Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The New England Beer Trail

Last week we discussed all the great Rhode Island beers that will be on tap at the Great International Spring Beer Fest. We love showcasing the bounty of brews here in the Ocean State, but for us, the “drink local” philosophy extends to all of New England. We’re proud to say that every state in the region will be represented at Beer Fest.

Vermont is known as a craft brewing hub – and a pretty quirky place. That’s why Burlington’s Traveler Beer Company is a perfect representation of the state. Their line of beers is all about easy drinking, seasonal flavors, often incorporating fruit essences, like their Grapefruit Shandy and Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy. Moving from the Green Mountains to the White Mountains, we find one of New Hampshire’s most beloved craft breweries, the Woodstock Inn. This brewpub and inn (you can actually stay overnight!) is known throughout the region for popular brews like their Pig’s Ear Brown Ale.

There’s plenty of great beer to be found way up north, too, and you can sample a trio of Maine’s finest at Spring Beer Fest. Hidden Cove Brewing comes down from southern Maine. Their year-round staples, Compadre American pale ale and Patroon IPA, are complemented by seasonals like their Knave Smoked Porter. Kennebec River Brewery is a brewpub with a unique twist: it’s located at the Northern Outdoors Resort, making that the only rafting and adventure resort with its own brewery. (How convenient.) With beers inspired by their surroundings like the Let ‘Er Drift summer ale, Kennebec River boasts that they “put the ‘raft’ in craft brewing.” Finally, one of Maine’s best known craft brewers, Shipyard, joins us from Portland. They were one of the breweries that put Maine on the beer lover’s map, with popular favorites like Old Thumper Extra Special Ale and their seasonal Pumpkinhead.

Heading back down to Southern New England, we find Black HogBrewing in Oxford, CT. The name is a tribute to the pig roasts that were common in the family of brothers, Jason and Tom Sobocinski, who founded the brewery. Their beers are eclectic and out of the ordinary, like Ginga’ Ninja, a red IPA brewed with fresh ginger, or Disco Pig #5, a saki yeast fermented cucumber and rice ale. Berkshire Brewing joins us from Western Massachusetts. They offer a wide variety of ales and lagers, but perhaps the most unique is Shabadoo: it’s a 33% porter and 67% ale mix, making it a black and tan in one convenient concoction. Bad Martha will take the boat in from Martha’s Vineyard to bring us their brews. As you might imagine, given their island origin, beers like Vineyard Honey Ale and Island IPA are made for easy sipping.

Of course, no line-up of New England beers would be complete without the biggest and best known of them all: Samuel Adams. For over 30 years this Boston brewer has been cranking out some New England’s favorites, including the iconic Boston Lager. Sam Adams is as synonymous with New England beer as… well, as Rhode Island’s own Narragansett.