Summer is a beautiful time to wander the New England countryside and maybe add a few pop-in stops are local craft breweries, where you can find unique beers, hospitality, food, brew tours, and good fellowship. See some of our favorite New England breweries here:
Stony Creek Brewery, 5 Indian Neck Road, Branford, CT – We don’t know exactly how to interpret this description, but here it is. Stony Creek Brewery describes its brews as “The fusion of clean, bold, and aggressive West Coast flavors and East Coast balance and drinkability. We call this ‘aggressively laid-back beer.’” Categories of brews served here include the Crankies, lagers, seasonal, Flip the Bird and ales. Food trucks are located inside the waterfront beer garden, and specialties include lobster rolls, pizza and Tex-Mex. Brewery tours at held Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Hours: Noon-10 p.m. 203-433-4545. Map.
Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co., 293 JT Connell Hwy., Newport, RI — Not far from the heart of Newport, Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Co. creates beers that cover a range from bold IPAs to ales and toasty stouts. Also in production at this facility are gin, vodka, amaro, single-barrel rum, moonshine, and whiskey. Tasting happens every day in the bright and spacious Craft Tasting Room or the summer-friendly outdoor pavilion. Find 10 beers on tap and a full cocktail menu. Hours: Daily, noon- 7 p.m.; open later on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 401-849-5232. Map.
Cisco Brewers Portsmouth, 35 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth, NH — This business opened in the 1980s as Nantucket Vineyard, and by 2018 it had enlarged with the addition of beers by Cisco Brews and Triple Eight Distillery cocktails. All three businesses are constantly evolving, producing fine wines, beers, and spirits. The Portsmouth location serves all products, including a weekly rotation of small-batch brews, along with food and music. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Drinks menu. Food menu. 603-380-7575. Map.
Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden, 336 Ruth Carney Drive, Windsor, VT — The Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden, located next to the eccentric Path of Life Sculpture Garden, itself next to the Connecticut River, offers an appealing selection of Harpoon beers along with food either indoors or out in the flower-decked beer garden. On tap are Double Red IPA, Orange Blosson Honey IPA, Apricot Gose and more. Tours are offered Fridays through Sundays; if you visit during non-tour hours, there is a production viewing area where you can peer at the beer making process. Wonderful Vermont hospitality right here! Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday – Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Menu. 802-674-5491. Map.
Atlantic Brewing Co., 15 Fort Knox Road, Bar Harbor, Maine – A brewery inside at a 10-acre, 19th-century Maine farmstead – we like it already. The Knox Road property is the location of production facilities, tasting room, and Mainely Meat BBQ (a second location is at 52 Cottage Street in Bar Harbor.) Beers include classics, seasonal, and small-batch brews. The brewery also makes a blueberry soda, a root beer, and, of all things, a mustard, described as “spirited” (marinated in ale). Events – it gets a little wacky here – include the autumn belt sander race, a fierce competition in which decorated belt sanders are raced down two tracks in a double elimination bracket. Hours: Open daily, late May to mid-October, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tours every day at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. 207-288-2337. Map.
Shire Breu-Hous at The Stationery Factory, 63 Flansburg Avenue, Dalton, MA – This beer-and-dining establishment was opened in 2017 and the partners make every effort to use Berkshires products in their beers and very hearty pub menu. In fact, the brewery and restaurant are located in the former Crane Stationery Factory, with origin woods re-purposed for table tops, a tap system and coffee table made from the factory vacuum pump, the lounge chandelier built from compressed air oil filters, and the host stand restored from a 150-year-old typesetting table. [photo: Nick Whalen/Shire Breu-Hous]. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Closed Mondays. On Tap. Food menu. 413-842-8313. Map.
Hog Island Beer Co., 28 West Road, Orleans, MA – Serving pints of White Shark Wheat, Outmost IPA, Day Sail Session IPA and Summer Ale, along with summer vacation-worthy food. Stay to taste the beers or just stop in to pick up 64-ounce growlers or 32-ounce Big Hog cans to go. The name of this five-year-old company was inspired by Hog Island, located on Little Pleasant Bay in Orleans that overlooks Nauset Beach and the dune shacks that dot her coastline. Hours: Open daily at 11:30 a.m. Map.