New England Distilling, Portland, ME

 

IMG_1243

 

New England Distilling is located in Portland, ME. This was our first stop on our most recent trip to Portland. We went up with Mark’s brother Jason and his fiancée Maureen.

 

IMG_1236

New England Distilling was started in 2011 and in 2012 started releasing Gin, Rum and Rye Whiskey. They are working on a Bourbon Whiskey now, but that will not be ready for at least a year and a half.

IMG_1205

 

Ned is the owner and distiller at New England Distilling, NED for short. He is a 6th generation distiller with family history in distilling going back 150 years to Sherwood Whiskey being made in Maryland.

 

IMG_1238

Original Sherwood Whiskey bottle…

 

IMG_1239

with a prescription on the back! This was used during Prohibition.

 

IMG_1204

Old pictures and bottle from the family history.

IMG_1194

 

IMG_1213

Matt explaining the distilling process

 

The whiskey and gin are both grain based, and are first made into a distillers beer. They take special care in this process, it is where the flavor starts. The rum is made from a sugar water base.

IMG_1214

Rum fermenting

 

Each batch size is about 450 – 500 gallons. They ferment on the grains, which is not done while making beer because it can spoil or alter the flavor.

 

IMG_1215

Grain shaker machine

 

They give all the spent grains to a local farmer to feed the cows.

 

The still they use is not a super high efficient still, but it keeps more of the flavor.

 

IMG_1211

They have 2 copper stills

 

They run the whiskey and rum through the still 2 times at different temperatures. They run the gin through a third time with extra botanicals added for flavor.

 

IMG_1217

 

They use charred, white American oak barrels. They can only use them once, by law, to make American whiskey. A lot of the flavor comes from the barrel, and the charring in particular. The charring helps to release natural flavors and sugars from the wood.

 

They are considering making a non-American style whiskey so they don’t have to turn over barrels so quickly.

 

IMG_1219

Maureen tasting the rum

 

Eight Bells Rum
This is a New England style rum. It starts with molasses, instead of sugar cane which is used in Caribbean rums. The rum is aged in the barrels for 22 months.

The name Eight Bells comes from the bells rung during a duty period upon a ship. The bell was run at every half hour interval for a four hour duty period. Once the eighth bell pattern was complete, your duty was. End of duty meant time for your rum portion!

IMG_1223

 

The Eight Bells logo is a Winslow Homer painting. They were given permission to use it from the Museum of Art in Portland.

 

IMG_1222

 

Gunpowder Rye Whiskey
This is a Maryland style rye whiskey, there is no corn used to make this.

 

IMG_1230

It is aged in the barrels for 12 – 15 months in the smaller barrels, 2 years in the 53 gallon barrels.

 

IMG_1235

Grains in the whiskey

 

IMG_1228

Mark and Megan tasting

 

 

Ingenium Gin
The Gin has a floral smell and a floral taste, along with the gin taste. Good balances of flavor, not too much juniper. Both Jason and Megan purchased a bottle of gin!

IMG_1233

Gin

 

IMG_1227

Jason and Maureen having fun

 

 

IMG_1240

Hand bottling ‘machine’

 

IMG_1192They have a lot of stuff in their little gift shop.

IMG_1191

IMG_1190

Candle holder made from wine barrel staves

 

IMG_1246
Want to visit?

 

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 12-4
Saturday 10-4
Tours on the hour

Check out their facebook page for more information!

Other places we have visited in Portland:

Urban Farm Fermentory

Shipyard Brewing Company

Advertisements

Newport Storm Brewery and Thomas Tew Rum

Rhode Island has been added to the list of states we are visiting now. We recently went to a few places with Megan’s sister Samantha and her boyfriend Dustin. Our first visit was to the Son’s of Liberty Spirits Company. After we finished there, we went to our second stop- Newport Storm Brewery in Newport, RI. They are also the producer of Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum, which is available for tasting as well.

IMG_3472

When you enter, you decide which tasting you would like to do, and after paying, can hop over to the bar for a tasting. If you are lucky enough, there may be a tour starting (3pm, but see website and facebook for additional times). The tour is free. If you aren’t there during a tour time, and want to learn a bit about how the brewery started, you can go on a self-guided tour. Grab one of your tastes and head up the staircase!

