I’m pretty sure that I just found my new favorite fall spot in New Hampshire: North Country Cider. Along a river in an industrial mill hides North Country Cider. Their taproom includes a picture-esque outside area with picnic tables and Adriondak chairs.
When you select a full flight, you’re in for a mountain of ciders with so many different flavors. The Old Forrest starts you off with a smokey apple taste from being aged in bourbon barrels. The Original Press, the flagship cider, has a smooth undertone to your ordinary cider. If you like your cider with more of a crisp and semi-sweet taste, then Phil’s your guy.
The Raspberry and Cranberry ciders give you that perfect berry cider taste that are perfect for a fall day. The Branch Breaker, on the other hand, is a smooth ginger cider. Finally the last two are for the adventurous type, which is right up my alley. Firestarter is made with habaneros, cinnamon, and pomegranate. To me, it tasted like a Red Hot. The strong spicy and cinnamon tastes are tamed by the pomegranate, which mix for the perfect balance. My favorite cider, though, had to be the Squashed Cider. This was a cider like I’ve never had before and would never think of a cider like this. Every sip made me think of Thanksgiving with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. I already want more!
Definitely check out North Country Cider in Rollinsford, NH before the winter snows roll in so you can enjoy their outside area. When it comes to fall, drinking apples is way more fun that eating them.
North Country Cider 3 Front St #160 Rollinsford, NH
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.
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.
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.
By the crowd that Turtle Swamps draws, you’d think this brewery’s been around for years. Opened just a couple of months ago, Turtle Swamp has taken off fast. Legitly tapping their beers in actual household fridges, you’d think this was a brewery in your buddy’s garage.
Smack in the middle of Jamaica Plains, this place is right in an alley way. Drive passed and you might miss it. But really, how could you with the crazy crowd out there?
The beers are starting off pretty good and of course I had to try the Toll Gate IPA because that was the name of my high school (minus the IPA). On a marketing standpoint the names of beers really do draw people. Or it could have been that, that was the only IPA. Either way, this IPA was smooth with a light grapefruit flavor but missing that normal hazy coloring. Instead, there was a darker colored IPA.
The All Ears Golden stayed true to the name as you got a mouthful of a corn flavor with every sip. Not what you really expect from a Golden Ale but made it different. The barley and corn flavor made for a natural farm taste. Yes, I know it sounds weird.
I’m very excited to see where Turtle Swamp goes from here. It has the support and it definitely has the space. Look for this place to explode over the next year. Especially with the college kids coming back and giving them even more business.
Turtle Swamp Brewing 3377 Washington St Jamaica Plain, MA
If you need a break from the IPAs of Burlington, Queen City Brewery gives the traditional styles from Europe a run for their Euros.
Located directly across the street from Zero Gravity Brewery, Queen City takes you on a tour of Europe all in one flight. First stop is Germany. The German beer lover that I am, needed to try a couple, of course. The South End Lager, or Helles, was a light bodied smooth lager with a crisp finish. My favorite, though, had to be the Hefeweizen. A traditional banana-clove taste with a hazy body. Traditional flavor done right.
Now I did say if you wanted a break from IPAs to try out Queen City, but Argument IPA isn't your typical American IPA, it's English. The best way to describe it would be an IPA for the non-IPA drinker. The caramel color lends to more of a malt and bitter taste than an IPA. Finally, the Bushwick Lager takes it all back to America. This smooth lager gives a nice nutty finish.
I absolutely loved the open U-shape bar concept allowing people to talk across the bar as well as to the people next to them. If you're not a social butterfly, they have smaller tables outside and on the side of the bar but Europeans love to make new friends while they down their beers, which is exactly how I am. Beer friends are the best friends.
I'm telling you, make some time to check out Queen City Brewery if you're in the Burlington area.
I have seen Medusa Brewing Company at various brew fests and had been planning to visit the brewery for at least a year now. Finally I made it down to the motherland to see where it all happens and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
Just the feel of this place feels cool. Dimmed lights and chill vibe, but the beers are where it’s at.
The Mesmerit definitely had me under it’s spell. This IPL burst with so much citrus flavor that I could drink this for days. The Solo Galaxy, a Single Hopped Pale Ale, was made with Australian Galaxy hops which gives this beer a nice passionfruit flavor. Citra Legacy, as the name suggests, was a citrus-filled Rye IPA, which was very light bodied and full of flavor. Finally, Ruction was a slight change in the citrus filled flight. With a more piney and darker color, this IPA was the perfect finishing piece with just the right amount of bitter taste.
The only disappointment was that they didn’t have Lazer Cats on tap, which is my favorite. The taproom itself is much larger than I was expecting. There’s a huge bar that runs down the inside with tables upon tables throughout it. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to stay all day. It’s BYOF so stop around town and grab some food to bring before you head in. Time it right and you’ll catch some live music as well. I definitely can’t wait to visit again!