Best Northeast Breweries

Top Breweries in the Northeast 2021

RAVE takes a look at the best breweries in America, region by region.

Best Northeast Breweries

Whether skiing in Vermont or watching the leaves change in Maine, the Northeast offers a feast for the senses with a climate that has long, cold winters and short, hot summers. 

So it’s no surprise that this region birthed the New England India Pale Ale (IPA) style, a hazy and cloudy IPA that draws in those that don’t generally like the bitter and dry finish of ales and shows them what they’ve been missing. 

The Northeast States

best breweries in the Northeastern States

New England IPAs offer a juicy, fruit finish, and when the first Vermont brewer, The Alchemist, offered the Heady Topper, this new IPA flew off the shelves, and they couldn’t keep it in stock. 

There have long been arguments about what constitutes the Northeastern United States, and there are arguments for and against, but for the simplification of this review, we’ve looked at the US Census Bureau’s definition of the Northeast, which includes just nine states: 

Maine, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.

Sorry Maryland, District of Columbia, and Delaware, you’re in another review.

The Methodology of Rating the Best Northeastern Breweries

Top breweries Northeast

All of the craft breweries and microbreweries we feature on this list have made it to several other “best of” lists, including Thrillist, Timeout, and Frommers.

Then, we took it a step further and on top of reviews, looked at sales rankings from Beer Advocate and the not-for-profit BrewersAssociation.org to see the business side of things.

This extensive review is a labor of love and compiles the details used in the rating scale from user-based rating sites to ensure an experience-based rating for thirty different breweries. 

Important note! Since there are numerous factors to the rating scale you may find that a brewery halfway through the list offers something you can’t find at the top. Read through the whole list before you decide.

For each of the following five factors the breweries can get up to 20 points for each. A 20 in any of the factors would make that factor a perfect score for that brewery. 

The following criteria defined the factors: 

1. Nostalgia factor – how well it reflects the local region’s attributes and culture

2. Popularity factor – how popular is it based on sales and word-of-mouth

3. Scarcity factor – how difficult it is to obtain and the demand for small batch runs

4. Cult factor – how often people talk about it and the strength of its following

5. Destination factor – how it treats visitors (tours, tasting rooms or restaurants, etc.)

This scale, once tallied, allows you to look through the list by the total score for an overall “best” or break down each score to sort through the breweries by the factor most important to you. 

Top Breweries of the Northeast

They vary in size and sales, but each brewery offers something that makes them unique and a good representative of what their state has to provide the Northeast brewing scene. 

1. Trillium Brewing – Boston, MA

Not a newcomer to brewpub contests, first up on the list is Beantown’s Trillium Brewing.

This Bostonian brewery has been giving off its siren call to beer geeks for years and with good reason. Currently operating out of five facilities throughout MA and CT, Trillium has become one of the most popular New England brewers in less than ten years.  

Founded in 2013, this New England farmhouse-style brewery has always put community and shared experiences at the forefront of its brewing plan. They use local ingredients whenever possible and brew rich bottles of Stout that are 15.5% ABV to lower alcohol Berliner Weisse sours. 

Trillium Brewing offers a wide range of beer for a variety of palettes and a variety of seasons. The Fort Point location also boasts a restaurant, rotating taps, and to-go service, supporting reasons it’s one of the best breweries in the Northeast.  

  • Nostalgia – 19
  • Popularity – 20
  • Scarcity – 19
  • Cult – 20
  • Destination – 20

2. The Alchemist – Waterbury, VT

If you heard about The Alchemist before this article, it was probably through mentions of their flagship IPA, thanks to their extremely popular (10,000 cans a day) beer, the hoppy New England style Heady Topper. 

It’s a hops-lover’s dream, and you’re encouraged by the brewery to drink it cold straight out of the can – who needs a glass, anyway?

When the Alchemist opened in 2011, it was just one brick-and-mortar building unavailable to the public in Waterbury. 

The hoppy flagship IPA Heady Topper was brewed there and still is today, but the community aspect of the Alchemist brand was born in 2016 in the Stowe location, which includes a tasting room and visitors center. 

