Widowmaker Brewing, Braintree, MA

Widowmaker Brewing is a fairly new brewery in Braintree, MA. They opened in September of 2017. We visited with Megan’s sister Sam and her fiancee Dustin, and our friends Nick and Sara, their first official Brew Wine Fun visit, wow!
Widowmaker Brewing is a 7 barrel brewhouse. They have a lot of room and we saw a lot of fermenters. They also have a huge tasting room, especially for a new brewery.

Big pictures so you can see the big tasting room

They serve half pours (6.5 oz), full pours (13 oz) and also serve flights of four 4 oz tasters. We all got flights so we could try as many beers as possible.

Bar area with designated ordering area

Donut Shop – coffee stout     6.5%
This beer is dominated by a bitter coffee flavor, Mark and Sam expected a sweeter or more chocolatey beer with name like donut shop, but if you ignore the name it is a pretty decent coffee stout.
Pure Hoppy – american ipa: citra     7.2%
Hazy, pretty juicy citra hop flavor, this was good, exactly what Mark was hoping for.
Greenbush – pale ale 6.8%
Not quite as good as Mark was hoping for, it is 80% Mosaic hops, lacking a little, maybe the ‘dry finish’, or just not as good as the Pure Hoppy: Citra in Mark’s opinion.
Nick didn’t like WMB Octoberfest that much, though it did grow on him as he drank it, Sam and Dustin did like it.
com-Rad – russian imperial stout     10.1%
We liked this beer, it is based on the Donut Shop stout recipe. It is slightly sweeter, definitely more chocolatey, with a strong coffee flavor.
Sarah Porter – classic porter     4.5%
Decent porter, bitter with mild caramel malt flavor.
Gowanus Canal Screw Job – american ipa     7.1%
Not very hazy, decently hoppy with a medium body or mouthfeel, minor tropical notes and a bit piney or ‘resiney’.
Old Oaken Farmhouse – saison     8.1%
Funky smell, which is a good sign. Strong peppery saison flavor up front with a nice mild finish. It’s hoppy which balances the saison flavor nicely. Described as a hybrid saison pale ale, and it tasted like it.
50-Year Storm – american dipa     7.8%
Hazy, really opaque. Good beer, has a super light malt bill with an oated body, hoppy and tasty with no hop bitterness.
Free snacks! Goldfish and Cheez-its with little trays to bring them back to your table.
They have Crowlers to go, and it says on their website they will have a limited runs of bomber bottles, but we don’t think that has started yet.

Swag area.

 Overall this was a good visit. They had beers that everyone liked, they have a nice, big space they can grow into. It should be interesting to watch what happens here.
 Current Hours
Thursday: 3:00 – 7:00
Friday: 3:00 – 10:00
Saturday: 12:00 – 10:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00
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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

Garrison City Beerworks, Dover, NH

 

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Garrison City Beerworks is a new nanobrewery in Dover, NH. They opened in December of 2014. They operate on a 3 barrel system and make “batches of original, hop-forward beers, with a focus on uniqueness and quality over quantity.” We have heard a good buzz about this place, and they have not disappointed. We waited to finish writing this after a second visit, knowing we would be back again.

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First Visit Beers:

Citra – American Pale Ale – 5.1%
Smells fruity – citrusy and tropical, as well as hoppy. Citrus flavor forward taste, hoppy second taste, dry finish. Citrus flavor is balanced nicely by the hops, we both liked, Mark got a Crowler to go, more on that later.

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tasting paddle

Balefire – American IPA – 7%
Somewhat standard IPA taste, though a little more malty than hoppy, a hint of piney taste, fairly easy to drink. Hoppiness was not overbearing.

 

Tropic Rage – American Double IPA – 8.4%
Malty flavor, more robust than Balefire, Mark liked this better. Good balance of malty flavor and hops. Not what Megan was expecting from a DIPA, better taste and easier to drink than she anticipated.

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Crowbar – Porter – 5.8%
Dark color, chocolaty, slightly roasted taste, easy to drink. Easy to drink enjoyable.