Who is Newport Storm?
Four friends decided in college that they wanted to start a brewery, so they spent their college years studying science and ‘sampling’ plenty of the future competitions product. They opened their brewery in 1999 in a 2500 square foot facility in Middletown, RI. They released their first beer, Hurricane Amber Ale in July of 1999. In 2002 they expanded their space by an additional 1000 square feet. In 2006 they started Newport Distilling Company to create Thomas Tew Rum. In 2010 they built their brand new facility, where they currently operate out of, and increased their space to 8000 square feet. They have released over 30 different beers and continue to create new an innovative beers, and the same four friends continue to run the brewery.

IMG_3448

Megan, Mark, Dustin, and Sam at the brewery.

IMG_3397

 

IMG_3399

what’s on draft?

For our tasting, we each were able to try four beers.
Our tasting:

Hurricane Amber Ale – 5.2%
Good amber, tasty, drinkable. Fairly typical for an amber. This was the original Newport Storm.

 

Winter Porter – 6.1%
Flavorful but very drinkable. It is described as a ‘rich, dark Porter style ale’ which is what we were thinking. Everyone liked this beer.

 

IMG_3405

Tasting Card

 

 

India Point Ale – 6.5%
Smells super hoppy, tastes pretty hoppy but well balanced. Megan said ‘not bad’.

 

R.I.P.umpkin – 6.7%
Good pumpkin beer, better than most. Good balance of pumpkin, beer, and spices. They used locally grow pumpkins and have about 3 pounds of pumpkin in each keg.

 

IMG_3408

 

Cyclone Yoko
Really good flavor, a dark ale with roasted coconut undertones. Good balance and flavor, we bought a few of these.

 

infRIngement
Strong, barrel aged flavor, heavy and dark. This was the product of years of test brewing, barrel aging a Russian Imperial Stout in the Thomas Tew rum barrels for 5 months.

 

IMG_3462
Personalized beer for Mark! Also, one of their past seasonal beers

 

IMG_3458

Growlers to fill.

 

 

IMG_3470

The only sell one type of rum, Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum. In order to make it into a real tasting ($9), they have you try the rum in 3 different stages.

 

Thomas Tew white raw rum is the unadulterated spirit right off the still and proofed to a typical bottle strength. This is not barrel aged, tastes a little harsh with not much flavor.

 

IMG_3401

 

Thomas Tew Cask Strength Rum is the unproofed rum from right out of the barrel. It is aged for 2 years and is a strong or harsh tasting coming in  at 108 proof.

 

Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum is the distillery’s signature spirit. This has a much better, full flavored rum that is smooth to sip. This comes in at 84 proof.

 

IMG_3445

Plenty of shirts for sale

 

IMG_3456

Some look like this.

 

IMG_3453

Fun soap, made from their beer!

 

Want to visit?

Tours and Tastings…
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday: open 12-5pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: open 12-6pm

Want to try their beer… for free? Look on their Facebook page for Fridays@Six!

Sea Hagg Distillery, Hampton NH

I had wanted to hold off on writing this entry until their Strawberry Rum was out… Mark suggested that we go back for their Strawberry Rum and add to our information then, but it isn’t ready yet and I’m getting antsy! I will add to this entry once we are able to pick some up.

picstitch (28)

sign out front

picstitch (37)Display out by their tasting bar

picstitch (39)Rug in the back room (the distillery area)

We visited Sea Hagg Distillery, located in Hampton NH, as part of the Granite State Growler Tour. Sea Hagg Distillery was the only distillery on the tour.

picstitch (38)When we entered Sea Hagg Distillery, we were greeted by Ron with a delicious mixed shot-sized drink- mango lemonade mixed with their blueberry rum. Really good! Not too sweet, but a nice summer-y drink! After another sample, this time Amber Rum, we went out back to see the distillery and hear about the company.

picstitch (31)picstitch (32)their traditional copper alembic pot still

Sea Hagg Distillery is considered to be a craft distillery, producing small batch artisan spirits that are made from start to finish on site. Sea Hagg Distillery produces both rum and fruit brandy, as well as eau-de-vie. All of their products are made using either fruit from local farmers or sugarcane molasses grown in the USA.

