John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House, Framingham

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entrance from the large parking lot (strip mall side)

“Where good people gather for great brews

For twenty years, John Harvard’s has brewed and served great craft beers alongside hearty meals at several permanent and seasonal destinations throughout the Northeast.

In 1992, John Harvard’s brewery was opened in Cambridge, drawing on the story and fabled recipes from Harvard and Shakespeare and pushing forward the tradition of craft beer as the center of life and community. We’re proud to serve in the storied legacy of John Harvard, the scholar and brewer; and invite you to continue new chapters in good company right here.”

We recently went to the Framingham location of John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House. The largest of their breweries by capacity, John Harvard’s Framingham offers up to 10 beers on tap in a family-friendly setting. If you are going here, it is located in the back left corner of the strip mall, we had a little trouble finding it, that’s why we are letting you know. It is a large restaurant with a long bar where you can see all the barrel’s brewing the beer.

They have locations in Harvard Square, Framingham MA, Providence RI, Lake Grove NY, Holiday Valley Resort NY, and Jiminy Peak in Hancock MA. From looking at their website it looks like each location has a head brewer who makes the decisions about what styles of beer to make.IMG_1804

We visited John Harvard’s Brewery and Ale House for dinner with Jason and Maureen, after Jason had gone with us to Jack’s Abby and Angry Ham’s (a mini brewery/bar crawl if you will).

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delicious bread and oil

We started with two samplers, with the ladies picking four and the guys picking the other four.

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Maureen & Megan’s sampler

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Jason & Mark’s sampler

Strawberry
Good balance, not too fruity but still good strawberry flavor. Mark thought the strawberry was a little light or subtle. Megan thought it was much sweeter the 2nd time.

 

American Gold
Good light beer, similar to Bud heavy but with a little something extra, maybe a little sweeter.

 

Cool as a Cucumber Ale
Megan did not like it, even though she eats a cucumber every. single. day. Maureen thought it was ok, but probably wouldn’t get it again. Jason didn’t taste the cucumber, thought it was sweet and lemony. Mark thought it sweet then tart. The menu had the quote from ‘The Other Guys’, remarkably refreshing, and we expected it but didn’t really get it.

 

Super Secret Pale Ale|
Good beer, slightly lighter than some other pale’s we’ve had, and a little sweet.

 

Raisin Hell (Barrel Aged)
Megan and Maureen didn’t like this either. One that we all weren’t quite sure why Megan choose it (she doesn’t like raisins)… Maureen likes raisins though. Megan thought it tasted too much like the barrel it was in. Mark liked it, it was heavy, he got the cabernet taste, reminded us of barley wine.

 

Framingham Rogue
Megan liked the malt base with added spices. Mark and Jason both liked it.

 

Chile Con Cacao Porter
Maureen didn’t like it, too heavy and flavorful. Megan expected it to be spicer, tasted the serrano, cayenne and chipotle. Mark liked it, good balance, not too spicey, not too heavy.

 

Hop Chronic
Good flavor, Mark and Jason both liked it. Not just hoppy and not too plain. A little sweet, maybe a ‘subtle caramel sweet flavor’. Best beer so far, said Mark and Jason.

 

We appreciate that they tried making some unique beers. Some just weren’t our style, but instead of playing it safe it seems like they were experimenting and trying to have fun with their beers, which ranked them high.

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brew tanks behind the bar

Our dinners:

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Grilled Cheese with House Salad

 

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Quesadilla

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Pastrami

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Texas Burge

Really good, what Mark was expecting

 

 

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Jason & Maureen

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Megan & Mark

 

On Tap Now

Kolsch, Half Wit, Cool as a Cucumber, Super Secret Pale Ale, Half in the Bagels, Octoberfest, Harvest Spice, California Daze, Raisin Hell (Barrel Aged), Rio Negro Coffee Stout

 

Want to visit? Hours vary by location

 

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Plymouth Winery, Plymouth MA

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Plymouth Winery is unfortunately closed now. The good news is they were bought and re-opened as 1620 Winery and Wine Bar, which we visited.

