New England

41 Best New England Breweries and Cideries

Local breweries and cideries pair perfectly with a fall road trip in New England—here are 40-plus favorites to get you started.

By Bill Scheller

Sep 06 2023


Massachusetts Breweries and Cideries

Anonymous Brewing,Rowley. There’s micro, nano … and hypernano, which is how Anonymous describes its size ranking in the indie beer world. The North Shore outfit runs a one-barrel brewhouse and keeps its offerings simple and straightforward: single and double IPAs, British ales, and lagers, plus occasional limited editions. The kid-and-dog-friendly taproom (they keep dog biscuits on hand) occupies a rehabbed car-repair shop hung with work by local artists.

Barrington Brewery,Great Barrington. This is the home of solar-brewed beer, with PV panels powering the operation. The beer list skews British, with brown ale, stout, and porter, although there’s more than a nod to the citrusy IPAs New Englanders crave. Unlike many bar food–oriented breweries, Barrington offers full lunch and dinner menus, with locally sourced meats and homemade desserts, and a cheddar ale soup that’s sourced, of course, on the spot. 

Cape Cod Beer,Hyannis. The year-round beer garden (indoors in winter) showcases an impressive variety of brews. Tradition is the watchword here, with all the hallowed bases covered—blond and red ales, IPAs, porter and stout, hefeweizen—though perker-uppers like chilies and coffee make an occasional appearance. A BBQ food truck, along with Dollar Wing Thursdays and Fish Fry Fridays, helps keep patrons off a strictly liquid diet, and there’s plenty of live music.

Carr’s Cider House,Hadley. Cider isn’t the half of it at this Pioneer Valley orchard and cidery, which produces hard and soft versions but also supplies apples for cider vinegar, jelly, syrup, and one of New England’s oldest potions, switchel (a vinegar-based quencher packed with electrolytes and treasured by farmhands of yore). On weekends, enjoy cider and handmade sodas at Carr’s cider garden, right at the farm. 

Cider Hill Cellars,Amesbury. Three generations of the Cook family have nurtured the orchards on their North Shore farm, with 1,000 apple trees producing solely for cider. Cider Hilloffers nine hard ciders, ranging from dry to semisweet and including berry and cherry blends—all made exclusively with apples grown on-site. On weekends, the cider bar offers a tasty lunch menu and live music. For kids, there are arts and gardening programs and, of course, sweet cider.

Tree House Brewing Company,Charlton. This tree house has grown into a small forest, with locations in Charlton, Tewksbury, Sandwich, and Deerfield, plus a cider outlet in Woodstock, Connecticut. A vast array of double IPAs, plus stouts, barley wine, strong Belgian ales, and more, has beer lovers buying tickets in advance, queuing up for drafts at 40-tap bars, and scoring cans on-site. Food trucks, all serving different specialties, can frequently be found on the scene.

Turtle Swamp Brewing,Boston. Brewing has a long history in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, and Turtle Swamp keeps the tradition alive. Turtle Swamp’s taproom—one of the handsomest around, flowing outdoors onto a spacious brick patio—is an inviting spot to sample everything from light lagers to New England IPAs, and from powerhouse barley wine to imperial stout. Polish your palate with a guided tasting, catch a bluegrass jam, and even take a Pilates class (with beer to follow).

West County Cider,Shelburne. Several local orchards feed the presses for West County’s cellar-fermented ciders, crafted to take advantage of an array of individual apple varieties. Heirloom Baldwins, for example, yield Dry Baldwin, a light, crisp cider expressive of the character of this native New England apple. Buy cork-and-wire-topped 750 ml bottles or sample draft pours at the rustic tasting room; outdoors, there are hiking trails and an outdoor picnic area.

Vermont Breweries and Cideries

Bent Hill Brewery,Braintree. Climb a dirt road to this hilltop brewpub, where an eclectic beer selection complements a vegetarian menu. Along with IPAs and weighty British ales, the brewers here play with flavorings such as blood orange, dill, rhubarb, currants, graham crackers, and, of course, maple—just the thing for washing down a black bean burger, cauliflower tacos, or aioli-dipped fries while enjoying a sweeping view from the

Citizen Cider,Burlington. Citizen is the goliath among New England cideries, ubiquitous at convenience stores around the region and beyond. At its home-base pub and cider garden, though, the on-tap product is a neighborhood tipple. A good dozen drafts, some available in flights, cover just about every cider style; there’s a cider cocktail menu, too, and burgers, poutine, and a pork belly banh mi among the noshes.

