Lebanon may not have its own brewery, but just 15 minutes away is one of New England’s most prolific brewers: Harpoon Brewery, based in Windsor. Founded in Boston in 1986, the brewery opened its Windsor outpost in 2000, living up to the three founders’ original inspiration as a great spot to drink great beer with friends.
Location in Artisans Park, Harpoon Brewery is a highlight of a shopping and retail area that also includes a distillery, cheese shop, sculpture garden, glass factory, pottery, and river outfitter. In addition to the brewery, the Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden is a lively restaurant that offers indoor seating overlooking the bottling line, as well as a patio area complete with a fire pit, perfect for sitting outside on chilly Vermont days. The menu features pub fare with appetizers, salads and sandwiches, and, of course, a solid selection of Harpoon beer on tap, including varieties only available at the brewery.
While taps are constantly changing, there are usually 20 beers on at any given time. The most recent selection includes the ever-popular Harpoon IPA, Rye IPA, Celtic Red, a cider, the 100 Barrel Series, and a selection from the UFO series of unfiltered wheat beers. In addition, you can try something from their Pilot series, which includes new beers they are brewing but aren’t yet selling. Then, there’s the beer you can’t get anywhere else, like Harpoon Dark and UFO Pale Ale. Can’t decide on just one pint? Order up the sample tray, which offers five five-ounce samples of different beers on tap.
The Vermont brewery also has a great grassy area perfect for holding their outdoor events, from beer-centric gatherings like Oktoberfest and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, to BBQ competitions and Harpoon-sponsored bike rides that benefit the local community.
For a deeper look into the brewery, check out the guided tour, with enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides, an overview of Harpoon’s history, beer samples, and a free tasting glass. Tours are offered on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and cost $5 per person.
The brewery also has an extensive retail section where customers can buy Harpoon-related gear, and of course, more beer, available in six-packs, 12-packs, cases, and growlers, which are 64-ounces of Harpoon goodness.