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.

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New England Distilling, Portland, ME

 

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New England Distilling is located in Portland, ME. This was our first stop on our most recent trip to Portland. We went up with Mark’s brother Jason and his fiancée Maureen.

 

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New England Distilling was started in 2011 and in 2012 started releasing Gin, Rum and Rye Whiskey. They are working on a Bourbon Whiskey now, but that will not be ready for at least a year and a half.

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Ned is the owner and distiller at New England Distilling, NED for short. He is a 6th generation distiller with family history in distilling going back 150 years to Sherwood Whiskey being made in Maryland.

 

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Original Sherwood Whiskey bottle…

 

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with a prescription on the back! This was used during Prohibition.

 

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Old pictures and bottle from the family history.

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Matt explaining the distilling process

 

The whiskey and gin are both grain based, and are first made into a distillers beer. They take special care in this process, it is where the flavor starts. The rum is made from a sugar water base.

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Rum fermenting

 

Each batch size is about 450 – 500 gallons. They ferment on the grains, which is not done while making beer because it can spoil or alter the flavor.

 

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Grain shaker machine

 

They give all the spent grains to a local farmer to feed the cows.

 

The still they use is not a super high efficient still, but it keeps more of the flavor.

 

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They have 2 copper stills

 

They run the whiskey and rum through the still 2 times at different temperatures. They run the gin through a third time with extra botanicals added for flavor.

 

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They use charred, white American oak barrels. They can only use them once, by law, to make American whiskey. A lot of the flavor comes from the barrel, and the charring in particular. The charring helps to release natural flavors and sugars from the wood.

 

They are considering making a non-American style whiskey so they don’t have to turn over barrels so quickly.

 

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Maureen tasting the rum

 

Eight Bells Rum
This is a New England style rum. It starts with molasses, instead of sugar cane which is used in Caribbean rums. The rum is aged in the barrels for 22 months.

The name Eight Bells comes from the bells rung during a duty period upon a ship. The bell was run at every half hour interval for a four hour duty period. Once the eighth bell pattern was complete, your duty was. End of duty meant time for your rum portion!

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The Eight Bells logo is a Winslow Homer painting. They were given permission to use it from the Museum of Art in Portland.

 

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Gunpowder Rye Whiskey
This is a Maryland style rye whiskey, there is no corn used to make this.

 

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It is aged in the barrels for 12 – 15 months in the smaller barrels, 2 years in the 53 gallon barrels.

 

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Grains in the whiskey

 

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Mark and Megan tasting

 

 

Ingenium Gin
The Gin has a floral smell and a floral taste, along with the gin taste. Good balances of flavor, not too much juniper. Both Jason and Megan purchased a bottle of gin!

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Gin

 

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Jason and Maureen having fun

 

 

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Hand bottling ‘machine’

 

IMG_1192They have a lot of stuff in their little gift shop.

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Candle holder made from wine barrel staves

 

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Want to visit?

 

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 12-4
Saturday 10-4
Tours on the hour

Check out their facebook page for more information!

Other places we have visited in Portland:

Urban Farm Fermentory

Shipyard Brewing Company

Jack’s Abby Brewing, Framingham, Massachusetts

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We have been to Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham several times, and picked up their beer in Massachusetts’s packies even more. We went back recently to visit their brand new facility at 100 Clinton Street in Framingham, MA with Mark’s brother Jason and sister Michelle.

 

Jack’s Abby opened in 2011. They are an all lager brewery, which is very unique, and means they use only lager yeast. This is a slow fermentation process, much longer than making ales, and they ferment cold. It is a longer process but you have more control over flavoring. Sugars and yeast cell counts are measured throughout the fermentation process. There is a 4 to 5 week turnaround for 1 beer, where ale’s typically take 2 to 3 weeks.

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On the first tour we went on we learned a lot about the brewery:

  • the three Hendler brothers own the brewery- Jack, Eric and Sam
  • the brewery is named after one of the owners, Jack, and his wife Abby, as a nod to Abby and to the traditions of European monks who created their beers in their abbeys
  • Jack studied brewing in Chicago as well as in Munich, Germany

 

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They purchased a new bottling machine in the Fall 2013. They bottle approximately half and keg about half of the beer they make. 75% of what they make is consumed within the greater metro west area of Boston. They just started canning at the new brewery as well, in 12oz cans as well as 16oz cans for 4 packs.

 

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Mass Rising – DIPL – 8%
Mark and Jason both buy this beer semi regularly. It is a double india pale lager, or DIPL. It is pretty hoppy, somewhat bitter but a well balanced and smooth ipl.

 

Baby Hammer – black lager with lactose – 6%
A brewery only release, very tasty, a really smooth beer, probably a combo of the lager base and the addition of the lactose.