Eden Ciders/Shelburne Vineyard,Shelburne. The recent merger of Eden Ciders with winemaker Shelburne Vineyard brought the Newport cidermaker some welcome exposure at the vineyard’s tasting room on Route 7, just south of Burlington. Along with its line of still, sparkling, and herbal-infused hard ciders, Eden is known for its intensely flavored ice cider. Enjoy light snacks of Vermont cheeses and charcuterie, and special live-music nights.;

Hill Farmstead Brewery,Greensboro. When beer lovers make a pilgrimage to Vermont, it’s likely to this tucked-away corner of the Northeast Kingdom. On land the Hill family has farmed for seven generations, Danish-trained Shaun Hill crafts beer consistently voted the world’s best. Standards run from summer’s lagers to winter’s stouts, and from citrusy IPAs to powerful barley wines. Look also for brews with subtle fruit flavors, perhaps aged in bourbon, wine, or cognac barrels. The tasting room doesn’t serve food, so bring lunch to enjoy outdoors.

Lawson’s Finest Liquids,Waitsfield. The Mad River Valley is outdoor-sports central in Vermont. When hikers, skiers, and cyclists work up a thirst, they head to Lawson’s taproom for the brewery’s IPAs, Pilsners, porters, brown ale, and seasonal releases (in winter, look for powerful Maple Tripple), with light fare for pairing. Frequent live performances include jazz, blues, and folk. Occasional beer-themed dinners and popular Beer and Brats Wednesdays round out the schedule.

Long Trail Brewing Company,Bridgewater. “Take a Hike” says the Long Trail label, and a hike (or drive) to Bridgewater will lead to the brewery’s pub on the banks of the Ottauquechee River. Depending on the weather, taps might feature quenchers like Belgian White and Blackberry Wheat, or the chewy, chilly-day favorite Double Bag. Grab a burger or bratwurst (made with beer), take in the river views from the deck, and stick around for live music.

Switchback Brewing Company,Burlington. Down in Burlington’s South End arts district, the Queen City’s heart of hip, Switchback has built a following around its eponymous flagship brew, an unfiltered amber ale that manages to be malty and hoppy at the same time. The pub crowd ventures beyond into IPAs, British-style Brown Ale, and specialties like Märzen lager while enjoying hot dogs, brats, vegan chili, and Friday-night live music.

Windfall Orchard,Cornwall. The Champlain Valley is Vermont’s apple country, and Windfall takes full advantage of the local bounty. Up to 30 varieties, grown on-site, go into its naturally fermented sparkling and ice ciders. Apples aren’t the whole story here: Windfall’s pear crop yields hard-to-find perry, the old-British pear counterpart to cider. Windfall’s Saturday market also sells soup, pizza, and farm-fresh vegetables.

New Hampshire Breweries and Cideries

Branch and Blade Brewing,Keene. Finally, a tap list that takes the confusion out of wading through clever beer names to find a favorite style. B&B lists lagers, hoppy beers (read “IPAs”), fruit-tinged sours, and dark brews, including “pastry stout” Dark Adaptation, liquid cake with a kick. Snacks and light fare are prepared on-site, and the Thursday-to-Sunday live music runs heavily to local talent. 

Contoocook Cider Company,Contoocook. More than 100 varieties of apples grown at Gould Hill Farm assure an exquisite array of mix-and-match possibilities. Flavor profiles run from bone-dry to sweet; cranberry, ginger, maple and tart cherries also make an occasional appearance. A selection of handmade pizzas rounds out a simple menu—a nice dry cider might just bump out beer for pizza pairing. Quart and half-gallon growlers are available to take home.

Corner Point Brewing,Somersworth. Corner Point has the entertainment market, well, cornered, with live music Fridays and Saturdays—monthly blues jams are a favorite—and Trivia Tuesdays. Beer, of course, takes center stage, with a dozen brews in rotation on draft. Look for standards like brown ale and American lager, but don’t miss Corner Point’s experiments with orange peel, mango, coffee, and even green chilies. Paninis, clam chowder, and pizza headline a hearty menu. 

Farnum Hill Ciders,Lebanon. Don’t expect hard ciders made from supermarket apples at Farnum Hill, where heirloom varieties such as Yarlington Mill, Kingston Black, and Elias Bitter, grown at the cidery’s Poverty Lane Orchards, yield complex, “radically dry” still ciders, along with only slightly less dry fizzies. Farnum’s retail operation features sweet (nonalcoholic) ciders, pick-your-own apples, maple and seasonal vegetables, and hard cider tastings. 

