Looking to escape the hustle of Boston, this week we headed to the Green Mountain State. Vermont is known for having the most craft breweries per capita in the US. The craft beer here can be elusive, making it a true treasure to find. We rented a house in Burlington for the weekend and hired Alpine Limo to shuttle us around in our quest for Vermont’s best beer. Here’s were we went:
We kicked off our craft beer scavenger hunt at Switchback Brewing. Switchback is a Vermont staple and can be found at almost any restaurant/bar in Vermont. Inside the brewery, friendly staff and a large copper bar welcome you in. We tried the 4 beers they had on tap. The group favorites were the Slow Fermented Brown Ale and the Smoked Marzen. After tasting, we were given a private tour of the brewery. Switchback has a classic meets modern day brewery vibe. Their copper kettles date back 50 years and are imported from a German brewery (it is really a treasure to see in person). Their unfiltered methods mean their yeast and flavors are constantly evolving. They have an amazing operation and great traditional beers.
Our next stop was Burlington Beer. This was one of our favorite stops and set the bar high for the rest of the breweries. Burlington beer is nontraditional and certainly out of the box. We tried all of the beers on tap and were delighted with each one. Our favorite was the Amber Ridge- a brown ale that is aged in bourbon barrels and infused with sugar maple staves. Close seconds included the peanut butter porter (Chunky), and a barley wine with wine grapes (Hedgerow). If you are ever in Burlington, make sure you find yourself here.
Fiddlehead was a quick stop. The tasting room is small and it was pretty crowded. Try to hit this brewery early to avoid the wait.
For lunch, we tried local favorite, Archie’s Grill. It was SO good. It was a perfect way to break up the tasting. The burgers were fresh and the ingredients were local. Try the Misty Knoll Turkey Burger, we promise you wont be disappointed!
After lunch, we went to the Lake Champlain Chocolates factory. The factory was fabulous. During the week they offer tours, and on the weekend they offer free chocolate tastings. They were doing a live chocolate artistry demonstration while we were there. The chocolate sculptures were amazing to see in person. This is a great place to stock up on seconds (blemished chocolates that are discounted) and learn about the art of chocolate making.
Following Lake Champlain Chocolates, we walked over to Zero Gravity. This place has such a fun and lively atmosphere! Luckily, we were able to try the Bernie Weiss while we were here. As the beer has made national news, it was a real treat. Zero Gravity describes the Bernie Weiss as “tart, crisp and forward thinking.” They also make many other incredible beers, and have some awesome merchandise.
We finished the day watching the sunset over Lake Champlain. Our bus driver, Mike brought Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine and Heady Topper’s Alchemist for us to enjoy on the bus. We had such an amazing day tasting beer and hanging out in Burlington. Mike was a wealth of knowledge and definitely a fun addition to the group. Before he left, we were already planning our next tour with him.
After our Saturday debacles, we figured the best way to sail into Sunday was with a final tasting and lunch at Lost Nation Brewery. Lost Nation is located in Morrisville, VT (about 30 minutes north of 89). The beer and food is definitely worth the trek. There pub inspired menu is unique and incorporates ingredients from local producers. The beer is also magnificent; Rachael (our brew master’s) favorite IPA is the Lost Nation Mosaic IPA. This was a great way to cap off our Vermont beer adventure.