Oxbow Brewing Company, Newcastle, ME

 

We were up visiting Megan’s Aunt, Uncle and cousin in the Boothbay area near the end of the summer. Oxbow was our third visit of the day, we had visited Boothbay Craft Brewery as well as Split Rock Distilling. Megan’s family was curious about Oxbow Brewery, and we had heard a lot of good things about their beer. We visited the brewery in Newcastle, Maine. This is the location where the brewing is done, in a rural, wooded area.

 

 

They also have a tasting room in Portland, Maine. Portland is their blending and bottling location. Not sure how they transport the beer down to Portland, but it is smart to have a tasting room in Portland.

 

 

We have heard good things about Oxbow, but have not visited or had any
beer from them, until now. From their website they say:


Oxbow is an American farmhouse brewery specializing in
traditional Belgian-style ales with contemporary American
influence. We brew small batches of beer in a renovated
barn in rural Newcastle, Maine.

 

 

They had 5 drafts on sale to sample, as well as bottles to purchase for on site consumption. We got a flight of all 5 beers. Aunt Terri and Uncle Steve just tried 1 or 2 samples on their own.

 

Luppolo – italian style pils     5%
Decent flavor, a light bodied lager, not that interesting though.

 

Loretta – grisette    4%
Very light to drink, with a mild farmhouse funk flavor, mildly hoppy. Nothing too crazy, but it did have and interesting, complicated flavor profile. Aunt Terri said it was very light and easy to drink.

 

 

Farmhouse Pale Ale    6%
Starts with a typical Saison flavor, followed by some Citrus hop flavor. The hops balance the Saison flavor nicely, pretty tasty beer overall.

 

Grizacca – american grisette     5%
Pretty good beer, farmhouse flavor with a good citrusy dry hopped flavor.

 

 

Momoko – barrel aged farmhouse ale    7%
Very, very good beer.  It smelled fantastic, like peaches and you could smell that it was sour. Strong peach flavor with a good sourness to it. This is the type of beer we were hoping for and looking for. We bought 2 bottles to go.

 

Seating inside the tasting room, barrels and stools.

 

 

 

There is plenty of seating outside in different area’s on the
grounds. And some farm life out and about.

 

 

Mark and Megan

 

 

Mural on 1 of the buildings

 

 

Summer hours. Check for seasonal hours, their hours do vary.

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Saco River Brewing, Fryeburg, ME

While we were up camping and tubing on the Saco River, we decided to visit Saco River Brewing Company, what a surprise! They opened just over a year ago, in July 2016, in Fryeburg, ME. They are located in a building or two out behind a restaurant with a decent amount of parking.

They do 4 oz pours and full pints. We ordered a 4oz pour of each beer so we could try all 7 beers they had on tap.

D.O.T. Special – Czech Pilsner     5%
Has a strong pilsner/lager taste. Strong additional flavors added by the spicy saaz hops. Not bad for a pilsner, which is neither of our favorite styles. 

Driftwood IPA – American IPA     6.5%
Pours super clear. Does have a malt presence but the hops balance that well and add a good amount of hop flavor to it. Good, not Marks favor style IPA but it’s pretty good and worth a try for IPA drinkers. 

Clearwater Pale Ale     4.8%
Pours pretty hazy. Flavor matches description ‘Easy drinking, silky mouthfeel and citrus hop character’, we agree. Nice overall hop profile (citrus) for a pale ale. 

Flip Flop IPA      6.7%
Marks immediate reaction “oohhh this is good”. Pours super hazy, you can’t see through it, a definite  New England style IPA. No malt character, all hops, on the herbal/grassy but still super tasty.

Sweet Fern Saison     4.5%
Good, easy to drink Saison while still having flavor, spicy and citrus notes. On the lighter side for a saison.

Buck Brown Ale     5.4%
Megan said it had an almost a dull coffee flavor, but in a good way, not an overly bitter coffee taste. 

Mark said pretty light overall, not very roasty, more sweet caramel with citrus. 

Old Colony Porter     6.5%
Sweet and roasty. Light body for the style, but more roasted here than the Buck Brown Ale. 

We sat outside to have our samples, it was a pretty nice day. They have several picnic tables with umbrellas and pop up tents for shade.

