Harpoon Brewery, Windsor, VT — something a little different this time.

Winey Woman and I decided to visit Harpoon Brewery’s Windsor, VT., location for lunch this weekend. I was smart enough to remember my two empty Harpoon growlers, as I usually find something worth taking home a lot of to share with friends. This visit was no exception. Being a Saturday, the place was PACKED, but even so, the wait for a table was only about 15 minutes. That gave us plenty of time to wander through the retail section to see the new clothing, beer glasses, sunglasses with pop-toppers built in, and of course, plenty of bottled and canned beer.

Harpoon Brewery, Windsor, VT

Harpoon Brewery, Windsor, VT

Upon being seated, our waitress was prompt and knowledgeable about the new beers on tap. Harpoon had two pilot batches ready to serve, Boston Tea Party and Humble Braggert. BTP was described as a porter brewer with black tea, and HB was a double IPA with tons of hops. I opted to get a taste of both, along with ordering one of my seasonal favorites, Long Thaw IPA. The BTP was dark…like really dark. But what did I expect of a porter with black tea? I’m not much of a tea drinker, and when I do, it’ll be herbal or white tea mostly. This one wasn’t something I’d personally seek out, but if you like dark beers with a far amount of bitterness, this one could be right up your alley.

From L to R: Hard Cider, Boston Tea Party, Humble Braggert, and Long Thaw

From L to R: Hard Cider, Boston Tea Party, Humble Braggert, and Long Thaw

Humble Braggert, on the other hand, was awesome. So much hoppy goodness in one small sip, I was blown away. Having only had a small taste, I can’t comment on how it’ll hold up throughout an entire pint, but my small taste was enough for me to get a growler to go. Winey Woman got her standard Harpoon Hard Cider, as having Celiacs Disease makes drinking beer a rather unpleasant experience.

Might as well try a few!

Might as well try a few!

WW interjection: Harpoon’s hard cider is decent. Drinkable, but much more like fermented apple juice in taste than a highly developed flavor profile found in some other hard ciders. I much prefer Harpoon’s honey version of their hard cider. They have also done a pilot batch of dry-hopped cider that was truly delicious. Hint, hint, Harpoon!!!

WW enjoying her cider

WW enjoying her cider

Our lunches came out looking awesome, I had a BLT with beer battered fries, and WW had a tuna melt on gluten-free bread. Like usual, both meals were great, and we enjoyed our time immensely. As mentioned above, I took home a growler of Humble Braggert, and I also got a fill up of Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA. I remember having this one a few years ago when it was launched, and felt it was time to reacquaint myself with it. I’ll be doing full reviews of both of these sometime soon.

The Beer Garden has a warm atmosphere- a really nice place to grab a brew and some food

The Beer Garden has a warm atmosphere- a really nice place to grab a brew and some food

Along with Harpoon’s northern location, the light industrial park (Artisans Way) they are in features a distillery and a shop featuring Vermont food products. Since we were there and didn’t have any time constraints, we decided to wander about some. In The Sustainable Farmer, they feature a smorgasbord of local Vermont products ranging from the obligatory maple syrup to cheese, sauces, spreads, and a recent addition – Putney Mountain Winery. Much to our surprise, one of the owners was there, pouring samples of their delicious wines. After having a taste of all eight they had in stock, we picked out two, a cranberry wine and a cassis dessert liquor. Both shall be reviewed shortly by WW and myself.

Silo Distillery- just across the driveway from Harpoon

SILO Distillery- just across the driveway from Harpoon

The other alcoholic offering at Artisans Way is SILO Vodka. A vodka distillery that now offers other options, including bourbon and moonshine. I decided to sample the bourbon and moonshine, as I’d only ever had their vodka, which is amazingly smooth. The moonshine was definitely moonshine, but was clearly thought out. It had a rough taste, but wasn’t so rough that you couldn’t enjoy it. The bourbon, on the other hand, was incredible. So utterly smooth and flavorful, it was possibly the best I’ve ever had. I wanted to buy a bottle, but the price was quite steep, so I guess I’ll have to wait for my birthday or something… ūüė¶

Overall we had an awesome time in Windsor, discovered some new drinks and revisited some old, and I can’t wait to bring you my thoughts on Harpoon’s brews.

<>Beer Man

Belated New Year’s Eve Beverages

WW: Here we are, writing a beer and wine blog, and we haven’t even discussed what we were enjoying for beverages on New Year’s Eve, which, if the fullness of the shopping carts in the liquor store that evening were any indication, is a national drinking holiday.

Beer Man and I enjoyed a delicious Sparkling (Champagne) Cider from Harpoon Brewery. This is a brew they make only around the holidays and it is one of our favorites. Harpoon’s regular cider has improved slightly over the years, but it is still very light- more of an alcoholic apple juice than a real flavorful hard cider. Combine their cider with champagne yeast and everything changes. It’s effervescent and dry, hits the tongue with a sparkle and is just a joy to drink. It is still somewhat light in flavor, but the champagne yeast adds a really nice quality to the overall experience, without making it taste like strange champagne.¬† It also makes you feel fabulous pretty quickly, despite its fairly low alcohol content (4.4%) because the bubbles speed up absorption (this is why all champagne tends to get you feeling really happy more quickly than most other alcoholic beverages of equal abv).

All in all, this is a drink I would recommend heartily to anyone who loves a nice hard cider and has something they want to celebrate!
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Beer Man made a drink of his own to kick off the evening…

BM: My own creation — Buckwheat Maple Manhattan. So here on Beer Man and Winey Woman we’re not just all about beer and wine. Hard cider is more than welcomed, as are spirits. Not the mythical kind that haunt you or make you think that your dead¬†relatives¬†are watching over you somehow…..but the yummy, alcoholic kind. Anyway, I digress…..

So for New Year’s Eve, I made myself a Manhattan. It’s a drink I recently (re)discovered on a recent weekend escape that brought us to the Mt. Washington Hotel. Inspired by the awesome Manhattans that their bartenders were making, I decided to break out my old bottle of bitters, my newly acquired Scotch Rocks (soapstone cubes you keep in the freezer and replace ice with), and my “good ‘ole Yankee¬†ingenuity”¬†to try my hand at¬†mixology.¬†I came up with something I’m¬†calling the Maple¬†Buckwheat Special (MBS) (#1, since I’m sure I’ll keep experimenting). I took one measure of Catskill Distilling “Otay”¬†Buckwheat whiskey, two measures of VT Gold vodka, a dash(-ish) of bitters, and a¬†splut of VT Maple Syrup, directly from the bottle,¬†and stirred them together. The result was nothing short of awesome. The syrup cut the harshness of the high-test alcohol, and the buckwheat, which is great on it’s own on the rocks, offered a perfect flavor to compliment¬†the sweetness of the maple. While I did manage to forget a cherry (rookie mistake), the drink made me¬†quite happy, and¬†I think has inspired my inner mixologist to continue experimenting with Manhattans, as well as¬†drinks in general.