The Alchemist promotes and supports anti-racist causes and education by regularly brewing small-batch brews and doing keg releases in support of charities like Black Lives Matter throughout the year.

  • Nostalgia – 19
  • Popularity – 20
  • Scarcity – 20
  • Cult – 20
  • Destination – 18

3. Southern Tier Brewing Company – Lakewood, NY

With two taprooms on-site in Lakewood alongside their brewery, (one of which serves smoked meat), Southern Tier is already announcing to the world that they’re popular by the time you arrive on their property. 

They may be best known for what began as one beer and now has developed into an entire family of beer: The Pumking beer. 

Autumn time is pumpkin spice time, but what about pumpkin beer time? In addition to their best-loved Pumking Imperial Ale, they also added an imperial stout, nitro, and cold brew Pumking.

Their website, like their staff, does a great job in explaining the beer and offering potential food pairings like having their 2XIPA (a double IPA) with garlic fries and spicy food.  

  • Nostalgia – 20
  • Popularity – 20
  • Scarcity – 18
  • Cult – 19
  • Destination – 19

4. Two Roads Brewing Company – Stratford, CT

This is a brewery that brews its beer and then takes it one step forward by taking contracts to brew other companies’ beer. 

Two Roads Brewing Company calls itself a contract brewery located inside a repurposed historic building. They’ve even offered up their services to brew for popular New York nomad-turned-settled down Evil Twin Brewing, which is also on this list. 

This is a company that has put Connecticut on the map when it comes to breweries because they’ve set out to not only make beer but make an impact outside of brewing. They regularly host events like music nights, trivia nights, and larger festivals when it’s safe to do so. 

If you’re unsure what to try (and they do have a vast selection), try the Herzzoner Maibock, a crisp and clean golden amber lager that regularly receives high ratings. 

Also exciting is the Tanker Truck Sour Series that ferments sour beer in a repurposed milk tanker (safely) outside of the brewery.

  • Nostalgia – 19
  • Popularity – 18
  • Scarcity – 20
  • Cult – 20
  • Destination – 18

5. Brewery Ommegang – Cooperstown, NY

Ommegang is Dutch for ‘Walkaround,’ and at Brewery Ommegang, there is plenty of room to do just that. Under normal conditions, their large property allows them to offer not only beer but also host concerts and rent out camping sites in addition to the usual tasting and tours. 

Currently, they have Belgian-style beer and cafe-style food for sale, and their patio is available part of the week to enjoy the sunshine.

While their year-round selection has plenty to keep one occupied, whether on the patio or curbside pick-up to take home, don’t miss their OMG series. 

OMG is their line to try something new with cans decorated in rainbows and unicorns. Try the Neon Pools Juicy Hazy IPA, their latest offering. 

It’s worth noting that most of Ommegang’s offerings are higher than normal ABVs and may not be the right pick for quick and plentiful drinking. They should be savored, so take your time! 

  • Nostalgia – 18
  • Popularity – 19
  • Scarcity – 18
  • Cult – 20
  • Destination – 20

6. Hill Farmstead – Greensboro Bend, VT

Now this next pick is ruly one of the best Northeast breweries. 

For seven years, Hill Farmstead has been named RateaBeer’s Top Brewer in the World. It regularly tops charts for craft beer online, and people can’t seem to get enough of it. 

Hill Farmstead offers a wide range of styles, from IPA, American Pale Ale, Porter, and Saison. As stated on their website, their goal is to create a comprehensive catalog for patrons to enjoy, so this isn’t a brewery that specializes in just one style.

In a touching show of keeping their roots, this brewery maintains an ancestry line to the land naming a beer after relatives, using well water, and then building off those lines to create new ones until a beer family tree of sorts emerges. 

One of their highly-rated beers named Edward, after their owner’s great-great-great-grandfather, offers a crisp but sweet taste that still stays balanced with plenty of citrusy hops and a clean finish.

  • Nostalgia – 20
  • Popularity – 20
  • Scarcity – 17
  • Cult – 18
  • Destination – 17

7. D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc – Pottsville, PA

Established in 1829, D. G. Yuengling & Son is the oldest operating brewing company in America and is currently owned and operated by the fifth generation of the family in Pottsville. 