 

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Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10%
A good, smooth baltic porter for 10%. Still a strong, dark beer, but well balanced and flavorful.

 

Sour Time – wheat lager soured in wine barrels – 4.8%
You get sour and wheat flavors from this, just ok but not a stellar sour, according to Mark.

 

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Hibiscus Blood Orange Leisure Time – wheat lager 4.8%
A brewery only release, Megan described it as joy and sunshine, not very descriptive, we know. Mark was hoping it would be a little bit better, not enough blood orange fruit flavor.

 

Calyptra – session IPL – 4.9%
Pretty good overall IPL, not lacking in flavor for a session lager. They are releasing 12 oz cans of this soon.

 

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Excess – DIPL – 7.2%
Really good, smooth for a double. Really good hop flavor and overall balance.

 

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Lashes – red ipl – 6.8%
Michelle got a pint of this beer, which she enjoyed.

 

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One of the reasons we wanted to visit the new facility is that they have a new beer hall and they serve food.

 

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We got 2 pretzels for apps that were very tasty (that’s just one in the picture).

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Potato and Bacon pizza, pretty good.

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BBQ Pork Pizza, this was very good as well, interesting combo with the
pineapple and serrano chili, and BBQ pork.

When we visited it was only around 4:00, so we weren’t quite ready for dinner, we just got a few pizza’s. They were good. Their menu is not that big, and they don’t have everyday bar food, no burgers or sandwiches on the regular menu.

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They have plenty of room for all their new, and old, barrel aged beers. See those really
big barrels in the bottom picture? Must be something tasty in their!

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They have a much, much larger tasting area, or beer hall, now. It seems like it might not be quite large enough for the popularity they have achieved. We tried to visit a month ago, at around 7:00 on a Saturday. Couldn’t find parking or even get in the building it was so crowded.

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Even at 4:00 or 5:00 on a Saturday this is how crowded it was. Luckily we got a seat at one of the longer picnic tables. Unfortunately, they operate the beer hall as seat yourself, which probably adds to the crazyness on busy nights. It looks like they need more room already.

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Cool, reclaimed wood they use as ceiling panels with up lighting. They look
cooler in person, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

We were glad to see they do have a separate bar area, when you first enter, for beers to go, bottles, cans, growlers and swag.

The first time we visited Jack’s Abby Brewing was with Mark’s brother Jason as well. The guys had decided it was time to do a mini brewery and bar crawl through Framingham… Our visits included: Jack’s Abby, Angry Ham’s (featured on Bar Rescue), and John Harvard’s Brewhouse- Framingham.

 

Old sign, and their old logo.

 

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Old logo at the old brewery, hand painted by Jack’s wife, Abby

 

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They also cask condition a lot of beers in Bourbon barrels as well as red and white wine barrels.

 

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samplers before the tour- fun holder too!

 

Cocoa-Nut Barrel Aged Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Coconut smell, heavy coconut flavor with the bourbon flavor, not as much cocoa as expected. Mark thought the bourbon really played up the coconut, Megan wished there was a bit more cocoa

Jabby Brau – Session lager – 4.5% – IBU 20
No longer available?
Everyone liked it, Mark thought it had a touch of fruit.

Hoponius Union – Wicked Hoppy Lager – 6.7% – IBU 65
Year Round
Really good mix of hops and lager. One of their flagship beers, one of Jason and Mark’s favorite. We buy this often, and didn’t bother tasting it in the most recent visit because we knew we were both buying some.

 

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Jason’s sampler, after the tour

 

Leisure – Wheat Lager – 4.8% – IBU 15
available Year Round
Mark and Jason both thought it was a good summer beer. It’s what Megan likes, light and drinkable, citrusy.

 

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Berliner – Megan’s favorite

 

Berliner – Sour Wheat Lager – 3.5%
What Megan expected from a wheat sour, very good with a nice pucker.

Barrel Aged Cherry Berliner – Dark Sour Lager – 5.5%
Although it was barrel aged, the bourbon taste surprised Megan. It did have a god balance of sour and cherries. Mark liked this better than the regular Berliner.

 

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Mark’s sampler, after the tour

 

Framingham Lager – 4.5%
Light, easy drinking, nothing too special, Jason agrees.

Barrel Aged Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Very strong taste, maybe a hint of brown sugar. Strong bourbon taste as well.

PB&J Framinghammer – baltic porter – 10% – IBU 55
Not as strong as the BA Framinghammer. Nutty with a little sweetness at the end. Made Mark smile when he had it, could get the PB & J taste, Jason thought it was more chocolate almond.

 

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Megan’s sampler, after the tour

 

Hopstitution – Extra Pale Lager
Good taste, hops up front, smooth lager base. Mark and Jason both liked it.

