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Vermont Beers and New England

Hey folks,

I was wondering what other people from outside New England thought of the brewing scene in Vermont and, well, New England as a whole. Vermont has become a beer mecca for the Northeast as it has the highest ratio of breweries to people out of any state in the nation. This resurgence in brewing has resonated throughout New England–breweries are exploding here. In the state of CT, my home, 14 new breweries are applying for permits in 2012 alone. CT is the third smallest state in the Union–something is happening and it is significant.

When good Pacific Northwest, Rockies, Upper Mid-west, etc. breweries become available in my neck of the woods I happily seek them out. There’s a regional nature and I love finding a new beer at my store from Colorado or Maine alike.

As a New Englander I’ll admit the best American IPA’s I’ve had come from the west coast. However, I wonder what others think about our local beers. I’m especially curious about Belgians and Stouts. We’re a stubborn bunch and the old world holds a lasting influence: I think this is a place where old styles thrive. This revivalist approach to beer has trickled down a lot. I see college kids quaffing Long Trail Double Bag (an Altbier!) and Allagash double in my neck of the woods now.

If you are from another part of the country, what do you think of beers that emerge from New England, whether it is Vermont, Maine, Mass., etc?


I am from Maryland and was in Maine two weeks ago and really liked some of the craft ales I had in that state.

Beer in Vermont was pitiful until just a few years ago. With Heady Topper and Hill Farmstead leading the way, I’m excited for what is to come.

I love drinking beer in Maine.

Great beers, but we even have some less hipster labels that are pretty good too. Lots of decent choices, and we have more breweries cropping up all the time. Downtown Burlington is outstanding. People should come here and drink, for sure.

Great beers, but we even have some less hipster labels that are pretty good too.[/quote]

I’ve been enjoying myself a few $3 bombers of Otter Creek Black IPA from City Market to name one. Magic Hat’s HeX is quite good this year, as well. And the VPB’s beer quality has been going up quite a bit over the last couple years. I haven’t explored any of the brew pubs south of Chittenden County.

Double Bag is also a staple at this point, as well. Consistently delicious, I include a bomber on all my trades… definitely a hidden gem from this area.

We visit southern Vt. once or twice a year- Long Trail is always the first and last stop. Just like the place. I’ve done brewery tours all over the country, Allagash was my favorite.

I recently just did a small brew tour day with some friends. We hit up Otter Creek, Wolavers, Fiddlehead, The Alchemist, Switchback, Magic Hat, and Zero Gravity. It’s great to see so many breweries in such a small radius.

It has been a few years since I was in New England, but so many of the craft beers had a ton of diacetyl. I love English beers, and was excited to try fresh Shipyard and I had heard great things about Portsmouth brewing, but I found their beers mostly undrinkable. I enjoyed the Allagash tour, but Hugh Malone is probably the only beer from them that I would purchase again when their price point is about the same as a Belgian. I enjoyed Geary’s pale ale and had a few bottles of Hampshire Ale that were incredible. I have tried Wolavers, Magic Hat and Otter Creek in Texas, and they were nothing special.

I am glad to hear so much is opening up. We are also having a boom in Texas. We have probably added 10-20 new breweries in just the San Antonio/Austin Area. Keep the forum posted about good beers. I hope to get back to New England sometime and would enjoy drinking some good beers that had hops and malt flavors instead of just butterscotch. By the way, I like a little diacetyl, but many beers had waaay too much.

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