In fact, during Prohibition, Yuengling continued making beer, but it was ‘near beer’ at 0.5%. 

Today, the brewery produces traditional lager, ale, mango beer, and Hershey’s brand chocolate porter. 

The Traditional Lager Yuengling offers is a Vienna lager with a balanced flavor and a slight sweetness from the roasted malt common in American-style lagers. 

The DG Yuengling and Son complex has a brewery, a gift shop where customers can buy beer, and a tasting room to enjoy samples after the tour. The website also offers the sale of merchandise and shows a detailed explanation of their brewing process.

  • Nostalgia – 20
  • Popularity – 19
  • Scarcity – 17
  • Cult – 19
  • Destination – 18

8. Victory Brewing Company – Downingtown, PA

In 1996 from a renovated bakery, Victory Brewing began as a small restaurant brewer with an eye towards malty beers like their Victory Festbier. 

Yet, it’s changing with the time that has allowed Victory Brewing to continue for so long and develop into a brewer that boasts year-round varieties of lager and wheat beers brewed in the traditional German style. 

One of the most popular flagship beers for Victory is the HopDevil, a hoppy (as the name suggests) beer that uses American hops. While the hops are there and strong, there is a bit of sweetness from the malt and caramel notes. 

In Pennsylvania, Victory Brewing is present in four different taprooms and gift shops across the state. 

  • Nostalgia – 20
  • Popularity – 19
  • Scarcity – 18
  • Cult – 18
  • Destination – 16

9. Smuttynose Brewing Company – Hampton, NH

Since 1994, Smuttynose Brewing Company has been producing good beer from a Victorian farm in New Hampshire. 

However, it has grown to be much more than just a brewery, with their enterprise expanding to include a retail store, tours, a restaurant, and the cleverly titled Smuttlabs Brewery and Kitchen.

Many of their beers have brought home gold medals from domestic and international competitions, but all of them feature the same unfiltered quality and labels with original, local photography.

From the Smuttlabs, they churn out beers like Shake Whatcha Mama Gave Ya Milkshake IPA, with fruity notes like melon and strawberry, alongside lactose to give a creamy mouthfeel. 

It’s truly an invention that feels more laboratory while still being tasty. If traditional is more your style, their Old Brown Dog gives another look at the Brown Ale style.

  • Nostalgia – 17
  • Popularity – 18
  • Scarcity – 19
  • Cult – 17
  • Destination – 20

10. Lookout Farm Brewing – South Natick, MA

Next up, we have solar-powered beer and cider! 

The owners of Lookout Farm are committed to having a sustainable and viable farm for as long as possible. The trees the fruit comes from are pruned by hand, and they choose as many products as possible that they grow to produce their cider and beers. 

While Lookout does brew beer, don’t forget to try their ciders made from the fruit grown on their farm, which happens to be one of the longest, continuously operated farms in the United States since 1651. 

Their beers and ciders are seasonal and fresh, whether pumpkin cider or their Harvest Day American IPA.

As well as the brewery and the farm, Lookout also has a taproom where you can enjoy their wares and which also serves food that varies by the season, including lobster rolls, steak tips, and key lime pie. 

  • Nostalgia – 18
  • Popularity – 18
  • Scarcity – 15
  • Cult – 19
  • Destination – 20

11. Brooklyn Brewery – Brooklyn, NY

With their creations going to more than thirty different countries and featuring a James Beard Award-winning Brewmaster, Brooklyn Brewery offers up Brooklyn in a glass. 

Their offerings include their Brooklyn lager, a dry-hopped amber lager with grapefruit and caramel notes, as well as a plethora of double IPAs, pale ales, traditional ales, and a bitter to cap off the range. 

Their recent addition, a hazy double IPA (DIPA) called Butterfly Photobomb, promises notes of tangerines, coconut milk, and sweet passionfruit.

Try all their year-rounds and seasonals in their recently renovated tasting room, and take a tour of the facility, which lets customers see behind the scenes during the creation process.

When it comes to community involvement, Brooklyn Brewery brews The Stonewall Inn IPA year-round to support The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative and appears in local and international pride festivals.

