New England Beer Fest Trip
Invited by my friend Gary Monterosso to accompnay him to
this fest, we jumped at the chance after not having traveled for the last
year. We decided to make a trip of it and left on Thursday for the Saturday
event. Our first leg was to reach Nashua, NH that night. Driving in torrential
rains in NY and CT, we made a stop at Tulleycross Tavern in Manchester,
CT where we enjoyed some good beers and food while taking a brief respite
from the road. Continuing on, we ran out of the heavy rain for a while
closer to Boston and arrived in Nashua at the Marriott. We settled in and
headed for Martha's Exchange, a brewpub in downtown. We had been there
about 8 years ago when my uncle lived in NH. Greg's beers are exquisite.
He makes so many different styles and they are all memorable! The food
is quite excellent also.
Morning came along with more precipitation and we headed
north to Woodstock Inn to have lunch at the brewpub, Woodstock Station.
I enjoyed a sampler of their beers and found them to be tasty. The large
menu made choosing difficult as hungry as we were but we made it through
and had a great meal.
The weather was not only wet, it was chilly as well. We
did not come prepared for that so I bought a hoodie at WS to carry me through
the weekend. Mary Lu and I walked around the small downtown stopping at
several shops and picked up some items.
Only about another 20 miles to our final destination, Sugar
Hill Inn in Sugar Hill, NH. GPS doesn't really know where that is though
it would take you by the inn, but my phone's navigation app took us right
there. Now here is a quaint place out in the country! Built in 1789, this
bed and breakfast has both rooms and cottage suites. We occupied the Blue
Room(shown above). The main house certainly shows its age though in a nice
way. The floors are crooked planks and there are toetrips everywhere...we
loved it! We even found out that the owner is from New Jersey! Check out
their website, www.sugarhillinn.com,
if you're heading that way. WiFi is available in the main house but no
TV's...who needs them!
Gary met up with us that evening and we went out to grab
some food. The Inn has a 5 course meal every evening, but we weren't that
hungry. BTW, breakfast is included in your room rate! We stopped back and
bellied up to the small bar in the lounge. They had Tuckerman Brewing Co.
beers in bottles and we drank the pale ale and the alt. Much to our delight,
they were quite drinkable. Noticing they had a nice whiskey selection,
we figured we'd save that for Saturday!
After a nourishing breakfast the next morning, we left
for Lincoln to arrive a bit early in hopes of getting some taping done
for "Still Crazy After All These Beers". Lincoln is the quintessential
NE town....small businesses, friendly people and laid back attitudes. We
met up with our contacts at the fest and made our rounds to tape a few
segments. For your $25, you got 10 tasting tickets, free entertainment
and a souvenir glass. A slider contest was also being held and a beer ticket
would get you a slider at one of the contestant's tables.
Finally the sun made its appearance just in time for the
festival and the jackets came off to bask in the welcome warmth.
Of course, I was hoping to add a bunch to my list and
there were a lot of local breweries there:
Baxter Brewing of Lewiston, ME, Elm City Brewing of Keene,
NH, Flying Goose Brewpub of New London, NH, Kennebec River Brewery of The
Forks, ME, Peak Organic Brewing of Portland, ME, Sebago Brewing of Gorham,
ME, Seven Barrel Brewery of West Lebanon, NH, Switchback Brewing of Burlington,
VT, Trout River Brewing of Lyndonville, VT, Tuckerman Brewing of Conway,
NH and Woodstock Inn of Woodstock, NH. Some of the regionals were also
represented here: Magic Hat, Narragansett, Portsmouth, Sam Adams, Shipyard,
Surprisingly, some of these small breweries made some
really slamming beers! Flying Goose Brewpub seemed to be one of the most
popular with their Jack Wallace Maple Brown Ale and Saison d l'oie de vol.
Sebago Brewing was another favorite of mine. Their Frye's Leap IPA, Boathouse
Brown and Runabout Red were memorable.
As the attendees entered the grounds, the lines got longer
at the beer tents and it became increasingly difficult to get a beer. We
decided to call it a day and made our way back to Sugar Hill for a nap
and a run at the bar.
Later that evening, Gary and I enjoyed some of the fine
whiskies they had to offer and stumbled our way upstairs.
Much to our chagrin, the weekend came to an end and we
headed back to the Garden State.
Looking forward to making another trip up there and spending
a little more time. So much to see and do in that picturesque region anytime