The 50 New England Breweries to Visit This Summer

Dust off the growlers, clear the trunk, and fill up the tank…it’s time for a road trip.

If you’re a fan of craft beer, you’ve mostly likely surrendered to the pull of the pilgrimage. Sometimes, to experience the most elusive, highly sought-after examples—those holy grails obtainable only at the source—you have to dust off a trunk full of growlers, purchase a tank of gas, and head toward the alluring bouquet of wort and hops.

Beer tourism is a booming growth industry and it’s having a significant economic impact all over the country, particularly in states like Vermont and Maine. Just look around the parking lot at Hill Farmstead in Greensboro Bend, Vermont, or Oxbow in Newcastle, Maine. There you’ll find license plates from California, Colorado, Texas, and pretty much every state up and down the Eastern seaboard. Inside, you can share a pint with tourists from as far away as Munich or Melbourne. The weekend brewery excursion has become the preferred way to travel.

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Click to Print / Eoin Laramee

Now that warmer weather is here, we’ve decided to make a bucket list of breweries to visit over the course of the summer. The guidelines are fairly simple: they have to be making great beer and they have to be open to the public. This means no contract or tenant breweries, which eliminated several of our favorites, including Pretty Things, Notch, and Slumbrew (who opens their own Somerville facility in November). Some, simply don’t offer tours and tastings, meaning Lawson’s Finest Liquids was grudgingly excluded. The only exception was The Alchemist—a victim of zoning problems that’s been searching for a new facility since November 2013—who occasionally does pop-up truck sales.

The New England brewery checklist represents a lot of beer and a lot of miles, but remember, you have three months to make it happen. Use our checklist (left) to keep tabs. Good luck!

1. Harpoon
306 Northern Ave. Boston, MA, harpoonbrewery.comSun-Wed: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Thu-Sat: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA
Tours: Yes
Food: Yes (pretzels)

2. Night Shift Brewing
87 Santilli Hwy., Everett, MA, nightshiftbrewing.com; Mon-Fri: 3 p.m.- 9 p.m.and Sat: noon.-6 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Anything from the Sour Weisse Collection
Tours: Yes
Food: No (Bring your own. Food Trucks also available on occasion)

3. Trillium
369 Congress St., Boston, MA, trilliumbrewing.com, Tues-Thurs: 4 p.m.- 7:30p.m.; Fri: noon-7:30 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Fort Point Pale Ale
Tours: No
Food: No

4. Cape Anne Brewing
11 Rogers St., Gloucester, MA, capeannbrewing.com, brew pub: 11 a.m.-12 a.m. everyday; kitchen: Sun-Thurs: 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.; Fri-Sat: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Dead-Eye DIPA
Tours: Yes
Food: Yes

5. Mystic Brewery
174 Williams St., Chelsea, MA, mystic-brewery.com, Wed-Fri: 3 p.m.-7 p.m. and Sat: noon-5 p.m.
Tours: Yes
Food: Yes (cheese and charcuterie starting later this summer)
Must Try Beer: Saison Renaud

6. Idle Hands
3 Charlton St., Building 3, Unit 4, Everett, MA, idlehandscraftales.com, Wed-Fri: 5 p.m.-8 p.m. and Sat: 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Pandora Belgian Ale
Tours: Yes
Food: No

7. Aeronaut Brewing
14 Tyler St., Somerville, MA, aeronautbrewing.com, (Opening June 21) Thurs-Fri: 6-10 p.m.; Sat: 1-10 p.m.
Must Try Beer: A Session With Dr. Nandu
Tours: Yes
Food: Yes

8. Tree House Brewing
160 East Hill Rd., Monson, MA, treehousebrew.com, Thurs-Fri: 5-8 p.m.and Sat: 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Julius IPA
Tours: No
Food: No

9. Berkshire Brewing Co.
12 Railroad St., South Deerfield, MA, berkshirebrewingcompany.com, Saturdays at 1p.m. for tours/tastings
Must Try Beer: Coffeehouse Porter
Tours: Yes
Food: No

10. Blue Hills Brewery
1020 Turnpike St., Canton, MA, bluehillsbrewery.com, Fri: 3- 7 p.m.; Sat: 1- 7 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Black Hops
Tours: Yes
Food: No

11. Jack’s Abby
81 Morton St., Framingham, MA, jacksabbybrewing.com, Wed-Sat: noon-8 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Hoponious Union Imperial Pilsner
Tours: Yes (on Saturdays)
Food: No

12. Mayflower
12 Resnik Rd., Plymouth, MA, mayflowerbrewing.com, tasting: Wed: 4- 6 p.m.; Thurs-Fri: 4-7 p.m.; Sat-Sun: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Mayflower Porter
Tours: Yes (on weekends)
Food: No

