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Brewery tours in the New England area

Discussion in 'New England' started by dougsoulang, Feb 23, 2012.

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  1. dougsoulang

    dougsoulang Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Indiana

    I'm headed up to the New England area with the wife at the end of March / beginning of April. Specifically doing some work in the lakes region of New Hampshire and then visiting Cape Cod and Boston before heading back home. What breweries do you all recommend touring when I'm in that area? I'm willing to drive out of the way if the tour would be worth the trip.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. WanderingFool

    WanderingFool Poo-Bah (1,807) Aug 7, 2002 Massachusetts

    In NH, the Tuckermans Brewery in Conway has tours every Saturday afternoon. Down in Portsmouth both Smuttynose and Redhook offer tours. You may also want to consider touring Allagash in Portland, ME. In Boston I suggest hitting up the Boston Beer Company tour.
  3. beerbiatchMD

    beerbiatchMD Initiate (0) Nov 19, 2011 Maine

    I'd recommend coming up to Portland, ME and talking a tour of Allagash (unfortunately closed on the weekends this time of year but may be open by April, check online). It's only ~50 min north of Portsmouth and it's a great tour.

    If you can get up to Portland on Fri, you can do the Maine Beer Co. tour at 2pm and go directly to the Allagash tour at 3pm (this is what I'd recommend if possible). Cheers.
    LostTraveler likes this.
  4. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    Mayflower is on the way to the Cape. Nice beer out there and if it isn't busy they might be willing to give a tour.
  5. LostTraveler

    LostTraveler Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2011 Maine

    If you go to Portland, youcould also shoot an email to Rising Tide, they are directly behind Maine Beer- they dont have set times to tour but if they are there they will give a tour. While in Portland, non-beer is Maine Mead Co. Nice little set up- they do mead and cider. Very nice to see. Check out Novare Res and Great Lost Bear if there. If you go to Conway NH- look into Ebenezer's in Lovell Me. very short distance.
    beerbiatchMD likes this.
  6. dougsoulang

    dougsoulang Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Indiana

    Thanks a ton for all the help so far. Anyone have any other Boston area recommendations?
  7. emannths

    emannths Initiate (193) Sep 21, 2007 Massachusetts

    Smuttynose/Portsmouth Brewery is in Portsmouth NH. The Sam Adams tour always gets good marks, even from those who aren't too excited about their beer. For something different, try a tour at our new lager-only brewery in Framingham, Jack's Abby (http://jacksabbybrewing.com/blog/tourstastings/). They're making some very good, interesting beers. There is also Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis.
  8. BeerThursdays

    BeerThursdays Devotee (414) Feb 28, 2010 Delaware
    Beer Trader

    Boston Beer (Sam Adams) and Harpoon are the only two that come to mind in Boston proper. But you're not far from Jacks Abby, Smutty Nose, Mayflower, and Wormtown (Not sure if they do tours).
  9. jslot38

    jslot38 Devotee (491) Apr 18, 2005 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Idle Hands in Everett (just north of Boston) does growler hours on Saturdays 12-4, they mention tours and tastings as well. http://www.idlehandscraftales.com/site/ Right next to them (literally) is Night Shift, which is just brewing their first batches but may be up and running by the time you are here.
  10. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    One of the most interesting tours I've been on in the area is Wachusett - unique equipment that was peicemealed together and an ancient bottling line cobbled together by engineers who turned to craft brewing for a living - and a tiny space for how much beer they make (where's the raw and finished goods inventory?). Also Berkshire for the open fermenters - and space and inventory in stark contrast to Wachusett.

    Sam Adams tour is interesting to taste how good SA Boston lager should be and they usually throw some experimental samples your way.
  11. jplally

    jplally Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2011 New Hampshire

    Since you're going to be in the Lakes Region you won't be too far from some pretty good Brew Pubs that'll be worth the trip for dinner/lunch.

    Woodstock Inn & Brewery - smack in the middle of the White Mountains. A good reasonably priced meal and some pretty good beer, plenty of sight-seeing, shopping and activities around...make a day of it if the weather is good.

    Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewing - further up in the mountains in North Conway (another great sight-seeing and shopping destination). I've actually never been here (on my to-do list this summer) but I've heard great things about their food and I really like their beer. Pick up a GIANT can of Pale Ale as a souvenier on your way out.

    Flying Goose Brew Pub - I've seen mixed reviews around the net, but I'm a fan. Just 30+ min west of the lakes region, they have a pretty damn good Black IPA and usually something like 13 in-house brews on tap. Awesome food too.
  12. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Devotee (499) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    The one I wouldn't miss is Smuttynose. They do the best tour I've been on yet--you're not just walking through the space like many other brewery tours (which is still fun), but you get right into where the beer is brewed. And that's by necessity--the place is at or probably way over capacity. You enter through a loading dock, and the samples you get before and after the tour are poured from taps essentially at the end of a workbench. There's no hospitality room, since the place is now full of tanks, and the tour guides are very informed and friendly. You also typically get a voucher for a free pint at the Portsmouth Brewery at the end. Smuttynose is moving to new digs in the next year or two, and while the building and space itself are nothing to miss, the ramshackle nature of the place and intimacy of the tour make it well worth a visit while you can. Portsmouth would be an easy stop between the Lakes Region and Boston/Cape Cod.