  • Nostalgia – 17
  • Popularity – 19
  • Scarcity – 17
  • Cult – 17
  • Destination – 20

12. Allagash – Portland, ME

Portland’s Allagash is a Belgian-style brewery that opened in 1995 when the owner had difficulty finding Belgian offerings amongst all the German and British styles available. 

Allagash offerings range through five different lines of custom brews. Their year-round classics line includes a wide variety of Belgian-style beers like the hazy Belgian White called the Belgian Wit, a Golden Ale, and a dark, rich Stout. 

In addition to traditional Belgian brewing, there are also sparkling beers making up their Little Grove line, beers created through spontaneous Coolship fermentation, employee ideas become From Maine, with Love and a Limited line with a variety of small-batch ideas. 

Allagash beer is available in a wide variety of locations. Pick it up or have it delivered from the brewery, enjoy their guided tours, or spend time in their taproom & gift shop.

  • Nostalgia – 17
  • Popularity – 17
  • Scarcity – 18
  • Cult – 17
  • Destination – 20

13. Baxter Brewing Company – Lewiston, ME

Opened in the historic Lewiston Bates Mill, the Baxter Brewing Company focuses on an all-season, anytime beer that doesn’t need to rely on bright sunny days or cold winters. 

In addition to brewing beer, a restaurant is located next door to the brewery, called the Pub at Baxters, which has a reasonably extensive New England style menu that pairs beautifully with beers like Ice Storm of 98 hazy citrus beer with tropical fruit notes.

If food and beer aren’t enough, Baxter Brewing also has Baxter Outdoors to appeal to those who like to hike and run as well as enjoy craft beer. 

As well as their year-round selection, Baxter also has a selection of “Passion Projects” beers to celebrate a cause that is near to an employee or the community’s hearts. 

The causes they choose to support are varied include cancer survival, International Women’s Day, or just to celebrate summer.

  • Nostalgia – 16
  • Popularity – 19
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 19
  • Destination – 19

14. Jack’s Abby Brewing – Framingham, MA

Traditional German-style brewing and making craft lagers are the most important words to describe Jack’s Abby Brewing because they do lagers, they do them well, and they refuse to do anything else. 

Of course, opening in 2011, lagers weren’t cool, the world was going crazy for IPAs, but since then, they’ve earned their way into many people’s hearts by perfecting their style. 

Their traditional German-style includes core beer, rotational and seasonal tap line-ups. 

For year-round choices, try their Pride and Parquet hoppy lager, an IPL (that’s India Pale Lager), or join the darker side with their Smoke & Dagger black lager.

The brewery includes a beer hall, restaurant, and gift shop. 

  • Nostalgia – 17
  • Popularity – 17
  • Scarcity – 18
  • Cult – 17
  • Destination – 19

15. Plan Bee Farm Brewery – Poughkeepsie, NY

Many of the brewers on this list have a much larger scale than Plan Bee Farm Brewery, but they needed to be included for the outstanding work they are doing and the excellent beer. 

They offer a 100 percent New York ingredient sourced beer from their brewery. 

Many amazing breweries offer local products, but Plan Bee Farm has narrowed the definition of local down to New York state with a heavy emphasis on their farm. 

If they can’t grow it or source it close by, it doesn’t go in their beer, which means they’ve had to invent what beer meant to them. 

Try the Barn Beer with its slightly tart notes or Ash, their take on a dark wild ale. 

Defining their terroir is wild yeasts they take from their honeycombs, well water, and local grains they either grow or source from nearby farmers. Their barn became their taproom, and food trucks are often present on site.  

  • Nostalgia – 15
  • Popularity – 17
  • Scarcity – 19
  • Cult – 20
  • Destination – 18

16. The Church Brew Works – Pittsburgh, PA

Come for the religious experience and the view, but stay for the food and beer. 

Technically in Lawrenceville, The Church Brew Works offers award-winning craft beer in a redesigned church alongside a full menu of gastropub fare in their restaurant. 

The entire brewery sits inside the church, which offers impressive views of the intact paintings and sculptures placed there when it was a place of worship. The working aspect of the brewery with large shining kettles sits right behind where the steel was placed to erect the altar. 

