Monday, August 27, 2018

A Summer of Northeast Breweries

This has been a fun summer of beer for us!  We took three trips to the northeast (April, June, and August), and we visited our share of breweries.  The craft beer scene definitely started to blow up after we left 4 years ago, and it's been a blast to have new places to visit each time we go back.  Of all the places we visited, I could only narrow it down to ten favorites.  Yes, I know that's a lot!  I've categorized the breweries below by state, because I obviously couldn't rank them - they're all too good!  Hopefully this will help y'all if you live in the area or are planning a visit!

Massachusetts

Tree House Brewing, Charlton - If you're a fan of craft beer (no matter where you live), you have probably heard of Tree House, or at least some of their most famous brews: Julius, Green, Haze, Bright.  This is probably one of the most fantastic beer operations I have ever seen (for a "craft" brewery).  They have huge parking lots on the bottom and top of a big driveway as well as shuttles for those who do park in the overflow on the bottom of the hill.  They can during the week and all cans are sold with a certain max allotment.  Plan to wait at least a half hour, if not more than an hour, depending on what is being sold that day, and you can always see what's available in cans through their website here.  Everything is sold in individual cans, and you fill out a slip with exactly what you want after the staff checks your ID - it's a super streamlined process, especially with the high volume of customers.  None of the canned beer is for on-property consumption, but if you're there on a Tuesday or Saturday, you can visit their bar for two pours of any beer they have on draft.  Tree House is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience and worth a half-day trip.
Trillium Brewing, Canton - Trillium has had a small location near the Boston seaport for growler fills and bottle sales for a while, but this is their first true taproom.  They have separate lines for can/swag sales and pints as well as an outside bar for on-site pours.  They have a fantastic assortment of beers.  My favorites were their Peanut Butter PM Dawn, a delicious coffee stout with peanut butter,
Night Shift Brewing, Everett - This one is definitely a hidden gem, located in an industrial area, just north of Boston.  We heard great things about it, especially their incredibly wide selection of beer, so we added it to our must-see list.  We went on a Saturday afternoon, and it was already getting busy!  They check everyone's IDs at the door, so make sure you bring one, and in the evenings, a line does start to form as they do reach capacity.
Lamplighter Brewing, Cambridge - Half coffee, half beer, if I had to design a place for myself and my friends to hang out, this would be it.  They have board games and a big space in the back for parties.  They do pints and set flights with 4 small pours each.  I really enjoyed the "Welcome to the Jungle" flight, especially the Metric System gose and The Upsidedown dark saison.  Definite bonus of this place is the free snacks, too!  You can see more photos from the awesome interior here.
New Jersey

Magnify Brewing, Fairfield - This little spot puts out some great beer.  Apparently there is a law in New Jersey where you have to give tours at breweries.  Well, they get around this law with an awesome little paper "tour" card slid over to you when you get a menu at the bar.  I absolutely appreciate this so I didn't have to wait 30-45 minutes before my beer!  We also love Magnify because they recently did a collaboration with our hometown brewery, Charles Towne Fermentory!
New York

Captain Lawrence Brewing, Elmsford - I already shared our full Fudgie the Beer adventure (click here to read it), and overall, we were really impressed with the space at Captain Lawrence.  We typically do flights or 405oz tasters at breweries, but to be honest, their "buy the taster for $2 then tokens..." method was a little complicated, so we just opted for full pours.  We had initially heard that it was super dog-friendly, but it looks like something must have happened this spring, because dogs are no longer allowed even outside (part of the reason we had to bring our friends' dog all the way to Jersey), but regardless, it was a cool space!
Peekskill Brewery, Peekskill - On the day we went to Captain Lawrence, we convinced our friends to keep driving north to check out this spot before they headed back to Jersey.  Peekskill was the cutest little town, and I loved the drive up Route 9, along the Hudson River.

Hudson Valley Brewery, Beacon - We first learned about Hudson Valley when Mike did a beer trade earlier this spring.  I was obsessed with the sour we had, so on our beerventure day to New York, this was our last stop before heading back to Connecticut.  It. Did. Not. Disappoint.  Seriously, this place is in one of top five breweries of all-time.  When we walked in, all you could see were barrels... everywhere.  Definitely a good sign of things to come!  I was curious, skeptical, and intrigued, all at the same time, when below each of the funky beer names were suggestions of what the beers tasted like.  They ranged from Flinstones Push-Up Pops and Lifesavers Creme Savers to Honey Bunches of Oats and Mountain Dew.  We tried a bunch of their beers, and by far, my favorite was the Demiurge that they said tasted like Italian Rainbow cookies, a Mai-Tai, and a lime cordial.  Seriously, it did.  Especially if you are a sour IPA fan, this place needs to go on your bucket list.
Connecticut

New Park Brewing, West Hartford - This was one of the five breweries we visited last winter, but as the clearcut winner for us in Hartford, it deserved another couple of visits this summer.  If you go on a can release day, be prepared to wait in lines, just like at Tree House.  It's definitely worth it, though!  My favorite series are Blender (fruited Berliner Weisse) and Expression (New England-style IPA).  They usually only have a few beers on tap on any given day, but the quality of each one is unmatched.
Fat Orange Cat Brew Co., East Hampton - I am so happy we finally got to this spot!  They're only open for a few hours each Saturday and Sunday, and the atmosphere is perfect.  Situated in the middle of the woods, in the middle of farm country, Fat Orange Cat has a garage-sized outdoorsy, tons of outdoor seating, and goats to feed!  Due to liquor and farm laws (I assume) the only tasting they do is through a chip system.  For $7, you're given a glass (to keep!) and four tasting tokens.  Each time you finish a tasting, you redeem another token for a different pour.  Besides the vibe, my other favorite aspect of the brewery is probably the artwork.  They definitely pride themselves in fantastic can and tee shirt art, so, of course, I had to buy a tank while we were there!  Would you believe we even found their white stout and jalapeƱo cream ale here in Charleston last weekend?!
You'll notice the one area where I haven't really shared any breweries is right smack in the middle of all these states: Rhode Island.  To be 100% honest, the RI beer scene is just starting to thrive, but unfortunately, nothing is really open 7 days a week yet.  Being in the Ocean State Sunday night through Wednesday morning was not conducive to visiting any breweries, so next time, there will definitely be some recaps!  For this trip, we focused on the delicious Rhode Island summer seafood, so there will be a recap of those adventures later in the week!

3 comments:

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

breweries are so fun in the summer!

Jen said...

My husband would love this! He is all about breweries.

Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis said...

I love visiting local breweries when we travel. Sounds like you've got to enjoy quite a few this summer and they all look amazing! Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis

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