We visited Plymouth Winery as part two of my birthday celebration, after visiting Mayflower Brewing Company. Mark and I were accompanied by my sister Samantha (she went to Cape Cod Winery with us as well), our friends Andrea (went to Cape Cod Winery with us), Bre (went to Gilmanton Winery with us) and Katrina. Mark’s brother Jason and sister Michelle also joined us (they had both been with us when we visited Blue Hills Brewery, and Michelle when we had visited Flag Hill Winery and Distillery).

Plymouth Winery, located in the Village Landing Marketplace in Plymouth MA has a cute small town/country feel. Plymouth Winery makes all of their wine in the same building as their tasting room.image (1)the shop’s wine shelvesphoto (5)Linda Shumway, Owner and Wine Maker

 

Our tasting:image image (8) image (7)

Bogarts Blend: A Chardonnay, not Oaked. They don’t oak their Chardonnay due to the feeling that oak is an equalizer and makes the wines taste different. Light with a lot of character. Pretty good. Sam and Andrea, who had gone to the Cape Cod Winery with us (and weren’t huge fans) felt this tasting started off on a good note- they liked this wine more than all that they had tried at Cape Cod Winery. This wine uses California grapes. Bre also thought it was pretty good.

Pilgrims White: A Sauvignon Blanc, not oaked. Tastes like pear, green apple and red grapefruit. No grassy flavor. Delicious. Everyone liked this one- it has a nice earthy tone.

Bug Light Red: A Zinfandel. Flavors of strawberries and chocolate. Aged in new American Oak. Not too dry. Good flavor. Sam stated that it was not a dinner wine due to the rich flavor.

Cranberry blush: 90% white grape (Sauvignon Blanc) and 10% cranberry. On a similar idea to a white zinfandel. A fun summer wine. Enough cranberry to give it a kick without being over powering. Really really good! Enjoyed by all.

Strawberry: A semi-sweet fruit wine. Really good authentic flavor. Suggested to serve chilled with dessert or as a cordial after dinner. Jason liked this wine, he stated that it tastes like kool-aid

Blackberry: Made from blackberries, this wine resembles a port. Great chilled with vanilla ice cream or next to a fire on a cold winter night. Katrina said this was delicious!

Raspberry: A true authentic raspberry taste. A semi-sweet dessert wine. Suggested to serve with champagne or chocolate cake. Bre: really liked, as it was sweet enough for her.

Blueberry: A rich dessert wine, similar to a sweet Merlot. It was really good, and on the sweet side which was unexpected.

Cranberry: Good tartness, drinks like cranberry juice.

 
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 Bre stole a quick picture of me during the tasting

IMG_7248Nice wine glasses

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Back row: Jason, Mark, Sam, Andrea & Katrina

Front row: me, Bre, Michelle

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Group photo, take 2!

Andrea, me, Sam, Jason, Katrina, Mark

Bre, Michelle

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I left with a Cranberry wine and will go back for a different bottle next time I’m in the area. Many others also made wine purchases.

image (18)Bre, with her two (yes 2!!) bottles of wine 

Want to visit?

A quick taste is free, but a full tasting is $5 (you get to keep the glass).

Call ahead (508-746-3532) to make sure they will be open, as their hours change on bottling and delivery days.

Winter Hours vary.  Open Tuesday to Saturday 11 AM to 5 PM (weather permitting).

Open on Holiday weekends including MLK and President’s Days.

Open 7 Days a week April to June: 11 AM to 5 PM; Sundays 12-5 April thru December.

July to mid-September: 10:30 AM to 6 PM Mon-Wed, until about 8 PM Thursday to Saturday.

October to December 1: 11 AM to about 6 PM Monday – Saturday; Sundays 12-5 PM.

Winter hours are weather permitting.

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me, outside of the winery

image (17)The party continued on…