Bunker Brewing Company, Portland, ME

 

On our trip to Portland, Maine near the end of the summer we visited Bunker Brewing with Megan’s sister Sam and her boyfriend Dustin. None of us had been there before, or had any of their beers.

Bunker opened in 2011. They were in a tiny brick building and built a following. They were ready to expand and did so in 2016. They moved across town to their new facility and tripled their output of beer. They were able to keep their unique brick logo, and style, by moving into another industrial brick building.

 

They have a pretty big tasting room with a long bar
and a bunch of picnic tables inside.

 

 

 

They also have 4 picnic tables and umbrellas for outdoor seating. It was a little warm and sunny the day we were there so we sat inside.

 

They have 4oz, 8 oz, and some 16 oz pours available. Between all of us we tried most of the samples available. We went with with a flight of 4 oz beers each.

 

Bunktoberfest – marzen lager     6.4%
A good fall beer, had the festbier type of flavor, a little hard to describe, malty but easy drinking, pretty good beer for the style.

 

Nice Life – session ipa     5%
Decent for a session ipa, mild hops on the grassy side and a touch bitter.

 

Salad Daze – citra lager     4.7%
Smells super citrusy and tropical, taste is a little more bitter than the smell would lead you to believe. Has a smooth lager finish,ok but not great.

 

 

They had a whole series kettle soured beers, Colourz, available while we were there. We believe those are summer seasonal beers. Overall, we were happy with the Colourz series, as they were made with fruit instead of syrup and it was noticeable.

Colourz – raspberry
Tart with good raspberry taste.

 

Colourz – peach
Tart with subtle peach flavor. Megan and Sam wanted more peach flavor.

 

 

Colourz – blueberry
Tart with a good blueberry flavor.

 

Colourz – watermelon
Tart with a really good watermelon flavor. This is a hard flavor to get but they did really well. This was our favorite of the Colourz series.

 

 

 

They had some cool decor. There was cool (old we assume) tin panels behind the bar and on the columns. They have growlers to go as well as most of their beer canned, mostly 12 oz cans, some in 4 packs and some in 6 packs, but a few 16 oz cans in 4 packs as well.

 

Sam and Dustin near the bar, buying some beer….

 

They went with the Colourz Watermelon.

 

Hours

Monday – Thursday: 2:00 – 8:00
Friday: 2:00 – 9:00
Saturday: 12:00 – 9:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00

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Far From the Tree Cider, Salem, MA

We visited Far From the Tree Cider in Salem, MA with a group of friends. Far From the Tree is owned by a couple with a background and interest in wine making. It dawned on them that in New England making cider makes a lot more sense if you want to grow your own ingredients. Apples grow great in New England, grapes not as much.

 

They released their first cider in 2014, and opened the tasting room in 2015. They started with a limited variety of ciders released in bottles, but now have a wide variety of styles and seasonal releases in bottles and cans.

 

We had wanted to visit here for a while after searching and finding a special release of theirs, Lei, a pineapple jalapeno cider that was fantastic.

 

Bre, Sammie and Megan

 

Deryl, Mark and Dustin

 

 

They had flights or full pours available, we started with flights and a few of us got full pours after.

 

Megan drinking

 

Roots – 6.9%
Original barrel aged cider. This was a very dry cider, light, not sweet at all.

 

 

Granny MacCort’s Blend – 7.5%
Still a dry cider but slightly sweeter than Roots. Made with Granny Smith, Cortland, and Mcintosh apples.

 

 

Nova
A dry hopped cider. You can smell the dry hopping, more pine on the nose but tropical flavors dominate on the pallet. A good cider, everyone liked it, Mark like the additional flavors from the dry hopping but Megan liked it as well, as the hops were not too much for her.

 

 

Gallagher’s Hammer – 7.3%
Smells and tastes like melon, more like melon than watermelon, but still pretty tasty.

 

 

Apple of My Chai – 7.5%
Smells strongly of chai, tastes like Chai with a hint of cinnamon though Mark. Bre and Megan really liked this cider, Bre went specifically looking for this one. They both bought cans to go of this.

 

 

 

Mark and Megan with cider to go

 

 

They have a pretty large patio outside with picnic tables, chairs and umbrellas. It more than doubles the space they have inside, which is great for the nice weather.

 

 

There was no door to the patio, you have to go through the building. We had a little trouble finding the door, it was hidden in a mural.

 

 

They had a food truck, The Porch, there that day so Mark and Bre got some food, mac and cheese and pulled pork sandwhichs.

 

There is not very ample  parking there, they have just a few spots and there is limited street parking. We parked down the street.

 

 

Cool murals inside.

