Fall is a great time of year for a road trip. In much of the country, the weather is fairly mild with warm days mixing with cooler, sometimes rainy days. But if you travel somewhere with seasons — specifically, the northeast — you’ll be treated to the golds, oranges, yellows, and reds of the changing leaves. We’re talking about states like Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New York, among others.
The best thing about taking a road trip to one of these states? Not only can you enjoy the bold, bright foliage (if you’re natural beauty), but you can also stop and grab a beer (or three) at some of the best breweries in the country. Even if you’re not one of the leaf peepers in your group, you can enjoy IPAs, lagers, stouts, pale ales, sour beers, Belgian-style ales, and pretty much any beer style you can think of at some superb northeast breweries.
With the epic number of breweries in the northeast, we understand that picking the right ones to visit can seem like a daunting task. And, since we know you have enough stress with your normal life without having to worry about finding the best breweries, we did it for you. Keep scrolling to see our ten picks for the best breweries in the Northeast to visit this fall. That is, if you want a backdrop of beautiful, vibrant fall foliage to pair with your brew!
Tree House Brewing Company (Charlton, Massachusetts)
When it comes to popular New England-area breweries, it’s hard to top the fandom surrounding Tree House Brewing. What started as a brewery in a small barn in Brimfield, Massachusetts has blossomed into five different facilities in various locations (including one on Cape Cod). The main brewery (along with a coffee roastery and distillery) is in Charlton, Massachusetts. There you can sample beers like Julius, Green, Eureka, and autumn seasonal beers.
Bottom Line: A booming beer brand in one of the most scenic states in the nation this time of year. Get there quickly before the cold settles in!
Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, New York)
You don’t have to book a flight to Europe to enjoy a well-made, authentic Belgian-style beer. All you need to do is travel to Cooperstown, New York (home of the Baseball Hall of Fame). The beautiful, idyllic, straight-out-of-Belgium-inspired Brewery Ommegang has been crafting amazing beer surrounded by beautiful natural wonders (especially in the fall) since 1996. The reason for the traditional Belgian-style farmstead is the fact that it was built by Belgian breweries Duvel Moortgat, Affligem, and Scaldis, along with importers Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield.
Bottom Line: Ommegang is a massive brand but this look into its home base adds a certain texture to the experience of enjoying their beers.
Maine Beer Company (Freeport, Maine)
What began as an interest in home brewing became a brewery in 2009 when brothers Daniel and David Kleban opened Maine Beer Company in Freeport, Maine. The aptly named brewery began with one beer (Peeper Pale Ale) the duo believed they made particularly well and progressed from there. Today, with beers like Lunch IPA, Dinner Double IPA, Zoe Amber Ale, Post Ride Snack Session IPA, and others, Maine Beer Company is one of the most respected breweries in the country.
Bottom Line: A smaller operation where you can really access all the buzzing energy of the brewery. If the aromas inside get a little heady, step outside and draw in a few breaths of crisp air!
Schilling Beer Company (Littleton, New Hampshire)
Can you imagine a better setting for a fall road trip than the White Mountain town of Littleton, New Hampshire? That alone and the guaranteed fall foliage is worth the trip. But what if we told you that not only could you visit a quaint mountain town, but you could also enjoy European-inspired beer? Well, you can do just that at Schilling Beer Company, makers of Belgian-inspired ales, Czech-style lagers, German-style beers, and many other European favorites without having to fly across the Atlantic.
Bottom Line: A European experience here in the United States — with beautiful scenery to boot!
Other Half Brewing Company: Finger Lakes (Bloomfield, New York)
Other Half is a big name in the craft beer world. So big that the brewery branched out and opened a brewery in New York’s Finger Lakes Region in 2018 (along with a few other locations since). Located a half hour from Rochester and a few minutes from Canandaigua Lake, Other Half Finger Lakes is situated on eight acres in the town of Bloomfield.
Bottom Line: You can find many of your favorite Other Half beers as well as beers only available at the Finger Lakes location, all while you sit at one of their many outside tables and take in the changing of the seasons in Western New York. It’s a joy!
Hill Farmstead Brewery (Greensboro Bend, Vermont)
In the hierarchy of American craft brewers, it’s pretty difficult to top the acclaim of Greensboro Bend, Vermont’s Hill Farmstead Brewery. This farmhouse brewery is known for making classic European beers like Saisons, bier de gardes, barley wines, lagers, and more. Many of which are named after found Shaun Hills relatives and ancestors.
Bottom Line: Not only is this one of the most popular breweries for beer fans to visit any time of year because of the beer alone, but it’s also serene and beautiful during the fall months.
Lawson’s Finest Liquids (Waitsfield, Vermont)
If you only visit one state for beer and fall foliage, make it Vermont. We don’t even have enough space to list all of the iconic breweries you can stop by on a Vermont-only road trip. But one that can’t be missed is Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Founded in 2008 by a husband and wife duo named Sean and Karen Lawson, the brewery makes amazing IPAs, like the hugely popular Sip of Sunshine, but it also makes a crisp pilsner, a maple ale, and many limited-edition special brews and seasonal offerings that are worth the trip alone.
Bottom Line: Vermont is one of the nation’s most prominent beer states and almost certainly its most prominent state for fall foliage.
Oxbow Brewing Company (Newcastle, Maine)
The home state of Stephen King (and the setting for many of his stories) is a hot spot for craft breweries. One of the best is Oxbow Brewing Company. This farmhouse brewery is situated in rural Newcastle, Maine. Surrounded by all the fall foliage your eyes can handle, you can visit the tasting room that features many of the brewery’s classic beers as well as taproom-only beers and fall seasonals.
Bottom Line: If you’d rather sit outside with a light jacket, they’ll even bring the beer out to one of the many picnic tables for you. That’s like the whole point of this piece distilled into one activity combining beer and scenery.
Prison City Brewing (Auburn, New York)
Prison City became a well-known craft brewery a few years ago when its Mass Riot IPA was named by Paste as the best IPA in America. But the Auburn, New York-based brewery, which opened in 2014, only sells its beers at the brewery itself. So, to try Mass Riot and its other amazing brews, you have to actually travel there. It helps that the town of Auburn is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region at the top of Owasco Lake.
Bottom Line: This is a true “beer drinking experience” and one that you have to have at the brewery’s very scenic location.
Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers (Framingham, Massachusetts)
Jack’s Abby was founded in 2011 by brothers Jack, Sam, and Eric Hendler. In the ten years plus, it’s become of the best lager makers in the country. That’s because, instead of opting to make IPAs and other beers, Jack’s Abby literally only makes lagers. Its Copper Legend is one of the most sought-after Oktoberfest-style beers every year. That beer, the various other lagers available, and the beer hall and kitchen alone are worth the trip to Framingham. As a bonus, the offshoot Springdale Beer (which makes more than just lagers) is also there.
Bottom Line: Beer in Mass with some great flavors and plenty of natural beauty? It’s a win.