La Belle Winery, Portsmouth and Amherst, NH

 

 

La Belle Winery is one of the bigger and more well known wineries in New Hampshire. They have been officially producing wine since 2012. Their main space is in Amherst, NH where they produce the wine. They also have a Bistro that does lunch and dinner, a large event space and what was their only tasting room, until recently.

 

 

In January of 2018 La Belle Winery opened a Portsmouth, NH tasting room and store. This is not the first time we have seen a winery open a city tasting room location. The tasting room is much closer to us so we went there with Mark’s sister Michelle. We were too busy tasting wine too take many pictures.

 

They do flights of 5 wines for $10 and flights of 10 for $15, at both locations, so we each did a flight of 10.  Between the three of us we tried quite a few different wines.

 

Michelle and Mark

 

Whites

Dry Apple
Dryer than Mark was expecting, even though Dry is in the name. Nice aroma of apples, dry throughout.

 

Seyval Blanc
A crisp wine wine with citrus notes and a clean finish.

 

Dry Pear
Dry and fruity, Marked liked this better than the apple.

 

Granite State White
Described as similar to Chardonnay, oak aged and clean, Megan thought it was just ok, not her style.

 

Gewurztraminer
We all tried this wine. Fruit forward and tropical, and a little on the sweet side. We liked it.

 

Heirloom Apple
Not sweet, but a complex flavor, both Mark and Michelle agreed and liked it.

 

Riesling
Complex and aromatic as they described it, floral and honey notes, on the sweet side but not too sweet.

 

Granite State Apple
Michelle got this and did not like it, and apple wine with maple syrup. Mark agreed it was not a great mix of flavors.

 

Blush

Apple Cranberry
This is 50% apples and 50% cranberries. Perfect blend of these too fruits, not too tart or too sweet, but a little bit of both, pretty tasty.

 

Megan

 

Reds

Dry Blueberry
Another fruit wine Mark picked that was a little too dry for him. Made for wine drinkers who like regular wines and not sweet fruit wines. Drinks like a light Merlot in body and style, really dry.

 

Granite State Red
Megan said it’s a good, easy drinking red with a hint of blueberry. Could see it pairing well with steak and other grilled meats.

 

Americus
Made with New England grapes, rich in tannins, aged on steel then additional aging in oak, Megan did not like this wine as much.

Americus Reserve
They talked Megan into trying this wine even though she didn’t like the last one. Much different flavor aged all in French Oak, amazing what that can do! This one was really good.

 

Petit Verdot
Megan really liked this, bold red with strong floral and fruit notes, her kind of rich red wine.

 

Virginia Mae Sweet Blueberry
A very deep, rich Blueberry flavor, not sweet or syrupy but rich, and very tasty.

 

 

Dessert Wines

Chambourcin
Port style wine, which means it was fortified with Brandy, cherry and chocolate flavors, dark and rich but again not overly sweet which was nice.

 

Red Raspberry
Sweet dessert red that is balanced out nicely by the acidity from fresh raspberries. Smells like raspberries, sweet and a bit tart.

 

Three Kings
Megan said it tastes like jam. Blend of Blueberry, Red Raspberry and Marchol Foch wines.

 

 

They have a pretty decent size bar area, that we didn’t get a picture of. They have a lot of other items in their shop besides wine, but plenty of wine, too!

 

 

 

Wide variety of jams

 

Check Facebook for seasonal hours

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Four Pines Brewing Company, Hampton, NH

 

We visited Four Pines Brewing Company a little while back with our friends Bre and Deryl. We went for pizza and beers. We have had The Community Oven pizza before and it was good, so we went back.

 

 

Four Pines Brewing Company opened about a year ago. They are in the old space that was occupied by Blue Lobster, they took over the space and the equipment. They are owned by the Community Oven and located right next door. They are connected by a doorway and serve pizza in the brewery and beer in the pizza shop.

