make a day of it.
The tour was a great mix of larger craft breweries, smaller microbreweries, and brew pubs. The first stop was the Norwich Inn which also has a Brew Pub by the name of “Jasper Murdock’sAlehouse”. The Alehouse does not mass produce their product.
They call themselves one of the smallest Breweries in America. The Inn is your classic old school New England Inn right down to the creaking floor boards throughout the first floor. There is a lot of character here for sure. At the Alehouse the group was able to order a sampler consisting of four 4 oz. beers. They were all very good and it’s obvious why the brewer has won 4
silver and a gold medal in recent years at the Great International Beer Competition. We were able to enjoy the following.
Fuggle & Barleycorn ……… A Classic Golden Ale
Whistling Pig Red Ale ….. A Full bodied Ale smooth with a Hop Flavor
Schwarzpils Lager ………. A German style with a medium body and a hint of chocolate flavor
Two Patrick Stout ……….. A Light, dry with a nutty flavor English style Stout
The next stop was at Harpoon Brewery in Windsor where we were able to take the full tour of the Brewery. The Harpoon operation is hands down a first class operation. Our tour guides were fun and very informative in all aspects of the company. I never knew until that tour that Harpoon was the first licensed Craft Brewery in the state of Ma. There has been no Breweries for over 25 years At the conclusion of the tour we were able to try all Harpoon products in the tasting area. I must admit I have tried a lot of Harpoon Products in the past but on this trip I did get a first time taste of the limited edition, 100 BarrelSeries that is featured at the Brewery right now. The Hoppy Belgian Style Blonde Beer, to me was the best beer I tried all day. You can read all about it on their web site. We then enjoyed a great lunch at Harpoons Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden. I had a Reuben Sandwich with a side of Poutine. The Reuben sandwich here is as good as you’ll get anywhere.
The menu says it’s made with homemade sauerkraut that I believe is a German Style Winekraut, either way it was very good.
Our next stop was at the Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners. The Brewery offers self guided tours of their facility. They have a nice outdoor deck overlooking the Ottauquechee River for enjoying their food and beers or you can also dine inside in the Pub. The weather had started to rain a little so the group stayed inside rather than enjoying the view from the deck.
At the Alehouse we were able to order a sampler consisting of six different beers. If you have tried Long Trail in the past you know that they also produce a good line of Ale’s. We did not stay too long here and loaded up and hit the road south because we had plans to see two more Brew Pubs.
The next stops were in Brattleboro where we had planned on visiting McNeills Brewery and Whetstone Station Brewery. The Brewery’s are very close to each other so the group just went from McNeills to Whetstone on their own. These two breweries are total opposites of each other in style and looks.
McNeills is very old and I will say run down and dumpy. But they offer a selection of beers that is award winning and three are always served from old school cask that the bartender has to crank up by hand to get the beer flowing. The joint is old but there is also character here that you don’t find in many places anymore.
The other spot in town is the Whetstone Station Brewery. This place is real nice, sitting on the banks of the CT River and offers a fantastic view and features both indoor and outdoor dining. They offer a huge selection of Craft Beers and Ciders on tap from all over the map. I will say that for me my taste buds at this point were done for the day but others in the Crew made sure they were good for the last drop. The Whetstone also offered its own first house brew ever on Saturday night the day before we came in. It was described as a Hoppy Pale Ale. I’m just going to have to back and try this at another time.