Top 10 New England breweries welcome beer-loving visitors for tours
Culinary travel is big in New England because of the marvelous, centuries-old traditions of farming, cooking... and beer brewing! Brewery operators in New England are proud of their beers and lagers, and eager to show their hospitality to guests on a vacation or getaway in New England. (The same could be said, by the way, of the wide varieties of vineyards and wineries in all parts of New England.) Here is a list of the best brewery tours and brewers who welcome beer lovers to their unique workplaces.
40 Merriam Street
Somerville, MA, 02143
Tour our taproom and taste tart and full-bodied cider for adult tastes
This young cider-making enterprise is swinging at the bigger brands and at the notion that hard cider is too much like soda pop - fizzy and sweet. Bantam Cider is different; an adult beverage with adult flavor. Come join at tour of the taproom in Somerville's Union Square Thursdays through Saturdays. At our new 1,300-square-foot tasting room, you can taste up to eight ciders on draft – enough to see that we’re serious about creating a new and mature-tasting drink that we think of as a cider for beer drinkers. Order by the pint, or ask our bartender for a flight of five samples. Choices include the Wunderkind, our flagship: sparkling wine yeast combined with a touch of flower blossom honey; Rojo, aged with sour cherries and black peppercorns; Smoked Saison, created from smoked apples and Belgian Saison yeast; and American, featuring hand-ground Persian spices. Apples are sourced in western Massachusetts by this hyper-local business.
Fall Taproom Hours: Friday 5-8pm, Saturday 1-8pm, Sunday 12-6pm
244 North Main Street
Troy, NH, 03456
Award Winning Artisinal Fruit and Traditional Craft Beers
Lift a glass of Mooselick Brewery's Razzleberry to your lips, and you'll taste the great outdoors. The Levick family creates the beverage in their nano brewery in Troy, NH, using berries they grow on their farm in the same town. You can tour their brewery and sample the wares in their taproom on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons. Other fruit beers you'll find on tap include Red Berry Gulp, Velvety Antlers Brown Ale, Hoof Print Porter, and Moose Hide Amber Ale. The Levicks also brew some more traditional ales for those with more traditional tastes. It turns out fruit and hops are a delicious combination. Especially when the brewer uses fruit grown as the Levicks do at their Monadnock Berries farm.
135 Main Street
North Woodstock, NH, 03262
Join us for one of our famous Brew Tours!
Learn about the history of the Woodstock Inn Brewery while you tour this 30-barrel, state-of-the-art solar fed brewery and production facility. Learn how we craft and bottle our delicious award-winning ales—each inspired by the characteristics of the area’s stunning scenery and clear mountain streams. The Woodstock Inn Brewery is located in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains. Brewery Tours are offered daily, reserve online. After your tour, take a refreshing dip in adjacent Cascade Park, browse North Woodstock’s charming Main Street and our company store, or visit one of the many nearby attractions.
221 Daniel Webster Highway
Merrimack, NH, 03054
Say hello to a Clydesdale, Budweiser's gentle giants
At Budweiser's northeast brewery in Merrimack, NH, learn how your favorite beer is made, from seed to sip. On this free tour, our friendly and knowledgeable guides will lead you through the actual plant, showing how the process begins with fermentation, how hops and yeast are added, and how our beverages are bottled, capped, and labeled. A favorite part of the tour is the tasting room, where you'll be served pretzels and two glasses of the Budweiser beverage of your choice. There's soda for the kids, who are invited to come along. Head out to our stables, modeled after a tidy, old-fashioned German farm, where you'll say hello to Clydesdale horses, the gentle giants who have become Budweiser's mascots. And be sure to stop by our gift shop, where you'll find all manner of Budweiser souvenirs.
2016 Tour Hours: Jan.-May - Mon-Thurs 10a-4p; June-Aug. - Daily 10a-5p; Sept.-Dec. Daily 10a-4p.
50 Industrial Way
Portland visitors who love beer should know about the Allagash Brewing Company. Founded in 1995 as a one-man shop, Allagash brews traditional and experimental Belgian beers. The beers are bottle-conditioned, meaning that a fresh dose of yeast is added just before bottling, allowing a new round of fermentation that enhances the traditional Belgian taste. Tours are offered year-round. Consult the tour calendar and plan ahead; Saturdays are busy. Tours are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
336 Ruth Carney Drive
Harpoon was founded in Boston and expanded in 2000 to a location in Windsor, Vermont. Harpoon draws on numerous brewing traditions, always added its own interpretation to match customers’ tastes. The Windsor brewery features a production viewing area where guests can check out the Brewhouse up close and learn about Harpoon. The Windsor location also has a Brewery Store and the Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden restaurant.
Guided tours of the brewery are offered Fridays at 5, 6, and 7 p.m.; Saturdays, every hour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, every hour from noon to 4 p.m. The tour is followed by a Harpoon and UFO beer tasting.
5 Bartlett Bay Road
SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT
The Magic Hat Brewery cranks out 400 bottles of beer every minute. The Magic Hat Artifactory, the nerve center of it all, includes the Growler Bar, where 48 taps flow with a constantly changing line-up of beers, including year-round offerings, seasonal and experimental brews. The roster of flavors exceeds the number of beers Magic Hat distributes, so come check out some lesser-known libations.
