Instead of pointing North, my compass is always guiding me to beer. It definitely hit the mark when it led me to Navigation Brewing Co. in Lowell, MA.
I loved everything about this place from the taproom to the vibe to, of course, the beers.
I would like to see Navigation get a little more creative with their beer names as most are named after the type that they are but that doesn’t take away from how good they are. Pale Ale was a very smooth pale full of citrus tastes, as it was dry hopped with Citra. Milk Stout was a creamy body with a slight bite to it. DDH Cocked Hat was the brew that packs that punch. Bursting with citrus and bitterness, this beer still went down very smoothly. Finally the IPA, dank in color, had papaya and pine flavors. All of these beers made a very solid flight.
My favorite thing about Navigation, other than the beers, was that it was dog friendly. Something about dogs in a taproom just makes a place come alive.
If you’re hungry or need to soak up some beer, Navigation usually has a food truck outside. My favorite, Lexie’s Burger Bus, has been known to make some stops there.
Now that Navigation’s on my map, I can’t wait to go back and can’t wait to see what they do in the future.
Navigation Brewing Co.
122 Western Ave.
…where the grass ain’t green but the beers are pretty.
Now I’ll tell you, there aren’t many things that can get me to Dover, NH, but Garrison City is definitely one of those things. This small, but lively taproom is located right in the heart of town. They have been slowly making a name for themselves but I still feel like they are underrated as they have some of the best beers in the state in my opinion.
The Hygge Lyfe, an Imperial Belgain Stout, is not a beer that I would normally be drawn to but the flavors of cinnamon, chocolate and currents are perfectly balanced to create a solid beer. The Burn the Car and Save the Plates had me right from the start as I recognized those Lumineers lyrics. This Kolsch was a traditional style with a smooth, crisp taste. Now I’m not a big sour person, but I have been finding more and more that I like; Spindrift is no exception. This sour with rose and salt flavor did not kick you in the tongue as much as many other sours do. It was very easy to drink.
Now onto the IPAs, which I think are Garrison City’s best beers. The Starter Jacket was a dank, floral IPA which was a great beer. My favorites, though, had to be Tesselate and Equilibrium. Tesselate tasted exactly like an orange creamsicle. This creamy, orange-y IPA melted in your mouth and could drink this over and over again. The Equilibrium, on the other hand, was full of peach, mango, and lemon creating a flavor-filled juice bomb. Finally, the String Theory, was a Pale Ale with what Garrison calls “the kitchen sink of hops.” With a combination of so many hops you get a slightly floral, slightly citrus flavor, making a flavor-filled beer.
Garrison City is definitely a must-stop in New Hampshire if you’re looking for a quality juice bomb.
455 Central Ave
the need for beer…
The second you walk into Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick, ME you feel as if you should be drinking alongside Goose, Iceman, and Maverick. Luckily their tanks are named after them so it’s kind of like you are.
Located near the Naval Air Station, this brewery is decorated with flight suits, pictures, and all of their beer names are on theme.
The 44th Parallel was a West Coast style IPA, dank in color and malty in flavor. Pilots Porridge, an Oatmeal Stout, was very smooth and I love the way the oatmeal adds a certain sweetness to the stout. P-3, a Pale Ale, was very drinkable and a touch of apricot and malt. The Wright Stuff, a Rye Pale Ale, had the wright amount of crisp and a little spiciness to it. My favorite, though, had to be Tea-56. This hibiscus flavored beer with a hint of citrus made for a light and refreshing beer. It has tea so it has to be healthy, right? I could definitely drink this beer all day.
One thing that I love about Flight Deck is that the bartender said that they try to use all resources right from Maine and all beers are brewed using 100% renewable energy. Talk about really drinking local. If I lived closer to this brewery I’d be here all the time because this place has great beers and the taproom is a lot of fun. Plus, they allow dogs, so I definitely made a lot of furry friends.
If you find yourself in the Portland area, Flight Deck is just a short drive north and worth it!
Flight Deck Brewing
11 Atlantic Ave
I don’t think any brewery’s name depicts itself as well as Tilted Barn Brewery in Exeter, RI. Make your way up a long winding driveway until you reach a legit barn on a farm, but really, with a name like that, what else were you expecting?
I have to say this was one of the most unique and cozy taprooms that I have ever been to. Head inside the barn to find a two-story taproom where you huddle up with your friends, moreso in the winter, and drink some great beer.
Don’t let the little barn fool you, though. Tiled Barn has some of the best beers in Rhode Island. The Chosen One, no not Tom Brady, is a DIPA bursting with grapefruit, peach, and grassy notes in a dank colored juice bomb. This DIPA was very drinkable and didn’t drink as strongly as a DIPA. Violet, an IPA, like the name suggests, is a floral IPA which is balanced with some citrus hints. Every sip is as smooth as the last. Finally, my favorite had to be Cactus. This hazy DIPA was packed of papaya and mango taste and each sip was better than the next.
