The following is Gerry's brewery-by-brewery description of his Vermont Beer Excursion. We offer this disclaimer:
The following is the exclusive property of The BOTB Guys. Any use of the text, pictures or descriptions by any of the breweries mentioned for promotional purposes is strictly prohibited unless they send us some of their delicious beer first.
Here are just a few “shout-outs” after my 846 mile Beer Journey:
-Disappointed that McNeil’s Pub was closed when we arrived, but were saved when owner Ray got behind the bar himself and served-up several delicious samples. Both his Firehouse Amber Ale and the Professor Brewhead Brown Ale were worth the wait. I found some Deadhorse IPA in cans later on for our Club.
-Whetstone Station Brewery had a helpful and knowledgeable bartender who served the fantastic #56 Sim City IPA.
-The folks at Backacre Beermakers were also making beer.
-We had a wonderful dinner and stay at the Norwich Inn where everyone was friendly and welcoming. The lady at the reception desk was everyone’s favorite aunt who took care of getting us food, a beautiful room, and ice cold “pounders” to bring home. What a great experience, plus, they pump their beer underground directly from the brewery (Jasper Murdock’s) to their alehouse – fresh and delicious.
-The Covered Bridge Brewery is above the clouds in Lyndonville, VT and was also closed, busy making beer.
-Also in Lyndonville was Trout River Brewing Company and a great Amber Ale.
- Hill Farmstead Brewery, where the owner/brewer actually came home to his farmstead to brew his beer from the well water, was a true treat. After traveling miles down a dirt road you run into cars parked everywhere and people carrying armloads of growlers! My initial thought was that people were hoarding beer to survive a natural disaster we didn’t know about because of spotty radio reception. But no, it was just delicious beer that people (including me) were standing in line 2-3 hours for. Now, I won’t stand in line for a paycheck, but I must admit both the Walden and the Friends and Devotion were hits at the Club meeting. I was sorry to discover that the Double Galaxy IPA is no longer made.
-Two of the friendliest and “greenest” brewer/owners we met were Jenn and Brian at Kingdom Brewing way up (I mean way up) in Newport, VT in the Northern Kingdom. Great folks who are “farmer brewers” with a young, but rich history in the business. I tried the Skinny Bitch Blueberry because they made me. The Maple Nut Brown (at 10%) was made with maple sap instead of water and was delicious. What a great winter fireplace beer. But really the Out-Of-Bounds IPA at 6% and the other Out-Of-Bounds IPA at 8.3% made the drive way up (I mean way up) absolutely worth it!
-On to Morrisville and Lost Nation Brewing. Great food, and fantastic beers. Many are German style, in fact the Gose has been resurrected here and was fantastic. The Vermont Pilsner was a delicious, crisp Pilsner (like the beer we were brought up on as kids). But being an Ale guy, the Rustic Ale was my favorite and absolutely tasty. I have to mention that the co-owner/co-brewer, a young guy in his mid-30’s, Allen Van Anda is a knowledgeable and veteran beer maker beyond his years! A personable guy with a thriving business and great beers. He also went to college with my son – just a real nice guy.
-Also in Morrisville is another favorite Rock Art Brewery. Their American Red is outstanding, and of course, I brought some Belvedere home.
-We made it to Stowe, VT later than we had planned and visited the Trapp Family Lodge for the views and the Vienna Lager, which was ice cold and tasty. The young bartender was great, helpful, and even replenished my growler-filled cooler with ice!
-In downtown Stowe we dined at The Crop Bistro and Brewery (formerly The Shed) where I enjoyed their Idyletyme Double IPA. It was delicious enough to bring home for Club critique.
-The next day brought us to Waterbury, VT, home of The Alchemist and the wildly popular Heady Topper IPA. We visited the brewery which was like a ghost town after their annual Truck Sale event. I consoled myself by ordering a Heady Topper for dinner that evening in Burlington.
-Also in Waterbury is an absolute find in the craft beer scene – Prohibition Pig. Not only did we have a great lunch, but I had the ProPig Amarillo Dream, a very hoppy wheat, the ProPig Bantam Double IPA, and a Schlitz 60’s Formula (just because it reminded me of High School).