Did you know that producing rum and other spirits used to be labeled as a “women’s job”? Well, Sea Hagg Distillery is taking that label and running with it- it is women owned and operated. The idea of Sea Hagg Distillery was created while sitting on the beach in the Caribbean. At first, the idea was to import Caribbean rum and blend and bottle in NH. Once the history of rum and New Hampshire was looked into, the decision to make rum instead was decided upon.

picstitch (29)

Products:

They import 4000 pound totes of Louisiana molasses to make their rum! A traditional Colonial rum distilled in the time it took to travel via ox cart from the distillery to the tavern.

Sea Hagg Silver Rum: small batch, made from US grown sugar cane molasses. Sea Hagg’s rum is distilled in a traditional copper alembic pot still, barrel aged and bottled by hand.

Blueberry Rum: contains one pound of blueberries per container!!! They went through 5000 pounds of blueberries last year!

Amber Rum: a true colonial style rum. Colonial style rum was made in the areas between Portsmouth and Newport (RI). 80 proof, aged 5 months. Had a slight oak and whiskey flavor but was very smooth.

Strawberry Rum: when we tried it, it was 60 proof but would grow to be 80. Went down smooth and easy. The strawberries are from a local farm, Apple Crest. Can’t wait to pick up a bottle when they are all labeled! I think it would go great in many drinks, but also over ice.

picstitch (35)picstitch (34)picstitch (40)picstitch (41)

Poitin: Irish moonshine. All grain style. When we tried it, we tried it straight from the barrel. It was 120 proof at the time, they will bottle it at 90 proof.

picstitch (42)Peach eau-de-vie: Peach, un-aged brandy. Sea Hagg Distillery enjoys working with seasonal fruits.

Sea Hagg Distillery will also have a Spiced Rum coming out this fall!

picstitch (43)

Want to visit?

Complimentary Tastings, Tours, and Sales:

Hours of Operation:

Wednesday – Friday; 12:00pm – 6:00pm.

Saturday; 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Sundays (Holidays); 12:00pm-4:00pm

picstitch (36)

picstitch (30)

 

Why’s the rum gone?!

Sea Hagg Distillery- coming soon!

On our visit with Granite State Growler Tours, we visited the Sea Hagg Distillery, located in Hampton, NH. I am waiting to write my post about Sea Hagg Distillery until they come out with their… Strawberry Rum. Yes, you read that right- strawberry rum. They have the labels, and it should be out next week. Mark suggested I wait, so we can talk about how delicious it is (we tried it on the tour, but… ok, we just really want a bottle!). Once that bottle is in my hands, and I have had a drink… or two… you will be gifted with a post about how awesome Sea Hagg Distillery is!

Granite State Growler Tours, LLC

Mark and I recently went on a Granite State Growler Tour.

picstitchGreta the Growler Getta, aka the tour bus

The tour currently leaves from Hampton, NH. Once you step on board “Greta the Growler Getta,” you are brought to 2-3 different breweries as well as a distillery and a great craft beer store. You are provided with fun facts about the Seacoast New Hampshire area, a delicious homemade pretzel, a cooler full of water, and a cooler to hold any growlers you may purchase along the way. Why pay to do a Granite State Growler Tour? How else can you visit multiple breweries and/or distilleries in the same day (without having a DD),  get some great discounts (more on that later), learn some fun facts about the history of beer in New Hampshire, and maybe make some new friends.  You also are able to interact with many of the brewers, and get special attention from them due to the tour occurring when most of the breweries are closed to the public.  Depending on what they are working on, you also might have the option to try something new, that is still in the works or not bottled yet for public consumption. It was great to have a basically care free day, with the ability to make many visits without having to worry about one of us driving.