13. Cambridge Brewing Co.
1 Kendall Square, Building 100, Cambridge, MA, cambridgebrewingcompany.com kitchen: Mon-Thurs: 11:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m., Fri: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun: 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Last call: Sun-Mon: 11 p.m. and Tues-Thurs: 12 a.m.; Fri-Sat: 12:45 a.m.
Must Try Beer: Cambridge Hefeweizen
Tours: No
Food: Yes

14. Newburyport Brewing Co.
4 New Pasture Rd., Newburyport, MA, nbptbrewing.com, Thurs-Fri: 3-8 p.m. and Sat: noon-8 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Melt Away Session IPA
Tours: Yes (on Saturdays)
Food: No

15. Cisco Brewers
5 Bartlett Farm Rd., Nantucket, MA, ciscobrewers.com, Mon-Sat: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun:noon-6 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Island Reserve Relentless Sessions
Tours: Yes
Food: No

16. Element Brewing Co.
30 Bridge St., Millers Falls, MA, elementbeer.com, Mon-Sat: noon-6 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Dark Element Black IPA
Tours: Yes
Food: No

17. Big Elm Brewing
65 Silver St., Sheffield, MA, bigelmbrewery.com, Sat: noon-4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: 413 Farmhouse Ale
Tours: Yes
Food: No

18. The Tap Brewing
100 Washington St., Haverhill, MA, tapbrewingcompany.com, Tues-Sat: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sun: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Intergalactic Acid Berliner Weisse
Tours: No
Food: Yes

19. Abandoned Building
142 Pleasant St., Unit 103A, Easthampton, MA, abandonedbuildingbrewery.com, Tues: 5-7 p.m., Thurs: 5-7 p.m. and Sat: noon-6 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Lola’s Saison
Tours: No
Food: No

20. Boston Beer Company
30 Germania St., Boston, MA, samueladams.com, Mon-Thurs: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Fri: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Double Agent IPL
Tours: Yes
Food: No

21. Foolproof
241 Grotto Ave. #1, Pawtucket, RI, foolproofbrewing.com, Fri: 5-7 p.m. and Sat. 1-5 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Backyahd IPA
Tours: Yes (Saturdays)
Food: No

22. Maine Beer Co.
525 US Route 1, Freeport, ME, mainebeercompany.com, Tues-Sat: noon-7 p.m. and Sun: noon-5 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Dinner DIPA
Tours: No
Food: Occasionally

23. Allagash
50 Industrial Way, Portland, ME, allagash.com, Mon-Sat: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Midnight Brett
Tours: Yes (book in advance)
Food: No

24. Oxbow
272 Jones Woods Rd., Newcastle, ME, oxbowbeer.com, Wed-Sat: noon-7 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Farmhouse Pale Ale
Tours: Yes (Saturdays)
Food: Occasionally

25. Bissell Brothers
1 Industrial Way Suite 1, Portland, ME, bissellbrothers.com, Sat: 1-6 p.m.
Must Try Beer: The Substance Pale Ale
Tours: No
Food: No

26. Banded Horn
32 West Main St. Building 13-W, Biddeford, ME, bandedhorn.com, Wed: 3-8 p.m., Fri: 4-9 p.m., Sat: 1-9 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Jolly Woodsman Coffee Stout
Tours: No
Food: No

27. Foundation Brewing
1 Industrial Way, Portland, ME, foundationbrew.com, Fri: 3-6 p.m., Sat: noon-5 p.m. Sun: noon-2 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Blaze Farmhouse IPA
Tours: Yes
Food: No

28. Tributary Brewing Co.
10 Shapleigh Rd., Kittery, ME, tributarybrewingcompany.com, Wed- Sat: noon-7 p.m. and Sun: noon-5 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Tributary IPA
Tours: Yes
Food: Sometimes (food trucks)

29. Austin Street
1 Industrial Way, Suite 8, Portland, ME, austinstreetbrewery.com, Fri: 5-8 p.m. and Sat: 1-6 p.m.
Tours: No
Food: No
Must Try Beer: Kon-Tiki Pale Ale

30. Bunker Brewing
122 Anderson St., Portland, ME, bunkerbrewingco.com, Thurs-Fri: 5-8 p.m. and Sat: noon-5 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Bunker Machine Pilz
Tours: Yes
Food: No

31. Baxter Brewing
130 Mill St., Lewiston, ME, baxterbrewing.com, Wed: 12-6 p.m., Thurs-Sat: 12-8 p.m., Sun: 12-4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Stowaway IPA
Tours: Yes
Food: Yes (pretzels)