 

 

Bre and Deryl

 

Mark and Megan

 

Sorry, no cute pic of Dustin and Sammie, just Sammie and her cider

 

 

 

 

Hours

Monday – Thursday: 4:00 – 10:00
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 -11:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 10:00

 

Framingham Beer Works, Framingham, MA

In the early Fall, we visited Framingham Beer Works in Framingham, MA. The Beer Works franchise has 7 different locations. Each location brews their own beer, while Lowell Beer Works does the bottling for all locations.

 

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The Beer Works franchise seems to focus on seasonal beers. We have tried to visit during the different seasons so we can try as many of their beers as possible, at different locations of course.

 

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We went for lunch with Megan’s sister Sam and her boyfriend Dustin.

 

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Fall Flight

Curly’s Irish Stout
Good, pretty standard stout, a hint of roastyness, from the roasted malts they use.

 

Hay-ryder
Megan said it had an ok first taste, but the aftertaste was a little funny…

 

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Oktoberfest
A very malt forward beer, decent taste, fairly light in body and not much bitterness. Megan thought it was too strong, too malty.

 

Pumpkin
Decent pumpkin beer, best beer so far. They did the brown sugar rim, which definitely added some flavor to the beer.

 

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Sam and Dustin had just been to a Beerworks the week before, they liked the Pumpkin beer so they both ordered a pint of it.

 

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Hop Flight

Lil Tasty IPL
Not the best IPL we have had, but a pretty decent attempt. More on the bitter hop spectrum for flavor.

 

Deliberation Session IPA
Fairly light, again more of a bitter hop spectrum, not that bitter, but it was a session ipa so the bitterness is the major taste that stood out.

 

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Cantander IPA
Much better IPA, has more of a tropical fruity hop flavor, not very bitter at all, Mark’s favorite beer this visit.

 

Black Sheep IPA
Bitter, with a smoky or burnt flavor that Mark didn’t like that much. Megan thought it had more of a toffee flavor.

 

Mark wanted to try another beer, so he decided to go for the:

Chapagne Du Nord – Berliner Weiss
A sour, tart taste. That’s all it really was though, just sour with nothing much else behind it.

 

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We ordered nachos as an appetizer and it was pretty good.

 

We all ordered burgers for lunch as well, and they were pretty good. We ate them too fast to take a picture!

 

Our visit this fall was not that impressive, compared to former visits. The beers were just ok, nothing we were very impressed with. When we visited Boston Beer Works, Fenway Park location, the food and service were good and the beers were pretty good. Our best visit was when we went to Lowell Beer Works a year and a half ago, over the summer. Good food, good service, good summer beers.

Is there a Beer Works near you?

Bad Martha’s Brewing Company, Edgartown – Martha’s Vineyard

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We went to Martha’s Vineyard to visit the 2 breweries on the island, Offshore Ale Company and Bad Martha’s Brewing Company. Bad Martha’s is in Edgartown, so we took the bus from Oak Bluffs.


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They have a nice set up with a barn tasting room. They had 10 beers on tap when we were there. They do tasting flights and pints, with a few food options including cheese, meat and veggie platters.

 

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Roscoe’s Brown – 5.3%
A pretty good brown, medium body, smooth, good flavor. Dustin and Pete tasted coffee notes. This was Pete’s favorite.

 

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Heather and Pete tasting.

 

Obsession Ale – 4.3%
A light IPA with a piney hop taste. Dustin and Sam agree, light in body, no real bitterness.

 

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Blasphemous Black Lager – 5.5%
Light in body for a black lager, decent flavor

 

Belgian Blonde – 5%
Really good belgian, cloudy. Megan tasted honey and flowers. This was just about everyone’s favorite. A good over all, tasty beer.

 

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Summer Ale – 4.5%
Light, crisp summer ale, light in body but not flavorless. Megan and Al thought it needed something a little more, maybe a fruit wedge. They bottle this as a seasonal beer and distribute it off the island.

 

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Dustin, Al, and Sam posing for this pic!

 

Martha’s Vineyard Ale – 5.3%
Darker, red ale taste. Medium body, decent flavor. Megan thought it had a wintery taste, nutmeg or another earthy taste. This is one of the year round beers that they bottle and distribute off the island.

 

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Island IPA – 5.4%
Piney and flowery hop flavor, light in body with no real bitterness. Another beer they bottle and distribute.

 

Smokehouse Dunkel – 5.3%
Hint of smokeyness, very light in body, a touch sweet, good beer.

 

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Wasque Weizenbock – 7%
Sweet, light in body. A malty wheat beer flavor with a hint of ‘spiced darker fruit’.

