Border Brewery, Salem, NH

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On a recent Sunday afternoon we stopped at Border Brewery in Salem, NH. They are a home brew supply store and brewery. They have a decent size tasting room considering they are inside a store. They have taken their home brewing pro and have been pouring beers since 2012.

 

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Our tasting:

PB Stout – 7.2%
A subtle peanut butter flavor, more nutty than sweat and creamy. A good smooth stout, good aroma, reminds Megan of a chocolate shop. This was Megan’s favorite.

Pecan – 5.7%
Light body, sweet, hint of caramel. Reminds Megan of pecan brittle.

 

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Porter – 5.9%
Mark thought it was a good, well made porter. Megan thought it was too plain, fairly standard.

 

Ambah – 5.9%
Just ok, not too flavorful, a little bland.

 

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West IPA – 9.2%
Fairly smooth up front, hoppy second taste. Mark thought there was a good balance of flavors, good taste for a 9.2% IPA.

 

IPA – 7.2%
Good IPA, flavorful, a little hoppier than the West IPA, but good. Megan didn’t like either IPA.

 

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Sticky Paw Brown – 6.5%
A decent brown, pretty flavorful, good for a brown.

 

Belgian Strong – 8.3%
Interesting Belgian flavor, semi heavy flavor and taste light in color but not in flavor. Mark thought it was good, Megan did not like the heavy Belgian flavor.

 

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Vanilla Bourbon Oak Stout – 7.2%
Vanilla taste is good, nice stout base, bourbon oak adds flavor but is not overpowering, as bourbon flavors often are.

 

ESB – 3.7%
Bitter taste but light in body. Ok flavor, not our favorite though.

 

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They have 3 tables made from barrels with glass tops that 3 or 4 people can sit around, a bar with space for 6 people and a standing bar along the side wall.

 

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They were friendly when we came in, we ordered 2 sample trays so we could try all 10 beers, and sat at one of the barrel tables. They didn’t interact with us much until we were done and ready to leave.

 

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Home brew supplies.

 

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Giant balloon man in the home brew side.

 

Want to Visit?

Wednesday – Friday: 12 – 6:30

Saturday and Sunday: 12 – 5

 

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Able Ebenezer Brewing Company, Merrimack, NH

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We recently visited Able Ebenezer Brewing Company in Merrimack, NH. The brewery was opened in the summer of 2014 by a pair of former US Army Officers. Their name and branding is inspired by the Pine Tree Riot, when New Hamsphire citizesn rallied behind Ebenezer Mudgett  against the British in 1772. They have a lot of info on their website as well as depicted in the brewery about Ebenezer Mudgget and the Pine Tree Riot.

The pine tree is used is their branding and actual pine wood is used throughout the bar. They have a long live edge bar made from a large pine tree, and the sections they cut off the end they turned into small tables.

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Mike, the Head-Brewer and co-founder of the brewery, was working the tasting room for our visit. We appreciated the fact that the brewer was in the tasting room, since, as that day was as well, you are often able to learn more about the beers and the history of the brewery.

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The tap handles are custom made from pine as well.

 

We both ordered a sample tray, which was $8, they had 4 beers on tap when we visited.

 

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Auburn – Session Red Ale – 4.5%
A light, session ale, very drinkable. Light in body but still has some flavor to it. We both liked it.

 

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Broad Arrow – Vienna IPA – 6.5%
A bit lighter and slightly less hoppy in flavor than other IPA’s. Made with Vienna malts that add a little extra flavor to this beer, a little bit sweet.

 

Burn the Ships – Smoked IPA – 7%
Very smoky taste up front. It is a fairly hoppy IPA, but the smokiness cuts back on the bite a little bit. Really good flavor. They use cherry smoked malts to get the smoky flavor, but of the grains in this beer, only about 10% are the cherry smoked.

 

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Cherry smoked malts.

 

They sell pints as well, and we both got a pint of Burn the Ships after the tasters. The smokiness does fade a little bit as you get use to the flavor, but it doesn’t disappear, it is still there and a part of the flavor. This is probably the best ‘smoky’ beer that we have had, and yes, we have had quite a few.

 

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Tabula Rasa – 7.5%
Tabula Rasa means blank slate. It is technically a fruit beer, but they don’t like to label it like that, some people look down on fruit beers. They use apricot as the fermenter. It is smooth and flavorful, a bit heavier for a ‘fruit’ beer, not a light summery beer.

 

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The paddle is numbered to correspond with the blackboard, so you don’t get confused.

 

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They have a good size tasting room, and they serve pints, so it is a good place to go and hang out and drink some good beers. It was a little quiet when we were there on a Sunday mid-day, but we were happy they were open. They said the room does fill up on a Friday or Saturday night. We had a good time, enjoyed the beer and learned a lot about the brewery and the beer while there.

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They currently do not bottle their beer, but you can get a growler to go.

 

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They self distribute as well. They have beers on tap at a lot of places in Merrimack, Nashua, and some in Manchester. They haven’t made it over to the Seacoast yet, but maybe soon if they can get a few places interested in carrying their beer.

 

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You can see the tanks through a window behind the bar. They put together this system themselves.

 

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Want to Visit?
Monday – Friday 4-8
Saturday and Sunday 12-8

 

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Dragonfly Farm & Winery, Stetson, ME

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We recently visited Dragonfly Farm and Winery in Stetson, ME on our way up north to visit our friend Amanda.