-Now here is where we ran into trouble. There was some kind of bridge out on Route 100 and we detoured past Mad River Glen through the Lincoln Gap (where only eagles fly). I will have to go back this Fall to visit Lawson’s Liquids, Long Trail, ( a great brewery I’ve visited before and usually always have a Long Trail Ale in my fridge), Foley Brothers, and the Hop ‘N Moose.
-We made our way over to Bristol, VT and the Bobcat Café’ and Brewery. A great snack and Prayer Rock Pale Ale.
-The Harpoon Brewery was just hoppin’ by the time we got there with a huge crowd. It didn’t stop me from having Rich And Dan’s Rye IPA and a touch of the Leviathan before leaving.
-Going up Route 7, we came to the ever popular Otter Creek Brewery. I fell in love with their Copper Ale years ago when the oldest son started at Johnson State. Although I’m not a Pumpkin Ale fellow, something about a brewery getting their pumpkins from 30 miles down the road makes it taste even better. Their Kind Ryed IPA is great, and you have to respect the way they have held true to the recipe and tradition of The Shed IPA and Mountain Ale.
-Just up the road is the newer Drop-In Brewing Company that offered a knowledgeable taproom host and several delicious beers, namely Gupta’s Gleeful English IPA, Heart of Lothian 90 Shilling Scotch Ale, and the Red Dwarf and Red Giant.
-By evening we arrive in Shelburne at Fiddlehead Brewing Company. Now I normally always growler-up their IPA, and in fact had ordered one with my growler in line while tasting their Pale Ale. I changed my mind and brought the Pale home – a great beer.
-The next morning brings us to more breweries in the Burlington area. An old favorite The Vermont Pub and Brewery offered up their Burly Irish Ale.
-Across the street at Zero Gravity Craft Brewery a great bartender provided Blue Gibbin Session IPA (a great breakfast brew), R. Prime American IPA, TLA IPA (the house beer), and even Weed Wacker Cream Ale. A great brewery right across from the park!
-Switchback Brewing on Flynn Ave. has become a favorite of mine. Their Switchback Ale is a “go to” beer for me. The Roasted Red is super, and the Slow-Fermented Brown Ale followed me home for a Club meeting.
-No trip to the area is complete for me without going back out to South Burlington and visiting Magic Hat Brewing Company. It is just a fun place. The Single Chair is an old favorite, the Hi #9 IPA was fruity, and the Humdinger Imperial Pilsner was refreshing. Can we have a moment of silence for Humble Patience.
-Another real “find” on my tour was Queen City Brewery tucked behind another building on Pine Street. Only open since June, these guys have a great thing going. I chatted with co-owner Paul for quite some time and he has reason to be proud of what these 4 friends have accomplished. Their City Beer was an excellent Kolsch, their St. Amandus Amber was delightful, but for me it was their Landlady Yorkshire ESB that made it all worth it. Good Luck you guys.
- I was pretty well tired by this time, having a 4 day whirlwind of hops, malts, and barleys dancing in my head. I was ready to call it quits and finish the rest later this Fall when my wife actually convinced me to do one more. I chose the Burlington Beer Company not far away in Williston, VT. Boy am I glad I did. The Mason Jar Mild Brown was a delicious creamy Newcastle style brown and the Strawberry Whale Cake was just plain interesting. But, the Hills And Hollows IPA was worthy of finding room in and over-filled cooler to bring home for the BOTB guys.
Foley Brothers Brewing
The Hop ‘N Moose Brewing Company
1st Republic Brewing Company
Stone Corral Brewery
Infinity Brewing Company
Four Quarters Brewery
14th Star Brewing
Don’t worry, I promise to get to you guys soon!
I hope you enjoyed following Gerry on his most excellent Vermont Beer Adventure. We certainly enjoyed the fruits of his labor.
Next time: Session IPAs and some Yonkers Brewing Company Brews
Until then -