Even if you don’t drink, it’s worth the visit for their food and the view.

Judging by the numerous awards they’ve won and their Gold Medal win in 2019 at the Great American Beer Festival for their flagship Pious Monk Dunkel, being in such beautiful surroundings can only help the beer’s flavor. 

Other offerings include Celestial Gold, a German Pilsner, and Thunderhop IPA, their other flagship beer. 

  • Nostalgia – 16
  • Popularity – 17
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 19
  • Destination – 20

17. High Point Brewing Company – Butler, NJ

High Point is a craft brewery specializing in German-style wheat beer and utilizing a “purity” process that can only be produced from a four-ingredient recipe: malt, hops, water, and Bavarian yeast. 

Founded in 1996, High Point Brewing Company’s flagship Ramstein line of beers includes a Double Platinum Blond Weiss beer and a black lager. Numerous lagers and Hefe-Weizens combine German-style with American technique. 

They offer tours and tastings in addition to a breakdown of their milling and brewing process on their website. During relaxed restrictions, seating is available both indoors and dog-friendly outdoors.

  • Nostalgia – 17
  • Popularity – 18
  • Scarcity – 17
  • Cult – 18
  • Destination – 19

18. Evil Twin Brewing Co. – Ridgewood, NY

Now in New York, Evil Twin Brewing Co. began as a nomad brewery out of Denmark, moving from place to place and brewing beer but never staying in one fixed location. However, now they have a fixed brewery and taproom in Ridgewood. 

In January 2019, Evil Twin Brewing opened their brewery, and then a taproom joined in on the same grounds in October of the same year. 

Thanks to its “nomadic” lifestyle, Evil Twin has a large collection of one-offs, limited edition, and rotational beers that were brewed elsewhere and then brought back home. You can cater to your favorites and to preferences you didn’t even realize you had until you tried them. 

Try the Sour Bikini, named after the atom testing site. This is light-of-body but a surprisingly well-balanced sour that isn’t too sour—a great entry point for sour newbies. 

All the beers have quirky names, strange labels, and offer in-jokes that start to get funnier once you’ve read a few. 

  • Nostalgia – 16
  • Popularity – 18
  • Scarcity – 20
  • Cult – 20
  • Destination – 14

19. Hermit Thrush Brewery – Brattleboro, VT

If you like sours and you can travel to Vermont, Hermit Thrush Brewery may be the brewery of your dreams. 

This place only brews sours, just sours; in fact, they even sell merchandise with the slogan or hashtag #Yestheyreallsour because it’s kind of become their thing. 

In a world that often requires a brewery to at least brew a regular IPA or lager just in case, Hermit Thrush does what they do best, and that’s it. 

That’s not to say there’s no variety because they do offer hoppy, light, juicy, and extra-sour sours. The sours all use wild Brattleboro mixed culture yeast and have done so since 2014 when they opened. 

The yeast gives all their products a signature stone fruit and pecan character. In addition to brewing with wild yeast, which is less predictable than standard brewing, this brewhouse is also entirely fueled by wood rather than traditional electricity.

Try out their tasting room, especially if you are new to the world of sours. Their staff are happy to show you around and help you find an entry point into what can be an intimidating side of the beer world.

  • Nostalgia – 14
  • Popularity – 16
  • Scarcity – 18
  • Cult – 20
  • Destination – 19

20. Schilling Beer Company – Littleton, NH

In New Hampshire, the Schilling Beer Company is trying to bring some Continental Europe to Northeast America with a brewery that includes a Scandinavian farmhouse-inspired store and tasting room, a brewpub with kitchen, and brewery. 

Their beer is hop-forward. It starts at Belgian Ales with air-dried malt to Russo and Scandinavian-Inspired Ales that focus on dark porters and Russian Imperial Stouts. 

Founded in 2006 in a 1798 grist mill overlooking the Ammonoosuc River, Schilling has quickly earned the word “buzzy,” which seems to go hand in hand with this place. 

They have a food truck and an extensive menu of permanent and rotating taps derived from all over Europe.