 

 

Mark ordered a flight of 4 beers to try. They didn’t have very much info about the beers in the menu, just the names of the beers. We would have loved to read a little bit about the beers before ordering.

 

 

Foggy Amber
Sweet and malty, typical amber ale. Mark said it was decent for an amber, Megan said eh. They sell this in 6 packs now.

Porter
A touch sweet, toasty, pretty decent, not a bitter porter. Megan said basic, but not bad.

 

 

Stout
Dry and a bit roasty, a touch bitter as well.

Blue Dragon – dipa
Mostly hazy but still see through. This was a very malty dipa, it might be kind of hoppy but all Mark noticed was the malt, not his style, malty and sweet.

Naughty Pine IPA
Hoppier than Blue Dragon to Mark. Piney and hop bitterness up front with a strong malt backbone, not great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Sausage Pizza

 

Small special pizza, The Oven’s Meat-Za Pizza.

 

The pizza was really good, all three were. We sat on The Community Oven side, but both sides serve pizza and Four Pines beer.

 

Bre and Deryl

 

It doesn’t seem like they put a whole lot of effort into supporting the brewery. They don’t really have a presence in the brewing community or go to any events, we actually never hear anything about the place. They also haven’t update the Community Oven website with the brewery information, as they still have Blue Lobster listed on their beer list, which closed around 2 years ago and they don’t have the Four Pines beer listed on their beer menu online.

Go for the pizza, and try the beer while you are there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Backyard Brewery and Kitchen, Manchester, NH

Backyard Brewery and Kitchen is a fairly new brewpub in Manchester, NH. They opened in July of 2017 and have been getting pretty good reviews from what we have heard.

 

Backyard Brewery and Kitchen is a new venture to revitalize this very large restaurant space. The Yard restaurant was in this location since 1975. The owner wanted to modernize and update the restaurant. Two of his children are co-owners as well, they decided a brewpub was the way to go.

 

The restaurant is really big inside with plenty of space for functions. The bar and main restaurant area have all been updated, but one of the side rooms still has old chairs and furniture. The inside is decorated fairly rustic, with lots of fencing made to look like you are in a backyard.

 

 

Since they are a restaurant they serve 4 oz tasters, half pints and full pints as well as flights. We all ordered a flight of 4 tasters, which was only $7.

 

 

Lazy Daze IPA – New England IPA     6.2%
A very good IPA. Classic New England style IPA, hazy, fruity tropical hoppyness dominates this beer, and it is very good.

 

MONKee Bars – Belgian Dubbel    7.6%
A dark Belgian Dubbel, malty and sweet with notes of clove and pepper, a classic Belgian Dubbel.

 

Marks flight

 

A – Line IPA – Classic IPA     7.5%
Fairly clear with a reddish tint. Hoppy as well as malty, with grapefruit and pine hoppy notes. Ok for a classic style ipa, but not really what Mark and Ian are looking for.

 

Aussie Oatback – DIPA     8.6%
A good beer, you definetely get the oats on the mouthfeel and gives it that haze. Not super hoppy for a DIPA, may be the Australian and New Zealand hops they used, very smooth at 8.6%

 

Megans flight

 

Kafija Alus – Baltic Coffee Porter     8.1%
A nice bitter coffee flavor. The coffee is well balanced in this beer.

 

Oh My Gourd – Pumpkin Spice Ale     5.5%
Megan really likes this beer. Nice pumpkin spice flavoring, a good fall beer.

 

There She Gose – Gose     4.1%
It is sour but not much else to it. It has a decent base, needs more to it though, maybe make it a fruited Gose? There wasn’t that typical salty dry finish either. We thought it was lacking a little bit.

 

Novemberfest – German Festbier     6.3%
Darker than an Oktoberfest, but pretty smooth and easy drinking, malty with a decent amount of flavor. Pretty good.

 

 

 

We were there mid afternoon so we just got a few appetizers to split. The Trailer Pork Nachos, Smothered Pretzel Tots and Chicken Fingers were all good.

