavor, Mark thought. Jason liked the Summer Street better.

 

Pot and Kettle Oatmeal Porter – 7.5%
Not as heavy as we expected, but we liked it. Medium body, smooth, Jason tasted chocolate, Mark got a roasty chocolate flavor. Mark, Megan, and Jason all enjoyed this.

 

 

 

The tasting experience here was not as good as we had hoped. It is an improvement since they do not do tastings in their Fort Point location, but there was only 1 bartender serving most of the time, so it took a while for us to get served. They serve 2 oz complimentary samples.

 

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The most disappointing thing was they only had 4 beers to sample. Mark went with specific beers he wanted to try, but could not sample them. Since they do have such a good reputation, we bought beers that we could not sample there to bring home and try. Other people visiting, or people unfamiliar with Trillium’s reputation may not buy a $10 bottle of beer that they can not sample.

 

Double Dry Hopped Fort Point Pale Ale – 6.6%

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They sell their beer in 750mL (25.4 oz) bottle. This was one of the ‘tastings’ we did at home. This is a super cloudy beer with a huge hop nose. It is a pretty tasty beer, mostly citrusy hops, a little bit of a piney taste mixed in there, Mark liked it a lot. The only minor critique is it is all hop flavor up front with not a whole lot of flavor on the finish, but Mark did like it and will buy it again. This was the stand out of the ‘at home tastings’.

 

One of the benefits of the new facility is that there is an area for filling growlers and buying bottles that is separate from the tasting room. This separates the crowds and makes it easier if you want to just stop in and pick up some beer.

 

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Bottles behind the counter, and brewing tanks behind them.

Hours
Canton Location

Monday – Wednesday: 4:00 – 7:30
Thursday and Friday: 12:00 – 7:30
Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00

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Hopsters, Newton, MA

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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

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The Brewing

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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.

 

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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.

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Maureen helping to measure out the Red Wheat.

 

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Jason measuring out the Cara-pils Dextrine wheat.

 

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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.

 

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Michelle is cracking the grains to help release the flavors.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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Jason inspecting the beer.

 

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

 

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

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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.

 

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Hop pellets.

 

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The final stir after we added the Cascade hop pellets.

 

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

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

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

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There is our beer!

Bottling Session

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Jason starting out the bottling session.

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Bottles sanitized and drying.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

603 Brewery, Londonderry, NH

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We stopped at 603 Brewery recently while in the Londonderry area. We had a group with us, Mark’s brother Jason and wife Maureen, friends Taylor and Lance and friends Ian and Stephanie.

 

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603 Brewery was formed in 2012 by three longtime friends. They started in a smaller space in Campton, NH. They became well known and liked locally. It wasn’t long before they realized they needed more space. They found their space in Londonderry and was able to quadruple their output. They keg, bottle, and can their beer and distribute all over NH.

 

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Ian checking out the brewery.

 

Each couple chose a few beers to enjoy, with most deciding on the “Brewery Tasting Tour,” a placemat tour and a pint glass. Walking tours were available earlier that day.

 

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Our tastings:

18 Mile Ale – Rye Pale Ale 6.6%
Made with rye malt and pilsner malt. A fairly easy drinking beer, but Mark wasn’t a big fan, the main taste being the rye malt. The beer was named after the 18 miles of coastline New Hampshire has, with Rye being one of the coastal towns.

 

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Ian double fisting his samples and Jason getting ready to sample.

 

Winnie Ale – Amber Ale 6.6%
Basic, easy drinking amber ale with a sweet malty base. It’s their best selling beer, because it’s easy drinking. Named after Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s largest lake. This was 603’s first beer.

 

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our placemat tour, with a couple of extras we added

 

White Peaks – White IPA 6.6%
Light, describe by Jason as ‘crushable’ IPA. Light and crisp, it is made to be drinkable but still has good flavor to it. Named after New Hampshire’s White Mountains and the first IPA released by 603.

 

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Mark and Megan. A little tired after so many stops!

