Mystic Brewery, Chelsea, MA

We recently visited Mystic Brewery with Megan’s sister Sam and Sam’s boyfriend Dustin. We have only had 1 beer from Mystic before, it as good, and we’ll get into that later.

 

 

Mystic is located in Chelsea, MA and have their own parking lot, which is always a plus, especially in a city. According to their website:

Mystic Brewery is a brewery specializing in farmhouse-style
ales
utilizing locally sourced yeast and other ingredients. Drawing on historical methods, our increased focus on fermentation allows us to impart a sense of unique
New England terroir into all of our beer.

 

 

They have a pretty big bar and a big tasting room with picnic tables and plenty of standing room. They serve flights of 4 beers, full pours, and have bottles for consumption on premise. Mark got a flight, Sam and Dustin shared a flight, and Megan got a sample and full pour.

 

Flare – ipa     7%
Supposed to be a ‘juicy, cloudy’ ipa. It had an odd bitterness, not very juicy and not quite enough body to it.

 

Saison Renaud     6.5%
A fairly basic Saison, peppery flavor from the saison yeast.

 

 

Aperture – belgian white    5%
Light, bright, good fairly standard belgian white.

 

Mosaic Position – dipa    8.4%
Smells super hoppy, pretty smooth, cloudy, not quite as hoppy as it smells but pretty tasty.

 

Voltage – ipa     7%
The best ipa Mark thought. Cloudy, juicy, not that much body to it, maybe they don’t use as many oats in their neipa’s,  but a good beer.

 

 

Wild Field Beer – saison with Brett
Megan liked this beer, good thing because she got a full pour of it! Mark was hoping for a little more sourness from it, it had more of a funky tartness, typical of Brett.

 

 

We had a little trouble deciding what to order, with flights, full pours and bottles available. Mark wanted to try the ipa’s, but overall they were just ok. Since they focus farmhouse styles and have some other styles, maybe we should have tried some of their other beers. A lot of the bottles they had available sounded interesting, but we were both driving so we could not indulge too much.

 

 

 

There is a lot of rustic wood and some really big beams
that give the tasting room a cool vibe.

 

 

We drank this bottle of Entropy at home, Megan got it as a Christmas gift. Bottled in 2014, it is uncarbonated, on purpose, a”still” ale, aged in French and American oak, and was 14.2% !

This is the most complicated beer Mystic Brewery makes. entropy is fermented in four stages, with four different yeasts. A house Trappist strain “brings out earthiness and dark fruit, amplified and rounded by a French white wine yeast.” A six-month fermentation with Sherry yeast follows, and the beer is completed with an English barleywine yeast.

It had a definite oaky flavor, with a hint of red wine. That’s what we tasted, a very complicated flavor  with scents of vanilla, sherry and almonds.

 

Hours

Monday – Saturday: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 to 7:00

 

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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

Orono Brewing Company, Orono, ME

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This was the last place we visited on our recent Maine trip with Amanda. Orono Brewing Company is located right in downtown Orono, ME. They have not been open that long, only since late in late 2014. They have an intriguing tap list, and a nice little place to visit and taste some beers.

 

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We ordered 2 sample paddles to share between
the 3 of us, they were $7 for five 5oz beers.

 

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White Nitro Cream Ale (nitro) – 5%
Definite cream taste and mouthfeel. Light, easy drinking, with a light malt flavor. Nothing stands out, but a good beer.

 

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Megan and Amanda

 

Golden Grave Witbier – 5.1%
Classic Belgian flavor, citrus and chamomile stand out with hints of coriander. Amanda thought it was ‘aromatic tasting’, Megan thought it was a really good witbier.

 

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Tap Into Summer Blonde Ale – 5%
Smells of grapefruit, light in body. Mark liked it, nice balance of hops, slightly fruity, really good for a summer beer. Megan thought it was too hoppy. El dorado, Citra and Mosaic in the dry hop. A collaboration beer with Geaghans Brew Pub, Black Bear, and Penobscot Bay Brewing.