The tour ramp is open for free guided tours on Thursday-Friday, 3, 4, and 5 p.m.; Saturday, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, p.m.; Sunday, 1:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to come by and take a self-guided tour during Artifactory hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
15 Knox Road
Bar Harbor, ME, 04609
Maine has a fine heritage of microbreweries of various styles. Atlantic Brewing Co. has been brewing Bar Harbor Real Ale and Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale for over a decade, and find loyal followers throughout Maine and the micro brewing world. The new facility was built on the site of an old farm a few miles from downtown Bar Harbor. It was designed to create a more visitor-friendly environment similar to country wineries and breweries found throughout Europe.
Free tours of the brew house are offered daily at 2, 3, and 4 p.m. from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Free tastings of beers and sodas also can be done in the gift shop. No reservation is necessary for tours0.
16 Tobey Road
Bloomfield, CT, 06002
Thomas Hooker Brewing Company is Connecticut's local brewery with a national reputation. Hooker offers eleven unique beers (7 ales and 4 lagers) and was ranked number 15 in the top 50 American Micro Breweries by the Beer Advocate.
Hooker is open tours and tastings every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. For $5 you'll get a guided tour of the brewery and a full tasting of Hooker brews. If you taste a beer you like pick up a growler of brewery fresh beer. Friday open houses are held the first and third Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. A happy hour with drinks, a guided tour, and a pint glass for $10.
Cottrell Brewing Co., 100 Mechanic Street
Pawcatuck, CT, 06379
Cottrell Brewing Company is a Connecticut-based micro brewery, manufacturing craft beers in the New England tradition. Its flagship brew is Old Yankee Ale, a medium-bodied American amber ale, with an up-front malt taste and refreshing hop finish. In 2010, the company launched Mystic Bridge, a year-round New England IPA with hints of citrus. The latest release, out since December 2011, is Perry’s Revenge Scotch Ale. Revenge is a malty beast at 8.5 percent with nice round notes of chocolate and raisin.
Tours and tastings are held Monday-Wednesday by appointment; Thursday at 3 p.m.; Friday tours on the half hour from 3 to 6 p.m.; Saturday tours on the half hour from 1 to 5 p.m.
Coastal Extreme Brewing Co., 293 JT Connell Road
Newport, RI, 02840
It isn’t surprising to hear that four guys from college came up with an idea to start a brewery. In July 1999 the brewery’s first beer, Hurricane Amber Ale, was released. Since then, the brewery has continued to slowly build itself and its reputation. In 2006 the Newport Distilling Company opened, making Thomas Tew Rum. In 2010 the brewery and distillery built a new facility in the north Newport, including a Visitors Center and tour deck.
The visitors center is open for tours and tastings daily except Tuesdays from noon to 5 p.m. During opening hours, visitors may enjoy a tasting of Newport Storm beer and Thomas Tew rum. Self-guided tours during all open hours; guided tours leave once daily at 3 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. No reservations are necessary for groups of less than ten people. The visitors center has a gift shop with glassware, apparel, and Storm and Tew gear.
175 State Road East
Wachusett Brewery’s three co-founders developed an appreciation for beer while attending Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Armed with a can-do attitude, the three cast off from their careers in engineering and biology to found the Wachusett Brewing Co. in 1993. The three founders designed and built most of the equipment; did the brewing and filling, selling and delivering.
Brewery tours are offered Wednesday and Thursday, noon-4 p.m. (last tour at 3); Friday and Saturday, noon-5 p.m. (last tour at 4). Brewery store hours are Wednesday and Saturday, noon-5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, noon-6 p.m. The company also hosts tastings, pint nights, and special events.
1336 Phinney’s Lane
HYANNIS, MA, 02601
Cape Cod Beer started out in April of 2004, brewing at the old Hyport Brewing Company on Main Street in Hyannis. Now, the brewery, on Phinney’s Lane, is a 15 bbl direct fired brew house with 9-by-30 bbl and 3-by-15 bbl fermenters. The company brews about 10 to 12 times a week during the high season, and about half that during the off season and distribute beer from Plymouth to Provincetown. Year-round beers are Cape Cod Red, Cape Cod IPA, and Cape Cod Beach Blonde Ale. Several seasonal beers celebrate summer, fall, and winter.
Guided tours are offered Tuesdays and 11 a.m. and Saturdays, at 1 p.m. Visitors may take self-guided tours during regular retail hours, Monday-Friday, noon-6 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
1 Redhook Way Pease International Tradeport
PORTSMOUTH, NH, 03801
Built in 1996, Redhook’s brewery now is located in the Pease Tradeport in Portsmouth. The brewery mimics the same architectural style as its Woodinville, Washington, brother, which was influenced by the brewhouses of Bavaria. The grounds are home to many events and festivities during the summer, including the popular Redhookfest, usually held in August.
All tours of the brewery include a guided walking through the brewery, some Redhook history, an explanation of how the ales are madwe, a sampling session or three to four beers, and a souvenir glass. Tour lasts about 45-60 minutes. Minors may attend tour but must be accompanied by an adult. Brewery tours are held Monday, 3, 4, 5 p.m.; Tuesday, noon, 1 and 2 p.m. ; Wednesday and Thursday, 1, 3, 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. on the hour; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. on the hour. Check schedule in advance; times of public tours are subject to change.