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We came in and ordered at the bar, they told us we could take a seat and they would bring the sample trays over to us, which was nice. It was a good touch

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Megan sipping some Crowbar.

 

 

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The Crowler

 

The Crowler is in place of the traditional glass growler. It is a 32oz can that they will fill up for you, fresh that day. There is no charge for the Crowler and you just recycle it. This is refreshing, because at many breweries we visit, we have to buy a growler (can’t use another brewery’s growler due to the law), so to be able to leave without paying a deposit on the container…
They had a few they had filled up earlier when it was slow, so we didn’t get to see them fill it and seal the top on, but we know it was fresh that day.

 

Second Visit:

We had a similar experience the second time we visited. The service was good, people were nice and friendly, and the beers were good.

 

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Jenaya and Ryan

 

On this visit we brought our friends Ryan and Jenaya. They enjoyed trying all the beers that were on tap, as did we.

 

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full paddle!

 

 

They had 6 beers on tap this time, several different from our last trip.

 

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Enamored – 4.6%
Chocolatey, really good flavor with notes of coffee. This stout was somewhat light in body but good and flavorful. This was most people’s favorite.

 

Anomalous – 7.5%
Really good Double IPA, says Mark. In this new style of northern New England IPA’s, it is a bright and slightly fruity IPA with a low and bitterness but lots of hop flavor. Mark got a Crowler of it to go.

 

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Citra was on again as well, this seems like one of their flagship beers. Everyone enjoyed this beer, citrus and hoppy pale ale.

 

Mosaic – 5.1%
Hoppy, piney pale ale, a powerful taste. We enjoyed this, but not as much as some of the other beers, Megan was not a big fan. Exclusively dry hopped with Mosaic hops.

 

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Crowbar was on again as well. Everyone enjoyed this beer as well. Smooth and a bit roasty, fairly standard porter, not quite as flavorful as Enamored.

 

Balefire on again as well. Again, we all enjoyed this. Seemed slightly more favorable than Mosaic. Flavorful IPA, piney and hopped with Simcoe and Centennial.

 

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We generally liked all the beers. Mark is excited to have a place like this close by. Jenaya usually doesn’t like IPA’s, but she did like these. Ryan agreed none of the beers were terrible, quite a compliment from him.

 

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They have 3 tables that can seat 6 people and a bar that seats about 12.

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You can see some of the tanks and brewing equipment through the windows

 

 

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Shirts for sale

 

Update Spring 2016:

We have visited quite a few more times since this original post. The bad news is they have pretty much phased out the 32 oz Crowler can to go, which is too bad, Mark liked those. The good news is they have been canning all their beers in 16oz cans, so you can still get every beer they make to go in cans, 4 packs or single cans.

Their strong point seems to be their hop forward, New England style IPA’s. They are currently releasing a very delicious IPA called Daybreak about once a month that Mark highly recommends. Citra is still being released regularly and is still quite tasty and flavorful. They have released a bunch of other new beers that are all worth going in to sample.

There have been several limited bottle releases in the past year. Brett Raspbeerience was a sour ale brewed with raspberry’s and brett yeast, if you couldn’t tell from the name. A good, tart beer with a raspberry flavor and light body.

Nefarious was a flavorful and strong russian imperial stout, and Authenticity was a barrel aged saison fermented with wine yeast, we still have our bottle of this. They have several more specialty bottle releases planned for this year, with varying wild yeast strains and several different barrel aged beers set to be released.

 

Want to Visit?

Right now they are opened:

Thursday 4 -7

Friday and Saturday 12 -7

Check their facebook page for the most current hours

Border Brewery, Salem, NH

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On a recent Sunday afternoon we stopped at Border Brewery in Salem, NH. They are a home brew supply store and brewery. They have a decent size tasting room considering they are inside a store. They have taken their home brewing pro and have been pouring beers since 2012.