 

Dream Job Session Pale – 4.7%
Fairly light in body, more malty than expected, a touch bitter. In collaboration with Central Street Farmhouse.

 

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Lightning Tree IPA – 6.8%
Really good, piney and citrus with a bitter aftertaste. Mark really liked it, too hoppy for Megan and Amanda.

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Amanda’s ‘too hoppy for me’ face

 

Woodmans Red Ale (nitro) – 6.1%
‘Smooth, mellow and nicely malty. Great creamy mouthfeel’. Yup, they said it best. Megan thought it had a malty taste, Amanda said roasty or toasty, they described it as ‘distinctly biscuity malt’, so they were both kind of right.

 

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Existential Crisis Hibiscus Saison – 5%
Interesting, flavorful taste upfront with saisony second taste, ‘spicy and dry’ from the yeast strains. Megan’s favorite.

 

Siberia Farms Saison – 5.8%
Much lighter, less complex saison flavor, spicy and dry, but not as much as the previous beer, spicy aftertaste.

 

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Habanero Lemon IPA – 6.5%
Lemon, IPA, Habenero sequence. IPA dominates, surprisingly well balanced for the ingredients involved. Drinkable, hoppy, hint of spice is tamed down by lemon and hops.

 

Amorica American Stout – 7.3%
Mark thought it was a really good stout. Dark, roasty, full bodied. Roasted malt smell and taste, creamy mouthfeel. Megan said it was not bitter so it made it feel lighter.

 

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They have a small Draught Room menu, we ordered Brewery Grain Soft pretzels that came with a spicy IPA mustard, they were pretty tasty.

 

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If you want a full meal, they have either a close association or partnership with Woodman’s Bar and Grill, which is right across the street. They usually have all of Orono Brewing Company’s beer on tap. They open at 4pm for dinner and stay open late for drinks.

 

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They have a nice little Draught Room, as they call it. There are a hand full of tables and some space at the bar for tasting beers.

 

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The place has a nice feel to it. A lot of wood and metal, sort of mixing
rustic and modern design, we liked it.

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This was probably our favorite place we have visited up in the Bangor/ Orono area. We liked most of the beers, they had plenty of new and unique styles and were really experimenting with flavors and taste combo’s.

 

 

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Want to visit?
Hours of operation

Monday – Wednesday: 3pm-10pm
Thursday and Friday: 3pm-12am
Saturday: 12pm-12am
Sunday: 12pm-7pm

As always, check their website or Facebook for the
most up to date information about them.

Geaghan Brothers Pub and Craft Brewery, Bangor, ME

Atlantic Brewing Company, Bar Harbor, ME

Bar Harbor Cellars, Bar Harbor, ME

Bar Harbor Brewing Company, Bar Harbor, ME

Visit #90! Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME

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Our third stop on our most recent trip through Portland with Jason and Maureen was Allagash Brewing. They are right across the street from Bissel Brothers, Foundation, and Austin Street Brewing or should we say they all moved in right across the street from Allagash.

 

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If you want to go for a tour, you need to book it ahead of time. The tours book up quickly, and they try to keep them a fair size- so everyone can see and hear the tour guide. The tour is free, but you have to plan ahead. We booked our tour about two weeks in advance, and booked it for four people- not yet knowing who the other two people would be! We booked for the only time slot that had spots for four people, knowing we would have company. We didn’t want the others to not be able to go. The tour includes a private tasting as well.

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Cool bar in the tap room

 

If you find that you aren’t able to book a tour, you can go to their tasting room and try some there! We were unaware that they had a tap room prior to our visit, but now know we can go anytime we are in the area!

 

Our tour guide was Thadius, a local college student, which he reminded us of several times. His fun loving personality made the tour entertaining but he was also quite knowledgeable about the brewery and was able to answer questions people had.

 

We learned a lot about Allagash while on the tour. They told us what makes them special and different, not just the typical story on how beer is made, so we liked that. We learned that 80% of what they produce is Allagash White. They are the 32nd largest brewery in the US, and still a craft brewery. Their biggest markets are LA, then Chicago and Boston.