 

 

Hours

Monday – Wednesday: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Sunday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Lithermans Limited Brewery, Concord, NH

We recently visited Litherman’s Limited Brewery in Concord, NH. They opened in April of 2016 and have been busy ever since. We had heard good things about their Saisons, but they had quite a few ipa’s on tap as well.

 

They are located in the back of an industrial park, luckily they had a sign out front with directions, very helpful!

 

 

The owners met and bonded over music, and ended up recording hip hop tracks together. Somehow that transitioned into making beer, and the tasting room has a definite music feel too it, and so do a lot of their beer names.

 

                        

 

The stools have records on them, and they have posters of their beer labels up on the wall which is fun.

 

And classic albums mounted on the walls.

 

They had 10 beers on tap, so Mark and Megan split a flight, so did Sammie and Dustin.

 

Misguided Angel – traditional New England style ipa
Pretty good version of a New England style ipa, hoppy, not quite as ‘juicy’ as some of the best though.

Little Miss Strange – dipa
Dry, more subtle flavors than the description, mild orange and pineapple, not quite a juice bomb, but pretty good.

 

Mark pondering the flavors

 

Simply Red Ale
Described as ‘big, chewy, malty, slightly sweet’ and that was right on. Not Mark’s favorite style of beer but they did a good job with this beer, Megan liked it.

Hall Street and Oats – dry hopped New England style pale
Tasty pale ale, dry hopped with Mandarin Bavarian hops, Megan and Mark both liked this beer.

 

Megan enjoying her beer

 

Orange Crushable – belgian orange ipa
An ipa with a super orange flavor too it, interesting (in a good way).

Chakra Khan – saison with lotus root
This was a pretty tasty saison, all 4 of us liked it, dry hopped with Citra.

 

Sammie tasting some beer

 

Tangled Up in Bruges – ever evolving saison
They use seasonal ingredients in this saison. Strong saison flavor with a little bit of funk.

Foolish Lovers Game – Berliner Weisse
A pretty drinkable Berliner Weisse, not that sour with a mild  apricot flavor.

 

 

Milli Banilli – banana vanilla porter
A porter with banana, and interesting mix of flavor and style.

Last Mango in Concord – mango green tea blonde ale
Tea and mango, with some sweetness, stand out in this beer.

 

Dustin read us a story

 

They had cool marble tables and a marble bar

 

 

Dustin being a goof

 

 

Dustin and Sammie being goofy together

 

Favorite beer names: Bow Wow Yippie Yo and The Ol’ Dirty Dipa,  neither were on tap when we were there. They mostly fill growlers, but occasionally bottle some batches of their beer.

Current Hours

Thursday 4:00 – 7:00
Friday 4:00 – 7:00
Saturday 12:00 – 5:00

Liar’s Bench Beer Company, Portsmouth, NH

We just visited Liar’s Bench Beer Company in Portsmouth with Mark’s sister Michelle. Liar’s Bench has been open for a little less than a year, we just hadn’t made it over there yet.

 

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They do full pours as well as samples. Megan and Michelle just did samples of the first 3, Mark tried all 6 beers on tap.

 

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New Norman – Kolsch 4.9%
This was a collaboration brew with Magnolia Brewing Company. Megan thought it was kind of basic, Mark thought it was not quite as clean as he expected from a Kolsch, with an earthy flavor to it.

 

Doctor Criminal – Berliner Weisse 3%
A light, sour beer with a dry finish. Pretty classic in style. “There is no fruit added to the beer, so you can appreciate it in all of its sour goodness.” Mark and Megan thought it could have been a little more sour. Michelle did like it, and she is not a big fan of sour beers, so its made to be more approachable.

 

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Megan and Michelle’s samples

Hai Ikki – Rice Saison 5.7%
Really smooth, from the rice we assume, with a mild peppery saison finish. This was Megan and Michelle’s favorite.