We went on the “Sunday Driver” tour, which consisted of visits to: Earth Eagle Brewings (Portsmouth NH), Sea Hagg Distillery (Hampton NH), Top Shelf Brews (Hampton NH) and Blue Lobster Brewing Company (Hampton NH).  When we climbed onto the bus, we filled out waivers, and were given “Tasting Notes” (to keep track of any notable beers- see below),picstitch (4)

star stickers (to label growlers), a coupon to use on a future visit to Top Shelf Brews, and a homemade pretzel (made with Blue Lobster- Excess Is Not Rebellion IPA). We were also notified that if we went to Community Oven (also in Hampton, where the tour begins and ends), we could purchase a 20oz beer for the price of a 16oz beer after the tour. The tour started with introductions- we found out that David (owner and driver) and Mark (partner and tour guide) have known each other since third grade!

picstitch (1)yummy, homemade pretzel!

Oh! I almost forgot- you also receive a name tag at the beginning of the tour, to not only make sure you stay with the group, but to guarantee any of the stops know you are with the tour for any additional discounts, or special access.

IMG_3254[1]

Mark, the tour guide, really knows his history. He told us a lot of great information about the area, both beer history and otherwise. Although Mark (the boyfriend and co-author of this blog) and I did not know a lot of the area’s history prior to, we also feel that those familiar with the area will enjoy it as well- I shared some of the stories with co-workers and they hadn’t heard the stories before.

Did you know that Portsmouth is the third oldest establishment in the United States (after Jamestown and Plymouth of course!). Things were different in Portsmouth from the beginning, as they came to reap the benefits of the new world, and immediately began to brew beer from their surroundings. Spruce tips, strawberries and apples were all used to make beer, basically whatever they could get their hands on. Settled in 1630, in 1642 a tavern was established. Portsmouth was allowed to have 6 taverns, although most towns were strictly limited to 2.  Only upstanding individuals were allowed to operate taverns, and they had to pledge to not serve to Native Americans or slaves. I would love to share some more of their stories now- but I want you to have something other than delicious beer and rum to look forward to! picstitch (12)

Mark, our tour guide

The stops we made:

Earth Eagle Brewings: Located in Portsmouth, NH, also runs a home brewing store (A&G Homebrew Supply), which we had a tour of and received some great information about the brewing process in. They operate a one barrel brewery, so the beers are always changing and never quite the same. They make a type of beer I was not familiar with until now, gruits, which is beer made without hops.  See my post about Earth Eagle Brewings here!

Sea Hagg Distillery: Located in Hampton, NH creates true, colonial style rum.  It was started by a couple who thought of the idea while on vacation in the Caribbean. Rum is a true New Hampshire item, as it was written in every town budget in the 17th and 18th century. See my post about Sea Hagg Distillery here!

Top Shelf Brews: Located in Hampton, NH is a craft brew store. One of their biggest draws is that they do mixed six-packs. Mark and I bought a mixed four-pack, of four beers and ciders we hadn’t tried before but looked interesting. Great store to go to find a new craft beer, or that hard to find beer.

Blue Lobster Brewing Company: also located in Hampton, NH was started as a retirement hobby and turned into a retirement job.  They feature small batch specialty brews. See more in my post about Blue Lobster Brewing Company here!

*****

One of the great things about Granite State Growler Tour is that they are willing to go the extra mile, and do private events of any location. Both David and Mark are interested in beer, and like making new connections as well as (on their own time) trying new beer. Who knows? Maybe we will join them on a future tour, elsewhere. to cross other breweries or wineries off our list!

*****

Mark and I purchased glasses at each stop, as well as a glass koosie at Sea Hagg.

picstitch (2)

I also won a glass on the tour!picstitch (5)

We also went home with a growler of Sage Goose from Earth Eagle Brewings. Thank you to Granite State Growler Tours for keeping it cold for us in the cooler while we enjoyed the rest of the tour!

picstitch (3)The sticker on the Sage Goose top is the star sticker we were given at the beginning of the tour- so we could mark the growlers we took home.

*****

Another great thing, is that the tour begins and ends outside of the Community Oven, located in Hampton NH. The Community Oven will hold a table for any in the tour that would like to continue drinking or want something to eat after the tour. David happened to have a coupon for a pizza, so Mark and I couldn’t argue about it- we had to try out The Community Oven!

picstitch (6)Mark outside of the Community Oven

picstitch (11)Their extensive beer list!

picstitch (10)

picstitch (7)Our yummy, free pizza!!

picstitch (9)Delicious, dry rub wings!

