21 Top Breweries in New England: The List

After arguing over the finer points—range of offerings, quality, and overall consistency—we’ve settled on this list of the 21 top beer-makers in New England right now. Cheers!

7.

New England Brewing Company

Woodbridge, Connecticut

Long before Connecticut emerged as a craft force to be reckoned with, NEBCO was producing sought-after double IPAs and great German pilsners. The brewery’s double IPAs established its fine reputation, but it’s NEBCO’s continued experimentation—barrel-aged specialty brews, single-hopped IPAs—that make this spot a darling of the beer-geek community. newenglandbrewing.com

Known for: Sea Hag IPA, one of the first IPAs to be canned back in 2005.
But don’t miss: Imperial Stout Trooper, released each December.

Food: No
Beer to go: Growlers only
Swag: Glassware and apparel
Taproom: Four free samples per person


6.

Oxbow Brewing Company

Newcastle, Maine, and Portland, Maine

Oxbow’s slogan is “loud beer from a quiet place.” That volume? From distinctively funky, often dry, amply hopped, and sometimes sour farmhouse styles. Visit either location to drink in the scenery: The Newcastle brewery and taproom is beautifully rustic, while the Portland taproom sits within a graffiti-splashed, barrel-filled warehouse. oxbowbeer.com

Known for: Farmhouse Pale Ale, a saison brewed with American hops.
But don’t miss: Saison dell’Aragosta, a collaboration with Italy’s Birrificio del Ducato that’s brewed with live lobsters.

Food: Cheese plates in Newcastle
Beer to go: Growler fills and bottles
Swag: Hats, glassware, lighters
Taproom: Pours available


5.

Maine Beer Company

Freeport, Maine

Daniel Kleban was interning at a law firm in 2007 when an attorney introduced him to the joys of home brewing. He ditched his law career immediately. Daniel and his brother David were the first to brew in the One Industrial Way building outside Portland (now the home of notable newcomers Foundation Brewing Company and Bissell Brothers), and now produce six immaculate core beers out of their slick new Freeport facility. mainebeercompany.com

Known for: Lunch, a West Coast-style IPA.
But don’t miss: The extremely hoppy Dinner, available four times a year at the brewery.

Food: Bring your own
Beer to go: Bottles only
Swag: Hoodies, glassware, and more
Taproom: Samples and flights for a price


4.

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project

Somerville, Massachusetts (not open to the public)

Founded seven years ago by husband-and-wife team Dann and Martha Paquette, this proudly quirky tenant brewer (which produces its beer at Buzzards Bay Brewing, in Westport) makes unusual takes on traditional saisons and Belgian tripels and quads. Inspiration can come from anywhere: vintage German postcards, The Book of Saints, even a tree full of decaying baby dolls (the tree is real, located in the U.K., and the true story behind the brew Baby Tree). prettybeer.com

Known for: Jack D’Or, a “Saison Americaine.”
But don’t miss: Baby Tree, a Belgian-style quadrupel.

Food: N/A
Beer to go: N/A
Swag: N/A
Taproom: N/A


3.

Trillium Brewing

Boston, Massachusetts

In 2013, home brewers JC and Esther Tetreault took their hobby to the next level, opening this farmhouse-style brewery in Fort Point. The hopped-up IPAs and special sour beers reflect all things local: grain from Valley Malt, hops from Four Star Farms, and barrels from nearby GrandTen and Bully Boy Distillers. Keeping things personal? The native yeast culture used in Trillium’s Stonington saison comes from Connecticut’s Saltwater Farm Vineyard, where the couple were married. trilliumbrewing.com

Known for: Trillium farmhouse ale, a rustic, unfiltered saison.
But don’t miss: PM Dawn, Day & Night, or any of Trillium’s other cold-brew-infused stouts.

Food: No
Beer to go: Bottles and growler fills
Swag: Glassware and wearables
Taproom: Samples coming soon


2.

Allagash Brewing Company

Portland, Maine

Back in 1994, when founder Rob Tod introduced his Belgian-inspired flagship brew—a lemony witbier he dubbed Allagash White—it was viewed as a charming curiosity. Two decades later? It’s one of the most emulated in the country. Today, Tod and brewmaster Jason Perkins continue to push palates in new and interesting directions, particularly with their limited-edition brews, which use all manner of fruits and berries, mead barrels, and even 2,700-gallon wine foudresallagash.com

Known for: Allagash White, the finest Belgian wit style in America.
But don’t miss: Nancy, a red sour ale brewed with Brettanomyces and Maine cherries.

Food: No
Beer to go: Bottles only
Swag: Tap handles, soap, you name it
Taproom: Samples only


1.

Hill Farmstead Brewery

Greensboro, Vermont

Shaun Hill’s brewing compound, opened at his family’s farm in Greensboro in 2010, produces ales that combine tradition with wild, forward-thinking experimentation, be it with hops, barrel-aging, style mash-ups, or local fruits. That Hill does it with such consistency and quality helps explain why Hill Farmstead has twice been named best brewery in the world—yes, the world—by the website RateBeer. Thankfully for those making the trek to the Northeast Kingdom, soon you won’t have to wait outside: Hill Farmstead is expected to have a proper taproom by early summer. hillfarmstead.com

Known for: Beers with a new-world hoppiness and an old-world farmhouse character, such as the Edward pale ale and Abner imperial IPA (both named after Hill’s ancestors).
But don’t miss: Ann Saison, a wine-barrel-aged, Belgian-style farmhouse ale brewed with local honey (these grand crus come out only when Hill deems them ready).

Food: Coming soon
Beer to go: Bottles and limited growler fills
Swag: Branded glassware, hoodies, shirts
Taproom: Coming soon

Read more about Hill Farmstead Brewery.

 


Check out all of our Top Breweries in New England coverage.