32. Shipyard
86 Newbury St., Portland, ME, shipyard.com, Mon-Sat: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sun: 11 a.m.-5 pm.
Must Try Beer: Black IPA
Tours: Yes
Food: No

33. Rising Tide Brewing
103 Fox St., Portland, ME, risingtidebrewing.com, Mon-Sat: noon-7 p.m.; Sun: noon-5 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Co”slab”oration Wheat
Tours: Yes
Food: Occasionally food trucks outside

34. In’finiti Fermentation
250 Commercial St., Portland, ME, infinitimaine.com, Mon-Thurs: 12-11 p.m., Fri-Sat: 12 p.m.-1 a.m., Sun: 12 p.m.-11 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Primus Belgian Ale
Tours: Yes
Food: Yes

35. D.L. Geary’s
38 Evergreen Dr., Portland, ME, gearybrewing.com, Mon-Fri: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Hampshire Special Ale
Tours: Yes (call ahead)
Food: No

36. Marshall Wharf Brewing Co.
2 Pinchy Ln., Belfast, ME, marshallwharf.com, Tue-Sun: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Cant Dog DIPA
Tours: No
Food: No

37. Smuttynose
105 Towle Farm Rd., Hampton, NH, smuttynose.com, Mon-Wed: noon-5:30 p.m., Thurs: 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Fri: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat: 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Robust Porter
Tours: Yes
Food: No (restaurant coming fall 2014)

38. Portsmouth Brewery
56 Market St., Portsmouth, NH, portsmouthbrewery.com, Mon-Sun: 11:30-12:30 a.m.
Must Try Beer: Royal Impy Stout
Tours: Yes
Food: Yes

39. Blue Lobster
845 Lafayette Rd., Hampton, NH, facebook.com/bluelobsterbrew, Thurs: 2-6 p.m., Fri: noon-7 p.m., Sat: noon-6 p.m., Sun: noon-4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Unfiltered Kolsch
Tours: Yes (on weekends)
Food: No

40. Earth Eagle
165 High St., Portsmouth, NH, eartheaglebrewings.com, Mon-Sun: noon-9 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Three Bird Cock Ale
Tours: No
Food: Yes

41. White Birch
1339 Hooksett Rd., Hooksett, NH, whitebirchbrewing.com, Fri: noon-6 p.m., Sat: noon-4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Hop to Wit
Tours: No
Food: No

42. The Seven Barrel Brewery
5 Airport Rd., West Lebanon, NH, sevenbarrel.com, Mon-Sun: 11a.m.-close
Must Try Beer: Champion Reserve IPA
Tours: No
Food: Yes

43. The Alchemist
35 Crossroad, Waterbury, VT, thealchemistbeer.com, currently closed due to zoning issues. Get your fix down the street to Prohibition Pig.
Must Try Beer: Heady Topper
Tours: No
Food: No

44. Hill Farmstead
403 Hill Rd., Greensboro Bend, VT, hillfarmstead.com, Wed-Sat: noon-5 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Everett Porter
Tours: No
Food: No

45. Magic Hat
5 Bartlett Bay Rd., South Burlington, VT, magichat.net, Mon-Sat: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun: noon-5 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Humdinger Belgo Sutra
Tours: Yes
Food: No

46. Otter Creek
793 Exchange St., Middlebury, VT, ottercreekbrewing.com, Mon-Sun: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Fresh Slice White IPA
Tours: No
Food: Yes

47. Lost Nation
254 Wilkins St., Morristown, VT, lostnationbrewing.com, Wed-Sun: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Gose
Tours: No
Food: Yes

48. Zero Gravity
115 St Paul St., Burlington, VT, zerogravitybeer.com, Mon-Sun: 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Conehead Wheat IPA
Tours: No
Food: Yes

49. Long Trail Brewing Co.
5520 US Rte. 4, Bridgewater Corners, VT, longtrail.com, Mon-Sun: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Limbo IPA
Tours: Yes (self-guided)
Food: Yes

50. Rock Art Brewery
632 Laporte Rd. Rt 100, Morrisville, VT, rockartbrewery.com, Mon-Sat: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Tours: 2-4 p.m.
Must Try Beer: Belvidere Big IPA
Tours: Yes
Food: No

  • David J Lipkin

    You missed Tuckerman’s and Trout River. Beers worthy of being on your list. For shame.

    • Andy

      Trout River is absolutely amazing. I agree with you.

  • jl

    why list Alchemist if you really can’t do anything besides buy merch there? yes, it’s hallowed grounds in terms of VT beers, but you’re not actually able to see anything anymore!!