 

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Our tasting:

PB Stout – 7.2%
A subtle peanut butter flavor, more nutty than sweat and creamy. A good smooth stout, good aroma, reminds Megan of a chocolate shop. This was Megan’s favorite.

Pecan – 5.7%
Light body, sweet, hint of caramel. Reminds Megan of pecan brittle.

 

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Porter – 5.9%
Mark thought it was a good, well made porter. Megan thought it was too plain, fairly standard.

 

Ambah – 5.9%
Just ok, not too flavorful, a little bland.

 

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West IPA – 9.2%
Fairly smooth up front, hoppy second taste. Mark thought there was a good balance of flavors, good taste for a 9.2% IPA.

 

IPA – 7.2%
Good IPA, flavorful, a little hoppier than the West IPA, but good. Megan didn’t like either IPA.

 

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Sticky Paw Brown – 6.5%
A decent brown, pretty flavorful, good for a brown.

 

Belgian Strong – 8.3%
Interesting Belgian flavor, semi heavy flavor and taste light in color but not in flavor. Mark thought it was good, Megan did not like the heavy Belgian flavor.

 

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Vanilla Bourbon Oak Stout – 7.2%
Vanilla taste is good, nice stout base, bourbon oak adds flavor but is not overpowering, as bourbon flavors often are.

 

ESB – 3.7%
Bitter taste but light in body. Ok flavor, not our favorite though.

 

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They have 3 tables made from barrels with glass tops that 3 or 4 people can sit around, a bar with space for 6 people and a standing bar along the side wall.

 

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They were friendly when we came in, we ordered 2 sample trays so we could try all 10 beers, and sat at one of the barrel tables. They didn’t interact with us much until we were done and ready to leave.

 

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Home brew supplies.

 

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Giant balloon man in the home brew side.

 

Want to Visit?

Wednesday – Friday: 12 – 6:30

Saturday and Sunday: 12 – 5

 

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Cape Cod Brewing Company

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We visited Cape Cod Beer last month with Sam, her boyfriend Dustin, and our friend Andrea. We had been there before, but it had been quite some time.

 They opened in 2004. We were there a few years ago and they have expanded their tasting area since then. They produced about 5,000 barrels in 2012.

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 They have 4 year round beers. The Red, Porter, IPA, and Beach Blonde Ale, as well as a few seasonals.

 

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There are 3 bar area’s and 2 tasting area’s. It was a little confusing when we walked in because it was busy and there were a lot of people around. You also walk into the gift shop area. Eventually we figured out we could go into the back area and order samples there and sit at a picnic table.

 

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When we were their they had 8 beers on tap. You can get five 3oz samples for $5.

 

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They give you these little coins when you pay, so each time you want a sample you go back up and get a nice cold pour.

 

Beach Blonde Ale
Mark, Megan, Andrea, and Sam all liked this beer. It was very light with a hint of fruit. Dustin thought it tasted like a Coors. This is the only beer Andrea liked, she usually drinks just Bud Light.

 

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Andrea and Megan

 

Harvest
Megan thought this had a good flavor with a slight spice. Mark thought it was a little light for a harvest but liked it. Sam and Andrea both thought it was too flavorful for them. Dustin would drink a pint of this but wouldn’t search it out.

 

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Dunkel Weizen
Spicy, reminded Megan of Christmas, maybe nutmeg or spruce tips.

 

Red
Mark liked it, a fairly typical Red. Megan actually liked it and she is usually not a fan of Reds.

 

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Farmhouse Saison
Mark, Megan and Dustin all liked it. Light, flavorful, good saison. Sam thought the flavor was slightly weird.

 

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Dustin, deep in thought, thinking about the beer

 

Porter
Megan liked it, good flavor, not too heavy. Sam actually liked it. She got a maple syrup taste first. She thought it taste better than it looked, she liked the flavor but it wasn’t familiar to her.

 

Pale Ale
Dustin said ‘not bad’ but it had a weird after taste. Sam was not a fan.

 

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above the tasting room

 

IPA
Hoppy, fairly straightforward ipa, good taste.

