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Monday, January 8, 2018

Fox Farm Brewery - Salem, Connecticut

Sometimes adventures are just a short drive from home.  It's not always airplanes and suitcases, maybe its a local hike and a visit to a new brewery.  In the busy month of November with the rise of the chaos of the holidays and dwindling expenses, that is exactly what I went out to do. 

If you've read my Connecticut Brewery post, you know breweries have been popping up throughout the state  - Don't quiz me but I think we are past the 60 mark with breweries in this rather small state.  It feels like every other weekend someone is mentioning a new brewery popping up somewhere in the state.  In the spring of 2017 a new brewery opened in my neck of the woods and Fox Farm Brewery was a name that kept spilling out of my friends mouths and popping up on tap lists at restaurants.  It is a rather big brewery in a rather small town and Fox Farm in Salem, Connecticut has been receiving some amazing reviews.  

After hearing all the hype, I went out for a hike at nearby Devils Hopyard, grabbed my dog and the largest sandwich I have ever seen from Salem Prime Cuts, and headed to Fox Farm.  What did I think?  Great setting, dog friendly, picnic friendly, amazing space, and best of all fantastic beer with a great variety.  

Taproom and Brewery in an old dairy barn

Fox Farm Brewery is located on thirty acres of farm land in the sleepy town of Salem, Connecticut.  While not technically a farm brewery, the brewery prides themselves in using local ingredients.  The brewery is housed in a 1960s barn that once operated as a small dairy barn until being converted into a brewery.  Fox Farm really nails the farmhouse vibe which can be seen all over the property, from the clever shovel taps to their logo etched on their glasses  "FROM THE SOILS COME THE SPOILS"- well played Fox Farm. 

Shovel Tap Handles Behind the Bar

I was immediately impressed by the space.  Large open area in a beautiful barn.  Plenty of space at the wrap around bar, and a lofted area with a few tables and chairs.  The outside area was also set up well with various tables and chairs spread out around the building.  

My number one gripe tends to be a lack of seating (and space) in a brewery when they tend to get popular (I am looking at you New England Brewery cough cough).   But the size and space of Fox Farm meant there was plenty of room for everyone, even on a gorgeous sunny Saturday in November when the parking lot was full.  You can also see into the space where the magic happens, getting a glimpse of the steel tanks and operations. 

View from the second story lofted area

Where the magic happens

About the Brewmaster (from an article by The Day) 5/23/17:  "Zack Adams graduated from East Lyme High School and worked as an online marketer for a floral company  Adams, using a home-brew kit he got for Christmas from his in-laws, made a batch of beer called Magnificent Seven IPA. The beer was selected from over 1,000 entries as one of three national winners in the 2012 Samuel Adams Longshot American Homebrew Contest."

Catchy Logo: "From the soils come the spoils"

A big thing I picked up on was the amazing graphic design/art/advertising team behind this brewery from their own logo to their catchy tag line and beer names, the designs were fantastic.  Attention to detail is everywhere and prevalent from the moment you walk into the brewery. 

 Beer Logos 

Fox Farm Beer and List

Roam: Galaxy (5.7%) American Pale Ale
A consistent grain bill is utilized in every iteration of Roam American Pale Ale but a different combination of hops sends the beer in new directions - furthering our understanding of hops. Good- different combo of hops makes it interesting. 
Burst (7.0%) Dry Hopped American IPA 
This is our first presentation of an American IPA. It is unfiltered and generously hopped, and like many of our regions wonderful IPAs, is best enjoyed fresh. We hope that we've done justice to a favorite style.  Good- but not as memorable as the others. 
Daylily (8.1% ABV) Double IPA. 
Dry-hopped aggressively with two waves of Simcoe, Galaxy and a touch of Mosaic.
You know my qualms with the double IPA craze.  As far as the double IPA scene goes I enjoyed it but not my favorite of the bunch.
Scatter (6.2%) American Brown Ale
Dark brown ale that definitely tasted like a porter.  Great beer especially this time of year.
Hearthbound (6.2 %) Porter
Our Robust Porter is pitch black, decadent and drinkable. With Hearthboud, we believe there is a place for dark beer in our glass year-round.  A favorite, I have heard a lot about FF's porters and this one held up to my expectations. 
Pantry Party (5.4%)  Farmhouse Ale. 
The pantry is a farmhouse staple and as two of Connecticut's first farmhouse breweries, we proudly pulled from our respective pantries of CT grown ingredients to bring this beer to life. Barley grown in Farmington (and malted at Valley Malt) was used alongside aged hops grown at Kent Falls / Camps Road Farm. Each of our own farmhouse cultures came to the party and over 200 lbs. of St. Croix grape must (skins and juice) from the family vineyard here on Music Vale Road was added mid-fermentation.  THE Favorite of the day- unique beer with amazing flavor. Available only on the farm no growler fills -in a stem glass. Would have filled a growler of this if we could have. 

Tap list that day

Trying all the beer on tap

What do I love most about this brewery besides the beer?  The fact that its dog and picnic friendly.  The fact that Olive can enjoy a post hike evening out and about with me is a big deal.  The fact that I can bring lunch with me is an added bonus. 

Olive at the brewery 

Dogs:  Yes!  Outside only (there are tables and chairs) and on-leash
Food: No food on premises but you are allowed to bring your own food (cue the gigantic subs from Salem Prime Cut)
Kids: Yes- family friendly
Private Events:  Nope - no private events with the current permit 
Flights:  Not technically- you can pick whatever assortment of half pours you want to make your own. 
Prices:  each beer is priced differently.  Here is an example of the price list for Roam 
2L Growler Fill: $15     1L Growler Fill: $8    Full Pour: $5     Half Pour : $3
Hours: Weekend only  Friday (2pm - 7pm) Saturday and Sunday (11am - 5pm).
Address:  62 MUSIC VALE ROAD, SALEM, CT 06420

Lunch and a tasting 

Fox Farm has a "Bring Your Own Food" policy and lucky for us, Salem Prime Cuts is conveniently located just down the road (just over a mile).  It is a butcher shop, deli counter, and small store known for their gargantuan grinders- locally famous some say.  This monstrosity was only $10.95, must have had an entire package of bacon on it, and was too much for two hungry people to split.  I alone could not even finish half of this grinder and the sheer size of this thing if something you have to experience for yourself (oh yes, its an experience).  

SPC is located 1.2 miles away (3 minute drive) on 12 New London Rd in Salem, Connecticut

SPC grinder and a flight of beer

Fox Farm, you lived up to all your hype.  Your porter was everything we heard it was but for me, Pantry Party was the beer to beat.  In a time where IPAs have taken over the beer scene, it was nice to have other options like pale ales and porters.  Yes, there was an IPA on tap and of course in New England brewery fashion a double IPA but those three letters didn't take over every beer on the list.  Word on the street is that Fox Farm is looking to expand into sours and oh am I excited to come back.  With a grinder of course.  

1 comment :

  1. Very impressive building and inside space, and it seems they have the beer tasting so well organized. Plus kid friendly and dog friendly. Great idea for a New England weekend getaway (when it's not like 5 degrees outside though).


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