Session Rye IPL – 3.8% – IBU 40
Jason liked it, so he shared it, everyone liked it. Definitely had a lighter, rye taste to it.

 

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the offerings during our first visit…

  

 

 

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Yay lagers!

 

We had fun here, and we all found beer we liked, at the old brewery and the new one.

 

 

They also now distribute all over Mass, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Eastern Pennsylvania and into New York as well. Not in New Hampshire or Maine, too bad for us.

Want to visit?

New Beer Hall Hours
Tuesday – Thursday: 11:30 am – 9 pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 am – 11 pm
Sunday 1:30 am – 9 pm

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love this sign!

Our 49th visit: Harpoon Brewery and the Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden, Windsor, Vermont

 IMG_0639We traveled in Vermont a couple of weekends ago to visit our friends, John and Lindsay. On our way to visit them, we made a few stops. Our first stop was Harpoon Brewery and the Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden, located in Windsor, Vermont.IMG_0634  IMG_0635  IMG_0638

Years ago, we visited the Boston location of Harpoon, and knew they were different from one another but uncertain as to how. The Vermont Brewery has a full restaurant, with a long bar, multiple tables and a nice fireplace.IMG_0657 IMG_0662
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We sat at one of the tables near the bar, where we could see the full beer menu behind the bar and the tap handles. IMG_0642  IMG_0643

We ordered appetizers and a beer sampler. They had two sample trays to choose from. We choose the tray we had tried less of in the past.IMG_0644

IMG_0646  IMG_0640Our Tasting:IMG_0647  IMG_0648  IMG_0649
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UFO Pale Ale: 5.3%, 37 IBU. Medium body, traditional British Pale Ale with an assertive hop character

The Long Thaw (White IPA): 6.2%, 45 IBU. Spiciness of a Belgian Wit, and the American Hop characteristics of an American IPA

Celtic Ale: 5.4%, 25 IBU. Very different than what I expected it to be. Malty and complex. Moderate hop with malts. Smooth, medium bodied. It didn’t present itself as a red ale to me- it was much better than what I expected.

**Beer Tasting Extra**
We mentioned we would be interested in trying this one, and our waitress was great and brought us a little taste:
Pumpkin Chai: 5.7%, great pumpkin smell. Good balance of chai and pumpkin. Not as pumpkin-y as UFO Pumpkin, however, we considered it a good “late winter, early spring” pumpkin beer- a cozy flavor.

Boston Irish Stout: 4.3%, 30 IBU. Similar to Guinness, a little darker and maltier. Fill bodied and creamy.

Glasses we ordered:
Kitchen Sink: 7.2%, 35 IBU. At inventory, they took everything they had left and combined it (ingredients that is- not beer!). Medium bodied, tasted lighter than in appeared. Good flavor, but hard to place.

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IMG_0665Black Forest
: 9.8%, 24 IBU. Interesting cherry and chocolate flavors, but not intense of either. Could be a little more flavorful, but not bad at all. Not as sweet as expected. Not overbearing, but while drinking it, you can tell it is a higher ABV.

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Food:
IMG_0656Sweet Chili Wings, from their specials menu.
Crispy wings, then tossed in sauce. Nice zip to them- just spicy enough that you don’t need to dunk them in dressing. Sweet too!

IMG_0655French Fries: crunchy, beer battered

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IMG_0677wish I had bought this sweatshirt- it was so soft!
 IMG_0676  IMG_0678  IMG_0679They have a store inside as well, with a giant window and door leading to the brewery. You are welcome to step inside the brewery for a “self-guided tour,” just not crossing through the barriers. Or, you can go on a tour over the weekend:

Tours:

FRI 5 PM to 7 PM (starting every hour)
SAT 11 AM to 5 PM (starting every hour)
SUN 12:00 PM to 4 PM (starting every hour

 

 

 

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Around five, it began to get busy. We finished up around that time and hit the road…

Want to visit?

We recommend it!

Hours of Operation:

SUN – WED 10 AM to 6 PM
THU – SAT 10 AM to 9 PM

 

 

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Newburyport Brewing Company, Newburyport, Mass- visit 41

Newburyport Brewing Company, located in Newburyport, Massachusetts has been open since 2012. It was the idea of Chris Webb & Bill Fisher, locals who like beer and great music. It is located in an industrial park and is fairly easy to find. The outside of the building is very distinctive.

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Their tasting room is more than just a tasting room- you get the feeling that it is a place to go and hangout. Bill and Chris’s 8-piece funk band plays there, as well as other local bands. You can go in and have a tasting, or a pint. It is a nice, big room with a twelve seat bar, and two-twelve seat tables as well as a Foosball table, as well as plenty of space for their live music.

