This past weekend I visited not one, but two breweries in Amesbury, MA (stay tuned for the second review in the next couple days). My parents moved there about six years ago and I've been meaning to get to these two establishments since I learned about them.
9 Water St.
Amesbury, MA 01913
The first stop on this mini-tour was Silvaticus, a brewery specializing in Belgian and German styles - right up my alley. Located in one of the old mill buildings in downtown Amesbury, the taproom is modest but inviting, with an open view of the brewing floor and large picnic tables for visitors to relax. There's also an outdoor beer garden with a view of the Powwow River, occasional events, and board games to keep you entertained. The music playlist was eclectic and unusual for a brewery, featuring classic rock, reggae, and a bit of full-on metal from Pantera. This is also one of the cleanest taprooms I've ever been in and the atmosphere is pretty mellow (at least on a Sunday afternoon).
But let's take a gander at the beer, shall we?
Silvaticus currently offers seven flavors, but they change out one or two every week to keep things fresh. Their website doesn't have a current roster, so you just have to take the leap and see what they have. Their selection ranges from dark and rich to light and crisp, and of the five flavors I sampled I found nary a miss.
Sabotage - 5.4% ABV - Farmhouse ale breweed with barley, wheat, rye, oats and spelt, then brightened with Motueka and Mosaic hops.
I started out with Sabotage, a complex farmhouse ale with Belgian yeast flavor punctuated with subtle hops bitterness. Lots of textures going on with this one; it's a little spicy while also being pretty refreshing. This was one of my two favorites.
Agnostic - 8% ABV - This big, Belgian-inspired dubbel is effervescent with highlights of fig, banana and caramel.
This was your traditional Belgian dubbel ale with strong banana notes coming from the yeast. This one's 8% so it only comes in a .3L pour, but it's a whole lotta flavor concentrated in a small glass.
Armistice - 4.5% ABV - Soft, sessionable and malt-forward, this Belgian table beer finishes with a subtle earthy spice derived from fermentation with our saison yeast.
This easy drinking beer boasts light spiciness with a super-crisp finish. Basic but still flavorful.
Quintessential - 5.1% ABV - This edel, or noble pils, is crafted from premium German pilsner malt and hopped with Hallertau Mittelfrau and Tettnang. Crisp and dry.
Unlike most pilsners which have a bit of a sourness to them, Quintessential is crisp and dry with no weird aftertaste. This would be perfect on a sweltering day by the pool.
Silvator - 7% ABV - Doppelbock is a traditional strong beer served during lent to nourish the fasting monks. Malt and toffee flavors are prevalent.
My other favorite at Silvaticus, this has huge caramel notes and a full body. Rich, sweet and smooth, almost desserty.
Aside from offering some pretty great beers, Silvaticus also sells taproom snacks like soft pretzels, meat sticks and cheese plates, plus various merch with some of the coolest artwork I've seen at a brewery; their artist must be totally METAL. Their main skull insignia adorns most of the merch, which includes three types of glasses (I picked up one of their tulip goblets), T-shirts, stickers and leather coasters. You can also pick up 32oz cans to go.
If you like German and Belgian beers, this place is for you. Each variety I tasted was different, full of flavor, and an excellent example of its respective style. I will definitely be hitting up Silvaticus again.
Thanks for reading - stay tuned for the next installment featuring Amesbury's other brewery, Barewolf! Join us on Twitter, MeWe, Facebook and YouTube!