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The Brand that Started the American Cider Revolution.

With fall right around the corner, many turn their thoughts to apple picking, pumpkin carving and leaf crunching. With those iconic fall activities, there are also some fall delicacies, like pumpkin spice lattes, apple cider donuts and, of course, apple hard cider!

Most of us think of cider and apples in the autumn since that’s when apples are abundant and ready to eat right off the tree. But cider is more than just a fall beverage. Hard cider is just as refreshing in the heat of the summer as it is after a day of laps on the ski slopes. Folks looking for a fun-filled activity can check out The Woodchuck Cidery, located at 1321 Exchange Street, just off scenic Route 7 in Middlebury, Vermont. The Cider House and Tap Room welcome visitors Wednesday through Sunday with self-guided tours, tastings, Woodchuck® gear and 20 amazing ciders on tap. 

It all started along the Black River in a two-car garage, when a winemaker named Greg Failing began experimenting with apples. Woodchuck Amber was the result and it would go on to reinvent a centuries-old beverage, which had vanished from the American conscience in the wake of Prohibition. The first bottles were filled on a 1940s soda filler. It only took 10-ounces, so the last two ounces of every bottle were topped off by hand with a turkey baster. The filler constantly broke down and parts were hard to come by. It took that resilient Vermont spirit to carry on, and carry on they did!

So, if you’re looking to do a little road tripping and a place to swap stories with family and friends (and pups!) over a pint, stop by Woodchuck Cidery. Try Woodchuck’s 802® Barrel Aged which is aged in WhistlePig Rye Whiskey barrels and is crisp with notes of American oak and rye whiskey or grab a Woodchuck Brunch Box Variety Pack that includes four offerings inspired by your favorite brunch cocktails, Bubbly Pearsecco, Mimosa, Bellini and Paloma.

For more information visit www.vtciderco.com






Words: Kelly Kirkpatrick, editor, Heady Times Magazine

Photos: Mike Lianza, Marketing Director, Amoskeag Beverages

Saco River Brewing is celebrating its 7th anniversary after first opening in July of 2016 in a former sheet metal fabrication shop in downtown Fryeburg, Maine. Mason Irish, Founder & Head Brewer, was a seasoned arborist at the time with a passion for homebrewing. Irish was looking to make a change when the opportunity arose to start a brewery in Fryeburg and he jumped at the chance…the rest is history.

In the beginning, all the beer produced was on a 1-barrel system and sold only in Saco River Brewing’s taproom and a few local restaurants. When demand grew, Saco River Brewing upgraded to a 7-barrel brewhouse and looked into distribution.

For several years, Saco River Brewing grew its in-state distribution and scaled up again with a 15-barrel brewery and an addition to the existing property in order to hold more fermentation capacity and its own canning line. Most recently, Amoskeag and Saco River Brewing decided to team up with Amoskeag acquiring the rights to sell their products in the state of New Hampshire. “We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Amoskeag to further our distribution in New Hampshire,” says Irish.

When asked about Saco River Brewing’s style, Irish stated, “Saco River’s brewing style is based on our fantastic water. Water is the main ingredient in beer and Fryeburg has some of the finest quality water in the world. We can brew any style with such soft, clean water by adjusting it to our needs. We have typically been heavy on the IPAs, but we brew a wide breadth of beer styles to appease a large variety of tastes. Saco River Brewing always uses the highest quality ingredients from around the world and within Maine.”

If you visit the brewery, Lazy River, a soft, juicy IPA, Hornets’ Nest, a double IPA and Clearwater, an easy-drinking pale ale are three beers that are always in the rotation, as well as various seasonals and limited releases.

During the summer months, Saco River Brewing is open 7 days per week and has lots going on. Food trucks, music, axe throwing and even mobile escape rooms grace their outdoor beer garden and pole barn. The best way to keep updated with events and what’s on tap is to follow Saco River Brewing’s social media, Instagram @sacoriverbrewing, Twitter @sacoriverbrew and on Facebook, they update a schedule every week for a complete breakdown of what’s happening and their current beer lineup.


Irish and his crew work hard every day brewing only high-quality, flavorful beers and are thrilled to share them, so swing by Saco River Brewing for a fresh pint or two or pick up a 4-pack at your local store.


www.sacoriverbrewing.com  10 Jockey Cap Lane Rt. 302 Fryeburg, ME * (207) 256-3028



Words: Kelly Kirkpatrick, Editor, The Heady Times

Photos: Mike Lianza, Marketing Director, Amoskeag Beverages

Switchback Brewing’s 21st Birthday Bash, August 12th!

Switchback Brewing Co., home to Vermont’s iconic Switchback Ale, is excited to announce their 21st birthday celebration hosted in partnership with Local Maverick. This grand Birthday Bash promises to be an unforgettable event blending entertainment, history, innovation and a glimpse into the future of Switchback, all while supporting two local non-profits, Vermont Works for Women and Age Well.

The celebration will take place on Saturday, August 12th at Switchback Brewing Company located at 160 Flynn Ave, Burlington, VT. Doors open at 3:00pm, and the festivities continue until 7:00pm. Tickets are $12 in advance, $17 day-of and the event is free for children aged 12 and under.

