I noticed lately that I tend to favor Maine brews over Vermont ones, but it isn’t really intentional. For being my neighboring state, I rarely see VT brews (besides Magic Hat) cross the border into my stores here. I know there are a bunch of great breweries and brewpubs in VT, and one of my goals this year is to try an seek some of them out.
I hadn’t heard of McNeil’s before stepping foot in VT, but I found this one in Saxton’s River in a small convenience store. Their labels are honestly, a bit tacky perhaps on purpose, and it gave me the impression of a DIY graphic design job. (Not in a bad way, its just the feeling I get from the labels.) I have a feeling it might reflect the small size of the brewery itself.
I poured it out and I was surprised by a huge chocolate colored head that rose almost to the lip of my glass. It stated a very long time, too, and it caused me to have to pour and drink the beer in portions to avoid overflow.
The color, even when held up the light was a totally opaque black. The smell was of chocolate malts and a slight heaviness.
The taste was smooth, very chocolately. It reminded me of Pennichuck’s Chocolate Porter, but thicker. It was very drinkable and rich, without being overwhelmingly bitter or alcoholic tasting. There is some smoky and oaty notes to it, but I like the little bit of vanilla taste that seems to balance it all out.
For as rich as this brew tastes, I was surprised to find out that it is only 4.6% ABV. Its a really good one, and I wish I could get it more regularly.
This brewery does not have an official website, but instead a myspace page (warning, the song it plays automatically is NSFW), and I was unable to find a good picture of the label for you. But if you’re near VT, check them out. They are located in Brattleboro, VT, which is in the southern part of Vermont, and easily reachable by New York, Mass and New Hampshire.