Garrison City Beerworks,Dover. At this downtown “nanobrewery” the emphasis is on New England–style IPAs, although lagers, a tart Gose, and a powerful stout called Hygge also make a taproom appearance. Snag a table on the patio to sample an internationally flavored menu, featuring items like Korean beef, jerk chicken, and pork carnitas—all easy to wash down with a frosty IPA.

Smuttynose Brewing Company,Hampton. Granite State beer pioneer Smuttynose pulls some surprises at its tasting room and beer garden—among traditional lagers, IPAs, and Old Brown Dog brown ale (and a muscular barley wine), look for sour beers with flavors bordering on the psychedelic, as in pineapple-orange-coconut or cherry cheesecake. Seafood chowder and beer-battered fish and chips are hits at the restaurant; Wednesday is trivia night, and there’s live music Thursday through Saturday.

Throwback Brewery, North Hampton. Outlandishly flavorful IPAs, imperial stouts, and other brews made with ingredients largely sourced from within 200 miles are the main draw at Annette Lee and Nicole Carrier’s brewery, but there are so many reasons to linger: the charming 1860s barn and beer garden, cute farm animals, fresh-from-the-field cooking at the on-site restaurant, and an events calendar sprinkled with trivia and open-mic nights, yoga classes, and more.

Twin Barns Brewing,Meredith. A post-and-beam double barn is home to one of the busiest of the Lakes Region’s 13 brewhouses. The vintage ark of a building, just a “hops” and a skip from Winnipesaukee, also houses a spacious beer hall where traditional stouts and pilsners jostle with specialties made with ingredients such as toasted coconut and malted wheat. A half dozen burgers join wings, pot stickers, and more on the menu, and 32-ounce growlers are cheerfully filled. Additional location in North Woodstock.

Maine Breweries and Cideries

Allagash Brewing Company,Portland. This is the home of Allagash White, the refreshing wheat beer that put Maine on the brewing map. The inspiration is Belgian, a style exemplified by Allagash’s naturally fermented Coolship beers, aged for up to three years in oak. At the brewery, choose from among a dozen drafts while enjoying lobster rolls from Bite into Maine—or sign up for some serious tasting on a curated cellar tour.

Funky Bow Brewery,Lyman. On Funky Bow’s weekend Growler Nights, the wood-fired pizza wins raves.Tucked into a woodsy glade halfway between Portsmouth and Portland, the father-and-son operation keeps its casual, down-home atmosphere (dogs are welcome, but only off-leash) even though its IPAs, red ale, and coffee stout are distributed across New England. Pizza, beer, and music … it’s all outdoors. 

Lubec Brewing Company,Lubec. Things are as down-home as it gets at this small brewhouse in Maine’s—and America’s—easternmost town. Whether it’s a rich black ale, or a whimsy made with squash, all of Lubec’s brews are crafted with grains and other ingredients grown in Aroostook and Washington counties. Even the music is home-grown, with local artists performing bluegrass, Celtic, jazz, classical guitar, and whatever other sounds have percolated through the pines. Facebook

Orchard Girls Cidery,Kingfield. Don’t look for cider-pressing ladies here—founder Daniel Gassett picked the name from a song lyric. Gassett makes straight hard apple cider with fruit from local orchards, but he follows his own muse in crafting seasonal offerings kissed with ginger, strawberry, rhubarb, and Maine blueberries. Whatever’s ready is available on tap at the homey tasting room, where bottles, growlers, and even kegs are on sale. 

Oxbow Brewing Co.,Newcastle. Amid the serpentine tidal rivers, fields, and woodlands of rural Newcastle, Oxbow Brewing Co. crafts European-style fresh and aged farmhouse ales in a renovated barn; nearby, it grows fruit and tends beehives for honey to flavor its beers. Visit the tasting room, and then wander the bucolic grounds: Perhaps play a lawn game, hike or bike the trails, or simply snag a pond-side seat to sip, savor, and relax. Additional locations in Oxford and Portland.

SoMe Brewing Company,York. SoMe pushes the IPA envelope with its Classy Action, a 10.5% powerhouse that edges into barley wine territory. No designated driver? The taps at SoMe also deliver lighter lagers, pilsners, and amber ale, some made with oddities like peanut butter, cinnamon, and whoopie pies. Thursday nights yield 20-ounce pours for pint prices; every hour is happy hour on Sundays, and live music includes weekly blues jams.

Urban Farm Fermentory,Portland. A lot of brewers brew with flavorings other than hops, but we didn’t know a name for it until we discovered the Fermentory’s “gruit.” Gruit is beer made with whatever’s growing locally—herbs, flowers, fruits—and predates most hoppy brews. Urban Farm also turns out hopped beers, along with mead and ciders made with Maine yeast, and hosts an eclectic array of music events including salsa and swing.