*****

Want to go on a Granite State Growler Tour?

Saturday Beer Run

Begins at 11:00am and returns around 4pm.

Stops include:

Sea Hagg Distillery

Throwback Brewery

Blue Lobster Brewing

Earth Eagle Brewings

Venues and times are subject to change even during the tour

Sunday Driver

Begins at 11:30am and returns around 3pm.

Stops include:

Earth Eagle Brewings

Blue Lobster Brewing

Sea Hagg Distillery

Venues and times are subject to change even during the tour

Go here to register for a tour!

Upcoming Events I am looking forward to!

Very exciting events approaching- which means more posts!

GSGT logo CMYK 2Cbeer small

Soon, I will be going on a very exciting bus, named “Greta the Growler Getta.” Greta is the Granite State Growler Tours tour bus. The tour bus brings you to 3-4 breweries in the Portsmouth/Hampton area (Seacoast area of New Hampshire), as well as a local rum distillery.  Check out their facebook page for updates. I will soon be posting on the tour bus, as well as the breweries and distillery. 🙂

logo

In September, we will be attending the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival, located in West Dover, Vermont. The festival a weekend long (September 20-22), although we will attend for a day. It is $26pp, which includes a tote bag, wine glass and tastes.

Weekend Schedule:

Friday September 20

Village of Wilmington

5:00-8:00 pm Village Stroll, Wine Tasting Seminars and Valley Chefs Soup Contest

Saturday September 21

Mount Snow Resort

11:00- 5:00 Gates Open Grand Tasting

Enjoy  sampling dozens of Vermont’s finest wines, spirits, cheeses and farm-fresh products.

Crafts, artisans and more.

11:00-5:00 Musical Entertainment

11:00- 5:00 Tasting Seminars, Cooking Demonstrations from Junior Iron Chefs, Wine Making     Demonstrations,  Farm Fresh demonstrations and seminars.

Sunday September 22

8:30 AM Pancake Breakfast

11:00 Gates Open Grand Tasting

Enjoy  sampling dozens of Vermont’s finest wines, spirits, cheeses and farm-fresh products.

Crafts, artisans and more.

11:00-4:00 Musical Entertainment

11:00- 4:00 Tasting Seminars, Cooking Demonstrations from Junior Iron Chefs, Wine Making     Demonstrations,  Farm Fresh demonstrations and seminars.

Sounds like it will be a great event! I can’t wait to go! Look for my review the following week. 

Powderkeg Beer and Chili Fest

Our last event that we have planned is The 2nd Annual Exeter Powder Keg Beer & Chili Festival, in Exeter NH. It is happening Saturday, October 5th. The festival will feature beer for all tastes, as well as chili from local restaurants. There will also be live music all day, Also nearby is the 14th Annual Fall Festival, featuring local crafters, vendors and street entertainment. The Powder Keg Beer & Chili Festival has over 53 different breweries attending! Many I have had the pleasure of tasting, but many I have not. Look here for the complete list. More interested in the chili? Look here to see who will be there- I already see a lot of great restaurants I know and love!

General Admission tickets are $30 ($35 after Sept. 22nd) and include a Exeter Powder Keg Beer & Chili Fest souvenir tasting glass, 8 beer sample tickets, 5 chili sample tickets and live entertainment. I can’t wait to go and try some new beer and chili!

Are you going to any of these events? The Granite State Growler Tour will be great, I will be able to cross off a few breweries off of my list! I also think the idea of taking a bus is not only a safe way to go, but a fun way to go. I have been at other breweries when a tour stops in, and they always look like they are having a ton of fun. Although I won’t technically be crossing off any breweries or wineries off of my list by attending the 6th Annual Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival or the 2nd Annual Exeter Powder Keg Beer & Chili Festival, both events should be both fun and educational. I also like meeting the winery and brewery representatives at another place than their winery or brewery, because it can help you to determine when you should visit based on what is going on at the respective place, what they are currently working on, etc. Very exciting and fun events up ahead!