 

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Cheese and meat platter- so good! Added so much to our experience

 

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They had a good size patio area outside with a bunch of tables and benches. They had a few games going outside as well, including cornhole.

 

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Cornhole

 

 

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Mark and Megan posing with Bad Martha.

 

Want to visit? You will have to wait until Summer as they are open from May through October and reopen for Christmas.

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

 

Westfield River Brewing Company, Southwick, MA

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A few weeks ago we went to Six Flags and were looking to visit a brewery, of course. Westfield River Brewing is nearby in Southwick, MA. They say on their website they are the “primary location for those who are seeking both drinkability in their beer and adventure in their glass”.

 

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They are located on a 100 year old dairy farm. The building had been converted into a steak house for many years, but that closed. The brewery moved into this location a year ago from an industrial park. They have a farmers license so they can sell anything they make on the property as retail. They have 3 years of commercial brewing, the owner has been home brewing for 15 years.

 

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History of the property

 

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We ordered two sampler trays for each couple, four 6oz pours for $10. They had nine beers on tap, so they gave us the extra beer sample for free.

 

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Louie and Pepe’s – Mexican lager
4.7%    10 IBU
Really light beer, it was served with a lime in it, you can taste the lime. Megan, Sammie, and Dustin all liked it, a good summer beer.

 

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Strawberry Shandy – 1/2 strawberry blonde 1/2 lemonade
5.3%    6 IBU
A strawberry taste upfront, lemonade as the second taste. Pretty good balance, another good summer beer. We all went home with a few cans!

 

 

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Red, White and Raz – raspberry wheat ale
4.9%    11 IBU
Great raspberry taste, not super sweet but tastes like raspberries. Good taste. We all went home with a few cans!

 

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Sam and Dustin enjoying their samples

 

Oatmeal Stout – ‘hints of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla’
5.9%    14 IBU
Smells like coffee, toasted taste up front, a bit of a sweet 2nd taste. Sammie agree’s with us, Dustin thought it had a hint of a sour taste.

 

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Copper Roaster – copper ale
6.1%    19 IBU
Brewed with brown sugar as an english style ale. Pretty good for this style of beer, everyone liked it. Darker in color but light in body with a hint of sweetness. ‘Not offensive to the mouth’ according to Megan (she was super surprised that she liked it).  Dustin thought it was smooth.

 

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Big Red Barn – malty imperial red
9.5%    12 IBU
A heavy taste but light in body for this style and percent of alcohol. A little strange, sweet, maybe tangy, a strong flavor. Megan and Sam thought it tastes like dates, almost like one of their mom’s Christmas cookies.

 

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Farmhouse Honey – saison style ale brewed with honey
5.6%    10 IBU
Light in body, honey flavor, slight tartness or saison flavor, we would have liked to taste a little more tartness, but all in all it was good!

 

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Charlie – rye ipa with citrus notes
5.3%    57 IBU
Different than the other beers, it taste bitter. Citrus notes, but even that taste a little bitter, citrus and rye taste a little overpowering. This might be because everything else was so low in IBU’s and this was 57 IBU. Dustin felt that there was a juniper flavor.

 

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Session – ‘light in body with tropical fruit hops’
4.5%    42 IBU
Right on in the description, pretty good flavor, session ipa with a light body and flavor with tropical fruity hops.

 

A lot of the beers on tap certainly had a summer theme to them. We liked most, if not all, of the beers. The thing that stood out to Mark was the IBU’s. 7 of the beers on tap were under 20 IBU’s, the the Charlie was 57 IBU’s and the Session was 42 IBU’s. They make their beers to be drinkable.

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Unfortunately, when we were there the most popular beer was sold out, the El Dorado IPA at 7.5% with an IBU of 82. Must be good!

We all liked the atmosphere here. This is a place we would all hang out at if it was near where we lived. The building itself is welcoming, never mind the people who work there. We were very impressed with the whole feel of this visit, and really wish we could go back soon!

 

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Before leaving, we tasted an cask Honey Nut Brown beer they made in collaboration with the home brew shop that is attached to the brewery. This was tasty, and was Sam’s first experience with a cask beer.

 

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They have a decent size restaurant area inside. The place has a cool vibe to it, all old beams and rustic decor. We didn’t get any food, we were actually there on July 4th so the kitchen wasn’t open. They did however have AMAZING pretzels available… more on that below…

 

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The brewery out back, you can see from the restaurant. And lots of cans.

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They have a single canning machine behind the bar. You can get any beer you want that is on tap. You can also get any combination of beers, a 6 pack of them same, 3 and 3, or 6 different beers. We thought this was awesome.

 

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Sam and Dustin got 3 of the Shandy and 3 of the Red, White and Raz. The filled them right in front of us.