Punxsutawney Swill – Brown Ale 5.2%
Has a roasty nose, a smooth brown ale, pretty flavorful for the style, better than the average brown.

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Young Upstart – IPA 6.6%
A hazy New England style ipa, smells really, really fruity but doesn’t taste quite as fruity. They say balanced in the description, Mark wanted the flavor to follow the nose. Still a good ipa, medium body, hoppy – fruity/ citrusy with a very minor bitter finish. Pretty good overall.

Pound of Flesh – British Strong 7.5%
Clear with a reddish tint. Not what Mark was expecting, a sweet, malty beer that was better than expected.

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This is a cool, popular spot on the West end of Portsmouth. Michelle noticed when we first walked in that everyone there was our age or younger. More people came in as we were there, some older people, but the crowd was generally pretty young.

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Megan and Michelle

They serve food, just a few selections, hot dog, bratwurst, and sausage. They serve food so that they can serve pints, as that is the law in New Hampshire for serving pints, you need to have food.

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A pretty small place, but they use the space well. They have 2 long tables that people can stand around, they fit about 12 people each and 1 long table to sit at.

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There is room to stand around and some standing counters around the edges of the room. There is Foosball as well.

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Hours

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 2:00 – 9:00
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 – 10:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00
Monday: Closed

As always, check Facebook or their website for updated hours.

Canterbury Aleworks, Canterbury, NH

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Canterbury Aleworks is located at Hidden Wonders Farm, an operating farm in Canterbury, NH. You have to drive down a long, windy dirt driveway to get there, passing by several small ponds. The brewery has been open since 2012.

 

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Pond near the small parking lot.

 

“Canterbury Aleworks is a one barrel, water powered and wood fired showcase nano-brewery handcrafting Worldly Beer with Local Flare. A little out of the way, a lot out of the ordinary!”

 

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Try to ignore the reflection of Megan, and see the water wheel that helps power the brewery!

 

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And a composting toilet!

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With a comical sink.

 

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1oz samples are “On the House”, a single 4oz taster is $2 each, and four or more tasters are $1.50 each. We tried all 9 that were available.

 

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The Hops Bollocks – British IPA 6.1%
Decent hop flavor, not a super strong hop taste, some bitterness, finishes with a more malt taste.

 

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Canterbury Ale – APA 5.5%
Interesting flavor, some hops with a touch of bitterness. More of a flowery hop flavor with a hint of sweet maltiness.

 

Be Hoppy! – American IPA 6.5%
Mark likes this, pretty good hop flavor, smooth and light in body, a touch malty without much bitterness. Said to have “floral-citrus notes from the cascade hops” which Mark agrees with.

 

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Bright Idea – German Helles-style Ale 5.4%
Light lager type beer. Not a whole lot of flavor, described that way in the write up at the brewery, just not our style, looking for a little something more.

 

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Smoke House Porter – Smoked Robust Porter 5.5%
Megan said “Oh yes, this is more like it”. A good balance of flavors, medium to heavy body with a rich coffee flavor. Subtle notes of chocolate with a strong smokey taste for a finish. Good beer, they acquired the smoked malts from their neighbor at Fox County Smoke House.

 

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Brit Wit – British Wheat Beer – 5.1%
A pretty tasty brew. A different mix of flavors, a flavorful ‘wheat beer’, unfiltered and dry. Has bergamant in it from English Tea which adds a little extra flavor to it.

 

Snappy Wit – Belgian Style Witbier 5.1%
Juicy, traditional style witbier, good and flavorful, hints of orange and coriander, we liked this beer as well.

 

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Granite Ledge Stout – Espresso Oatmeal Stout 5.5%
Smells of coffee, medium to heavy body, strong espresso flavor, but you can taste the oatmeal, too. Flavorful, but the coffee flavor is a little bit of a bitter coffee taste.

 

Black and Wit – Black Belgian Style Witbier 6.2%
A black, opaque beer. Starts lighter in body than you would think by the color, finishes with the Snappy Wit flavor, orange and coriander, and a little bit of bitterness from the ‘black’. A very interesting and pretty tasty brew.

