79 Stone Mill Dam Rd, Brandon, VT 05733
Brewery & Tasting room.
Established circa 2010.
Foley Brothers is an emerging leadership microbrewery and demonstrates high levels of creativity and quality, with some offerings equal to the finest anywhere.
Once upon a time the Foley family begat the Old Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast in Brandon, which expanded to include the Neshobe River Winery. The precise order of those events doesn’t really matter. Somewhere along the line, the brothers Foley eyeballed mom & dad’s wine making stuff and said, “maybe we can make beer too.”
Fast forward a few years, and that New England yankee thrift and ingenuity still rules the day at Foley Brothers. Small sign, hard to find, and it just doesn’t look like a brewery. In fact it looks a lot like any other Vermont farm doubling as a brewery, albeit with more curb appeal. Assuming you find the tasting room, chances are someone named Foley will be pouring for you. But if things continue the way they’re going, Foley Brothers will soon outgrow this quaint, homey location with the gorgeous scenery. So you’d best hurry.
Brewtourists are often compelled to tack the Foleys on as an afterthought to the better-publicized Middlebury breweries. A more sensible approach is to head straight to Brandon, and stay there. New Yorkers working their way back to the Northway can tack on Battle Hill Brewery in Fort Ann, a lesser but quite pleasant stop right on the main route. If you must do the Middlebury thing, budget your time to spend the bulk of it — or better yet, all of it — at Foley Brothers.
Think of the top Vermont breweries and a single label comes to mind. For example, mention the Alchemist, and Heady pops into your brain. Lawson’s? You nearly finish the sentence with Sip of Sunshine.
Foley Brothers? Not so fast. The “best of” include Fair Maiden — Imperial IPA; ABV 8.2 /IBU 100, Citrennial — American IPA; ABV 6.7, Pieces of Eight — Imperial IPA; ABV 8.0, and Prospect — American IPA; ABV 7.0. Make four visits and depending on your mood, the season, and whims of nature, you’ll probably pick a different one every time.
Some beer enthusiasts will insist that the Foleys don’t belong in league with the Lawsons or the Hills. Nobody is waiting in line, nobody is driving hundreds of miles like some kind of beer mule to trade in the dark of night. And the Foleys certainly didn’t roar to the top of the hit parade with their hand-drawn, bawdy labels occasionally in outright bad taste. Fortunately they’ve moved to professional graphics, worthy of the beer. (True, you don’t drink the label but it is where you put the price tag).
Whatever. The Foleys may not be at the top of the heap with Mr. Hill, but they’re in the same neighborhood. And there’s no line in Brandon.