The Maple State takes tremendous pride in microbrew mastery! And one of its best brewpubs, MC NEILL’S, provides great beer to this rustic riverfront town. On a snowy February ’04 trip, I first stayed at Brattleboro’s historic Latchis Inn, quaffing light-bodied malt-spiced chocolate-nutty Leaf Trapper Lager, caramel-hopped Altbier, mocha-accented IPA, cocoa-embittered Coffee Porter, and mildly chocolate-y cherry-teased wood-burnt Oatmeal Stout at now-defunct basement-level Latchis Grill.

In its stead, street level pub, Flat Street Brewpub, served Berkshire Brewery’s excellent bottled ales on tap by November ‘06. A quaint coffeehouse-styled pub with limited menu (reubens-nachos-wings), Flat Street offered two tap-only brews, dry-hopped coffee-roasted black chocolate-y dark-fruited Flat Street Stout and bittersweet maple-syrupy cherry-banana-bruised whiskey-malted Cask Conditioned Autumn Strong Ale. Brattleboro Food Co-op has great Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire bottled beer section thrice sojourned.

At nearby Elliott Street, Brattleboro’s highly recommended MC NEILL’S BREWPUB had superb assortment of microbrews such as soft-toned peppery hop-fizzed Brewhead Brown Ale, pine-needled grapefruit-spiced orange rind-embittered Slop Bucket Brown Ale, mocha-buttered red-fruited Scotch Ale, resiliently creamy dark chocolate-roasted coffee-blackened cherry-stoned Imperial Stout, and fruit-ripened brandy-warmed Barleywine. Limited menu included chili, stew, spinach pie, and hummus.

After watching King Kong at Latchis Theatre, revisited teensy cafeteria-styled dive Mc Neill’s with son, Johnny, New Year’s Day, ’06. Though lighter-bodied fare proved less interesting, soft-hopped pineapple-grapefruit-apple-tinged Big Nose Blonde, delicate perfume-hopped grapefruit-checked Duck’s Breath English Bitter, mild floral-peach Dead Horse IPA, and barley-roasted nut-smoked pacifier Humperdinck Black Lager were decent choices.

On drearily rainy November ‘06 eve following screening of The Departed at Latchis, long-time Mc Neill’s bartender Christa Porter served up two recently tapped beers. Burnt orange-fronted bruised cherry-centered plum-fig-dried currant-nutmeg-spiced peat-malted Buck Snort Barleywine and dry grassy-hopped red-fruited floral-accented Cask Conditioned Dead Horse IPA sufficed.

Spent an hour, January ’09, sampling tart orange-soured whiskey-backed grape-sodden cask-conditioned Old Ringworm Ale and spicy apple-peach-tangerine-glazed grapefruit-peeled currant-embittered Warlord IPA with brewer, Ray. Check alphabetical section for bottled reviews of Mc Neill’s Alle Tage Altbier, Champ Ale, Exterminator Doppelbock, Firehouse Amber, Oatmeal Stout, Pullman’s Porter, Ruby Red, Tartan Export, and Duck’s Breath.

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