Road to Brewin': Cultured Beer Trips from Boston

Sample a hand-picked selection of world-beating New England craft breweries.

New England was made for one-tank trips. Within a few hours’ drive from Boston, you can hit all five of the region’s other states or strike out towards the farthest corners of Massachusetts. While there are countless natural beauties along the way, and ample destinations worthy of anyone’s curiosity, the real reason you should get up and head out is—simply put—beer.

Tree House Brewing Company
Tree House Brewing Company (Courtesy Tree House Brewing Company)

Beer Bucket List

Fizzing with New England brew buzz, Tree House Brewing Co., located in Monson, Massachusetts, is the perfect day-trip destination to start with. An ever-rotating selection of ales, such as Julius—quaffably fruity—and Eureka!—a nifty blonde—along with small quantities and limited retail hours to buy make this a must-add to anyone’s beer bucket list, but make sure you check online and in advance before departing. Trust us: The journey is well worth the time and effort.

Tasting room at the Maine Beer Company
Tasting room at the Maine Beer Company (©Jeremy Lindberg)

Maine Men

The backstory behind Peeper—a favorite brew for the connoisseurs already familiar with Maine Beer Company in Freeport, just north of Portland—is one of perseverance and passion. Well, that's par for the course when it comes to craft breweries. Basically, two brothers had one plan: to make a really great beer the right way and, after many tweaks and tinkering, they nailed it. Now there's an impressive range of quality brews beside Peeper. Take the ride Down East and leave room for bomber cases to bring home.

Smuttynose Brewing Company
Smuttynose Brewing Company (Courtesy Smuttynose Brewing Company)

I Love Shoals

Barely a stone’s throw over the state line, Smuttynose Brewing Company is well worth the road trip to Hampton, New Hampshire. While many craft breweries can trace their creation myth to a moment no earlier than the turn of the millennium, Smuttynose—named after a portion of the storied Isle of Shoals—goes way back to 1994. Try the Old Brown Dog (recognized as a classic "American Brown Ale" and great for brining chicken) before diving into such seasonal temptations as the Summer IPA and the Oktoberfest.

Hops, glorious hops
Hops, glorious hops (Courtesy Max Pixel)

Gold Standard

Home of the Heady Topper and Focal Banger, The Alchemist Brewery has rapidly evolved into a mecca for beer seekers in New England and worldwide. What started out in 2003 as a local brew pub in the village of Waterbury, Vermont, has now grown into a two-brewery operation, thanks to the 2016 addition of a smart new facility in Stowe. Despite the expansion and daily per-person purchase limits, Alchemist brews are so good that demand often outstrips supply. Well worth the quest.