  • Brian

    Dispise these stupid lists. Call it “our favorite” which puts it in the right context. Either that or go and try EVERY one and their recent offerings, and then make a grand statement over who is “best”. Otherwise these lists are a waste of ink other than being fluff pieces.

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  • David Shanahan

    Treehouse 18th???

  • jacobtheprobasketballtalk

    Bog Iron needs some loving.

  • CMAC

    No Wormtown? They win best brewery in the US, but don’t make this list? This article loses all credibility, also their new taproom is open and its awesome.

  • TheFez98

    No Bog Iron (Norton, MA), no Wormtown (Worcester, MA)? This article is BS.

    • Mike

      I like WormTown Be Hoppy. Bought a growler of their Buddha Liscious at their grand opening and drank it 5 days later…not sure what happened because it was horrible and I had tasted it at the Brewery (and like it). I think I’ll just stick to Be Hoppy at the local bar on tap. Haven’t been to the place in Norton…

      • TheFez98

        You should visit the Bog if you like good brews. Right across the street from Wendell’s (excellent wing joint) on 123 (a nice combo). They are actually premiering a new Pale Ale tonight (Robble Robble – 5.2%).

  • http://www.monheganwellness.com/ Tara Hire

    What About Monhegan Brewing Company on Monhegan Island, Maine?

  • bud_man

    Thank you for finally finding CT on the map. A few things however:

    1. Treehouse that low, really? Should be top 10.
    2. You guys need to find Beerd.
    3. How do you miss OEC? Boston is one of select places it reaches an coming off a great appearance at Extreme, you would think they would be on the radar.

    • Mike

      I agree that Tree House should be top 10 MINIMUM.

      • tracymt

        I thought the same exact thing–but then I read they’re going off of availability, which coincides with ‘gansett and Allagash being so high.

  • gregk

    No Fiddlehead?

    • Zack

      the best part of that brewery is Folinos

  • Blatherbeard

    Portsmouth Brewery. one of the best in ne and one of the only ones that had at least 1 beer that people NOT in new england had heard of. (KtG is the only beer outside of ne that ive ever been asked about, i moved to Tx.) Glad to see pretty things and CbC get some attention, even though CbC should be higher on the list as well, IMO. Will also admit, that ive never even HEARD of 90 percent of the list.

    so ymmv and my opinion subject to change.

    😉

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    • sowseeds

      Maybe come back to New England and try some of the 90% you haven’t then your opinion will change. Many of these are semi recent start ups that are putting New England on the map as world class. Tree house should definitely be higher up and Wormtown is missing. I also think Bissell Brothers deserves a spot on this list especially with the release of swish but maybe that’s a better kept secret…whoops.

      • Blatherbeard

        Yeah, i def want to do a beer trip up there one o these days. I did discover Able Ebeneezer last trip up, which was some great beers as well.

      • Dominic Leo

        Swish, dinner, substance , epiphany, lunch,etc

        Not a lot of messing around in maine these days

        Dinner is number 27 top beer in world on beer advocate right now

  • Paul

    Just tried the beers at Medusa Brewery in Hudson. Very impressive. My favorite was the Moffat Scottish 80 Shilling but all the beers we tasted were impressive. 111 Main Street Hudson MA.

  • Mike

    I was not impressed with Medusa. I look for beers that stand out with originality, and Medusa reminded me too much of Amherst Brewery. Bought a growler but won’t refill it with anything they had at their initial opening. Tree House and Trillium have ruined me for beers that taste like every one else’s. I also like Pretty Things Meadowlark enough to buy it regularly at Julio’s.

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    • tracymt

      I went to Medusa a couple of months ago and thought their beers were pretty damn good for a brewery that just opened. I had one of their pale ales and it was super crisp and fresh with a a nice light bitter finish. I find that I’m pretty hard to please but would take the 45 min drive there just to hang out and drink!..and of course find refuge in a hotel room and/or pee pee soaked heck hole.

  • David

    What no Night Shift? Boooo!!!

  • Bruce Thomas

    No Long Trail? Really?

  • kfg

    Anyone ever hear of BuzzardsBay Brewery????

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  • Hubis

    Anyone who has ever had Tree House knows they don’t belong outside the top 5. This list is a joke. I’m skeptical they’ve even had their beer since they list Julius as an IPA when it’s an APA. Morons.

    • GamehendgeBrewingCo

      I agree… but Julius is most definitely an IPA

  • Steve Petrarca

    How Long Trail, Bog Iron, and Trillium are not on this list is beyond me. Also, Rising Tide!

    • Renee Giusti

      Ahem…there are 3 pages in the article. Trillium is page 3, #3 🙂

  • Christopher Perry

    You missed Kelsen in Derry, NH with their Gold Medal Paradigm Brown Ale.

  • Liam

    As someone that works in the beer industry… anyone that thinks Naragansett makes this list and Night Shift doesn’t, obviously knows nothing about beer. Fiddlehead and Wormtown are also massive snubs. I get that this is about pageviews but if you were looking for brand recognition on page one Smuttynose would have been a much better choice.

  • Dan Stevens

    Tree House at #18, are you f#$5ing kidding me? Plenty of their beers are among the top ranked beers by Beer Advocate & they cant keep up exploding demand. Two Roads is an impressive facility but their beer is by and large thoroughly mediocre. They do brew the incredible Sip of Sunshine as a contract brewer, but come on now.

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  • Hudson Valley Slim

    Hill Farmstead & Trillium. Well hell, someone has good taste.

  • Disappointment

    How much did Narragansett and Notch pay you to get on this huge swing and miss of a list…have you ever drunk beer prior to writing this article?

  • balcobomber25

    Long Trail, Wachusett, Shipyard, Smuttynose, Otter Creek all should be on this list.