Hi, I’d like to book an extended stay at the Happiness Hotel

Talking on the phone yesterday with my brother in Cincinnati—where the American craft beer revolution that arguably started on one of two coasts has successfully manifest-destined itself, with new breweries cropping up on the regular—I was reminded again how enviable is the northeastern beer drinker’s lot in life.

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He tells me he recently tried this limited-edition pour from Rivertown Brewery, describing itself as a New England-Style IPA (aka NEIPA). It’s not the first I’ve heard the term, and I have an idea what it means. But here’s how Rivertown explains the thing they call Due & Proper NEIPA: “Hazy, dank and juicy...the perfect beer for those looking for a truly unfiltered exBEERience.”

For now, we’re going to let that terrible pun alone.

Yes, I’m deeply familiar with that beer’s profile. How deeply? In Vermont, I’m swimming in those beers. We call them Prospect. Cloud Drop. Uncanny Valley. And as embedded into this HOPping environFERMENT as I am, often it’s hard to keep a clean perspective on how good we have it.

Because then there are whole breweries devoted to perfecting the hazy form, and right in our own backyard.


River Roost Brewery - Happiness Hotel


When you visit River Roost Brewery in White River Junction, you have entered a laboratory of IPAs. In the two years that owner Mark Babson has been running the joint, he’s churned out an astonishing number of hopped-up sippers. I haven’t sampled them all, no, but anything I’ve gone and had poured across the street at Trail Break Taps + Tacos landed in front of me like a lake sample taken after a rainstorm. Just the filthiest looking thing that I could put in my face.

Today I’m testing the mattress springs in River Roost’s Happiness Hotel. Upon first inspection, what it lacks in the bitterness thread-count that I prefer, it supports in a full-bodied, melon-sweet roundness. (Bedsheets metaphor now closed.) Sip after sip holds up, too, barreling over the palate like fruit-at-the-bottom folded into yogurt. The head on it falls fast, at least in my experience, but effervescent enough. Swell as pillow mints and free HBO. 

The takeaway: An excellent offering from River Roost, but you wouldn’t go wrong with the likes of Mas Verde, Strong Suit, Martian Moon House, or whatever else he’s got cooking either.

WHERE TO FIND: Best bet is to swing by the brewery for a growler fill. Or, again, Trail Break always has River Roost, as do a number of other taplists around the area.

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