Ms. Jackson, if you’re Masty

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Because of the beer nerd that I am, I always seem to think I’m ahead of the trends and am always stumbling upon the next big thing. When heading to Mast Landing Brewing Co in Westbrook, ME, I thought I was uncovering Maine’s next big secret. Boy, was I wrong. Right after the doors opened, the place was full. Guess the secret’s out.

The brewery itself is a fun hang out spot with tables and stand up tables. The second you walk through the door, all you smell is hops everywhere (I know, hard to imagine for a brewery). Some people love the smell of flowers, some like the smell of rain; but me, hops are my favorite smells. I was in heaven.

Then there’s the beers. Gunner’s Daughter has to be one of the best dark beers that I’ve had. The Peanut Butter Milk Stout has all the makings of a damn good dessert. The stout was very light and had a subtle peanut butter bite. The Seavey Island was a pale ale with a crisp mango taste with a smooth finish.

On the IPA side, Mast Landing hit the flavors just right. DDH Tell Tale bursts with hints of tropical fruits like papaya perfected with Mosaic, Citra, and Simcoe hops. One of my favorite hop combinations out there. The best beer had to be Dash, though. It was one of the best juice bombs that I’ve ever had. Equal balances of citrus and floral hops made this beer one that I’m still dreaming of.

I’m already planning my next visit to Mast Landing as I’m obsessed. It makes for the perfect beer trip with the Industrial Way breweries (Allagash, Battery Steele, Austin St., and Foundation) minutes away.

About

Mast Landing Brewing Co
920 Main St.
Westbrook, ME

Hours
Tuesday-Thursday 4p.m.-8p.m.
Friday-Saturday 12p.m.-8p.m.
Sunday 12p.m.-5p.m.

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One or the Otter

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Otter Creek Brewing Co, in Middlebury, Vermont, has been slowly making a name for themselves over the years. I knew that I’d have to check it out when I was passing through the area.

The brewery itself has a new-age Vermont feel to it. With a hippie van hanging out of the wall in the brewery, it definitely set the tone. When it comes to Otter Creek beers, the citrus flavors take center stage for me.

The Orange Dream, a Cream Ale, is exactly what you’d picture with a name like that. The beautiful flavors of a creamsicle fill your mouth with orange and vanilla hints. Backseat Berner is a hazy, citrus IPA with a great juicy taste. The Daily Dose, on the other hand, has a more tropical, dank taste to it. Finally, the Free Flow rounds out the Citrus Dream Team. This IPA has the consistent citrus taste but mixed with a melon taste and has a bitter after taste.

One thing you’ll notice is how all of these beers’ names make you want to buy a hippie van and head out on an adventure. Aside from the beer, Otter Creek Brewing Co has killer nachos.

Otter Creek recently purchased the Shed Brewery so it’ll be interesting to see what these two breweries come up with in the coming years.

About

Otter Creek Brewing Co
793 Exchange St
Middlebury, VT

Hours
Thursday-Sunday 11a.m.-7p.m.
Monday-Wednesday 11a.m.-6p.m.

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The Tuck Rule

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It’s that time of the year when the coastal dwellers head north to check out of the foliage and mountains and in a couple week, the skis and snowboards hit the slopes. My favorite part of heading north has to be the breweries though.

Tuckerman Brewing Company is quickly becoming one of my favorite stops on the way north. It may have something to do with the big beer box sampler and the fun atmosphere.

Located right in Conway, New Hampshire, Tuckerman is the place to be if you want a good time. The bartenders are some of the friendliest around, they have cornhole inside, and even the customers just want to have some fun.

Now about that box of beers. The TRale is a nice, crisp Kolsch with a smooth finish. Definitely true to the tradition style. The 6288 Stout had to be the most interesting. Clocking in at a precise 6.288% ABV, it’s definitely the most unique ABV I’ve ever seen. It’s brewed with 5 different barleys making for a very distinct taste.

Just like the fall leaves, the Fall Line ale is a crisp harvest taste, which is perfect for those cold fall days. The Ryezome was another solid brew with an amber body with a little spice kick.

Moving backwards from fall, I hit the tasting room right so there was still summer beers on tap. The Summer Ale was refreshing after the deep tastes of the fall brews. The Summer Ale burst with orange and citrus flavors. The Summer Shandy, on the other hand, takes the TRale and adds some lemon flavor.

The Pale Ale, Tuckerman’s flagship, has the perfect balance of bitterness and hops. Finally, you’ve hit the bottomless box’s end with the Rockpile IPA, which was my favorite. The citrus notes with a prevailing grapefruit taste is a beer that I could sit and drink forever. Ok, maybe not forever; just until they had to carry me out.

One of the best things about the beers is that Tuckerman grows their own hops in front of the brewery, which is one of their newest additions. I’m already excited to head back north and visit again. So start adventuring and drinking because it’s the New England thing to do.

About

Tuckerman Brewing Co
66 Hobbs St
Conway, NH

Hours
Everyday 12p.m.-6p.m.

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The Frost World

Hidden in one of Hinesburg’s industrial parks lies one of the most up and coming breweries in New England. Frost Beer Works is quickly making a name for itself with solid and strong brews that keep people (aka me) coming back for more. I’m addicted.

Other than Foam, this is one of my breweries to watch in Vermont. Their IPAs are some of the best I’ve had up there.