 

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Back room where we were sitting

 

There were kids running around and being a little noisy. It was kind of distracting and annoying. Not the breweries fault, the parents weren’t paying attention. As we mentioned, it was a rainy day on the Cape so people were looking for something indoors to do.

 

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The have a food truck outside during the summer months. It is run by local teenagers, who were looking for a job before they started the food truck. It was not open when we visited, but we heard good things about it.

 

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Funny shirt

 

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Good plan

 

They have a big gift shop with all kinds of merchandise.

 

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Want to visit? Retail Hours:

Weekdays (M- F): 10am to 6pm
Saturdays:  11 am to 3 pm
Sundays: CLOSED
Guided Tours: Once daily at 11am

Please note that they stop selling samples about  30 minutes prior to close and stop selling pints about 15 minutes prior to close.

Stoneface Brewing Company, Newington NH

IMG_1229A few weekends ago, we ventured over to Stoneface Brewing Company, located in Newington, New Hampshire. They have a very convenient location for travelers heading up north- right off route 16 at exit 4! They are located in a good sized-warehouse space with room to grow!IMG_1228

While we were there, we enjoyed trying a few beers, and learned about Stoneface (what they are doing and planning on doing) from the Brewer himself! The brewer went to school at the University of New Hampshire, so he knows the area well. For upcoming beers, they plan on making a sour summer style beer (should be coming out soon, if not already!) and a Russian Imperial Stout around October.

IMG_1231Our tasting: IMG_1230
Pale Ale: pretty hoppy 5.6%. Very hoppy upfront, with a smooth ending.

IPA: 7.2% surprisingly smooth, not bitter at all. Sweeter than expected, especially for 7.2%, a more floral hop taste This is their most popular beer.

India Red Rye: very good, 5.5%. Megan’s favorite of the three. Wasn’t what she expected for it based on it being both a red and a rye.

If you want to try Stoneface’s beer, but can’t make it for a tasting while they are open, you can head to a local bar. They have their beer available at many local bars, including Gaslight in Portsmouth. Gaslight goes through about 11 kegs/week of their beer du to having it at all four of their bars. 11 kegs!! Stoneface Brewing has also been pairing up with local establishments for “Meet the Brewer Pint Nights,” which proves to be helping business.

IMG_1234They have such a cool growler filler- and there is one other of this kind in New England! It first fills the growler with CO2, which helps the beer preserve it’s flavor and aromas. Oxygen+beer=bad. To use this machine, they turn a lever, it fills up with CO2 and then the beer of your choice!

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love their logo!

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what we went home with- IPA and India Red Rye

 

Update February 2015:

This has become one of our favorite breweries in the Seacoast area. Stoneface IPA is one of Mark’s favorite beers, he tries to introduce it to as many people as possible. They have done some work to the facility and have added more tanks so they can keep up with the demand.

We did get to try the Stoneface Summer Vice as well. It was interesting, and tasty, a sour beer. They had 2 types of syrup to add to it that totally changed the flavor of the beer. Cut the sour and made it more sweet.

This winter they have had a Porter available as well. At only 5%, this is a very smooth and drinkable.

 

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Special bottle releases

 

They did their first limited bottle release in late October, I think, of Hopulization, a Double IPA. They followed this with a Russian Imperial Stout in November, and another round of Hopulization in January 2015.

 

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Hopulization – DIPA – 8.9%
Smells of hops. A malt flavor base with lots of hoppy after flavors. Definitely a strong, hoppy beer. Good beer, and definitely worth trying if you can, but not quite as good as the regular IPA.

 

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Russian Imperial Stout – 9.5
It’s been a while since we had a taste, we are holding onto the bottle for something special, I guess. They have bourbon barrels that they are aging another batch in, hopefully we get our hands on some of that, too.

 

Want to Visit?

Hours have expanded significantly since first opening

Monday – Friday: 12 – 7

Saturday: 12 – 4

As always, just Facebook for the most up to date info.