“We look forward to welcoming the community to the brewery we call home to showcase not only the dynamic elements of what makes Switchback what it is today, but to pay homage to the history that brought us here,” said the brewery’s Event Manager, Amy Lieblein. “We’re thrilled to offer a sneak peek at the future evolution of Switchback while supporting our community and having some fun.”

Guests can look forward to an exciting line-up of entertainment and activities featuring live music, over 30 local vendors, food trucks, family-friendly activities, plus a raffle and silent auction to benefit Vermont Works For Women and Age Well. DJ Craig Mitchell will be MCing, with performances from Jennifer Hartswick & Nick Cassarino from 4:00pm to 5:00pm and Hayley Jane from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. The evening will culminate with the announcement of Silent Auction & Raffle Winners.

Tickets and more information on Switchback’s 21st Birthday Bash can be found at switchbackvt.com.

With the Inn closed for Spring cleaning, we dropped by the Woodstock Inn and Brewery to catch up about some new improvements around the brewhouse. The Inn may have been quiet, but the brewery was cranking, with a fresh batch of 4000 Footer IPA being brewed, and some K+M Rootbeer running through the canning line. Sasa and Peter showed us around their shiny new toy (read more on that below,) and of course- no visit to the Inn would be complete without an appearance by the one and only Garrett Smith, Woodstock’s Sales Manager.

Tell us about what’s new at the brewery? We hear there have been some major improvements going on…

You’ve heard right! We’re excited to have finished the installation of our new 30 barrel brewhouse from Alpha BrewOps. This includes a steam jacketed HLT, boil kettle, and mash tun, as well as a honker of a new steam boiler to keep everything hot.

How are these changes going to affect your beer? What can customers expect?
While I’m proud of the quality that we were able to achieve with the old brewhouse, this new system allows us much finer control over the brewing process. What this means in the glass is more nuanced bitterness and malt flavors as well as more of that beautiful hop aroma brewers and IPA fans love. The beer will also have a cleaner flavor profile.

Anything new going on at the Inn?

We bought a new 4 bedroom home last fall. The Lounden House is walking distance to the brewery. The house has a hot tub and an amazing space. This house is avaible for rent. We also brought back our Brewer’s Weekends. These weekends provide a guest with dive into craft beer. They brew beer, learn about beer, sample beer, and attend 5 course beer dinner Saturday Night.  Breakfast is included along with lodging.

What beers are you excited about for 2023?
For summer 2023 we’ve updated our Lemon Blueberry pale ale and our Honey Lemon Blonde ale. Think light and crispy with big fruit aroma and flavor. Perfect for on the lake or outside at our Dam Bar. I’m also excited for the impact the new brewhouse will have on our range of hop forward beers. Lost Time our New England Pale Ale will be coming out as well. This hazy beer uses Galaxy and Comet hops. Brands such as Mountain Haze, 4000 Footer, and the like will all see more hop aroma with less bitterness.

Woodstock Inn and Brewery has been a staple in the NH Beer scene for quite a long time. How have you adapted to keep up?
On the brewery side, we keep an eye to tradition while continuing to innovate and update our beer offerings. A brand like Pig’s Ear brown ale, which has been a mainstay since the brewery first opened, is equally at home next to pastry stouts and hazy IPAs on our taps. This has led to our fan base growing and developing as the NH beer scene has evolved. We have people who have been coming since the 90’s bringing their kids or grandkids along on brewery tours which is pretty cool to see.

Any other big news you want the NH Beer world to know about?
We’re happy to announce that two of our brewers, Sasa Marinkovic and Peter Dodenhoff, have stepped up to take the reins here at the brewery. Both are highly motivated to drive quality and enhance the reputation the Woodstock Inn Brewery has established over the years.


Dedicated to the idea that beer should be inclusive, approachable and excellent, Castle Island Brewing Company has been pumping out award-winning beer across various styles much to the delight of beer lovers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island–and now Castle Island is coming to New Hampshire!


The company’s headquarters in Norwood, MA is home to its production facility and original taproom. Castle Island also opened a second taproom and brewery in South Boston in 2021, in an industrial building once owned by the great-grandfather of Castle Island founder, Adam Romanow. Both locations have a wide variety of experimental R&D beers alongside their core brews with lots of fun events happening. Kudos to their in-house food partners at Bardo’s Bar Pizza, who were recently named the best bar pizza in Boston.

While plenty of folks have been flocking to Castle Island’s two MA locations, beer lovers in NH can pick up a 16 oz. 4-pack or grab a pint in their home state, starting in February. “We are really excited about introducing our beers to New Hampshire,” says Romanow. “Since we opened in 2015, we’ve been getting phone calls, emails and DMs from Granite Staters asking us to send our beer north but we’ve always embraced an “inch wide, mile deep” distribution philosophy, so we wanted to take our time and not expand until we were in a sustainable place to do so. We’re glad that time is finally here, and we’re excited to have a partner like Amoskeag to make it happen.”

