Great North Aleworks, Manchester, NH

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We visited Great North Aleworks just before Christmas. Great North Aleworks is a 20 barrel production brewery in Manchester, NH.  They just opened in August of 2015, so they are still pretty new. Founded by Rob and Lisa North, the brewery’s goal is simple – to craft flavorful, food friendly beers, while maintaining a fanatical devotion to quality.

 

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Mark and Ian, on their way in

 

We visited with our friend Ian, who had tasted some of their beer previous to our visit. We had not had any Great North previously, although we had seen their cans at our local beer store. Ian got a sampler tray, 5 samples for $7.50 and we got a sampler tray plus 1 single sample, so we could try all 6 beers.

 

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nice presentation of the sampler. Good size as well!

 

Cranberry Wit – 5.5%
This is made with New England grown cranberries. A light beer in body and style, with a light cranberry taste and a hint of tartness. We would have liked a little more cranberry flavor and a little more tartness, but it was a good light wit beer.

 

IPA – 7%
A very solid IPA, hoppy, tasty, not very bitter, made as a ‘west coast style ipa’. A good, hoppy, well balanced IPA. Mark got a six pack of cans to go, and will be picking this up at the local beer store in the near future.

 

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Robust Vanilla Porter – 6.5%
Chocolatey with some roasted malt flavor, very tasty. It is described as having coffee and chocolate flavors, and it actually does! Megan thought it was delicious, one of the best porters she has had recently, as it had a full flavor. We got a 6 pack of this to go as well.

 

Smokin Rauchbier – 5.5%
Good balance of smokeyness and malt, smokey flavor is not overpowering. This is one of their 3 flagship beers, which is an interesting choice, but they are confident because it’s a good beer.

 

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Amber – 5.7%
A hint of sweetness, a good amber that stands out. Many amber beers we have had kind of just are there. This one was good!

 

Chocolate Stout – Batch A
Roasted, smokey taste, medium body, pretty good Stout, but the Porter overshadows it. This was a test batch, they had several batches the weeks previous and were having guests vote on which batch they liked better. We can’t wait to see what stout they choose as their go-to recipe!

 

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Mark got a pint of the  Smokin Rauchbier. He liked it, and wanted another taste, knowing we were buying the IPA and Vanilla Smoked Porter anyway.

 

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Megan got the Vanilla Smoked Porter, that was her favorite.

 

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Ian got a pint of the Amber, the IPA and the Amber were his favorite.

 

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They do serve food, so they can serve pints. We go the Cheese and Meat platter, which was pretty good. The cheese and sausage on the platter was a great selection, and Megan would recommend ordering one while you sit and enjoy a pint. They also serve pretzels, soup, salsa, jerky.

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The tasting room was pretty big, especially for a new brewery. They have some extra space in there as well. It wasn’t too busy when we were there, but they have plenty of room to expand and grow in this space.

The service was good, they came over to the table to see how we liked the beers, and it was the owner and brewer we were talking to. We talked about the beers we liked. It’s nice to be able to chat with an owner or brewer.

We recommend going for a visit, and bringing friends with you. There is space to hang out and enjoy yourselves!

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Swag for sale

 

We were also happy about the fact that they can their beers. Mark had seen the cans in the store, but wanted to wait until we visited to try. It’s and extra expense for a new brewery, but its a way to get your beer out there, and we have enough growlers we don’t use, we don’t need another one.

 

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Want to visit?
Hours

Thursday and Friday – 3:00 – 7:00
Saturday – 12:00 – 5:00

As always, check their Facebook page for updated hours and info.

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Anheuser-Busch, Merrimack NH

100_0779  100_0783We recently visited Anheuser-Busch, located in Merrimack, New Hampshire with Jason (who went to Plymouth Winery, Mayflower Brewing and Blue Hills Brewery with us) and Maureen. The Merrimack location is just one of their 12 regional breweries. Each location produces for their region. 100_0785  100_0784

After we checked in (no reservations required, but we were there early and wanted to make sure we could get in on the last tour of the day), we walked to see the Clydesdales. On our way there and back, there was a good smell wafting through the air, to me it smelled like pistachios. We walked past a couple of playing fields for local youth teams on our way to the stables. 100_0811Inside the stable, the horse stalls were roped off for their protection. Many of the Clydesdales were sleeping when we were there.100_0787  100_0788  100_0789  100_0790  100_0791   
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After visiting the Clydesdales, but before leaving the stable, we saw a Clydesdale show, a sleigh, and signed up for free stuff! 100_0810  100_0809  100_0803  100_0805  100_0802  100_0797  100_0796  100_0795The sign stated a free, six-pack, but the coupon you receive I think varies depending on what state you live in (I received a $5 mail-in rebate). Almost free beer here I come! 100_0794We walked back towards the welcome center, just in time to hear the tour gathering call.

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Our tour began outside, by the Clydesdale statue. We were told that our tour guide for the next hour would be Beth. Beth told us a brief history of how Anheuser-Busch was started, and about the Clydesdales and how they came to be part of the Anheuser-Busch family in 1933. We were also told what Anheuser-Busch looks for when choosing a Clydesdale. We then stopped to take group photos (taken by factory staff) and started to walk towards the factory. We were told that the factory tour would be 30 minutes of walking and 20 minutes in the hospitality room.

On our way to the factory, we passed a hops garden. Anheuser-Busch has two hop farms, located in Germany and Idaho. The hops garden is for demonstration purposes. Located nearby were the grain rail carts. The smell that smelled of pistachios was stronger by both the hops garden and the rail carts. Our guide explained what grains were brought in (mostly rice from Arkansas and California) and barley malt. Before we headed into the factory/brewery we were told to turn our phones off- any static signal could cause an explosion in grain handling. 100_0820
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Throughout the tour of the building, the brewery process was described in great detail, and every step was gone over. 100_0824  100_0825  100_0826  100_0827  100_0828  100_0829  100_0830  100_0831

Some facts:

  • 2 of their mash tanks make one really big batch of beer
  • they recycle 99.6% of their solid waste
  • in just one room, 5.3 million gallons of beer were present
  • they have 12 regional breweries
  • they were the 1st American brewer to pasteurize beer, before milk was even pasteurized

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We were shown a video when we arrived at the bottling room, since they were not bottling at that time. The video wasn’t very informative, and as Mark said, “it didn’t really tell us anything.” 100_0842  100_0843  100_0848 100_0847

The tour ended in the hospitality room, where we were told we could each have 2 beers, and snacks (bags of pretzels). Maureen ordered first, and ordered a Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat, and a Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. Jason ordered a Stella Artois and a Bud Light Platinum. Mark ordered a Bud Light Platinum and a Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. I ordered a Shock Top Honeycrisp Apple Wheat and decided to try the Straw-ber-rita (to see if it was the same as in the can). I was happy that I went with Apple instead of Pumpkin, as the Pumpkin was good, but not amazing. The Apple I would definitely purchase.  This was a nice set up- only 2 downsides: 1. You had to drink QUICK. 20 minutes might seem like a lot, but it is not. 2. You can only try two beers (or pass yours around to friends and share). 100_0844  100_0845  100_0846  100_0849 100_0851

Anheuser-Busch was the largest brewery we have been to. It is crazy to think that there are 11 other breweries! I wonder how big the St. Louis brewery is… it is 5x larger than the size of the Merrimack location!100_0853  100_0854

Photo after the tour-Mark, Megan, Jason & Maureen

100_0855 Jason found a new hat!