Best New England Beers

Discussion in 'New England' started by Avangion, Jan 2, 2013.

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  1. Avangion

    Avangion Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2012 New York

    I'm going to Boston for the weekend and need to load up on locals before heading back to NYC. So I'm looking for great beers I can't get at home. Pretty Things is high on the list since they recently stopped distributing here. We can get Allagash, Maine Brewing Co., Long Trail, and White Birch. Probably others I'm not thinking of, though I don't think we get Wachusetts or Ipswich, for example.

    What are you favorites from CT, RI, MA, NH, VT, and ME that I have a decent shot of acquiring while in the area? Regular favorites and seasonal rarities are cool.. doesn't have to be extremely sought after.
  2. HoyaSaxa7

    HoyaSaxa7 Initiate (122) Aug 19, 2011 Massachusetts

    ipswich oatmeal stout is cheap and readily available (10/6 pack) and its a world class oatmeal stout. mayflower has a few goods beers, i like their porter a lot. if you can score something from jack abby (brewpub in framingham) definitely do that. i found four of their beers at whole foods the other day...
  3. brewbetter

    brewbetter Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2012 Nauru

  4. FosterJM

    FosterJM Poo-Bah (2,719) Nov 16, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    Captain lawrence DIPA
    NEBCO Ghandi Bot
    Maine Brewing MO/Zoe/Peeper

  5. lucas1801

    lucas1801 Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2012 Massachusetts

    The VT ones are obvious, RI try Grey Sail Flying Jenny, CT get Nebco, ME look for Oxbow and Marshall Wharf for MA as mentioned Jacks Abby and Pretty things. You also might want to have this moved to the New England forum.
  6. LambicKing

    LambicKing Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Germany

    Too bad Ry(e)an Ale won't be around...great stuff. Give Cisco's Woods series a shot if you can find some. Maine's Lunch too.
  7. lucas1801

    lucas1801 Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2012 Massachusetts

    Well I should add if you are drinking at brewpubs and what not as we'll, go to CBC they have some nice BA stuff right now.
    sandman3479 and FrankLloydMike like this.
  8. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,453) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    Not obvious, but delicious, Rising Tide Daymark, yummy goodness.
    smutty33, theo871, jakeaustin and 2 others like this.
  9. jbertsch

    jbertsch Meyvn (1,125) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts

    Don't go to Jack's Abby expecting a brewpub that someone noted above. It's just a brewery with free tastings. But I agree, pick up their beers, especially Hoponius Union.

    +1 to Ipswich Oatmeal Stout

    If you can find some Wormtown, they have consistent quality, and Be Hoppy is great when fresh.

    Berkshire Brewing, I don't believe distributes to NY. Affordable bombers - try their Coffeehouse Porter.

    Another mention for CBC's (Cambridge Brewing Company) bottles. I love their Bannatyne's Scotch Ale and Sgt. Pepper Saison.
    Dools9 and FrankLloydMike like this.
  10. Levich

    Levich Aspirant (230) Nov 14, 2011 Massachusetts

    If you can still find any Gritty McDuff's Christmas Ale, get some. It doesn't rate the highest, but I think it is because people are expecting a spiced Winter Warmer. It's a great well balanced ESB that is one of my favorites.
  11. willbm3

    willbm3 Initiate (0) Feb 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    Cambridge Brewing Company
    Wachusett can be hit or miss, but I like their Winter Ale
    Harpoon (you probably get it in NY, but if not...)
  12. LeRose

    LeRose Meyvn (1,279) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Premium Member

    Jacks Abby Smoke and Dagger, Saxonator, Lashes, Hoponius Union. I think Kiwi Rising is all done...hope they make it again cuz I missed it. Saxonator kinda scarce, too, come to think of it.

    Clown Shoes - Blaecorn Unidragon (have not tried the Porcine Uni) and Vampire Slayer. Their web site distribution thing skips NYC by the looks.

