Oxes and Bows

 

Oxbow Brewery has long been a staple on my to-do list and knew it had to be a stop on my next Portland beer tour as I try to hit at least 3 of them while I’m in the area. There’s just so many in that area!

The brewery’s flagship beer, Farmhouse Pale Ale, ended up being my favorite beer that I tried. The traditional Saison style had just the right amount of hops which made for a smooth, drinkable beer. The common theme I discovered among the tap list was the European influence. This was definitely apparent in Luppolo, the Italian-style Pilsner. This dry , light bodied lager had a smoke-like aftertaste. Though I have to admit, I do not know much about Italian Pilsners.

The Original Deluxe, the Biere de Garde (or the American equivalent, Pale Ale), was conditioned with Brettanomyces, which are like the wild type of yeasts used to preserve the beer for longer periods of time. Finally, the best named beer, Space Cowboy. Probably because unlike the older generation or sane-minded people think of the Steve Miller band, I automatically think of NSYNC. Yiyiyi-yipee-yi-yay. Anyways, ignore the fact that I sound like a boy-band obsessed teenager trying to write about beer. The beer itself, has a tiny bite to it. The final stop on the European tour, Space Cowboy, was a dry French-style Farmhouse Ale.

Oxbow’s greatness is too large to be contained to just one brewery. I visited the bottling location which is hidden in the backroads of Portland. The tasting room is surrounded by barrels of fermenting beer and seems like a great place to bring some friends before heading deeper into downtown. The other location, Newcastle, ME, is the traditional brewery located in a farmhouse. I can’t wait to see that location as well. Plus, it’s an excuse to get more Oxbow beer.

About

Oxbow Brewery (Bottling)
49 Washington Ave,
Portland, ME

Oxbow Brewery
274 Jones Woods Rd
Newcastle, ME

Hours
Vary by location

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Whatever Floats Your Moat

 

Tucked away in the beautiful White Mountains, you’ll find one of the best breweries in New Hampshire. Everything about this brewery screams northern New Hampshire. I mean with a view like that, Moat definitely is the most scenic brewery.

As for the beers, Moat’s flights are like a long gondola to the top of the mountain. The Square Tail Stout was one of the most drinkable stouts I’ve ever had. The coffee notes were perfectly balanced with chocolate.  Bone Shaker Brown is the next level down with a light, caramel taste for a brown ale. The IPA, East Intervale IPA, blasts with floral and citrus tastes. Such a great IPA! I need to find more. Iron Mike Pale Ale, unlike the name suggests, is a much tamer pale ale with crisp grapefruit hues.

Moving to the lighter of the brews, the Czech Pilsner is very light bodied and crisp beer that would be best for anyone looking for their everyday beer that they can crack open. As far as blueberry beers go, I’ve never really gotten into them, until Miss V’s Blueberry. I was renting a beach house with some friends over the summer and my friend said I needed to try it. Before I knew it, I was asking for more and more of it. I was addicted. Even as snow covered the ground, this still tastes just like summer. It’s nice to pretend when you’re wrapped in a million layers, right? With a name like Hell Yeah! Helles Lager, you know this is going to be a good beer. Like the Pilsner, the Helles Lager is the perfect beer for the regular beer drinker. Finally, the Hoffman Weiss was perfect with hints of banana and cloves in this cloudy unfiltered beer. Heaven in a glass.

Much like heading down the mountain, you want to head back up and do it all over again. And much like me trying to snowboard, because admittedly I’ve never skied, I’m hurting halfway down the second time. Yeah, I’m more of the sit in the lodge and drink kind of girl.

Judging by the size of the flights, you’d expect their food menu to be the same. Wrong, it was more. I could spend days there because there was so many different things I wanted to try. But let me tell you, get the Hush Puppies. THE BEST. I’m craving them so bad as I write this.

About

Moat Mountain
3378 White Mountain Highway Rt 16
North Conway, NH

Hours
Open 11 a.m. til “Last Call”

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(Ip)Swich It Up

 

Ipswich Brewery may be celebrating 25 years of brewing this year, but the taproom/restaurant opened earlier last year inviting new craft beer drinkers in as they are adding more and more flavors.

Ipswich definitely gets award for most creative tap as it’s on a side of a van. The brewery itself is a laid back environment and is more of a restaurant/brewery combo. Each table along the walls have windows into the brewery so people can drink their beers while viewing where the magic happens.

The flight tree was one of the most creative displays that I have seen. The iBelge, a Farmhouse Ale, shined with a smooth, citrus tang which made it very drinkable. The Blueberry Shandy was a great combination of two ordinarily great beers into one. The slight blueberry taste mixed with a zesty lemon hint. The S.I.P.A, or Session IPA, mixed two of my favorite hops, Ella and Mosiac, into a beautiful IPA. Finally, the Hop Harvest focused on the Ella Hops giving it a citrus/grapefruit taste.

I’ll definitely be taking a trip back to Ipswich Brewery to experience more of the brewery and try out their menu as I was on a liquid hopped diet that day. From what I saw and smelled, the food looked great! It has to be if it’s anything like their beers.

About

Ipswich Brewery
2 Brewery Pl
Ipswich, MA

Hours
Monday-Saturday 11a.m.-11p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m.-11 p.m.

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Notch Your Average Brewery

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The way to my heart is German beers. And Notch Brewery in Salem, MA definitely has my heart. Their German, Czech, and Belgian inspired beers are truly a notch above the rest.

The brewery itself is a beautiful brick beer hall in downtown Salem, the mecca of Halloween. But there’s nothing scary about this brewery. Stealing my heart further, Notch has Skee Ball, because who doesn’t want to play skee ball and drink beer? Or maybe I’m just a nerd. When it’s not zero degrees out, there’s an outside biergarten with cornhole. But if you have enough beer, you’ll play in any temperature.

Notch offers half beers, instead of the traditional flights, but this could be seen as flights on steroids. If you’re craving something more, grab a traditional German stein full of your favorite beer. Whichever way you choose to go, be prepared to drink a lot of beer.

Land Speed Record has to be one of the best Pale Ales that I have ever had. It doesn’t have the traditional bite that most pale ales have but it’s a more smooth taste with Mosaic hops. El Hombre Dorado, on the other hand, is a single hopped Pale Ale with a unique taste which you can feel right on the tongue. I think the Dorado hops give it a more floral undertone. Slanted and Enchanted, the dry hopped Hefeweisse,  was a light wheat beer with the slightest sour taste. It was a fun change from the traditional Hefeweisse. The Winter Pils has a great after taste and is a stronger tasting pilsner than others.

Notch Brewery is a must stop not only for their great beers, but for the atmosphere as well. The communal tables are a great place to drink beer and meet new people, because what’s better than that?

About

Notch Brewery
283R Derby St
Salem, MA

Hours
Monday 12p.m.-6p.m.
Wednesday-Thursday  5p.m.-11p.m.
Friday-Saturday 12p.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday 12p.m.-10p.m.

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