Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Salem Beer Works - Salem, MA

Salem was a great little town to visit with lots of historical places to see, restaurants, museums, and most importantly a brewery. It is located right in the heart of the city with lots of other little fun things to do, including what I recommend for ANY horror movie lover...a wax museum directly across the street it is a MUST see.
As for the brewery..it is just massive. I know it is part of a chain of other "Beer Works" places. Lots of outdoor seating and at least 40 tables in side with an extremely long stretching bar.  We were here early so it was completely dead. We sat at the beautiful bar and each ordered a 4 beer sampler.
My girlfriend got the fruit sampler which had a blueberry, raspberry, strawberry and watermelon beer.  All were pretty good, but only having 3 watermelon beers in my life this one was absolutely the best..a giant kick of watermelon in each sip.
I had the ESB, IPA, Pale Ale, and the Red.  They were all okay, nothing really blew me away.
I had the haddock sandwich which was fantastic.
I wouldn't go out of my way to come here, but I would recommend if you're in the Boston area and have time to kill take the short ride to Salem and enjoy an afternoon here and stop here for lunch and a beer you won't regret it! Check them out..www.beerworks.net/

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Harpoon Brewing - Boston, MA

Our last brewery stop in Boston was Harpoon Brewing. I personally never have been a big fan of Harpoon..but this trip changed my mind! First off, the building is massive! Plenty of parking and when you walk in there is a stairway leading right into the tap room.  A giant gift shop to your left, and to your right is tons of picnic bench seating a long with a very very long bar with plenty of seating.  We got a spot towards the back of the bar.
We tried 12 of their beers between 3 samplers.  My girlfriend loved all the UFOs in her sampler..and I will say they were tasty for what they are supposed to be. I can't even go through every beer we had there were a lot! But I did like the IPA, the Rye IPA, and none of the others really blew me away but none were bad.  The highlight for me was their Citra IPA they made.  They also were selling it in bottles exclusively at the brewery..so I took one home with me and was very good out of the bottle when we drank it. 
We tried the pretzel which I believe is made with the IPA.  The mustard we tried was incredible and it was probably the best pretzel I have had a brewery.
I will say this place shocked me and after we went out to dinner we came back for one more drink. 
I really enjoyed Harpoon and would suggest anyone in Boston goes to check it out. www.harpoonbrewery.com/

Trillium Brewing - Boston, MA

I heard good things about this newer brewery, Trillium in Boston.  So I was excited to check them out and hopefully buy me some bottles of their high rated Fort Point Pale Ale. The night before I had their Farmhouse and Session at a restaurant and I am not a typical Farmhouse fan but it was smooth! The next day I insisted on visiting the brewery.  It is somewhat hidden, and once inside it's a tight spot.  But for a Saturday at 1pm it was pretty empty.  They have two lines basically..one for growlers and one for tasting, buying bottles, etc.  No one in the line for tasting and bottles, so I jumped over there.  I bought a taster glass to keep and they used it to let me sample every thing I was able to sample.  I bought a few bottles and now that I am home and tried them...the Farmhouse, Pale Ale, and Red Rye...this place is incredible! I wish I could try more from them, especially an IPA some day.  I unfortunately forgot to take pictures since it was a rushed experience due to parking issues and worrying about my car being towed! But here is a picture I found online:

Check out their site for up to date tap lists: www.trilliumbrewing.com/

Sam Adams Brewery (Boston Beer Co) - Jamaica Plain, MA

Our second day of our trip kicked off with a 9:45am tour of Sam Adams Brewery.  You can tell this place is efficient. Now let me start by saying, they run tours all day but the 9:45am tour is the only one you can get tickets for in advance..although they do disappear quick!  The other tours just fill up fast, so get there early. Upon arrival, there was a good amount of people but plenty of parking..we parked basically at the entrance maybe people didn't know they could get that close?
Once inside, they give you a Sam Adams beer label to represent your tour time.  We had about 10 minutes to look around at different displays..like a bottle of every Sam Adams beer ever made, a basket of hops to smell, and you could even write a post card to someone that they would mail for you for free. 
The tour started, and our guide was awesome.  They ask for a donation at the beginning of the tour or at the end since the tour is free. The first stop is discussing the malts and hops.  He had us actually eat some of the different types of malt, and then rub the hops between our hands...cool stuff!
Then he explained all the bottling and brewing processes. 
Lastly, the tasting room! We got great seats right at the front.  Over the next 30minutes we were given 3 beers to sample while he explained different aspect of drinking. For example, how to properly drink a beer, the creation of the perfect Sam Adams glass, etc. 
Then you pop out at the gift shop and you're on your way! The tour was amazing and I actually learned stuff. I am not a brewery tour type of guy...I only go if I'm forced to by the brewery but this one is worth it.  You also get to keep your sample glass! The tours are very large, and the gift shop was insane afterwards but hey at that point most people are buzzed and that's okay.
Check out their website for more details, and get your tickets in advance..www.samueladams.com

Jack's Abby Brewing - Framingham, MA

Next stop was Jack's Abby in Framingham, Ma..about an hour from Tree House. They just recently were allowed to serve actual pints which was good timing for us.  I have had plenty of their beers at home, but it was nice to go to the source. 
They allow 4 beer samplers where you can choose any 4, or you can get a single pint.  We all choose to go with a sampler. I had Mass Rising, Hoponius Union, Barrel Aged Coffee Framinghammer, and the Vanilla Barrell Aged Framinghammer.  The hoppy beers I've had before..they were good as I expected. But what really blew me away was the Barrel Aged beers! They were all fantastic. And they sold them in bottles exclusively at the brewery..so I of course bought a couple bottles. They did not disappoint once I drank them at home.
As for the brewery, it was a decent sized place with a couple barrels used as tables, and some high top tables for sitting. They sell a few different types of glasses, t-shirts and other random things.  Worth checking out and their website has an updated tap list to check it out...jacksabbybrewing.com/

Tree House Brewing - Monson, MA

First stop, Tree House Brewing in Monson, MA.  We were on our way to Boston and honestly finding out about this place was a strong reason I chose to go to Boston in general. A very small brewery that only will have 1-3 beers on tap at a time.  I will say their website is always up to date so be sure to always check it. We arrived 30 minutes before opening, with the GPS taking us to the wrong address but we figured it out shortly after.  30 minutes early and we already had about 10 people in line waiting with their coolers.  Now let me say this...this place is extremely organized and runs like a well oiled machine.  Let me explain...they have a worker come out about 20 minutes before opening, he handed out little cards in which you fill out which beers you want, which size growlers, if you have your own growler or are buying one of theirs (you HAVE to use a Tree House growler), and then you hand them back to him.  He then comes back out, collects your growlers if you have them.  By the time they opened at 5 pm, the first 8 peoples' growlers were filled and we ourselves were out the door, paid, with our growlers by 5:10.
The brewery itself is a tiny little place, very hot inside. They sell a few different types of glasses, t-shirts, stickers. 

 And when you go up to the counter the workers were VERY nice, pouring samples for anyone would like to try. We had the Julius IPA which was fantastic..very smooth and hoppy.  We also had That's What She Said milk stout.  The term milk stout usually gears me away, but this one was delicious!
All around great experience, great beer and very happy we came! I enjoyed my growlers very much throughout the next couple days of the trip.
More Julius
 If you are within 2 hours of this place, be sure to go see it! They are only open a few days a week for limited hours to be sure to check out their website for updates and whatnot..treehousebrew.com/

Summer 2014 Road Trip

It was that time of year again...ROAD TRIP! Now last years road trip took us through Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minneapolis.  This year we were going through Massachusetts, through New Hampshire, Maine and ending in Vermont.  Last year we did 45 breweries, this time around only did about 20..but WOW were they some good ones.