    Pretty Things is irregular even where I am on the south shore about 45 miles out for town. Haven't seen the full current line up anywhere I've been.

    Cisco to me is so-so. You must get Smuttynose in NY? Blue Hills and Wachusett - meh, mostly. My son (beer guy for a very small store) likes some of the Offshore Ales - I have something of theirs yet to try. Opa Opa is all over the place, hot and cold on the products. Backlash - meh. Newport Storm (Coastal Extreme Brewing) I don't care for. Up and comer might be Idle Hands - Triplication is pretty good from my notes should be around a four or so, pretty well distributed around greater Boston. It is the only bottled stuff I have seen/had of theirs. Mayflower - don't know much about yet, but have heard some good things. I am not a Harpoon fan either.

    This store is in Belmont, MA...lists brewers they carry by state Pretty good list but not all-inclusive. Oh they do have Cambridge Brewing Company - that would be good.

    Weekend...hmmm...lot of area to cover in a short time. Tullys is a little too far in the wrong direction up Maine, but Julio's in Westboro, MA you might be able to work into the route if you aren't a hurry, well, either direction. Kappy's has at least two stores near Boston...they are a pretty big chain, kinda warehouse. There is a Wines and More just south of Providence...find you do need to check dates there, staff is spotty, inventory is pretty big and pretty diverse but some conspicuous absences. But it is only ten minutes off 95S..getting back on can be a bitch.
  13. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    Another vote for Jack's Abby. Cambridge Brewing's "Audacity of Hops" is another good one. There was a pretty good supply of Pretty Things' latest "Once Upon a Time" series today at Redstone Liquors (right off 93/95 in Stoneham) - most friendly and helpful staff ever (thought the ladies in Belmont are great too)

    As above, Idle Hands is a new up and comer (I think their Triplication took a silver at GABF) - definitely pick some up if you like Belgians.
    Ganglani likes this.
  14. HipsterBrewfus

    HipsterBrewfus Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2012 Maryland

  15. HipsterBrewfus

    HipsterBrewfus Initiate (0) Jun 3, 2012 Maryland

    Someone had mentioned Berkshire and I second that. Cheap bombers, a ton of different kind of brews and they so far, have all been fantastic.

    New England Brewing company makes a few great beers, Ghandi Bot, 668, Fuzzy Baby Ducks and Imperial Storm Trooper come to mind.

    A hard to find nano brewery in CT, Relic Brewing makes some very unique brews, and they are fantastic. And I've happened to strike up a good friendship with the owner.

    New England has a ton of great breweries
  16. Dools9

    Dools9 Zealot (530) Jul 5, 2011 Massachusetts

    Anything from Jack's Abby, Berkshire's Coffeehouse Porter, Mayflower Brewing's Porter, Ipswich Oatmeal Stout (world class oatmeal stout imo), anything from Pretty Things, Wachusett Larry DIPA, Wormtown in Worcester, MA thier Be Hoppy+Sweet Tatz. I'm sure theres plenty more but these are some to checkout. Not sure if you get Baxter Brewing Co out of Maine but thier Stowaway IPA and Winter Punch Stout are both solid and worth checking out.
  17. keysburg

    keysburg Initiate (138) Mar 28, 2012 Massachusetts

    No one has mentioned Night Shift - they are a bit pricey but if you like sours or high concept beers its worth tracking down. Or swing by the the brewery in Everett to taste and chat with the owners.
  18. dunix

    dunix Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2011 Vermont

    Ipswich should be available in Boston.

    +1 to Jack's Abby and Rising Tide. Rising Tide's Atlantis is an amazing black/smoked ale that people who hate smoked beers would probably enjoy.