  • Nostalgia – 18
  • Popularity – 16
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 17
  • Destination – 19

21. New England Brewing – Woodbridge, CT

This Connecticut-based brewery, New England Brewing, may be small, but it has a long menu to choose from. 

With a taproom for dine-in and curbside pick-up, the hardest part becomes deciding what to pick from their lengthy list, most of which are available in cans, growlers, or draft. 

One listing you won’t want to skip is Fuzzy Little Ducks, a beer that you may have already seen on beer rating apps and wondered how you could get ahold of it. Not only is the name cute, but the label is adorable with comic-style, happy ducks, and rainbows. It just pulls you in. (If you can’t get over that label, check out their “swag” category on the website and grab a sticker of it.)

Fuzzy Little Ducks is an IPA created using just one hop; only Citra hops will do for brewing and dry-hopping. 

Citra hops help lend a citrus taste, giving a beer with juicy notes of tropical fruit, including papaya and mango.

  • Nostalgia – 17
  • Popularity – 18
  • Scarcity – 17
  • Cult – 19
  • Destination – 15

22. Tree House Brewing – Monson, MA

While Tree House Brewing Company may be considered small and artisan, the property is over 110 acres and is available for guests to wander while enjoying their drinks.

Artisan is the keyword here because there are beers here that you may not find anywhere else even if you really wish you could so you didn’t have to keep coming back to Monson. 

Two of their draft best sellers are the Creamsicle IPA with orange and vanilla notes and a variation on their Hold On To Sunshine (HOTS) stout: Marshmallow. They add marshmallows they make from scratch into the brew, which give added sweetness to a stout that already tastes like chocolate and peanut butter.

In addition to a lengthy draft list, Tree House also has a coffee side offering cold brew and hard seltzers.

  • Nostalgia – 15
  • Popularity – 15
  • Scarcity – 18
  • Cult – 15
  • Destination – 18

23. Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling Company – Newport, RI

More than just a brewery, Newport Craft Brewery started in 1999 and later became a distillery in 2006. Founded as Coastal Extreme Brewing Company, they also offer a tasting room and outdoor pavilion to enjoy spirits and brews.

If craft brewing and spirits aren’t enough, their selection of beers is wide-ranging, appealing to many different tastes. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Hawaiian Shirt, a sour ale with guava, passionfruit, and orange. If you’re looking for something less tropical fruit-centric, opt for the Rhode Trip, which is a juicy choice that has a hazy, New England and unfiltered IPA taste. 

  • Nostalgia – 18
  • Popularity – 18
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 17
  • Destination – 19

24. Maine Beer Company – Freeport, ME

If you’re looking for American-style ales and want to enjoy them in a tasting room that features windows that look into one of the best northern breweries facilities, look no further than the Maine Beer Company.

The facility tasting room also includes a restaurant, and travel websites are abundant with recommendations to try the establishment’s wood-fired pizza. 

While many of their beers have received very high reviews from sites like BeerAdvocate, a special mention should be given out to “Dinner” if you can find it, which consistently rates in the high 4/5 point range making it one of the best. 

If it is unavailable, the pale ale Peeper is one of, if not their oldest beer created in 2009. It is a refreshing brew that offers notes of pepper, lemon, and a bit of grass, thanks to the hops. 

  • Nostalgia – 16
  • Popularity – 16
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 15
  • Destination – 18

25. Notch Brewing – Salem, MA

Situated in a hip warehouse with communal tables and gardens by the riverside, Notch Brewing is more than just craft beer; it offers a sharing and learning experience centered around beer. 

Notch may also offer one of the best gift shops on this list, selling traditional glasses so that you can appreciate beer in the correct drinking vessel. These make great souvenirs and amp up your beer game. 

Buy a stange for your Kölsch or a German Steinkrug for your Notch Session Pils. Their Pilsners are the Czech Republic version of a session pale lager that are crisp and hoppy.

  • Nostalgia – 16
  • Popularity – 16
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 16
  • Destination – 18

26. The Norwich Inn and Brewery – Norwich, VT

Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse at Norwich Inn, which produces Jasper Murdock’s Ales, is small, technically a microbrewery, but it’s been around since 1993, and it’s getting recognized as more than just a hotel brewpub. 