 

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They operate a 70 barrel system right now. They expanded 2 years ago, and now they are planning to add more fermenters.

This is inside of the newest part of the brewery. This was the old exterior wall, and they left the old Allagash Brewing Company sign up.

They have a custom BrauKon system for producing as much White and Saison as they can.

 

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This newer system is more computerized, but you still need the brewer to check on things and know how to work the system. They brew 5 days a week, 24 hours a day. They have 15 brewers and over 80 employees.
How are they working to be even more eco-friendly?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
*Their spent grain goes to a local farmer, Norm, to feed to his cows.
*They also use steam energy.
*Just last year, they added a beehive on premise to use the honey in the beer. They are using the most local honey they can, and are helping the honey bee population! Another cool fact about the honey- their Accountant is the bee keeper!
*They have the least water usage of breweries, and use local water coming from Sebago Lake (just over 10miles away)

 

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Old system with Thadius

 

They still use an old 15 barrel system that Rob Tod started with back in 1995. They use this older system for their more experimental brews.

 

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They use Microstar kegs, a co-op program so when they ship full kegs to somewhere like LA, a local brewery reuses instead of shipping empty kegs back to Maine, which not only makes it easier for them, but also is more eco-friendly.

Fun fact- about 60% of their production is put into kegs. This is a lot for a brewery of this size.

 

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barrels in their barrel room. Each has the beer’s name or a code name on it.

 

An interesting sounding beer we heard about in the barrel room was the Koelschip series. The Koelschip series are sour and/or funky beers. They use wild yeast to get the sour flavor, and it takes 3-4 years to actively ferment. Megan really likes sour beers, so we will be on the lookout for any Koelschip series releases!

 

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The oldest barrel we saw.

 

These barrels were in a separate temperature controlled building to age.

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large barrels and fermenting beer

 

Allagash has a pilot system in which employees can submit recipes for brewing. Like their Saison? You can thank an employee for that! The Saison is not their first new year round beer in just about twelve years.

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a little view into how large they actually are…

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empty barrels, ready to be filled

 

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the private tasting area in the barrel room

 

Our tasting:

White – 5.2%
The first Allagash beer. We have all had this before and we have liked it. Maureen thought it was light, Megan and Mark order it out at the bar sometimes.

 

Saison – 6.1%
Recommended to have with spicy food. Light and citrusy with orange and coriander taste. Maureen said it was a titch spicy on the back of the tongue. We all liked this as well.

 

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the Saison mmmmmm

 

 

Four – Quad – 10%
Takes four months to make, uses 4 yeast and is complicated to make. Smooth and very flavorful, we all liked it. Jason liked it so much he bought a bottle there, and has bought 2 more since then.

 

Tripel – 9%
Aged in Jim Beam barrels. Light for being aged in Jim barrels. Maureen said she tasted fruit right on the tongue. Good balance of beer, flavor and fruit. Mark bought a bottle of this.

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Cooler full of brewery only beers as well as beers you will find elsewhere!

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Special Release! Midnight Brett Ale

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Midnight Brett Ale:
Megan opted to purchase this one, despite having not tried it. She understood that Brett Ales can be on the tart side, and loves trying beers like that. It had the flavor and aroma of berries and sour cherries. She was very happy to have bought two bottles. Mark had hoped for a bit more tartness.

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the tap room bar, inside the retail store

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t-shirts galore!

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have a kegerator at home?

 

We enjoyed our visit to Allagash, and liked how the tour was- it wasn’t just the “here’s how we make beer,” but what actually makes them who they are. We will certainly be back, especially to see what special releases they have!

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Want to visit?
HOURS: Monday – Saturday: 10am-5pm.
Last tour at 4pm, taps close at 4:45pm

Check their website or their facebook for any changes.

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In the area? Besides going across the street to Bissel Brothers,
Foundation and Austin Street, take the drive to:
Urban Farm Fermentory
Shipyard Brewing Co.