NEIPAs To Seek Out From Every State In New England Part 2
This is the second part of my article profiling my favorite NEIPAs brewed in every state in New England. Part 1 covered beers from Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, you can find it HERE. Just a reminder, these lists are just a portion of my favorites, there are so many stellar versions of the style being brewed in New England it would be impossible to cover them all. Here are some of my favorites NEIPAs in the southern part of the resion, starting with the state I call home!
Trillium and Tree House: These two are obvious to any beer snob but need to be included, both make stellar NEIPAs. This time of year I get a number of messages from tourists asking which breweries they should visit when they are in town, and the messages are usually “in addition to Trillium and Tree House.” Regardless, their reputations are well earned and the beer is worth seeking out, just be prepared to wait in line if you show up at either brewery during peak hours. Beers to try: Too many choices here, but my personal favorites include Trillium Melcher Street IPA and Tree House Haze.
Springdale: An off-shoot of popular lager-only powerhouse Jack’s Abby, Springdale focuses on ales, from rich stouts to funky wild ales to hop-bomb IPAs. Their hop-forward releases run the gamut of profiles from hazy and fruity to more bitter and piney, but all are well crafted. They also have a massive taproom with tons of games, a great place to spend an afternoon. Beers to try: Galaxy and Citra hopped Good N’ You IPA.
Lamplighter: A relatively new addition to the local scene, Lamplighter has already needed to expand their Cambridge taproom to accommodate heavy demand. They make a huge variety of styles including a diverse group of hop-forward NEIPAs. Beer to try: Major Tom IPA, a celebration of Galaxy hops.
Night Shift: Night Shift started brewing beers featuring a range of interesting adjunct ingredients and expanded into nearly every other style you can imagine. Any fan of sours and unique barrel aged beers needs to visit their taproom, but they have plenty of options for hop heads too. Beer to try: The 87, they recently re-worked the recipe of this DIPA and the results are impressive.
Others: I am going to feel bad about the number of breweries I leave out, there are so many good ones in my home state. Idle Hands and Mystic both started out brewing Belgian styles, but they both make exceptional NEIPAs too. Aeronaut is one of the coolest taprooms in metro Boston, and their Double Hop Hop DIPA is a must-try. One of my other favorite taprooms is Medusa in Hudson, and their Laser Cat DIPA is one of many top notch hoppy beers that they rotate through. It is worth a trip to Norton to check out Bog Iron, some of their hop forward beers don’t fit neatly into the NEIPA box, but all have huge hop flavor and aroma. Exhibit A moved into the old Jack’s Abby space in Framingham and they are meeting the high bar set by the previous tenants.
Long Live: My close friends, Tim and Amanda, live in Providence and introduced me to Long Live, and I was blown away by the beers, some of the best local IPAs I’d tasted. People have caught on, Long Live is still a small operation but it attracts a crowd and the beers sell out quickly. Beer to try: ‘Lil Sippy, a light and sessionable pale ale that still features big hop flavor.
Proclamation: Proclamation makes some of the most sought-after beers in Rhode Island, and recent growth means that the beers are becoming a little easier to find. This is a very good thing, they make a rotating series of New England IPAs, DIPAs and pale ales bursting with hop flavor. Beers to try: Their single-hop Derivative series is marvelous, especially the Galaxy and Mosaic versions.
Grey Sail: Some breweries make this list due to a large rotation of NEIPAs, others on the strength of a single standout beer. Grey Sail is the later, their DIPA Captain’s Daughter is world-class, tons of hops but still balanced and very easy drinking for a big beer. Beer to try: Kind of spoiled that already, but seriously, you should try Captain’s Daughter.
Others: Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country but still has more than its share of quality options. My favorite beer from Foolproof is probably their porter, but they also make some very good hoppy beers. Tilted Barn is another brewery that makes a large variety of hop forward beers and is gaining big buzz in beer trading circles. Revival Brewing makes a wide range of styles, and their hoppy beers are well crafted and delicious.
Beer’d: If you want a DIPA that bursts with hop flavor and is easy drinking despite an ABV creeping towards double digits than Beer’d is the place for you. They have a rotating set of beers with different hop profiles that define bold, boozy, and flavorful. Beer to try: Beer’d Dogs and Boats DIPA.
New England: One of the most popular breweries in the state, it is common to see a long line when New England Brewing Company is releasing one of their stellar IPAs. Beer to try: Fuzzy Baby Ducks is a near flawless showcase of Citra hops, one of my favorite hop varieties.
Two Roads: The biggest brewery in Connecticut is probably best known for it’s barrel aged beers, but they are strong across a number of styles. Their NEIPA Two Juicy is one of the first local beers in the style that achieved significant distribution, proving that off-premise sales can work if distributors and bottle shops are careful with storage and freshness. Beer to try: Two Juicy is great when it’s fresh, as is the case with any of these beers. Please check the best-by dates!
Others: I spent a couple of years in Connecticut while I completed my post-doc and the local brewery scene was very limited, but over the last few years there has been an explosion of quality options. Relic Brewing has an impressive lineup of different IPAs, I think they invent a new one each month, and most are very good. If you are a fan of IPAs brewed with fruit juice to complement fruity hop varieties, you need to try the different versions of Ripe and Cranky from Stony Creek. Thomas Hooker Brewing is a grizzled veteran of the Connecticut beer scene, but I tried their #NoFilter NEIPA at a wedding and it holds up to any of the local upstarts.
Ryan Brawn is a beer geek, writer, chemist and occasional home-brewer who lives in the suburbs of Boston. He is the author of HoppyBoston.com, a blog featuring news, notes, reviews and opinions with a focus on the New England beer scene. You can follow Hoppy Boston on Twitter (@HoppyBoston), Instagram (HoppyBoston) or Facebook (facebook.com/hoppyboston).