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We got a 6 pack of each of the Shandy and the Red, White and Raz.

 

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They also make giant pretzels to go from spent grain and home made spicy honey mustard. The flavor and texture were to die for, and the size- whaat. Well worth it.

 

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 Want to visit?
Hours

Wednesday – Saturday: 12pm – 8pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

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Our 100th Visit! Cambridge Brewing Company

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We planned our 100th visit for the Cambridge Brewing Company. The brew pub has been operating since 1989, and is in an old mill building, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their beers are both traditional and experimental. They were the first commercial American brewery to produce a Belgian beer. Their food menu is just as diverse, offering food that shows what New England is about.

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Mark and Megan

We went on March 7th, the 2 year anniversary of our first post on this blog. We let our friends and family know we were going, and almost all whom had been on a visit with us before was able to go! 17 people came to celebrate with us (19 in all), so we have a lot of pictures.

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Sam enjoying her beer

 

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Andrea enjoying her ….. water.

 

 

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Heather …. just being weird.

 

 

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Dustin chugging his beer.

 

 

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Mark and Marilynn

 

 

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We ordered nachos for an appetizer. When the rest of the table saw them they put in another order or 2. Since there were so many of us they had pitchers of water on the table for us.

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Very cheesey nachos, with Sam making an angry face. But look in the background, as well as pitchers they sell a beer tube? tower? We didn’t get one, but we did see them.

 

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Pete noticed the camera.

 

Beers:

Regatta Golden
Al ordered this beer, the first beer on the list under year round beers. It’s the lightest beer they make, similar to what Al drinks regularly. He liked it, as well as Sam and Andrea, simple and light. Not enough flavor for Megan and Mark.

 

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Al sharing the Regatta Golden.

 

 

Tall Tale Pale Ale
Marilynn ordered, she did not like it, not what she was expecting. Dustin liked it, Mark thought it was a fairly hoppy, somewhat typical Pale Ale.

 

Morning Dew Saison
It has a bit of a funky smell to it, thankfully doesn’t taste like that. Marilynn and Heather liked it, refreshing. Andrea thought it was ok. Megan and Mark liked it, light body, fruity-ish flavor, probably the elderflowers.

 

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The parents: Al, Sheila, Jim, and Marilynn

 

Machinery of Night
Whiskey scent and flavor, followed by a sour aftertaste. There was a sweetness to it, probably from the barrel aging, and a tart finish. Light in body, especially for a barrel aged beer. Everyone liked this beer, wouldn’t drink a lot of it, but it is good for a pint.

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Big Man IPA
Hoppy IPA, a mild wintery spice taste, aggressively dry hopped, adds that extra flavor. Mark and Jason thought it was pretty good, hoppy IPA with a little extra flavor.

 

Charles River Porter
Robust, roasty, coffee flavor, good overall balance and taste. Most people liked this beer as well.

 

Sgt. Peppers
Amber color, spicy, peppery taste. Good, interesting flavor, after a whole pint it did get quite spicy. Mark liked it and bought a bottle.

 

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Look at that pour!

 

Kafka’s Hat Simcoe
Strong smell, piney, earthy style IPA. Chris, Jason and Mark all thought it was decent. Not Mark’s favorite style IPA, but it was pretty good.

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Smile from Chris.

 

 

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Moving down the table, Andrea, Bre, Deryl, Michelle, and Kevin. Big, cool mural in the background.

 

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Other side of the table, Sheila, Jim, Jason, Melitta, and Katrina.

 

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Mark chatting with Jim.

 

Food:

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Burger and fries

Mark got the burger and fries, good burger really good fries. A lot of people got the burger and liked it. Dustin got bacon on his and thought there could have been a little more.

 

 

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Steak, twice baked potato, and onion rings

Megan and Andrea both got the steak and liked it.

 

 

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Burger with salad

Heather got the BBQ burger with a salad. Burger and roll were good, could have used a little more BBQ sauce. Salad dressing was light and refreshing.

 

 

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Braised Chicken pizza

Katrina and Kevin got the Braised chicken pizza that had feta, potatoes, spinach and sundried tomatoes. An odd mix, but it was good.

 

 

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Panini and fries

 

Melitta got the Beet Salad and enjoyed it. Chris had the Duck, it was tasty.

 

 

 

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Dessert

 

 

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The whole table, all 19 of us, plus a random waiter.

 

 

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Want to Visit?

 

 Monday  11:30am- 11:00pm
 Tuesday – Thursday  11:30am – 12:00am
 Friday  11:30am- 1:00am
 Saturday  11:00am-1:00am
 Sunday  11:00am- 11:00pm