Rhode Island Breweries and Cideries

The Guild,Pawtucket. The Guild has the Ocean State covered with suds—its lagers, Kölsch, malt liquor, and New England IPAs (including a mighty “Imperial” version) are dispensed at a Pawtucket beer hall and garden, hosting music, trivia nights, and food truck visits; a beer garden in the capital, overlooking the Providence river; and a beer hall in Warren, situated right on the waterfront.

Proclamation Ale Company,Warwick. Of the roughly 200 beers created by Proclamation since its 2014 founding, more than 20 rotate among draft choices in the woman-owned brewery’s taproom. Lucky patrons might find a triple IPA called (In)Significance, brewed with three different hops; a summer-perfect rice lager; or—for chillier days—an imperial stout inoculated with coffee and cacao. There’s a firepit on the patio, eclectic food trucks Wednesday through Sunday, and frequent trivia nights.

Revival Brewing Company,Providence. Lost amid New England’s oceans of IPA is traditional German Berliner Weisse, but Revival’s raspberry-and-blueberry-tinged offering appropriately revives the summer cooler. It takes its place on the card with lagers, formidable Belgian ales, chewy chocolate and coffee stouts … and oceans of IPA. Revival shares its address with Lost Valley Pizza, which makes pairing wood-fired pies with the right brews a local sport.

Tilted Barn Brewery, Exeter.What started as a hops farm has blossomed into a beer lover’s paradise. Kara and Matt Richardson’s Tilted Barn farm recently started brewing its own, then built a massive, two-story tasting hall and brewery. Some 15 rotating home drafts are on tap. The grounds provide plenty of outdoor seating and several firepits. Food trucks stop by almost daily, offering a variety of beer-friendly victuals. The original tilted barn still stands on the farm in the distance.

Connecticut Breweries and Cideries

Clyde’s Cider Mill,Mystic. In a town that celebrates sail, steam makes the cider: Clyde’s runs the last steam-powered apple press in America. The venerable machine turns out the crushed fruit for hard cider—an oaky elixir decanted straight from the barrel—and apple wine, filtered to achieve a sophisticated clarity. There’s a bakery at Clyde’s, so count on apple cider doughnuts, as well as apple muffins, turnovers, pies, and more. 

Elicit Brewing, Manchester. Elicit is that special brewery that welcomes the entire family. Housed in an 1800s brick mill building, the expansive space includes a beer hall with dozens of brews on tap, several rooms for private parties, and a massive beer garden with firepits out back. And there’s a kitchen counter for ordering light meals and bar foods. Numerous pinball machines and arcade games keep the kids (and adults) busy in this frenetic hall of

Hogan’s Cider Mill,Burlington. Tucked between Hartford and the Litchfield Hills, Hogan’s has been pressing for over a century, with a more recent foray into hard ciders. The indoor-outdoor taproom offers a dry, straight-apple product, along with berry blends and an apple sangria made with cherries, oranges, and peaches. Since cider maker and PGA pro Chet Dunlop runs the adjacent New England School of Golf, the cidery makes for an unusual 19th hole. 

OEC Brewing, Oxford. The initials stand for “Ordinem Ecentrici Coctores”—in Latin, “Order of Eccentric Cooks.” What’s cooking is an imaginative array of beers and ales, with an accent on sour beers and forays into concoctions made with fruit grown on-site. Then there’s jet-black Phantasma, made with wheat, oats, molasses, and licorice root. The eccentricities don’t extend too far into OEC’s food menu, which leans toward pizza, pretzels, and snacks.

Thimble Island Brewing Company,Branford. It’s not actually located on Connecticut’s little archipelago, but this prolific brewhouse seems to offer as many brews as there are islands (well, not 365, as some locals claim). This being New England, IPAs abound, but with a nod to West Coast styles; the brewers also offer a Sour Siren series, a line of sour beers enhanced with natural fruit flavors. Hamburgers, flatbreads, sandwiches, and wraps round out a hearty pub menu.

Willimantic Brewing Company, Willimantic. In a state teeming with just-opened breweries, this downtown establishment is a three-decade-old institution. Taps in a wood-paneled pub housed in the city’s former post office dispense the brewers’ signature Willibrew in an exhaustive range of styles, including unfiltered IPAs, rye ales, powerful barley wines, and coffee stout—plus beers from other American craft breweries. The food menu runs from flatbread pizza to sirloin steak.