 

Our tasting:

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The Signature Beers

Plum Island Belgian White: good, citrus-y, with coriander. Unfiltered witbier. 5.4% alc

Newburyport Pale Ale: hoppier than a typical pale ale… almost an IPA. Slightly citrus-y with a light toasted sweet malt finish. I wasn’t feeling the hoppiness when we went- just one of those days. Mark enjoyed the hoppiness 5.5% alc

GreenHead IPA: a West Coast style IPA. Almost a double IPA 7.2% alc

On Rotation at the Time

Double IPA: almost has a candy/chocolaty/sweet caramel feel

Joppa Stout (1635): great mocha smell. Easy to drink stout. We went home with a growler of this

Mark enjoyed all of the beers, with the Plum Island Belgian White being his favorite. He enjoyed the Double IPA for the different flavor, but wasn’t sure how much he would be able to drink. Mark didn’t have a beer he disliked. I, on the other hand, was not in the hoppy mood.

The brewery only cans and kegs and started distributing about 8 months ago. They choose to use aluminum cans instead of glass bottles, for many reasons. Aluminum keeps the beer cooler longer, and can naturally protect beer from light and oxygen. Aluminum is more likely to be recycled than glass, and is easier to do so. 

The tastings are free (which is great for the amount that you get!!), and once you find one you enjoy you are encouraged to buy a pint and hang out. It is a very welcoming place and we would love to go back.

Oh, one other thing. They have really cute sweatshirts- with their logo as seen on the building. The last of the women’s sweatshirt, with the small logo across the front was purchased while we were there. It was cute, and didn’t scream BEER unless you were in the know 🙂 If we are able to go there again, one of those zippered sweatshirts will be going home with me.

Want to visit? 
Hours:
Thursday & Friday: 3:00pm to 8:00pm
Saturday: 12:00pm to 8:00pm
Tours: Fri & Sat at 5:00pm

 

Jewell Town Vineyard, South Hampton NH #44 (a little out of order)

100_1281We recently visited Jewell Towne Vineyard. We decided it was a great idea to go out during a snow storm, which in a way was true. Not that fun to get there (for me, although luckily Mark drove) but once we found Jewell Towne, we were the only ones there. We had just missed two car loads of people. IMG_0269
Jewell Towne is located in South Hampton, New Hampshire and is very close to the Massachusetts border. We were in New Hampshire, and drove through Massachusetts to get there. It is a little difficult to find, so pay attention to their directions as found on their website.100_1280  100_1279   100_1283  100_1282

Time Line:
1982- owners Peter and Brenda planed six grapevines
1990- Jewell Towne was established
1994- Jewell Towne Vineyards became a licensed commercial winery
1998- the winery was built, a 18th century reproduction

Facts:

  • Since they began, Peter has helped other wineries become established in the area, offering his knowledge of viticulture. Peter leads the way for the wine industry for New Hampshire. Peter has also helped with legislation in regards to the the winery industry.
  • Jewell Town is New Hampshire’s oldest winery
  • They have won over 150 medals in national and international competitions
  • Their upstairs art gallery features local artists, as well as Brenda’s work
  • They produce 6 thousand cases of wine every year
  • Their wine can be found in over 150 stores and restaurants in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as at many Farmer’s Markets (Portsmouth, Concord, Greenland, Newburyport, Middleton and Gloucester)
  • Their tours as well as their tastings are FREE
  • You won’t find other fruits here- they produce only traditional style wines
  • They currently have 5 acres of grapevines
  • Many grapes they use are grown there, but some are contracted in (due to climate)

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IMG_0271the tasting bar

Our tasting:

Not all wines are open at once. They have a dry-erase board with their current offerings, and you may choose 6IMG_0272

Aurore: hints of green apple, dry

Riesling: hints of honey and orange

Seyval 2012: “off dry” description fit well. Not too fruity, good plum flavor

Vignoles 2012: honey and lemon flavor. Off dry

Traminette: relative of Gewurztraminer. Had a touch of sweetness to it

Steuben: sweet rose with flavors of ripe strawberry and fresh pineapple. yum!

Leon Millot: smooth, off-dry. Light red wine with cherry and black raspberry flavors.

Sparkling Marechal Foch: unintentional (sparkling) wine. Festive flavor. Good for sangria.

Rhapsody in Blue: ice wine. Strong hints of honey. yum!

Everyone there was very friendly. The two women who were working in the tasting room, as well as Peter. It was one of the women’s first day there, but it didn’t show. All were very knowledgeable and friendly. Jewell Towne Vineyard would be a good place to go for those who know their wine, as well as those that are new to wine.

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Want to visit?
Hours of Operation: 
11am – 4pm Wednesday through Friday
11am – 5pm Saturday and Sunday
Be sure to visit their website before you plan your visit
so you don’t get lost!

 

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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Our Tasting:100_1174

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