They have a fairly small bar area, but another decent sized room off of that with a ping pong table, shown above, and their outdoor space, so they have plenty of seating.

Mark at the bar. There is a whole wall of glass behind the bar so you can see everything happening in the brewery, shown below, not much happening on a Sunday afternoon though.

They have a cool, custom made cement bar with
the river built into it, cool details.

This was a nice visit. They are doing well for only being open a year.  It was better than we expected, as we went in assuming it was a “tourist trap.” However, it seems to be a nice combo of tourists and locals based on the amount of growlers we saw being filled.

Check Facebook for hours, we assume
they change with the seasons.

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

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

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.

 

Offshore Ale Company, Oaks Bluff – Marthas Vineyard

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Near the end of the summer we made a special visit to Martha’s Vineyard to visit the 2 breweries on the island. We started at Offshore Ale Company for beers and lunch. They are the ‘only brewpub on the island’ and are ‘open year round’. We point those in quotes because that’s how they advertise themselves. The only brewery competition they have on the island is Bad Martha’s Brewing Company.

 

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We arrived right before 12:00 when they opened. We went with Megan’s immediate family and all ‘the boys’. That would be Megan’s parents, Megan and her 3 sisters, and the 4 boyfriends.

 

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The flight is chosen by them, you can not pick your own, Brewer’s Choice, which was a little disappointing. You get four 5oz samples for $10.50.

 

East Chop Lighthouse – 4.2%    8 IBU
Lighter and less flavorful than most people expected, even for the non-craft beer drinkers in the group. Megan and Mark thought it was ok for their lightest offering, a slight citrus flavor and made from 100% pilsner malt.

 

Amber Ale – 5%    25 IBU
Megan said creamy and smooth with a good flavor. Most people liked this better than the Lighthouse. Mark thought it was just ok, fairly typical amber taste but slightly lighter in body, probably made to be more ‘drinkable’.

 

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Amity Island Ale – 5%    30 IBU
Megan was hoping for a good summer ale, was stronger than she expected. Mark said it was hoppy and malty, stronger than a regular summer ale, because it was an ‘English style summer ale.’

 

Lazy Frog IPA – 7%    70 IBU
This was a much more hoppy and bitter beer, a lot of the group did not like this, especially Sam. Mark thought it was pretty good, so did Dustin and Kevin. A touch sweet with strong hop flavors, a little bitter with a sweet finish. Definite west coast influence.

 

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Pints:

Menemsha Creek Pale Ale – 5%    39 IBU
Mark said this was light for a pale ale, was described as ‘clean and approachable’ with a decent smooth hop flavor.

 

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Islander DIPA – 8.2%    90+ IBU
Strong, good hop flavor with some citrus notes. Finishes with a strong malty flavor, a little bit of a heavy flavor for Mark, but pretty good.

 

Offshore Blueberry – 4.5%    9 IBU
We had mixed reviews of this. It had a strong blueberry smell, which we think skewed peoples view of the taste. Mark said it was really, really light in body, it is only 9 IBU’s. Megan thought it had an artificial blueberry flavor, Jess didn’t taste much blueberry at all, and Marilyn thought it had a strong blueberry taste. Mixed reviews, but just ok over all.

 

Food

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Turkey Pub Sandwich with salad

 

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Mark got the Fish Sandwich. There was a lot of fish on there,
it was good, and the fries were good.

 

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Winter Salad

 

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Offshores Finest Burger w/provolone cheese and bacon

 

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Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad Over Boston Lettuce

 

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Brewhouse Pulled Pork Sandwich

 

A lot of people ordered the same sandwiches, with the
different option of a side salad, fries, or chips.

 

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They have wood fired pizza, but we didn’t try it.

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It is a small place, they have about 12 tables,
3 high top tables, and 12 or so bar seats.

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The atmosphere and service was really good. The food was pretty good, we don’t think it blew anyone away, but we ordered mostly sandwiches for lunch, and everyone was satisfied and filled. The beer was just average brew pub beer to Mark and Megan. It seems like most brew pubs (who serve food and beer) make their beer approachable for the average beer drinker. It’s not our style, they are there for tourists, so they want everyone to like their beer.

 

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Hours

Brew-Pub seating
LUNCH 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
DINNER 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm Sunday -Thursday
DINNER 5:00 pm – 9:30 pm Friday & Saturday

 

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