If you’re in the Rhode Island area, Tilted Barn Brewery is a must stop. The beer is great and the atmosphere is so unique. Just beware, bundle up on a cold day because it gets a little chilly in there and people huddle around the heater. But drink enough beer and heat won’t be an issue.
Tilted Barn Brewery
1 Hemsley Pl
When I pulled up to Whaler’s Brewery in Wakefield, RI, all I could see was old industrial mills; but the second you open the door, you’re taken to an underground secret party. Whaler’s huge taproom lends itself to a lot of space for sitting but also has a couple of corn hole courts, giant Jenga, Connect 4, and pool among other things. I could not get over the space and everything there was to do.
One of the things that I love about Whaler’s is the variety in their beers. Their pale ale, Rise, was voted best Pale Ale in 2017. Of course, I had to test this out. This pale ale was smooth and full of citrus flavor. Definitely very drinkable. The East Coast IPA was more of the dank and floral taste for a more bitter IPA. For the stout fan I’m becoming, I was very excited to try the Hazelnut Stout. This stout was on the creamier side with a slight bite than cut the smoothness.
The cleverly named Olneyville Megazord intrigued me right from the name. This was a great malty, brown ale fit for a Power Ranger (which of course I am, because who didn’t dream of growing up to be a Power Ranger?). Sirius, on the other hand, has your tongue saying, “Are you serious?” when that Berliner weisse hits it. This sour beer is packed with passionfruit and other citrus flavors and a sour taste that punches your tongue. Finally, the Hop Monster is exactly what it sounds. With a mixture of Mosaics, Citra, and Galaxy hops, this pale ale is the monster of all citrus flavor. This was definitely my favorite beer that I had at Whaler’s.
Whaler’s is the perfect place to head with some friends or even throw a party with your family. While I was there, there were graduation parties going on and looked like the best time.
Whaler’s Brewing Co
1174 Kingstown Rd,
There’s a reason that I make trips up to Portland almost weekly now: the breweries. Every week I’m learning about the next big thing in Portland and Lone Pine is no exception.
Once you step into the small brick building, you’re transformed into a little ski lodge with tables, couches, and lots of beer. If you’re lucky, hit it on a Sunday and RedZone will also be playing.
Lone Pine, by far, has my favorite flight vessel that I’ve seen so far. Made from old skis, these flights are a lot better than those awful shot-skis that I could never reach in college.
Their beers are some of the smoothest and most flavorful around. The Portland Pale Ale was packed full of citrus flavor and very smooth and clear. Brightside IPA is dank and full of tropical notes. The most prominent to me was a strong papaya taste.
The Kiwi Cannon was one of my favorite beers that I’ve had recently. This IPA was very creamy in color and had a light kiwi hint that was not too overpowering. Finally, Tessellation was an impressive DIPA. Brewed with Mosaics, this DIPA takes on a great deal of mango and citrus taste, but there’s a slight hint of a blueberry which created a interesting flavor.
I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Lone Pine for some more flight-skis.
219 Anderson St
Jack’s Abby has become a household name when it comes to lagers but what makes them even better is their taproom in Framingham, MA.
At Jack’s Abby, it’s time to trade in those IPAs for IPLs; yes, India Pale Lagers. Jack’s Abby had it’s arsenal of great lagers but what I love about them is their unique flavors and takes on traditional lagers.
The Coffee Nitro Lager was one of the most unique beers that I’ve ever had. It looks like a lager but tastes like one of the best coffee stouts around. Not for nothing, I’d love to have this beer with my breakfast. Not sure my job would appreciate it but most days it would help.
The Kiwi DPL had a full kiwi taste, but not overpowering. This DPL did not taste as heavy as most doubles and lent itself to a very smooth, drinkable lager. The Citrus N’ Ella lets you know right from the name that this IPL is going to have a balance of floral and citrus notes. These two hops are one of my favorite combinations as they perfectly compliment each other. Finally, the Blood Orange Wheat was beyond delicious. Pairing this fruit combination with a wheat base allows for the flavor to really shine in this beer.
The large taproom features a large double sided bar and views into the brew house. There’s also larger tables for parties and families to hang out. One of Jack’s Abby’s best features has to be the food. Do yourself a favor and grab a pizza or two. Jack’s Abby has a little something for everyone so grab some friends and plan an afternoon hanging out and drinking some lagers.
100 Clinton St
Tuesday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10p.m.
Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-11p.m.