All Good in the Hood

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There’s no beer as good as German beer. Last weekend I stumbled upon a hidden gem in Exeter, New Hampshire: Neighborhood Beer Company. Neighborhood specializes in German beer with an American twist. I have to admit, I think I’ve found one of my new favorite breweries.

Normally, my favorite German beers are Hefeweizens and Kolsch, so naturally I headed right for the Hallowed Hammock Blonde Ale and Familiar Stranger Dirty Blonde Ale. Of the two, the Hallowed Hammock was my favorite. This easy-drinking ale had hints of caramel and apricots and was definitely the kind of beer you could sit and have a couple of, dangerously good. I was a little disappointed not to see a Hefeweizen on tap but I’m hoping soon! Unexpectedly, I became obsessed with the Boss Flamingo Bronze Ale. Described as one of the rarest beers in the world, Boss Flamingo has distinctive tastes of fruit and bitter hops. Neighborhood describes this beer as an “Americanized, “imperialized” interpretation of the Bavarian Forest Dampfbier. By the way, it also has the highest alcohol percentage of 7.2%, which is an added bonus. Finally, I tried the Forbidden Firecracker Golden Lager, which was a crisp Pilsner.

Aside from the tastes, I found myself sitting there wondering where I could get a career in naming beers because Neighborhood’s were so creative. Not only were the beers named creatively, but the grilled cheeses as well. Take your pick from a list of famous tv moms such as Carol Brady and Carmela Soprano.

The most dangerous thing about Neighborhood was the bowls of pretzels everywhere. Before you know it, you’re on your third bowl. Another feature is a window behind the bar leading into the actual brewery so you can watch how your beer is made at the same time.

I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Neighborhood Beer Company because my biggest regret is not grabbing a growler of Boss Flamingo before I left.

About

Neighborhood Beer Company
156 Epping Road
Exeter, New Hampshire

Hours

Wed-Thurs 4 p.m.- 8p.m.
Friday-Saturday 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday  1p.m.-5 p.m.

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Road Trip: Portland

 

 

Foundation Brewery

 

Just a few yards from Allagash Brewery, Foundation Brewery provides a great follow-up. It’s a small, but definitely growing brewery with a great sense of community and different tastes. While I was there I tried the Zuurzing and the Coco(nut) Pebbles. The Zuurzing is a sour farmhouse with a good balance of sweetness and tartness. I loved the Coco(nut) Pebbles. I am a coconut fiend and this stout perfectly captured the coconut and dark chocolate tastes. Since first visiting the brewery a year and a half ago, the brewery has added more barrels and is currently expanding their space. In the summer it’s the perfect spot to sit outside, enjoy a lobster roll and some samples or pints of some great beer. On the flipside of it Austin Street Brewery, which I wished we had time to visit. But next time!

Shipyard Brewery

Living in New England, you have probably had Shipyard at one point or another, especially as most people drool over the Pumpkinhead in the fall. For me, summertime with Shipyard is where it’s at, which was apparent as I filled out my tasting board of mostly fruity beers.Sunfish, Melonhead, and Blueberry are the epitome of fruity beers so naturally I headed for those and added in the Estival which is infused with tequila. Before tasting the Melonhead, Sunfish has always been my go-to summer beer. Filled with grapefuit and peach it’s the perfect refreshing beer on a hot day. After tasting the Melonhead, I may have a new favorite. From the first sip, I fell in love. Melonhead bursts with flavors of watermelon. I’m not the biggest blueberry beer fan but on occasion I like to indulge in the Seadog Blueberry. My favorite thing is when bars fill the glasses with real blueberries, which I wished the brewery did. Finally, anyone who knows me knows that tequila is my best friend. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the Estival which infuses tequila. It’s a great beer with a slight taste of tequila but it is far from overbearing. Ultimately, if you’re in the Portland area, shoot over to the Shipyard Brewery. They have the biggest selection of beers to taste and for me, I love the idea of these boards. If I were ever to open a brewery, this is how I would do it.