 

Cogway IPA – American IPA 6.5%
Heavier, malty IPA with medium body. Hoppy bitterness and a malty sweetness dominate this beers flavor profile. Named after the World’s first mountain cog railway which reached the summit of NH’s Mount Washington in 1869.

 

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Jason and Maureen, enjoying their samples?

 

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There we go, enjoying samples.

 

Anniversary Ale- pale ale 5.2%
This beer was brewed in honor of the brewery’s anniversary, as well as the state of New Hampshire. Hoppy and smooth, with a slight citrus flavor.

 

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Lance drinking his sample.

 

Summatime Ale – summer seasonal 4.5%
Megan and Steph tried this and liked it. Good flavor, light but flavorful, a good amount of ‘sunshine’ , which is a spiced wheat beer, with fruit flavors and malt.

 

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Taylor, Maureen, and Stephanie

 

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Swag for sale.

 

 

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Lance is sad, or mad, that there is no beer in his free glass.

 

Want to visit? Hours.

Thursday and Friday – 4:00 – 7:00

Saturday – 1:00 – 5:00

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Other Breweries in the Londonderry/ Derry area

Kelsen Brewing Company, Derry, NH

From the Barrel, Londonderry, NH

Rockingham Brewing Company, Derry, NH

Moonlight Meadery, Londonderry, NH

Rockingham Brewing Company, Derry, NH

IMG_4218   Our 2nd stop on a recent trip with Taylor, Lance, Jason, Maureen, Stephanie and Ian to the Derry and Londonderry area was to Rockingham Brewing Company. They had only been open for about 5 months when we visited, since February 2015. It felt like a well established brewery.  IMG_4231  The two people working behind the bar were very warm and welcoming. They asked if we knew their beer, and the brewery and were able to answer questions when asked.

They have several options for tasting paddles. Megan and Mark split a flight of five 4 oz pours and a flight of three 4 oz pours, for $8 and $5, so we were able to try all the beers they had on tap. Jason and Maureen also split a full tasting, with the other couples picking a few here and a few there.

Rockingham Ale – amber ale 5.5% Fairly typical amber flavor with a little bit heavier body.

Javelina – IPA 6.5% Tropical notes, light in body, not super hoppy or heavy. Ian said it had more of a bitter hop taste with not much malt.   IMG_4220   Napolean – dark farmhouse 5.2% Light in body, sweet, dark in color with a malty flavor, but not too heavy. Not quite enough ‘funk’ for us, looking for a little more tartness or something extra from a farmhouse.

Curly’s Gold – wheat ale 5.1% Light, sweet, a good summer beer. Jason tasted orange peel, Megan thought it had a citrusy zest to it.     IMG_4223   Belly of the Beast – bacon imperial stout 8.6% Smells like smoked bacon and tastes like smoked bacon! A heavy tasting stout with a lighter than expected body, and a hint of sweetness.   IMG_4228   Cloven Hoof – Belgian dubbel 7.1% Sweet, not as heavy as Mark expected, light, pretty good belgian flavor. Megan did not like it. Ian thought it was fantastic, right on what he expected it to be.

Blond Melon – American golden 5.3% Tastes like melon. A good, light summer beer. General consensus was just ok.

Golden Mango – American wheat 5.1% A bit of a funky smell, light body and light in taste with mango flavors. Megan liked this better than the Blond.

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Lance and Stephanie relaxing on the rocking chairs

They have a pretty good size tasting room. It has a cool atmosphere as well. The bar is all rustic reclaimed wood. The wall behind the bar is chalkboard paint so they can update the beers when they rotate.

They have seats at the bar, a couple big comfy chairs and a big picnic table, which we took over.

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Stephanie, Ian, Mark, Megan, Jason, Maureen, Taylor, Lance

They had 4 of their beers bottled in 22 oz bottles. We bought 2 of the Belly of the Beast and a Curly’s Gold.   IMG_4219

Want to visit?
Hours

Thursday and Friday 3:00 – 7:00

Saturday 1:00 – 7:00

As always, check their website, or facebook for the most up to date information.

