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Those of us who live here in New England have it pretty good. No matter what you’re into, you can usually find it in one of our six states. From the beaches to the mountains to the bustling cities to the quiet backcountry roads, the fabric of New England has a lot to offer. For beer lovers, New England is also home to some of the country’s finest independent breweries. Some of the best breweries in New England can be found in both the region’s major cities and in its more rural towns.
Of all of the great reasons to drink craft beer––from supporting local independent breweries or simply that some of the beer is just so good––perhaps the best reason is the experience of sliding up to a warmly-lit, comfortable bar to experience a pint by yourself or with a friend. In addition to tasty brews, many breweries and taprooms also pair their offerings with delicious food.
Sure, we all love our neighborhood spots where perhaps our regular barstool is waiting for us, but there’s a lot to be said by hopping in the car to explore what the best breweries New England has to offer—setting on a road trip to find that perfect pint also allows for the exploration of the backroads of the northeast. So let’s take a closer look at some of the breweries that can only be discovered by exploring our historic region. From coastlines to winding, foliage-lined roads, the scenic small towns of New England provide as much diversity in styles of beer as the region does in geography.
Brick & Feather Brewery – Turners Falls, MA
Continue further west into Massachusetts, and you’ll eventually arrive at the small Village of Turner’s Falls on Rt. 2A, a part of the larger town of Montague. Not too many residents live in Turner’s Falls, but it makes for a great destination when it comes to discovering Brick & Feather, and it’s tiny seven-barrel brewing operation. By being so small, this small batch brewery can pay close attention to ingredients and craftsmanship, which is evident in every pour. Beef lovers will be sure to appreciate all of Brick & Feather’s offerings, from their Letters from Zelda, a delicious and delicate-bodied IPA, to their smooth Ode to the Afternoon Crew, a 4.9% cream ale.
Stone Cow Brewery – Barre, MA
Currently, in their fifth generation of operation, this family-owned farm and brewery features great food, brews, and family-first entertainment in addition to cows. While visitors will be tempted by the Stone Cow Brewery’s offerings such as the farm’s flagship, Roll in the Hay IPA, which is both floral and bitter, or the milk stout, which has a ton of roasted malt complexity, families will truly appreciate what the operation has to offer. There are acres of pasture land with grazing cows, a playground for the kids, and everyone can enjoy the large entertainment space in the barn, perfect for dancing along to the tunes of local musicians.
The Alchemist – Stowe, VT
Stowe is what you think of when you think of the classic New England village––covered bridges, winding rivers, and mountain views. In the winter, Stowe transforms into a world-class ski destination frequented by tourists who dine in quaint, cozy restaurants. For beer aficionados, a stop in Stowe wouldn’t be complete without visiting The Alchemist. Opened in 2016, they are the creators of the popular Heady Topper, and also serve samples of whatever they have on tap that day. To-go options are also available, including their award-winning American stout, Beezlebub, or their single IPA, Focal Banger.
Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewing Company – North Conway, NH
North Conway is one of the hottest tourist destinations in New England, offering miles of quaint shops and the Conway Scenic Railroad. The village also attracts thousands of outdoorsy types due to the Cranmore Ski Area, and it’s proximity to the White Mountain National Forest. At the end of a busy shopping day or an outing on the hiking trails, relax at Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brewing Company, named for the nearby mountain range. An early pioneer in the canned beer craze, they’ve been shipping their brews in cans since before it was cool. They serve up a variety of styles from a sweet Czech pilsner to a robust brown ale to a New England IPA. In addition to the beer, they also offer a full food menu that will be sure to satisfy every taste.
Tributary Brewing Company – Kittery, ME
Coastal Maine provides some of the most stunning scenery in the region with its rocky beaches and classic lighthouses. While summertime can be crazy with tourists, the period after Labor Day makes this an attractive area to visit after most people head home. Close to the Piscataqua River in Kittery is Tributary Brewing, which offers an extremely diverse lineup of beer selections, where you’ll find everything from stouts, brown ales, porters, IPAs and Kolschs, all brewed to perfection.
Tilted Barn – Exeter, RI
While it may be the smallest of the six New England states, tiny Rhode Island is starting to do some big things when it comes to beer. Tilted Barn is located on 30 acres of farmland in an actual 100-year-old barn. Arriving every Saturday are food trucks to help wash down the brewery’s offerings, including a hazy IPA, a double IPA, and a lone ale. One of the most popular and unique brews is the once-a-year Spruce, which is brewed with actual spruce tips from Christmas trees.
Kent Falls Brewing Co. – Kent, CT
Located in a small town that has an elite private school and is populated with luxurious second homes owned by the NYC upper class, Kent Falls Brewing Co. offers a bit of down-home flavor. The owners live on the working farm where the brewery is located, where the hops used the brewing are grown. Open picnic tables allow guests to enjoy the serenity of the farm while sipping on favorites such as Awkward Hug, Send It!, or Senescence, brewed with birch leaves, chardonnay grapes, and the farms’ own native yeast.
Post & Beam – Peterborough, NH
This brewery is located in the heart of the small New Hampshire town of Peterborough. The building that now hosts this quant brewery began as an academy for higher education and was known as the Peterborough Academy starting in 1837. Six decades later, this building became a meeting place for Civil War veterans before it became a post for the American Legion. Before Post & Beam took over in 2017, this building was used as a center for teens. Now, Post & Beam is a successful microbrewery with a lot to offer. Some of the favorites at Post & Beam are British Buffalo (a British pale ale), Pale New Day (a Belgian pale ale), and Idle Rich (an imperial stout). Their Spacegrass double IPA comes highly recommended by anyone who visits this brewery.
Breweries in New England
Of course, the list of amazing breweries to visit in New England doesn’t have to end here. Other amazing breweries that you can visit include Tree House Brewing Company in Charlton, MA, Jack’s Abby in Framingham, MA, and Bear Bones Beer that has locations in Lewiston and Bridgton, ME. We could keep going on about these amazing places and more all day, but if you have the time check one of these amazing places.