Liquid Riot

Liquid Riot, formerly known as In’finiti Distillery, has a little something for everyone. It doubles as a brewery and distillery and sits right on the water in the Old Port. As I walked into bar I was immediately drawn by the retro feel of the place even though I was rocking out to Beyonce at the same time. We didn’t get a chance to experience much of the distillery as we just stopped in for a bite to eat and a cold one. I tried the Zwicklebier, which is a German-style lager lightly hopped with Tettnang and Hersbrucker. German beers are the king of all beers in my opinion, sorry Budweiser. This was a great German lager which paired amazingly with my fish and chips. I definitely want to visit again and get more on the distillery side because everything I saw looked great!

All(agash) I Want

One of the first beers that I ever fell in love with was the Allagash White. This Belgian white offers a very light and refreshing taste with hints of spice and orange peel.

This weekend I ventured up to Portland to get behind the scenes of how the Allagash brewery works. Before the tour even started, everyone gathered in the beautiful tasting room and left and right people start handing you beers while you wait. One of these beers was one of Allagash’s newest brews: Little Brett. From the first sip, I was obsessed. It’s made up of all Mosaic hops with hints of pineapple. The perfect beer to enjoy on a hot summer day whether you’re at a cookout or hanging out at the decks. This is one of Allagash’s limited brews, which means I need to find as many as I can and stock up on it!

As we entered the brewery, we entered the brewing room with wooden barrels in the middle covered in glasses of Allagash White, aka my dream. As we drank our Belgian beers ,which makes up 75% of Allagash’s production, our guide walked us through the brewing process adding interesting fun facts like how Allagash brings the extra grains to local farms to feed cows and how some of their steel barrels were once part of the Ben and Jerry’s factory.

As we continued through the brewery, we were brought through the kegging/bottling room and finally to the small building which was the original brewery. In here, the specialty beers are brewed and segregated from the rest. Adjacent to that is the wild barrel room filled with fermenting/aging beers in wooden barrels. I noticed many different flavors including, Sriracha, Avance, and Ghoulschip. This room also doubles as my favorite room, the tasting room. We were able to sample Sixteen Counties, which has tastes of pine, clove, and malt and is amber in color named after the sixteen counties of Maine. Released that day, Hoppy Table Beer, as the name suggests, is hopped with Chinook, Cascade, Comet, and Azacca hops, and dry hopped with more Comet and Azacca. Finally, the Black. Now, I’m not much of a Stout fan but I loved this beer. The coffee and dark chocolate flavors were nicely balanced without a overly-strong bitter taste.

I highly recommend visiting Allagash if you are up in the Portland area or in search of a great day trip. Aside from this brewery, Foundation brewery, which I will write about in another post and Austin Street Brewery are within a hundred feet of Allagash, creating a great beer neighborhood. The only downside of Allagash was that they are legally only allowed to let you taste four samples in their tasting room and only bottled/boxed beers can be bought, but on the other hand, who is going to complain about free beer?

Fly Like An Eagle

 

Nestled in the alleyways of Portsmouth you’ll find Earth Eagle Brewery. I’ve been coming to this place for a couple years now and every time I tell someone I’m going here, I’m met with the “What?” “Where”? though this brewery is smack in the middle of downtown. I call it my Portsmouth Hidden Gem.

I love this brewery for many reasons and the diversity of beers on tap is my #1 reason. I’ve been here before when I’ve found brews made of actual meat, which was actually quite tasty if I do say so myself. I’ll usually find the most unique beers on tap here as well as perfected “normal” beers.

I find myself coming back for more and more Chiefy Leroux. It’s a very light, smooth beer that I could sit here drinking beer after beer. While much of the other beers on tap are gruits and different types of ales, the Chiefy Leroux is the love of my life.

Other than the Chiefy Leroux, the sextuplets of beer flights I had, provided a great deal of fruitful flavor. The Lionthorne was my favorite of the gruits filled with berries, dandelions, and Labrador tea. It’s fruity but not to the point where it’s too sweet that it makes it too much to drink a lot of. I’ve also held the belief that tea is very healthy, therefore, this beer fits right in with my diet, right?

