HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >
What are you cooking today? Get great advice
TELL US

Microbreweries

1
1red111 Mar 29, 2010 12:42 PM

I'm looking for microbreweries within about 3.5 hours of Boston, especially Northern New England but doesn't have to be. Ideally, places with good food, parking, and of course beer that are located someplace scenic or interesting.

e.g., Redhook in Portsmouth would be fine but it's not an especially nice area to drive to, although nearby downtown Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Brewery might be an option. Just some info on what I'm looking for, but all suggestions welcome and anything as far as Burlington, VT or Bethel, ME works.

-----
Portsmouth Brewery
56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

  1. m
    mainemal Mar 29, 2010 01:08 PM

    Maine has a number within your range. For listings, check http://www.mainebrewersguild.org One of the best is The Liberal Cup http://www.theliberalcup.com/ in Hallowell (near Augusta, about at your limit), which has recently opened a daughter enterprise on Saco Island in Saco (name is now escaping me, but I'm sure some other Maine hounds can help). In Portland is Sebago Brewing (and pub): I don't like either the food or the beer as well. Sea Dog brewing has pubs in S. Portland, and probably the most scenic pub in the state in Topsham, overlooking a major waterfall: http://www.seadogbrewing.com/

    -----
    Liberal Cup
    115 Water St Ste 1, Hallowell, ME 04347

    2 Replies
    1. re: mainemal
      1
      1red111 Mar 29, 2010 02:21 PM

      Thanks, that's a great start.

      I forgot to mention places that gives tours are a bonus.

      1. re: mainemal
        h
        HDinCentralME Mar 29, 2010 02:39 PM

        I strongly second The Liberal Cup in Hallowell. The sister pub in Saco that mainemal mentioned is called Run of the Mill.

        Both Shipyard and Allegash in Portland (which may be too large to fit your definition of microbrewery)offer tastings/tours (no pub/food on premises though).

        The Maine Brewers Guild site has a complete list of their members by category and a map...www.mainebrewersguild.org

        -----
        Liberal Cup
        115 Water St Ste 1, Hallowell, ME 04347

      2. m
        mjp81 Mar 29, 2010 03:29 PM

        Run of the Mill in Saco, Me has standard pub fare. The beer is not good. Sebago and Sea Dog beers are ok. Same with the food. Not worth the drive. Redhook is nothing special. Plenty of free beers on the tour but the beers are just alright.

        If I were you- Head to the Portsmouth Brewery. Excellent beer and food. After that head up 89 and hit the Alchemist in Waterbury, VT. Tremendous beers and great food. After that keep heading up to American Flatbread in Burlington. Great pizza's and beers. Drive down rt. 7 and hit Wolavers/Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury. They give an excellent tour. If you're feeling adventurous you can hit up Rock Art in Morrisville and take a tour.(after you hit Alchemist) More great beers. Vermont will give you plenty of great beers along with good food. Informative tours as well.

        -----
        Portsmouth Brewery
        56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801

        American Flatbread
        46 Lareau Rd, Waitsfield, VT 05673

        8 Replies
        1. re: mjp81
          1
          1red111 Mar 29, 2010 05:01 PM

          American Flatbread brews their own beer. I didn't know that. Sounds like some good options in VT. Do you have a favorite if you plan on eating?

          1. re: 1red111
            m
            mjp81 Mar 29, 2010 08:39 PM

            The Alchemist would be my preference. A wide variety of offerings, featuring locally produced products. Zero Gravity brewery at Flatbread.... they usually have 8 or so beers on tap plus plenty of offerings from around the world. Bottle selection is very good as well.

            1. re: mjp81
              Morganna Mar 30, 2010 05:40 AM

              I was going to recommend The Alchemist, as well. I don't drink at all, but everyone I know whose opinions I respect and who drink brews like this agrees that they've got a great selection of microbrews. :)

              1. re: mjp81
                1
                1red111 Apr 2, 2010 06:20 AM

                I've put the Alchemist at the top of my list. Have you ever been to

                Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT?

                1. re: 1red111
                  m
                  mjp81 Apr 2, 2010 07:10 AM

                  I walked in and was not impressed with harpoon at all. They charged for small samples of their beers, I believe it was $2 for a couple ounces. Most places just give them away in expectations that you'll buy a pint. Not too helpful or friendly either. There's a restaurant along with a store... didn't bother hanging around in the restaurant and the store didn't offer any deals on beer. Its the old location of Catamount with some nice views but I didn't feel it was worth a detour to rt. 91.