    I'd also highly recommend visiting Moat Mountain and Woodstock if you can. Moat Mountain has excellent beer and food, though I'm not aware of any tours (if someone's brewing perhaps they'll do an impromptu tour). Woodstock does do a tour of their cramped brewery, though I'm not sure of the time, and they offer good food and pretty good beer in a nice setting--the big, plant-filled patio is especially nice. Both places also offer lodging.

    The only brewery actually in the Lakes Region is Squam Brewing. I'm not aware of any tours, but I've enjoyed their beers, and I think they might show you around their barn-brewery if you contact them ahead of time. I haven't been to Flying Goose since I was a kid, but I've had their beer at a few festivals and I was impressed. I believe most of their reviews on BA predate their current and fairly new brewer. Depending which side of the lakes you're on, they might be worth a visit. Also depending on your route, you could stop at White Birch in Hooksett on your way up to the Lakes Region, especially if you're coming from Manchester. They offer tours and tastings everyday except Sunday, I believe.

    Harpoon and Sam Adams are the big (and as far as I know only scheduled) tours in Boston. I haven't done Sam Adams in several years, but everything I've heard has been good. Harpoon also does a solid tour. Jack's Abby is one of my favorite new breweries, and I'm looking forward to possibly doing a quick tour this weekend myself while visiting a friend in Framingham. While in Boston, you should absolutely stop at the Cambridge Brewing Company. They make some amazing beer and offer very good food. I'm not aware of any tours, but the brewhouse is right behind the bar and the tanks are all visible, as well. They might also give you a tour if there's someone working in the brewery, but I'm not sure.

    Enjoy your visit!
  13. silentjay

    silentjay Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2008 Massachusetts

    Definitely do the Allagash tour. As soon as they open the doors to the "Curieux room" you will thank me.
    Most tours are boringly similar, but with Allagash employing different brewing methods than your neighborhood brewpub, it makes things interesting.
    LostTraveler likes this.
  14. CapeCodBeer

    CapeCodBeer Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Massachusetts

    We have tours on tuesdays at 11am and Saturdays at 1pm year round. If those times do not work for you, any time our retail shop is open you can do a self guided tour and tasting. Both are free. more info..www.capecodbeer.com
    tzieser and RBCORCORAN like this.
  15. Flounder57

    Flounder57 Poo-Bah (2,285) Feb 22, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Time prevailing, here is the list Moat Mountain, Tuckermans, Flying Goose, Woodstock Inn, Squam, White Birch, Smuttynose, Portsmouth and all of which are in NH. As for Mass, Sam Adams in JP, Harpoon in the Seaport, Blue Hills in Canton, Mystic in Chelsea, Idle Hands and Night Shift in Everett, Wachusett in Princeton, Jack's Abby in Framingham, Mayyflower in Plymouth, and Cape Cod in Hyannis. Portland has Allagash, Maine Beer, Rising Tide, and Bull Jagger in the same industrial area. Baxter is in Lewiston, Run of the Mill in Saco, Gritty's in Old Port, and Sebago in Gorham.

    You should be all set.
  16. dougsoulang

    dougsoulang Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2012 Indiana

    Thanks a ton for all the recommendations y'all. MUCH appreciated.
  17. busterthecat

    busterthecat Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2009 Massachusetts

    Tons of solid suggestions already. If you are going to be in Boston for a day and want to do either Harpoon or Sam Adams, it is quite possible to do both and make a half day out of it. Harpoon only gives tours on the weekends with 20-30 min open tastings following. The harpoon tours can fill up pretty quickly so get there at least by 2:30 pm (may require waiting a bit). The Sam Adams tour gets very busy on the weekend, so arrive as early as you can. If you want to do both, Get to Sam Adams within an hour of them opening and enjoy the tour and tasting session, then hop on the party trolley to get to Doyle's for lunch and beer with a free perfect pint glass (highly recommended), then jump back on the party trolley to get back to the T and navigate your way over to Harpoon for an early afternoon brewery tour ($5) and as many samples as you can try in ~25 min. After Harpoon you are a close T ride to most of the other sights/ attractions in Boston proper. A pretty cheap and fun way to explore Boston.
  18. jbertsch

    jbertsch Meyvn (1,078) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts

    2 Suggestions for your trip south of Boston to Cape Cod... Be sure to Mayflower in Plymouth as they have a nice tasting room. But I also recommend a brewery called Just Beer brewing. It's on a farm in Westport Ma. Pretty location, underrated beers, cool people. They also contract brew for other brands. There were pallets of Pretty Things kegs when I was there...
  19. tzieser

    tzieser Champion (841) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    as jbertsch said, i might consider stopping by Just Beer in Westport on the way to the Cape (not exactly on the way, but not too far out of the way either). pretty sure they're only open on Saturdays though. although they do contract brewing for other breweries (Strangford Lough [St. Patricks Best Bitter only], High & Mighty, Pretty Things, Blatant, etc.) they don't offer them on-tap or for sale in their store. they only sell "just beer" products.

    www.justbeer.us for more info.
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