The other two gruits, Ambrosia Gruit and Quadrasourus provide a more earthy and sour taste, respectively. Naturally me as the dinosaur nerd flocks toward anything with a saurus on the end. But even though I was already biased with the name, the beer was a mild sour beer with Juniper berries, motherwort, speedwell, and gentian root..yes, I have no idea what any of that is either but it’s so good. The other two ales, Amarillo Dancer and the Phoenix Brown provide a balanced taste to the sample as most beers are more fruity or light. I didn’t get a chance to try the last beer, MIA but I can only imagine what the hint of vanilla will do with the porter.

The second half of the menu showcases different breweries such a Smuttynose and Rising Tide. Breweries that section out a portion of their menu for other breweries is what I love about local breweries: collaboration and support. I love seeing other breweries feature other breweries on their menus. Craft beer is about collaboration and community, not competition. That’s also why I love Portsmouth as well. They’re based on the same idea of collaboration vs competition.  Watching business/breweries collaborate and support each other is inspiring.

If you find yourself in downtown Portsmouth and looking for something different, pop in for a draft, some of their eye-bulging nachos, or bring a growler home to share. I promise you, it is so worth it.

 

About

Earth Eagle Brewing
165 High Street
Portsmouth, NH

Open: Sunday-Thursday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
             Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m. – midnight

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Liar, Liar

Imagine hanging out with your closest friends from college in your friend’s garage. That’s Liars Bench Beer Company. Kick back with a beer, play some fooseball or get an intense game of corn hole going.

Liars Bench, which opened two weeks ago, features four beers on tap for tasting or fill up a growler to head home with. Right now there are four beers on tap: John Grady Kolsch, The Bitter Lad, The Little Carl Cottontail, and Shy Baby.

The crowd favorite seems to be the John Grady Kolsch. If you’re looking for a lighter beer with a touch of German hops then my man Mr. Grady is your go-to. The Bitter Lad, which Liars dubs as the “New English” beer offers more of a hoppy and bitter taste, hence the name. The Little Carl Cottontail offers a hoppier, fruity taste of citrus while the Shy Baby, the Grisette, is for the dark Saison fan. I’m more of a lighter beer fan, but I found myself downing my sample of Shy Baby.

The atmosphere is very laid back with sounds of Indie radio blaring through the speakers. On a nice day, the garage doors open to allow a patio-bar feel. Tucked away in Portsmouth’s West End, the brewery provides a nice break from the crazy, tourist-filled downtown. It’s also convenient that my friends live right across the street making it an easier stumble home. It was just the break my friends and I needed from the crowded Market Square Day on Saturday.

I’m looking forward to seeing this brewery expand into more drafts, distribution, and rumors of having a food menu eventually. This is definitely one of my new favorite places in Portsmouth.

About
Liars Bench Beer Company
459 Islington St.
Portsmouth, NH
Open: Wednesday-Thursday 12 p.m.- 8 p.m.
             Saturday- Sunday 12 p.m.- 10 p.m.

About Hopping Around New England

Here goes nothing. After a long hiatus from the writing world I have decided to get back into what I love. The thought of it was somewhat scary to me but it’s like Gronk spiking a football after a long drive. You forgot how good it feels to succeed and reaching that goal after running from ten 250 pound men. Okay, maybe not that last part.

Here’s a little about me before we get to the fun, interesting things. I’m a 26 year old Seacoast transplant trying to enjoy everything that this area has to offer. One of the biggest changes that I’ve noticed between the Seacoast and my home in Rhode Island, is the explosion of craft beer. After moving up here, I’ve become obsessed with all of these different places and beers. I figure if I’m going to write about anything, it might as well be something that I am passionate about and something that I spend most of my days doing.

Coming from Rhode Island, their idea of “beer” is a cold Narragansett. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Del’s Shandy more than anyone but there’s more to the art of beer than ‘Gansetts. My idea of the perfect day is heading out to a new brewery and trying everything there is to offer and see what makes different breweries have their own identity. Some people are “foodies,” I guess i’m a “brewie?” We’ll work on that title more.

 

So here I go jumping back into the writing world drinking, and most of the time drunk. Maybe someone will read it, maybe not but who cares. It’s about doing what you love and if you inspire people along the way it’s a great bonus. Cheers!