                  1. re: mjp81
                    1
                    1red111 Apr 2, 2010 08:33 AM

                    Thanks. I'll keep it on the bottom of the list of possibilities for now.

                    1. re: 1red111
                      s
                      steve999 Apr 5, 2010 09:40 AM

                      Have you been to Harpoon or Sam Adams in Boston?

            2. re: mjp81
              m
              misse May 20, 2010 02:30 PM

              Sorry you didn't like Run of the Mill. We do. We have had good beer and good food there. Maybe you hit an "off" day.

            3. l
              LStaff Mar 30, 2010 09:12 AM

              For a combo of food and beer, it doesn't get any better than the alchemist imo.

              I also like Long Trail Brewery for burger/wings - I think they may take the best setting award though for their deck alongside the Ottaquechee river.

              I also want to visit Marshall Warf in ME for their beers and rawbar - I think they are on a pier or something, but don't know what the atmosphere is like. Not within 3.5 hrs. of Boston though.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LStaff
                m
                mjp81 Mar 30, 2010 09:30 AM

                Good idea with Long Trail. Totally forgot to mention it. Great setting. Self guided tour when I was there. Great selection of merchandise too.

              2. s
                solargarlic Mar 30, 2010 10:52 AM

                there's a fairly new brewery in Hooksett, NH: White Birch Brewing (http://www.whitebirchbrewing.com/). They don't have a restaurant, but they make some incredible beer and are very small, so you would probably get a good tour. One caution to heading to Long Trail...they get very crowded on big travel weekends. We arrived with our two kids at lunch and had to leave because none of us could handle the wait. It was a sunny Sat. in October though!

                1 Reply
                1. re: solargarlic
                  1
                  1red111 Apr 2, 2010 04:48 AM

                  Thanks for the heads up on the wait. I'll make this a mid-week or off-hours stop.

                2. t
                  TimW Mar 30, 2010 07:38 PM

                  How about Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery in North Woodstock NH. http://www.woodstockinnnh.com/

                  The website is dated, but the beer is quite good, as is the food.

                  It looks like their Maple Porter is on tap right now. Very tasty, and made with maple syrup from their neighbors, Fadden's Sugar House.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TimW
                    1
                    1red111 Apr 2, 2010 04:52 AM

                    I was trying to think of places in NH and the Woodstock Inn never occurred to me. We used to go there a lot when we were hiking the 48 4k's. I always thought the restaurant had a moldy smell I didn't like.

                    I still go to Moat Mountain in North Conway at least once a year.

                  2. 1
                    1red111 Apr 2, 2010 08:38 AM

                    Well seems like I'll be spending some time in VT this year.

                    I found a list of NH breweries but I don't know much about most of them:
                    nhliving.com/microbreweries

                    Here's a few more in ME that haven't been mentioned. Some of these are convenient for me so I may try for sure anyway. Still curious what people think.
                    braysbrewpub.com - Naples, ME - has Biergarten
                    grittys.com - Portland, Freeport, Auburn, ME - esp. Freeport
                    federaljacks.com - Kennebunkport, ME
                    shipyardbrewpub.com - Eliot, ME
                    sundayriverbrewpub.com - was there years ago.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: 1red111
                      s
                      steve999 Apr 5, 2010 09:38 AM

                      Bray's is great. Just be prepared to wait on weekends in the summer.

                      Gritty's, Sebago, and Federal Jack's in Kennebunkport all have good beers. Like most brew pubs, the food is decent, but the beer is the focus. Federal's has a nice view of the water. Sebago in S. Portland doesn't have much of a view, but has an excellent IPA and Brown Ale.

                      Sea Dog in Topsham has a great view of the Anderscoggin from the dining area and deck.

                      Sunday River is in a great location, but very average food. Although not a brewery, Suds Pub (downstairs from the Sudbury Inn) has a nice selection of beer on tap and the food is definitely better than Sunday River.

                      Although it's not a brewpub, definitely make a visit to Ebenezer's in Lovell. One of the best selections of good beer you'll find anywhere and decent food. During good weather, you can sit in the screened room on the edge of the 3rd fairway of Lake Kezar GC.

                      Another place for good beer (they have Sebago Boathouse Brown on tap, plus others) is the Black Horse in Bridgton, ME. Again, not a brew pub or a view, but some good food and beer available.

                      -----
                      Federal Jack's
                      8 Western Ave, Kennebunkport, ME 04046

                      Sudbury Inn
                      151 Main St, Bethel, ME 04217

                    2. 1
                      1red111 Apr 2, 2010 10:06 AM

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691797

                      1. s
                        steve999 Apr 5, 2010 09:26 AM

                        Pickup a copy of "The Good Beer Guide to New England".