From the Barrel, Londonderry, NH

 

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We recently stopped at From the Barrel with a few friends one Saturday. The plan was to visit a few places in the Derry/Londonderry, NH area that day with From the Barrel being the day’s first stop.
From the Barrel was the 110th place we have visited.

 

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We have heard good things about From the Barrel so we went to check it out for ourselves. They have been open for just over a year and just had their one year celebration. They are a nano brewery, creating small batches of each beer. Luckily they had some of the Anniversary DIPA leftover for us to try.

 

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They sell a flight of four 4 oz tasters for $5. They also sell single tasters, so we tried all 6 beers that they had on tap that day.

 

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Lily IPA – Double Dry Hopped – 7.5%
A strong citrusy hop smell, with a lighter hop flavor than aroma. The hop flavor mixed with malts made for a well balanced IPA with tropical notes.

Anniversary DIPA – 8%
Another well balanced IPA, not an overly hoppy taste but a little more hop flavor than than the Lily. Made with Columbus and Citra hops.

These first two were Mark’s favorite of the IPA’s/DIPA’s. If they had bottles of either of these in stock he would have bought a few.

 

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MK DIPA – 8.1%
Double IPA, with a Citra/Simcoe hop flavor but more bite and more malt.

Big Elle – 10.5%
We didn’t like this as much, as it had more of a bitter hop taste. I think everyone with us liked Lily and the Anniversary Double better.

 

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Howl – 8.5%
Coffee flavor, sweet, chocolatey notes, good body. We bought a bottle of this.

 

Know Your Enemy – Russian Imperial Stout – 10.2%
Heavy flavor, a touch sweet. We liked the Howl a little bit better, but Stephanie (visiting with us) liked this one more.

 

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Both the owners were there when we arrived. We were served mostly by the head brewer. He answered questions about the beers and chatted with us. He told us he named most of the beers after his family, his daughter, sister, Mom, and wife.

 

We were visiting with a small group of friends that day.

 

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Mark’s brother Jason and sister in law Maureen were there.

 

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Ian and Stephanie enjoying their beers.

 

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Taylor and Lance might be enjoying themselves….

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And us.

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They have cool glasses for sale as well.

Want to Visit?
Hours 

Friday: 4:00 – 7:00

Saturday: 12:00 – 6:00

 

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Sebago Brewing Company, Portland Brewpub, ME

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Our last stop during our most recent trip through Portland with Jason and Maureen was The Sebago Brewing Company – Portland Brewpub location. We figured after a long day of visiting breweries in Portland we should finish the trip off with some food, and more beers.

 

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The original Sebago Brewpub opened in 1998. After 6 years of brewing beer out of their brewpubs, they opened the main brewing and bottling facility in Gorham, ME. There are 4 brewpub locations and we visited the Portland Brewpub, right Downtown, under the Hampton Inn. It’s actually right around the corner from Shipyard.

 

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I don’t think we had actually tried Sebago beer before. Mark and Jason each ordered their own sampler tray to try all the beers they had on tap.

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Saddleback Ale – 3.9%
Light beer with a really light taste, not cheap or bad, just an ok taste that is not very flavorful.

 

Frye’s Leap IPA – 6%
Fairly standard IPA, good flavor, drinkable, but nothing outstanding.

 

Slick Nick – 7.2%
Malty, winter style beer, similar to the IPA in that it has a decent taste but nothing great. Winter style beers are not Mark’s favorite.

 

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Runabout Red – 4.4%
Fairly easy drinking amber with a malt base. Only 4.4%.

 

Royal Tar – 10.5%
Imperial stout, pretty good flavor, heavy tasting, you can tell by the taste it is a high percentage beer. Jason didn’t think it was a good beer to drink while eating, better for sipping on.

 

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Flora’s House – 4.3%
Described as ‘a love child of a pilsner and a Belgian wheat beer.’ Maureen didn’t think it was that great. Mark liked it, pretty good Belgian flavor, a little on the lighter side.

 

Imperial Small Batch – 4.2%
Fairly smooth, nutty flavor, good overall taste. Probably Mark’s favorite.