“With the explosion of the craft beer space, quality has become the price of entry, so we pride ourselves on making beers across a range of styles that are balanced in flavor, embrace the art of subtlety, sport a mid-range ABV and are reliably consistent,” adds Romanow. “Our production team has over 50 years of combined experience to help bring this vision to life. I like to say – only partly in jest – that we make beer we like to drink, not sip and our variety and recipes all reflect that mentality. At the end of the day, it’s just beer – it’s supposed to be fun. We want to keep it that way.”

Coming soon to a cooler or a bar near you–Keeper, their flagship IPA, is the product of many late-night and weekend home brewing sessions. This smooth but punchy, balanced yet intense beer was named after a great friend of Romanow who exclaimed, “well, this one’s a keeper,” after trying it. Fiver, their Hazy IPA, was born early in the pandemic alongside a companion program called the Fiver Initiative, where Castle Island partnered exclusively with five charities for a whole year to maximize the impact of their financial giving efforts. Hi-Def, DIPA, hits with fresh melon, papaya and tangerine flavors. White is a Belgian-style wheat ale brewed with Valencia orange and coriander. This bright, beautiful, award-winning American White Ale won the Silver Medal in the Belgian Witbier category at the 2019 U.S. Open Beer Championship.

There’s a sign that hangs above Castle Island’s loading dock that reads, “If you’re not proud of it, don’t ship it.” That sign was originally put up by one of the building’s prior tenants but Castle Island quickly adopted it as their own internal mantra and have infused that mentality into their culture, brand and their product.

To learn more about Castle Island Brewing Co, head on over to their website here, and be on the lookout for their amazing beers all over the Granite State very soon.


Words: Kelly Kirkpatrick, editor of The Heady Times. To learn more about The Heady Times, check out our Publications page.

Photos: Mike Lianza, Marketing Director at Amoskeag Beverages

Nearly 30 years after it was first released, Allagash White is still one of the best-selling Belgian-style witbiers in the world. But the team at Allagash knew it was time to add an IPA to the roster – both for consumers and themselves. “First and foremost, our staff loves drinking great IPAs, myself included,” Allagash Brewmaster of 24 years, Jason Perkins said on the brewery’s podcast From Maine, With Love. “It’s not at all uncommon for me to visit an account in town and of course, my first beer is always Allagash, but my second beer is often an IPA.”

Even the brewery’s most ardent fans – people who have made a pilgrimage to the taproom in Maine – have asked Allagash to make a beer on the hoppier side. Sales Director Naomi Neville explained, “In the tasting room, the first question patrons often ask is ‘what’s your hoppiest beer,’ or ‘do you have an IPA?’ We’ll finally be able to say yes.”

“We’ve been making IPAs off and on over the years, but it’s not something we have done on a national scale,” said Perkins. “From the get-go, we were looking for something timeless, something approachable, but assertive in hop aroma.”

After seven months and 17 different recipes, everyone at the brewery was confident that they had created an IPA with an Allagash spin – a beer their fans would love but that could also recruit curious, new drinkers to the fold. The final result is Hop Reach IPA – a full-bodied and refreshing IPA, blooming with lush hop notes at 6.8% ABV. Brewery Founder Rob Tod is excited about the first IPA to join Allagash’s year-round lineup, to say the least. “Hop Reach is our own, uniquely Allagash IPA and we can’t wait for people to enjoy it as much as we do.”

But there was one more job ahead of them… design a label that says to consumers, “Hey, Hop Reach is an Allagash IPA and it’s really special.” The marketing team got to work. They decided a cream-colored can communicated approachability, while the tropical-colored hops on the label speak to the beer’s balanced, bright, citrusy flavors. The design was also created with shelf placement in mind. The team wanted a timeless, classic label that could sit next to Allagash White and wouldn’t look out of place or become dated too quickly.

As for the name, Hop Reach was chosen for some very good reasons. Allagash brewers and brewery employees often find themselves reaching for an IPA, so Hop Reach is a “fun play on the word,” according to Senior Communications Specialist Brett Willis. A little less obvious, but also significant, is a not-so-well-known definition of “reach” which the dictionary says is “a stretch of river or straight expansive stream.” This ties in nicely because many labels in the Allagash portfolio display streams and rivers. And you may ask, “Why are these waterways important in the first place?” The Allagash River, a federally protected waterway rich with Native American history, runs right through northern Maine.

Wrapping up a conversation with Brewmaster Perkins – he offered to describe Hop Reach in 3 little words…”citrusy, tropical & refreshing”! So, check in with your Sales Rep; Amoskeag will be carrying Hop Reach in 16 oz. cans, 12 oz. cans,  and draught beginning in February! It won’t be long until you can crack open a Hop Reach and enjoy!


Words: Kelly Kirkpatrick, editor of The Heady Times. To learn more about The Heady Times, check out our Publications page.

Photos and Video Courtesy of Allagash Brewing Company.

Over the last year, we’ve been working with a great local creative agency, 36creative, to bring our new logo and website to life. We are very excited about the results, and we hope our customers and suppliers are too. Our new website features a place for customers to log-in and pay their bills online, and there will be even more features for our customers coming soon! We love working with local companies and 36creative truly was a dream group to work with on this very important part of our business.