    You won't find any of the VT beers down there that are good (Heady, HF, Lawson's), nor will you find Oxbow.
  19. beeeeeeeeeeeer

    beeeeeeeeeeeer Initiate (42) Jul 3, 2010 Colorado

    Absolutely anything from Jack's Abby or Clown Shoes (especially their stouts and).
  20. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Zealot (580) May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    I'd caution about getting "anything" from Jack's Abby. Now that the beers have been ticked by most geeks they are beginning to languish somewhat at package stores. Hoponius Union is a nice beer under ~ 3 weeks or so but really falls off a cliff quickly
    Also seems like some of their seasonals sit around be sure to check the bottle dates.

    Ipswich Oatmeal Stout is a top-notch beer IMO & is widely available. Smuttynose big bottles are good, easy to find & priced reasonably too.

    Mystic does a decent job with cork-n-caged Saisons if you're into that sort of thing.
  21. Avangion

    Avangion Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2012 New York

    Thanks for your advice, everyone. I wound up stumbling into a fairly nice haul at a store with a cellaring program, so I was able to get many of the things recommended here and also some great aged items. I hope the Jacks Abby I picked up is fresh, now! Going to White Birch today for a tasting, so I'm pretty excited about that. Tried to hit up Relic in CT, but they're only open two days a week when I can't go. So next time!
  22. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Disciple (394) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    Sounds like you've made out well so far. Enjoy the tasting at White Birch--the guys there are great and the tastings generous. I've been really impressed by many of their darker beers especially lately--the Ol Catttywhompus, Mabon, Tavern and so on.

    I'm probably too late to catch you, but there was a thread about the Manchester area recently that might be of interest while you're up there. If you're already up there and looking for lunch or dinner, I'd really recommend Republic (excellent Mediterranean-inspired food, with a more limited beer list including some solid local options), Firefly (high-end comfort food and bistro staples, with a very nice little tap list) and River Road Tavern (short but very good menu, with a ever-rotating tap list and long bottle list). I'm not sure if they do tastings, but you could also swing by Candia Road Brewing/Nepenthe Ales in east Manchester. Their stout is very good, as have been their pale ales and IPAs that I've tried.
  23. WeymouthMike

    WeymouthMike Devotee (460) Jun 22, 2004 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Have to agree with this, just picked up a 4 pack that was nothing like the previous I bought, it's like Massachusetts less expensive version of Lunch.
  24. jamvt

    jamvt Disciple (391) Aug 5, 2005 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    i prefer hoponius union to lunch regardless of the price.
    commis likes this.
  25. BleepBloopBlap

    BleepBloopBlap Initiate (59) Aug 19, 2011 Massachusetts

    Trying to pick out things people haven't really pointed out. I really like the Berkshire River Ale. Tasty and cheap ($4.50 bomber). Night shift viva habanera is a fun beer too. Pretty Things' Our finest regards is a nice local, big barleywine. I also really enjoyed Mystic's Day of Doom quad

  26. Horbar

    Horbar Zealot (560) Feb 24, 2012 Rhode Island

    Definitely agree with you on the Hoponius. For me, it's a drainpour when not fresh.

    However, the best beers in New England, reside in Vermont.
  27. WanderingFool

    WanderingFool Poo-Bah (1,697) Aug 7, 2002 Massachusetts

    Ipswich Rye Porter is a new beer by them and it's delicious.

    I didn't see anyone mention beers from The Tap. Their Joshua Norton Imperial Stout is great.
  28. slangtruth

    slangtruth Initiate (109) Jan 8, 2012 Massachusetts

    This is true and unfortunately self-perpetuating. I was in a store today and saw some HU and might have bought it, but it was bottled in October. They also still had Kiwi, which didn't fly off the shelf at $5 a bottle but is long in the tooth and definitely not worth it by now, and others including Mom and Pop's. What all this means is that I'm not going to be able to get fresh HU this Summer at all unless I'm near Boston where it moves faster.
  29. nuggetman

    nuggetman Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2011 Massachusetts

    I will repeat a couple and say idle hands, nightshift, mystic, Cambridge brewing company, enlightenment, and backlash. All are really small (some bigger than others) and have some solid complex beers that are worth trying! Cheers!
    robNSB likes this.
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