The Au-Dank-Cious is a DIPA with a heavier body with a balance of bittersweet tropicals. The Lush DIPA had a nice, hazy body with citrus and grapefruit notes. Both very drinkable DIPAs with the potential for even smoother beers. Junior IPA was hands down my favorite beer from Frost. This beautiful juice bomb was full of flavor and kept you wanting more.

I’m excited to see how Frost Beer Works expands over the next couple of years. In the meantime, I’ll be loading up on bottles of Junior on my drives to Vermont.

About
Frost Beer Works
171 Commerce St
Hinesburg, VT

Hours
Friday 4p.m.-7p.m.
Saturday 12p.m.-7p.m.

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Beers and Foley-age

 

Hidden in the middle of nowhere Vermont lies Foley Brothers. This brewery/winery has something for everyone. It was the perfect combo that I could bring my non-beer drinking family too. Yes, imagine that, i come from someone that doesn’t have a beer drinking gene. Guess i get that from my Irish side, not German.

The taproom itself is a little farmhouse but you can take your beers outside with a gorgeous view. I first had their beers at the Vermont beer fest and knew this had to be a stop while I was in the area.

The Ginger Wheat beer was a light, somewhat sour beer. This tang gives this beer the perfect sweetness. The Origin, an IPA, has a beautifully balanced citrus taste with pineapple and lemon notes. The Citrennial, on the other hand, still had that citrus-y taste but a little more toned down. Prospect, a double, took another citrus taste but combined it with piney notes that lent the beer to a more Earthy taste. My favorite though, had to be Fair Maiden. This DIPA was a little more bitter than Prospect but incorporate more floral hints to make this a perfect well-rounded IPA.

I definitely recommend checking out Foley Brothers if you’re ever out in the Brandon area. It’s a great place to hang at the bar taking in some samples and learning more about the brewery.

About

Foley Brothers
79 Stone Mill Dam Rd
Brandon, VT

Hours
Tuesday 9a.m.-2p.m.
Wednesday-Sunday 11a.m.-5p.m. (6p.m.-Fridays)

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Head for the Hill(Farmstead)

 

Like Trillium of Mass or Bissell of Maine, Hill Farmstead is the god of Vermont, though some argue that it’s the Alchemist.

For Alchemist’s Heady Topper, there’s a number of stores that carry it, but if you want Hill Farmstead you have to make the trek up into the middle of nowhere in the mountains. Sometimes driving down dirt roads, you wonder if you’re ever going to hit brewery heaven.
But let me tell you, it’s worth it. If you’re anything like the people I saw, you take your cooler and make it worth your while. There are two separate houses whether you want growlers/pours or cans/bottles to spread out wait times. Like a deli, take a number and wait for your number to be called. But this isn’t deli meat, it’s the best beer around.

My boyfriend doesn’t get jealous when I say that I’m in love with Edward. And no this isn’t some lame Twilight reference. The Edward Pale Ale is what dreams are made of. You take one sip of this and you’re in heaven. The smooth light hazy feel for the beer will send you into oblivion.

My girl Susan, on the other hand, is an American IPA with a dank, tropical/melon taste. Three Magic Letters, another IPA, has more of a grapefruit taste than Susan and is just so smooth. Not sure of those Three Magic Letters are O-M-G or Y-U-M; either way this beer is awesome.

If you’re unable to make it to the brewery itself, there are some hotspots around Burlington that carry Hill Farmstead on their menus. I’ve had it at Prohibition Pig in Waterbury and Farmhouse Tap House in downtown Burlington.

About

Hill Farmstead
403 Hill Road
Greensboro, VT

Hours
Wednesday-Saturday 12p.m.-5p.m.

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RockArt ‘N Roll All Nite

You wouldn’t imagine a great brewery sitting in the middle of Vermont in what looks to be a house or souvenir shop.

Rock Art is one of the most underrated breweries that I’ve ever been to. It’s what you’d expect when you think of a Vermont brewery: a little hippie mixed with great beer.

What I liked most about Rock Art was the different types of beers they offered. The Jasmine Pale Ale was one of their most unique beers. With an herbaly tea taste, this beer felt like I was drinking healthy, or at least that’s what I told myself. The Bohemian Pilsner was a smooth, caramel tasting pilsner. The Maple Wheat. Oh, the Maple Wheat. If you’re a breakfast fiend like me this would be heaven for you. I just pictured pancakes and syrup all mixing in my mouth. The bartender said that this was breakfast in a glass and she was not joking. So good that I ended up buying Maple Wheat jelly.

The Session IPA was refreshing with a light, fresh citrus taste. The Sunrocked, on the hand, bursted with tropical flavors and had a light crisp taste. This beer was brewed in celebration of the brewery becoming 100% solar powered which is absolutely incredible. Finally Limited Access, the DIPA, took Session and Sunrocked to the next level with citrus aromas and deeper tropical hints.

Rock Art is definitely one of my new favorite places in Vermont. This country store meets brewery has a different feel from every other brewery I’ve been to. It just feels homier. Definitely hit this place up if you’re in the Morrisville area or on your way to Hill Farmstead.

Rock Art
632 Laporte Rd
Morrisville, VT

Hours
Monday-Satuday 10a.m.-6p.m.

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