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A restaurant that offers both good beer and quality food is a wonderful thing. Especially when it provides both indoor and outdoor seating. We recently enjoyed two such area establishments.

A few minutes from Bennington is Brown’s Taproom and Brewery in North Hoosick, N.Y. Perched on the banks of the Walloomsac River, Brown’s offers a breathtaking view overlooking the river, allowing for spectacular outdoor dining.

Converting an old paper mill into a brewery took six years and three and a half million dollars but Brown’s now has an annual beer production capacity of approximately 20,000 barrels. To better appreciate this number, we were informed that a barrel is equal to about 30 gallons of beer.

The brewery forges more than 80 styles of ales and lagers, including numerous award winners.

On a recent visit, the beer menu offered 10 selections divided into four categories: Hoppy, clean and crisp, dark and roasty, and sour and tart. Feel free to request a taste before ordering. We especially enjoyed the Premium Pilsner and the Krush Golden Lager, both of which were clean and crisp, as billed. Brown’s beers can be purchased in cans at the restaurant or mailed to you via UPS.

The dining menu is extensive. There are at least 10 appetizers on any given day, generally ranging in price from $8 to $15, including three hand-rolled sea salted pretzels served with sides of Pale Ale cheese and honey mustard, onion soup, chili, chips with salsa and guacamole, tacos, nachos, calamari, pork sliders and a dozen clams steamed in Brown’s Hefeweizen (an unfiltered ale, meaning that the brewer’s yeast is left in, providing a uniquely refreshing flavor).

Entrees, mostly in the $15 to $25 range, include a very generous portion of delicious, wood-fired grilled wings, Cobb salad, a crispy chicken sandwich, BLT with bacon from Yushak’s Market in Shushan, a thick and tasty Reuben, meatloaf sandwich, wood-fired grilled burgers, wraps, quesadilla, very popular pizza (a big to-go item) and if you’re hungrier, there’s a New York strip steak, grilled salmon, half a chicken, pasta and short ribs. Great sides are available.

Brown’s is a fun and easy experience. The winning combination of an old brick building with high ceilings, a long attractive bar and large windows looking out over the river provides the perfect setting. Service is friendly and accommodating. First come, first served, a large parking lot is on the property. Brown’s is open Wednesday and Thursday from 3 to 9 p.m. and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. At 50 Factory Hill Road, Brown’s can be reached at 518-205-5049.

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MulligansAnother reliable, ever-popular watering hole with good food and plenty of atmosphere is the recently renovated Mulligans in Manchester. Housed in a converted 19th-century Victorian, Mulligans provides several dining areas, including tables and high tops in the tavern, which features a beautiful mahogany bar with ample seating, separate, more formal dining rooms and an outdoor patio, which is delightful in good weather. Service is excellent throughout.

Mulligans provides an extensive beer list, including about 40 draught selections, offered at 8, 10 or 20 ounces, including Guinness, Fiddlehead, Stella Artois, Long Trail, Otter Creek, Switchback, Harpoon, Magic Hat and UFO. An additional 30 choices in bottles and cans such as Amstel, Blue Moon, Bud, Coors, Corona, Heineken, Miller, Sam Adams and Pabst Blue Ribbon are available.

Also offered are red, white, rose and sparkling wines. Cocktails come with a generous pour. Mulligans offers 10 single malt scotches between $10 and $19, plus at least 10 choices of tequila, top-shelf gins and vodkas, as well as fine bourbons.

The lengthy food menu at Mulligans offers excellent choices. Portions are large. Appetizers include tasty wings with a variety of sauces, New England clam chowder, baked onion soup, nachos, lobster or chicken quesadilla, fabulous potato skins, warm salted pretzel sticks, calamari, and poutine — a pile of French fries topped with bacon, cheese, scallions and gravy. Not for the faint of heart but a real taste treat for the table. A basket of beer battered onion rings is also fun for the table. Appetizers range from $10 to $13.

Mulligans offers terrific sandwiches, priced at about $15, including a classic grilled Reuben on rye, a French dip of roast beef on a crusty French roll, fried cod on a roll with tartar sauce, and a crispy chicken breast on brioche. Also available is turkey or roast beef on toasted rye.

Specialties, mostly in the $17 to $24 range include a sirloin, bangers and mash, fish and chips, chicken piccata, a hot lobster roll and barbecue pork ribs. Also offered are excellent burgers, as well as bountiful salads. A children’s menu is available, as are yummy desserts such as a dense New York style cheesecake, Wilcox ice cream and brownie with ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream. The full menu is available for takeout.

Mulligans opens every day at noon and remains open to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. on weekends. No reservations, parking in the back. At 3912 Route 7A, Mulligans phone number is 802-362-3663.

David Meiselman and Myra Packman are food and restaurant columnists for Vermont News & Media. They can be reached at davidandmyravt@gmail.com.


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