 

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2014 Barleywine – 11.1%
Heavy barleywine, not too enjoyable, bourbon barrel aged, we didn’t really like this one.

Food

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We ordered Potato Nachos as an appetizer. It was waffle fries instead of nachos, pretty good.

 

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Megan got a Caesar Salad and a Vermont Panini. The salad was ok, the panini was good.

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Mark ordered the Bacon Mac and Cheese and added chicken to it. The chicken wasn’t really added to it, it was just put right on top. He just mixed it in, it was really tasty.

 

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Jason ordered the Imperial Burger, a burger with a fried egg and
bacon on it. He described it as decadent.

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Megan and Maureen wanted desert, so they got a Molten Chocolate Cake to split, which they both really enjoyed.

Want to Visit?

Portland Pub Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 1am
Sunday: 11am – Midnight

Other places to visit in Portland:

Bissel Brothers

Allagash Brewing Company

Foundation Brewing

Austin Street Brewing

Urban Farm Fermentory

Shipyard Brewing Company

Foundation Brewing Company, Portland, ME

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We visited Foundation Brewing Company on our recent trip to Portland with Maureen and Jason. They too are located in the legendary 1 IndustriALE Way, in the same building as Bissel Brothers and Austin Street Brewing, right across the street from Allagash.

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They had been open for almost a year when when we visited. We have heard good things about them, they have been creating a bit of a buzz. Jason and Maureen tried some of their beer at a festival in Boston. When we visited, they had 4 beers on tap to try, samples were $1 each.

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Eddy – 5.7% Traditional saison, fairly light in body and flavor, not a
whole lot of flavor though.

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Infused Saison – 5.7% A brewery only option, infused with cardamom and orange. This had a much better taste, more interesting and complex, a lot of the orange flavor. Mark, Megan, Maureen and Jason all liked this.

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Burnside – 5.17% English brown ale, really good flavor, hint of caramel, one of the best brown ales we have had recently.

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Infused Burnside – 5.17% Infused with coffee, the smell of coffee is intense. The balance of coffee and brown ale flavor is good. Between this one and the Infused Saison, Megan didn’t know which to sample again! They did not have any Blaze available to taste, but we liked the beers we did taste so Mark figured it was worth a shot, and this was the only bottle available while we were there. IMG_1656

 

Blaze – 6.2% Comes in a 750 mL bottle, which is a little different for a beer. A farmhouse style ale, good taste, fairly hoppy flavor but light in body, good balance. We ‘tasted’ this at home.

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Jason and Mark enjoying their samples

 

They are in a pretty small place, we hung around the bar area. When they are open to the public you can take your samples into the back brewing area to spread out. Customer’s were playing cornhole in the back when we were there. This was one of Megan and Maureen’s favorites- because of the atmosphere and conversation. Two couples run the brewery together, and they started with
a love of Farmhouse beers.

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Growlers. glasses, and limited bottles for sale

 

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Merch for sale

 

Update August 2015:


Epiphany glass

 

Three important updates from when we visited about 6 months ago.

First is:

Epihany – Maine IPA 8%
This beer is described as a Maine IPA by Foundation, pictured above. It is a super hop-fruity IPA with little to no bitterness. Mark really likes it, and it is different than most other IPA’s, maybe that’s why they call it a Maine IPA. It was a little too fruity for Jason, and he tasted it because I actually got my hands on some cans.

 

Epiphany Cans

 

Update number 2. They can beers and distribute now! This is good news for us. Although we did just drive by Portland and stop in for a growler full of Epiphany, we don’t frequent Portland too often. They do have a small area roped off outside, for the nicer weather, which doubles the amount of people they can have tasting. Occasionally some cans make it down near the NH border, so hopefully we can get some. Which brings us to the 3rd update:

More capacity! They added a third 30 barrel fermentation tank somewhat recently. Then in the past week they added 2 more 45 barrel tanks. Hopefully that means we will see even more beer distributed and making it outside of the Portland area.

 

Want to Visit?

Thursday 3:00 – 6:00
Friday 12:00 – 7:00
Saturday 12:00 – 7:00

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