Two Breweries in MA

Gloucester Harbor

Gloucester Harbor

Recently we visited the Northshore of Boston….a nice day visiting Salem, Rockport, and Gloucester. I made it a point to stop at Salem Beer Works and Cape Ann Brewing.

Salem Beer Works was nice. A pretty modern building and really high warehouse-like ceilings inside:




 We sat at the bar and I had a flight:



We’ve had some of these beers in bottles…just known as “Beer Works“, as they have several other locations in Eastern Massachusetts (Boston Beer Works, Salem Beer Works, etc.). We were surprised at how good they actually were. I hadn’t recalled that the bottles were anything special. But sometimes it just tastes better out of the tap, in the right atmosphere. You can see the list of beers they had:

IMAG1264 Many were pretty high alcohol. I tried the Derby St Nut Brown Ale, the Witch City Red, the Haymarket Hefeweizen, and the Custom House IPA. All good. Maybe the Brown and Hefeweizen were my favorites, if I HAD to pick.

Cape Ann Brewing in Gloucester:



We sat outside on the deck, by the water……smelled a bit like fish. What do you expect? Hello, Gorton’s! 

I was able to get a large flight here:



Not sure I can remember everything I had. But I DO remember that the Sunrise Saison was my absolute favorite! 

IMAG1286 IMAG1287


Again, we’d only had these in bottles here. If I can find the saison in a bottle, I will buy it! I remember their beer as being “ok” in the bottles. Not all were great on tap, but a few were quite good, and the Saison was outstanding. So it was definitely worth the trip. 

If you’re ever in the area….try these two places. However, I wouldn’t necessarily make a trip just to visit them. 





LOTS of tastes

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been to the Avenue Pub several times. Here’s what we drank:

4 oz tastes of Bayou Teche Biere Joi (not bad, had a very mild coffee flavor), and Noel de Geants (unfiltered Belgian, 8.5%, tasted like medicine…could NOT drink it)

NOLA Irish Channel Stout (love it, 6.8%, great stout):

Petrus Aged Pale (7.3%, always a good sour):

Also just had a little sample of Haand Nissefar Father Christmas. 7% alc, strong coffee flavor, can taste the high alc, not bad, but I don’t think I could drink even a whole 4 oz  at once. Seemed strong, good for sipping over a long period of time.

On another visit–

Brugse Zot Unfiltered (LOVE this one, had it in Belgium, this time it wasn’t very unfiltered..??):

Thanks to a suggestion from someone sitting at the bar, I tried the Saison de Dottignies (very good actually!):

And last, but not least…a SOUR!! I love sours, if you haven’t yet noticed. I tried a new one, Banhof Brettanmyces Lambicus  (Berliner Weisse, very sour, delicious):

…and yet another visit to the pub–

A Rogue Good Chit Pilsner in the back (very good!) and a Brugse Zot Unfiltered Blond in the front:

Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour (surprisingly, I wasn’t really into this one…not sure why, maybe it was more bitter than most sours I drink?):

Then I had 4 oz tastes of Bayou Teche Biere Noire (I really like this one!) and Racer 5 IPA (pretty good IPA, doesn’t blow me away, but pretty good).

And that’s it!!

Unfortunately, we missed some of the St. Arnolds Christmas brews that were upstairs….they’ll probably be gone by the time we get back to the pub 😦 There’s always next year, I suppose.

Thanks, Polly and the rest of the Pub staff!!



A Saison Tasting

Happy Int’l Beer Day!!


Yesterday was IPA Day, but I chose to attend a Saison tasting event at Stein’s Market & Deli with Mark Janes, who was very insightful.  Thank you! There weren’t too many people….and I actually only got through about 11 out of the 13. They were big tastes! I was so beered out, that I couldn’t even make it to our usual pub for the great Belgian beers they had on tap 😦

Here’s what we tasted (bottles were on ice, but not too cold):

Saison Dupont (Belgium)-6.5% alc, good, not too strong, refreshing,

NOLA Hurricane Saison (New Orleans, LA)-6.5% alc, pretty good (much better than when I tasted it last year), citrusy, not very much carbonation…could be due to the fact it was in a growler.

St. Feuillien Saison-6.5% alc, sweet, nutty aroma, nice head, fizzy, very nice!

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace(Brooklyn, NY)-7.6% alc, hoppier than the others, medium carbonation, not much head, ok.

Nogne O Saison (Norway)-6.5% alc, no carbonation, a hint of sweetness on the end, not especially my thing

Ovila Saison (Sierra Nevada in CA)-7% alc, not my favorite, a bit bitter

Dupont Foret (Belgium)-7.5% alc, very nice, a bit hoppy, seltzery but smooth, has more of the traditional “Belgian” flavor

Dupont Avril-low alc 3.5%, tasted and smelled a bit skunky to me (in a green bottle), couldn’t really drink it. I’d try a taste again sometime.

Saison d’Epeautre (Belgium)-6% alc, made with spelt but couldn’t really taste it, also seemed a bit skunky, not great, no sweetness at all.

Urthel Saisonniere (Belgium)-6% alc, bitter, very “Belgian”, good, darker than the others.

De Ranke Saison de Dottignies (Belgium)- 5.5% alc, bitter on the way out, very nice, also darker than the others.

It was a good tasting! It was a lot of tasting…..then we had to go eat something!

What have you tasted recently?



Upcoming Beer Events

First, let me thank my friend, Yuki, for bringing me some Great Lakes beer from her recent trip to Ohio! I was actually a bit skeptical about their Dortmunder Gold. But you know what? It’s good!!

(photo from the Great Lakes Brewing website)

I think I was expecting some sort of plain pilsner. Wasn’t at all like that. A little sweet, a little malty. Nice!

This week is a big beer week. Tomorrow, August 4th, is International IPA Day, followed by International Beer Day on August 5th. How will you be celebrating?

There are a few events coming up here, locally:

Today, August 3rd @ The Avenue PubBelgian Beer Tapping 6-9 pm. You get to taste 5 different ones for $12. They’ve got some really exceptional ones to try. I actually had some of them when we were in Belgium this summer!

August 4th @ Stein’s Market & Deli 4-6 pm-FREE Saison tasting event. Some of the beers on the list:

Saison Dupont, Dupont Foret (Organic), St Feuillien Saison, Ovila Saison. You get the idea. They’ve got a ton on the list….please RSVP on their Facebook page, so they know how many to expect.

September 17th @ The Avenue Pub 3-6 pm – Cantillon Zwanze Day 2011.  You can read more about the general even from Cantillon’s website here.  This is a one-time event with a special beer and only 10 places are getting it (in the U.S.) This pub is one of them! I’m hoping to be there (I’ve already placed my order for the t-shirt!!)

And for more info on worldwide beer events, check out Roadtrips for Beer.

If you’re planning on doing a beer trip to Belgium, you may want this book. Leave a comment if you’re interested in winning it and feel free to spread the word!




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