  • emigre808

    i wish the author would realize that there are SIX states in New England, and Connecticut also has some great craft breweries, such as New England Brewing Co – listed as one of the top 20 breweries in the country year after year [and New England is right in the name!], Two Roads, Shebeen, Olde Burnside, Firefly Hollow, Hooker, City Steam, and many more.

  • Beergirl

    Throwback Brewery is a big miss as well

  • hughes canSaD

    Lot of great breweries on this list. Amazed not a single CT one though. Not even New England Brewing Co. FUZZY BABY DUCKS, 668, Gold Stock, Ghandi-Bot, Coriolis and many more. All top rated beers. This list means nothing with NEBCO on it.

  • Guest

    Riverwalk brewing in Newburyport is left off the list is well. I know it is hard to get everyone – but if you are making a trip to Newburyport Brewing …..you owe it to yourself to stop at Riverwalk for some great selections…..try Gnomad farmhouse…..

  • Don Juan

    Connecticut apparently has left New England must now be in the south? Idiots!

  • Mark Brierley

    If you’re going based on beer quality, Hill Farmstead is WAY too low on this list. And where’s Throwback Brewery out of N. Hampton, NH?

  • Teague Dwyer

    A list of the best New England breweries without a single one from CT (Three of which at least are better than 90% of this list) is absolutely farcical. You guys didn’t even try.

  • rich

    Wow. Just dumb not to include any CT breweries (but include in’finiti and Baxter???), NEBCO? OEC? beerd? A dozen others that all beat some on the list. Sad

    • disqus_XyKwravWmL

      Oec is going to change everything for ct

  • ryan

    looks like someone forgot about two roads in CT. One of the best by far. Red Hook in NH my other favorite is absent as well

    • disqus_XyKwravWmL

      Two Roads? Go to nebco or oec.

  • Steve Rich

    missing great breweries in Maine as well… the world continues north of Freeport… Black Bear Brewery in Orono, Geaghan’s in Bangor, Penobscot Bay in Winterport, just to name a few…

    • hlongcach

      I’m with you on Blackbear and Geaghans, but Penobscot Bay is awful.

  • Maegan

    Chris Hughes- do your research man. I’m sure this is entirely based on your own, personal ideas of great beers and breweries to visit but I mean, you’re sending people to some in Vermont that aren’t even open to the public anymore. The chance of The Alchemist having locked in a new location, built a new brewery and retail center and open by the end of summer is so far in the negatives it’s scary.

    Not to mention you missed some of the top selling beers in Vermont, but hey… I see there are plenty of people noting your imperfections on this list.

  • http://ed.swindelles.com/ Ed Swindelles

    Uhhh CT has some nice breweries. #snubbed

  • Joe Hennessey

    No Mercury Brewing Co. in Ipswich? They are one of the first craft brewers around here and make some really good beers. Seeing how they just opened up the new brewery as well, this should def be on the list!!!

  • DutchDor55

    Where’s Cape Cod Brewery on your list? You don’t know what you’re missing! http://capecodbeer.com/brewery/

  • Joe Hanratty

    Newburyport over Riverwalk Brewing?! You must be insane! Riverwalk is one of best craft Brewers in the area and Newburyport makes almost undrinkable beers……..Oh yeah, you totally blew it with not having Trillium in Boston on the list too…..Three thumbs down to #bostonmagazine

    • hlongcach

      Did you even look at the list? Trillium is the 3rd stop you idiot. Lol

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  • http://www.katecone.tumblr.com/ Kate Cone

    This is why I don’t rate beers in my travel guide, What’s Brewing in New England. Taste is so subjective and there are the brand loyalties. I prefer to tell folks where to find them and let them decide which is worthy.

  • Books Brews and Booze

    I second (third, fourth, fifth?) on the epic Connecticut breweries! Boston Magazine, let’s do a top 100! :)

  • William Pead

    What? No Paper City Brewing in Holyoke, Massachusetts? All credibility of the list is lost! http://www.papercity.com/brews.php

  • Dave Iverson

    Navigation in Lowell is pumping out some of the best beers I’ve drank. If you’re in town, you can also visit Do Can and grab some grub and a brew at Lowell Beer Works. Cody and Riverwalk are glaring omissions IMHO, as well as Bray’s, Trout River, and 603.

  • disqus_XyKwravWmL

    With harpoon as the #1, I’m not surprised how much this list sucks.

  • Danielle Croteau

    Ipswich?

  • Hughes canSAD2

    I am beginning to dislike lists, but here’s another one for you. On the presumption that you have never traveled to CT, check out #6:http://www.buzzfeed.com/h2/fbsp/esquire/25-of-the-most-amazing-craft-beer-names-youll-ever-see