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: steve999
                          1
                          1red111 Apr 5, 2010 04:32 PM

                          Score! $15 on Amazon.com. I'm sure that will help.

                          BTW, I just tried www.flyinggoose.com in New London, NH and would definitely go back.

                          1. re: steve999
                            1
                            1red111 May 18, 2010 07:40 PM

                            Got the book. Between it and this thread, I have all the info I need.

                            Thanks to all.

                          2. Passadumkeg Apr 13, 2010 04:27 PM

                            Three point five hours and one is just to the midcoast in Maine. Stretch it to 4.5 hrs (If one has a lead foot.) and one has the beauty of MDI, Acadia National Park and 3 local award winning breweries. Bar Harbor, Atlantic and Maine Coast breweries all within Bar Harbor city limits. ( Funny. Washington DC is as close to Boston as we are.)

                            -----
                            Atlantic Brewing Company
                            15 Knox Rd, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

                            Bar Harbor Brewing Co
                            135 Otter Creek Dr, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

                            Maine Coast Brewing Co
                            102 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                              1
                              1red111 May 18, 2010 07:37 PM

                              If Bar Harbor were closer, they would be at the top of my list. (Still a lot closer than DC)

                            2. CFByrne Apr 14, 2010 10:02 PM

                              I'd also check out what the beer geeks over here are talking about...

                              http://beeradvocate.com/beerfly/

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: CFByrne
                                1
                                1red111 May 18, 2010 07:36 PM

                                Yeah, I tried that but it didn't seem to get me anywhere.

                              2. g
                                grittys457 Apr 15, 2010 05:13 AM

                                Not a brewpub but a must go to for a beer experience is Novare Res in Portland.

                                www.novareresbiercafe.com

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: grittys457
                                  1
                                  1red111 May 18, 2010 07:35 PM

                                  Thanks, still good info.

                                2. BigFatDynamo Apr 17, 2010 11:33 AM

                                  I heard from a friend of a friend once that there is a town in Vermont where you can literally walk from one brewery to another, to another, as there are 3 or 4 within a few blocks of each other. Does anyone happen to know of a place like this? If so, I don't much care if they're great quality, I'd just like to check out the scene with some friends. Please reply if you know if this magical town truly does exist.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: BigFatDynamo
                                    l
                                    LStaff May 19, 2010 10:21 AM

                                    Burlington.

                                    VT Pub and brewery
                                    American Flatbread
                                    Three Needs

                                    All walkable, though I haven't had a need to visit any place other than American Flatbread in recent years.

                                  2. r
                                    rockblogsterbdn May 21, 2010 09:24 AM

                                    Marshall Wharf and the adjacent Three Tides is superb. It definitely beats out the Topham Sea Dog as most scenic pub in Maine... it's directly on the Belfast Waterfront, there's a huge firepit and bocce court and outdoor seating, as well as a giant deck. The decor is rustic, with unfinished wood and tin and pretty accent lights. The raw bar is great - Pemaquid oysters to die for. Nice tapas too. Beer is spectacular. Can't say enough good about the place.

                                    -----
                                    Three Tides
                                    40 Marshall Wharf, Belfast, ME 04915

                                    1. m
                                      msroboto May 22, 2010 07:36 AM

                                      Have you been to Lowell Brewery Exchange? http://breweryexchange.intuitwebsites... It used to be fun. Could go to the Spinners or they have a nice game room there with pool and air hockey etc. It's more of a night out.

                                      Bonus for the kids they have brewed root beer.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: msroboto
                                        1
                                        1red111 May 29, 2010 10:44 AM

                                        Yeah, countless times. I'm from the Lowell area, used to live downtown, and still find myself there fairly often. It's not scenic nor especially interesting but I do like sitting on the patio with some Mako shark skewers.

                                      2. Passadumkeg Jun 1, 2010 02:38 AM

                                        An interesting and informative article on Maine micro brews in the latest Downeast Magazine.

                                        http://www.downeast.com/magazine/2010...

                                        Enjoy,
                                        Dumkeg

                                        1. m
                                          mainecoastchef Jun 1, 2010 08:47 AM

                                          Breaking news...Amalfi on the Water in Rockland is teaming up with the former brewmaster and owner of Rocky Bay, and they are starting to brew at the Amalfi location on the water in Rockland. Rich is a heck of a brewer and I know it will be great, look for Shag Rock brew this summer sometime.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mainecoastchef
                                            Passadumkeg Jun 1, 2010 09:00 AM

                                            Rocky Bay is/was good brew.

                                          Show Hidden Posts