 

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As well as water power, and the composting toilet, they have other plans to be self sustaining. “We are planting our 3/4 acre hops yard here at Hidden Wonders Farm this spring! We hope to be using 100% of our own hops by the fall of 2016.”

 

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Comfy chairs in the tasting room. This is a cool little place, nice atmosphere and the beers were tasty, better than we were expecting. If they had bottles or cans we would have bought some, but they just sell growlers of beer to go.

 

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Mark at the bar.

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They have a Polaroid camera that you can take pictures with and ‘post to their wall’.

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Hours
Saturday and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00

 

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Deciduous Brewing Company, Newmarket, NH

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Deciduous Brewing Company opened in mid August of 2015. They are a ‘constantly striving, boutique brewery’ in Newmarket, NH. The brewery is co owned by Frank Zagami, his wife Maryann, and David Sakolsky. David is the head brewer at Deciduous, and formerly the head brewer at Blue Lobster.

 

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They do 4 oz tasters for $1.50 each, we tried all the beers they had on tap. While we were there, they had 3 beers in bottles that were unfortunately not available to taste.

 

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Aggregation – 2.4%

Gose – 60% white wheat
A little tartness, really light in body. The addition of salt gives it a dry mouthfeel.

 

Arose – 4.8%
A strong smell of hops, well balanced. Hop and malt flavors, not overly hoppy or bitter, their take on a house pale ale or table beer.

 

Cumulation – 4.5%
Dry hopped ‘imperial’ gose
Tart, light in body, Megan tasted the salt on her tongue, had a dry finish.

 

Auroral – 4%
Berlinerweisse 50% wheat with blood oranges and lychee fruit
Really tart, a sweeter sour flavor. Megan said it was like a sweet tart. This was a very good sour beer.

 

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Lambent – 4%
Berlinerweisse 50% wheat with raspberries and passion fruit
Tastes less tart than the Auroral, more fruit flavor with a hint of tartness. Megan said it was juicy.

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Jack O Lambent – 4.5%
Roasted pumpkins with toasted pumpkin seeds from Coppal House Farms in Lee, NH
Slight tartness, toasted pumpkin seeds are the main flavor, with a dry unexplainable finish, does not finish tart.

 

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Agricultural – 6.3%
Dry hopped wheat IPA
Melon flavored hop taste, light to medium body, bitter and piney finish. Not either of our favorites.

 

Phenotype – 5.8%
Dry hopped IPA
Smells of tropical fruit hops at first. Had a tropical hop flavor with a bitter finish. Bitterness takes over as the main flavor and kind of over powers the good hop flavors.

 

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Epiphyte – 8%
DIPA
More of a malty style DIPA, heavier body and flavor, a touch sweet, slightly bitter finish.

 

Renascence – 8.1%
Multi grain porter, rye and peat smoke malts
Smokey porter, pretty tasty, we liked it.

 

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Introspection – 10.3%
A 100% Brett fermented Russian Imperial Stout.

We decided to buy the Introspection bottle, even though we couldn’t sample it. It was very tasty, we shared it with friends who like RIS’s and they really liked it as well.

 

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They do a lot of interesting styles of beer, which seems like where their strength is. The IPA’s Mark was not a big fan of, but the Gose and Berliner style beers and the Introspection were really good.

 

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They have a pretty decent sized tasting room. It wasn’t too crowded when we were there, we showed up right at 12:00 when they opened on a snowy Saturday. Shortly after, people began to stream in.

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They are located in a small strip mall across from the Mill in downtown Newmarket. We went to Panzanellas’s after sampling to eat. The moved into the newly constructed strip mall to double thier space, they have been opened in Newmarket for 13 years.

 

Current Hours

Thursday 4:00 – 7:00
Friday 3:00 – 7:00
Saturday 12:00 – 5:00

As always, check Facebook for their most up to date info and hours.