They have a small tasting room, although it is much larger than their original. When the winery opened, the owners completed tastings in the breezeway of their home! They haven’t moved though- they just have a nice visiting room next door!

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This was the bar they did the tastings at.

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Now they have a nice little tasting house.

Dragonfly Farm and Winery makes mostly fruit wines. The use their own fruit, but if they need more, they get it from Wyman’s.

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Fields out back where they grow grapes and fruit.

They also make grape wines, but those are on a rotating schedule due to the quickness the supply and quickness they run out.  They started making fruit wines to fill in the gaps and those became even more popular. They make 36 different types of wine.

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The owners were mentored in Germany. They both still work full time while they operate the winery, which is crazy! Imagine working 80+ hours a week, every week?!

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Our Tasting:

Berry Con2sion
Sweet and smooth up front. Made with 50% Blueberry and 50% Blackberry, fermented with French Oak.

Blackberry Bewitched
Blackberry flavor, not too sweet, a little too syrupy, maybe a touch too much blackberry for us.

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Raspberry Riot
Smells like raspberry jam, and tastes like raspberries.

Blueberry Bliss
Good blueberry flavor, a sweet desert wine.

Candle Waster
Cranberry wine, taste like cranberry juice.

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The woman who led our tasting was nice and gave us a fair amount of information about the winery. There was a large group that arrived just after us, so our tasting was quick, but still good. The winery had a nice feel to it, the hostesses were nice, and there were friendly people visiting as well.

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Want to visit?

Thurs, Fri, Sat: 10-6

Sunday: 12-4

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Other Places Nearby:

Tree Spirits Winery and Distillery, Oakland, ME

Oak Pond Brewing Company, Skowhegan, ME

The Liberal Cup Public House and Brewery, Hallowell, ME

 

 

Henniker Brewing, Henniker NH

100_1164We went to Henniker Brewing Co. two weeks before Christmas. Located in Henniker, New Hampshire, it was slightly difficult to find, partially because the GPS said we were already there before we were, and partially because their sign wasn’t very large.

The brewery is owned by David Currier. He owned the building and wanted to do something fun and cool to benefit the town. Henniker Brewing Co. has a small bar, but also has a handful of tables for you to do your tasting. When we arrived, there were quite a few people there, some made a space for us at the bar. Their tasting room is not open for often at this time, but with seeing how busy they were, look for additional hours to be added with their growth. If you want more information on the brewery, the brewing process and the beers, go on a tour while you are there.

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Whipple’s Wheat: 4.8% good wheat beer, dry hopped and citrusy.

Amber Apparition American Amber Ale: 5.2%. Carmel and toffee flavors. Mark- pretty good, light amber, light taste

Working Man’s Porter: 5.2% good flavor. Mark- tastes a little chocolately almost toasted or roasted. Good winter beer.

Hop Slinger IPA: 6.5%, citrus aroma with a grapefurit flavor. Mark- pretty good IPA. Meg- sweet taste at the end

Whipple’s Wheat Aged With Pineapple: they change this variety weekly to biweekly. Smells like pineapple. Good, different, fun. Mark- “pretty good, huh”

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Very busy place, many people came in while we were there to refill their growlers. By the time we left, the line was almost out the door!

Our Tour:

Our tour was given by Chris Shea- the Head Brewer. He knows what he is doing and really seems to care. He formally brewed at White Birch, and appears to see this as his chance to really do well and made a name for himself. When we walked into the brewery, it appeared to be a good sized space with lots of room to expand. We were told “don’t touch anything because it’s super expensive and super doesn’t belong to you.”

The brewery opened “a year and ten days ago” as of our visit on 12/14/13. Construction to convert the building began in December of 2011, with their first batches on December 21, 2012 and released in January 2013. Their initial brewer was James Moriarty, who had been a brewer for Cape Cod Brewery and was commuting from the Cape. When it came time for James to move on (and stop with the awful commute!), Chris had recently left White Birch and was recommended for the position.

Chris told us about how the October 2013 government shutdown impacted them. They are currently planning four seasonal beers and had hoped to have the winter beer out already. Due to the government shutdown, they were still waiting for labels to be OK’d. They are now looking for their winter beer to be released in January 2014.
Winter- roast coffee stout. espresso beans
Spring- Hop 4 Double IPA. Chris has been given the green light to change the flavor yearly.
Summer- Belgian table beer
Fall- double brown ale, possibly with maple syrup

The brewery gets their water from artisanal wells, located behind the brewery. It is neutral water, which Chris is able to build to any chemical composition, such as London water for the Porter.
They buy malt from all over the world. When they make their porter, they make it similar to a 1856 London brewery would, using 3 malts- pale, brown and black. They also use artisanal malts, which can be different colors because of the way they are roasted. 100_1166
We were shown the mill to grist case, which barely breaks open the malt. 100_1167

Some information:

  • they add hops 3x during their hour long boil
  • they currently have their beer available in 22 ounce bottles, but in 2014 will be moving to cans- 6 packs for their regular beers, 4 packs for seasonal. Once they have a canning line, help will be hired
  • Chris is the only one that works back in the brewery100_1173  100_1172  100_1171  100_1169  100_1168

Mark and I felt that the more of a craft brewery it is, and the more educated the tour guide is (here being the brewer), the more you learn during the tour.

Henniker Brewing Co. is a good brewery to keep your eye on.

Want to visit?
Tasting room is open from:
3-6pm Monday-Friday
12-2pm Saturdays
Tour- 1pm Saturdays