The beer produced there is crafted from English malts and hops grown in England and the grounds at the Inn. The beer process uses a cold-aging method, and the yeast is left to settle naturally rather than being filtered out. 

Try the Whistling Pig Red Ale with a beautiful jewel red color or the Stackpole Porter created from a dark ale style from the 1700s with espresso and chocolate notes.

  • Nostalgia – 18
  • Popularity – 15
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 15
  • Destination – 18

27. Oxbow Brewing Company – Newcastle, ME

Located in rural Newcastle, Maine, Oxbow stands out in that they are an American farmhouse brewery that has different aspects of their operation scattered throughout Maine. 

They specialize in traditional Belgian-style ale with bourbon and wine barrels for aging. While the brewery resides in Newcastle, the bottling and blending occur in Portland, ME.

The site, surrounded by nearby forests, holds a brewery and regularly hosts events like traveling raw bars, weddings, and private functions.

Oxbow Brewing focuses its efforts on Belgian-style ales, but don’t miss the one barrel-aged ale. Try the “3 Barrels Deep” barrel-fermented dark farmhouse ale. 

It achieves a close to perfect rating on beer apps because it is aged for equal portions of time (6 months) in Bourbon barrels, then white wine, and then red wine barrels before being bottled and sold.

  • Nostalgia – 16
  • Popularity – 17
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 15
  • Destination – 18

28. Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Company – North Conway, NH

As well as a brewery, the Moat Mountain complex houses a smokehouse restaurant serving pub fare like BBQ and an on-site inn allowing customers to rent a room and enjoy themselves without worrying about securing a ride home safely. 

Most of the beers available are IPA and lagers with a few Ales to round everything out although you’ll want to try a little of everything with their delicious food. 

Current year-round offerings on tap range from their Helles Lager, Hell Yes!, a session beer of Bavaria that promises easy-drinking, to a heavier Boneshaker English-style Brown Ale, which balances hops and malt. 

  • Nostalgia – 16
  • Popularity – 15
  • Scarcity – 15
  • Cult – 16
  • Destination – 19

29. Lawson’s Finest Liquids – Warren, VT

One of the only breweries offering a drive-thru service, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, already has their work cut out for them as they share the stage with two other massive breweries. Yet, they have devoted followers because they stick to what they like—mostly IPAs—and craft them well. 

Divided into their year-round “Taproom Regulars” and their limited releases, Lawson’s focuses on brightly colored labels and endearing names like their “Sunshine Sip,” “Double Sunshine,” and “Triple Sunshine,” which are IPA, double IPA, and triple IPA respectively. 

Their Sunshine IPAs focus on lots of hops giving the beer a dark herbal quality to bite back some of the juicy fruit notes underneath. 

If IPAs aren’t your thing, try “The Space In Between,” which they categorize as an “undefined ale.”

As well as brewing beer, Lawson’s also reaches out to the community. They have a Social Impact Program (SIP), which helps raise money for local causes through small-batch charity beers.

  • Nostalgia – 17
  • Popularity – 16
  • Scarcity – 16
  • Cult – 15
  • Destination – 15

30. Beer Tree Brew Co. – Port Crane, NY

There are two locations for enjoying Beer Tree Brew, with one called Farm in Port Crane and the other called Factory in Johnson City. 

Farm is the original location that houses a taproom and patio. The outdoor areas are dog-friendly and great in the summer. 

Many of the same beers are available at both Farm and Factory, or at least a similar offering of styles are available with perhaps a slightly different flavor of sour at one but not on tap at the other. 

Styles available on tap range from a very light, easy-going Tree Ultra Light Cream Ale to a Layered – Cinnamon, Granola, Peach, Blueberry, Marshmallow fruited sour that is sure to wake up the taste buds.

  • Nostalgia – 15
  • Popularity – 16
  • Scarcity – 14
  • Cult – 16
  • Destination – 19

see also:

Heather Ryerson

Heather Ryerson is a freelance writer who enjoys creating content across a broad range of industries, including travel, education, cannabis, and more. An iced coffee addict and Maine native, she is happiest when she is fully caffeinated, working near any body of water, and hanging out with the fam.