New England is famous for being one of the original areas settled by Europeans in the early years of America and for being a vital player in the American Revolution. Besides its history, New England is also well-known for its distilleries, of which there are approximately 61 distilleries. Take a look at these four and get a taste of what this great area can offer.
In Branford, Connecticut, the AppStrawBrandies distillery works hard to create some of the best spirits in the area. While its name might seem a bit odd, customers can rest assured that what’s in their glass is a quality product. Tai Phan Lam, the distillery’s founder, is a bio-fermentation researcher who has spent a lot of time learning about which fruits and yeasts are best to make pure fruit brandies, which is what AppStrawBrandies is known for. From apple brandy at various ages and clarities to pear brandy and even pineapple brandy, there is a flavor for every palate. Tai Phan Lam also creates whiskey from fruit as well as his own variety of vodka. Check out the distillery’s website to learn more.
Berkshire Mountain Distillers (Massachusetts)
Sheffield, Massachusetts, is home to the Berkshire Mountain Distillers, known for producing award-winning spirits in small batches for ultimate quality control. The company makes vodka, two varieties of gin, rum and both traditional and corn whiskey. If you are thinking about heading over to the distillery and its tasting room, the tours are known for being an experience for all of the senses. Visitors are given the opportunity to examine raw ingredients, see and smell spirits at different stages of distillation and taste the final products. Tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays; you can learn more about them on the Berkshire Mountain Distillers website.
Elm Brook Farm (Vermont)
The state of Vermont is known for many things, from Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to maple syrup. One distillery, Elm Brook Farm in Fairfield, takes Vermont’s sweet syrup and turns it into some of the best spirits around. The Rail Dog Barrel Aged Maple Spirit is created from maple sugar from nearby forests and is somewhere between a good whiskey and cognac with its blend of vanilla, maple and almond flavors. On the other side of the distillery, Literary Dog Premium Sipping Vodka is also made from local maple sugar and is distilled 23 times for a very smooth finish. Tours of the distillery and tastings are offered, but must be arranged by appointment. Take a look at Elm Brook Farm’s website for more information.
New England Distilling (Maine)
While quite a few distilleries on this list are newer following the recent trend of consumers looking for local spirits and brews instead of mass-produced drinks, New England Distilling has been operating for six generations and has 150 years of experience. The current incarnation of the family business opened in 2011, but from the 1850s to 1958, the Wight family had been making spirits, taking a break only when prohibition laws demanded it. The distillery still uses a direct-fired pot still to make its gin, rum and rye whiskey, which creates bolder flavors. To learn more about the distillery and to see historic brewing in action, visit the New England Distilling website.
All of these New England distilleries would be great places to visit with family and friends. However, please make sure to bring along a designated driver for the trip as you explore what this region has to offer.
This article is presented by CitySide Subaru in Belmont, Massachusetts.