I Pity the Fool…

 

…Who gets in between me and beer.

Getting to Foolproof Brewery isn’t the easiest task. Picture your worst nightmare. You can see the brewery but a barbed wire fence stands between you and beer.

This was my reality.

Word to the wise. Do not listen to your GPS. A lesson learned when Michael Scott drove into that pond on that episode of the Office.

Once you outsmart your GPS, you’re greeted by a small taproom for Lil’ Rhody’s most popular brewery, which may soon be overthrown by Narragansett’s triumphant return home. Either case, Foolproof has had a great variety and some unique beers on tap.

The culture behind Foolproof’s beer names comes from how your beer should be enjoyed. The Backyahd IPA is a slightly hoppy bitter beer meant to be had while lounging around at a cookout or reading a book out on the porch. The best of the bunch has to be La Ferme Urbaine, the farmhouse saison. With a slight spice kick, I could drink this beer all day. Lab series was the IPA for beginners. It’s lightly hopped with pineapple hints. I heard people in the brewery discussing how they do not like IPA’s but this was up their alley.

If you’re looking for something new and unique, Foolproof has a couple of must-try beers. The Peanut Butter Raincloud is a porter with a very light and airy peanut butter taste. The most unique, though, has to be the Shuckolate. Think of the two things in the food world that you would never put together, oysters and chocolate. Though the beer definitely tastes of a chocolate stout, you would never guess that it has oysters. But maybe that’s a good thing.

The taproom is small but full of character. The barrels are each named after famous fools in history, like Larry, Moe, and Shemp. I really hope to see this brewery expand over the next couple of years. I had seen them at different beer festivals and was glad to finally make it in to visit.

About

Foolproof Brewery
241 Grotto Ave
Pawtucket, RI

Hours
Thursday-Friday 4p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturday -Sunday 1 p.m.- 6p.m.

Website
Facebook
Instagram

 

 

Irish You Were Beer

I’ve talked in the past about the Germans perfecting beer, but there’s another country that give them a run for their money: The Irish. Spoken as true Irish woman myself, we know beer. So does Beara Irish Brewing Co in Portsmouth, NH.

You may not notice the brewery at first as you’re driving down Rt 1 in Portsmouth, but you may see a big sign on the side of the road that just says “beer.” I mean, who doesn’t stop for that? Judging by the packed, small taproom, many others share this view. Tucked in the corner of a plaza surrounded by nail salons and Asian restaurants, you would not expect to find great beer here. But that’s what makes Beara a hidden gem.

I had, had some Beara in the past, most notably the Hefeweizen but had never visited the taproom. After seeing them hype up their newest beer, Cake By the Ocean, I knew I had to go. Cake By the Ocean is a java porter jam packed with Oreos. As I have never seen an Oreo beer before, I knew I had to try it. This beer definitely did not disappoint.  This dessert beer is not overpowered with the Oreo taste but rather compliments the chocolate base. Order the beer as a pint, and you have the option to make it into a beer float with ice cream. I ended up taking a couple bottles of it home to make these, because who doesn’t like beer and ice cream? I know, it sounds weird, but this beer makes it work. If you want to try it, you may want to head in sooner than later because who knows how much longer they’ll have it but it has definitely been in demand in talking with others in the taproom.

Continuing with the unique flavors that Beara offers, is a Buffalo beer. Before you even take a sip, the smell of Buffalo sauce fills your nose. On the first sip this tastes like a tame red ale. On second sip, the buffalo kicks in. Unique beer that’s worth a try. I had been a fan of Beara’s Hefeweizen in the past as it’s a crisp and banana and clove flavored hazy beer. Finally was Survivor, the Pale Ale. This beer is awesome because it is part of a collaboration between Beara and Rising Sons Brewery in Cork, Ireland. The beer itself is not as dry as a normal pale ale and is more amber in color.

If you’re tired of the typical beers, definitely check out Beara Irish Brewing. But watch out, this place gets very crowded and is very small. Check out the schedule too as they usually have some type of irish music playing in the taproom.

Slainte!

About

Beara Irish Brewing Co
2800 Lafayette Rd
Portsmouth, NH

Hours
Thursday-Friday 5p.m.-8p.m.
Saturday 1 p.m.-8p.m.
Sunday 1p.m.-6 p.m.

Website
Facebook
Instagram

 

For the Trill of It All

To me, walking into Trillium is like walking into beer heaven. When it comes to beers, Trillium is like the Aston Martin.There’s a reason why they were just named third best brewery in the world. Other than their reputation and popularity, you can tell how good it is just by the long line outside before they even open.

I don’t think I’ve ever loved a beer quite like I love DDH Melcher St. The citrus flavor is beyond anything that I’ve ever had. With fruits like pineapple, nectarine, melon and surprisingly enough, contained a hint of green onion. The best part about it is how it’s double dry hopped with Mosaic hops.  The first sip nearly knocked me off my bar stool with how good it was. I’m still having dreams about it. On the Pale Ale side, Fort Point has to be the best Pale Ale I’ve ever had. It’s citrusy, crisp, and full of flavor. Just the smell of this beer is enough to make it great. Trillium’s two other DIPAs, Mettle and Vicinity, round a perfect tap list including many different sours, though I can’t quite get into the emerging sour scene. Mettle has a more subdued taste compared to Melcher St, but still delivers with great dry, bitter, citrus flavors. Vicinity, on the other hand, has a little more bite to it.

Food wise, Trillum has an area inside that vendors can set up at. For example Sunday they had a bagel vendor and those looked so good. If we hadn’t stopped at the famous Kane’s Donuts on the way down, I would have been all over that. Especially since living in New Hampshire doesn’t give the best options for bagels.

Trillium also gets big thumbs up for being very dog friendly. Like I’ve said before, any chance to drink beer and play with dogs is what Clark Griswold would call the “motherland, Russ”.

The greatness of Trillum couldn’t be contained to one location with a taproom in Canton, MA and a can/bottle/growler location in Fort Point in Boston. I’m already looking forward to another trip down this weekend to get more!

About

Trillium Brewery (Taproom)
110 Shawmut Rd
Canton, MA

Retail Shop
369 Congress St
Boston, MA

Hours
Varies by location

Website
Facebook
Instagram

 

 

 

 

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

Website
Facebook
Instagram

 

 

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”

Website
Facebook
Instagram

(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.

Website
Facebook
Instagram

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.

Website
Facebook
Instagram