Vermont Beercation Suggestions
Vermont is a popular place to visit with it’s top-rated ski resorts, beautiful forests, hiking trails, fresh maple syrup, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Cabot cheese, etc. But for us… Vermont is the Craft Beer Mecca of the east coast with many top rated breweries. We’ve made multiple trips to experience some of the finest beers in the country. And, we’ve created this list of highlights and helpful tips to make the most out of your upcoming trip to Vermont.
112 Lake St, Burlington, VT 05401
One of the newest and best breweries in Vermont – by our standards. Every beer we tried was solid. Right out of the gate, they’ve mastered the art of complex layers of flavor and mouthfeel perfection. Really reminded us of some things Tired Hands Brewing Co. is doing. The IPAs and pale ales are so completely crushable. Low bitterness, creamy goodness. Tart, funky saisons abound on the tap list as well.
There is both indoor and outdoor seating with stunning views of Lake Champlain as you sit and sip your beer.FULL BREWERY REVIEW
316 Pine St #114, Burlington, VT 05401
These guys are doing some really nice stuff with hard cider. No this isn’t your average Woodchuck cider, mind you! One of our favorites was the bRosé which is co-fermented with apples and blueberries.
Dirty Mayor – cider with fresh ginger – was also a winner. Needless to say we bought several bottles to go. Don’t be shy about ordering 1 or 2 of their creative cocktails that use fresh fruit, herbs or vegetables. Some are made with cider while others feature Smuggler’s Notch liquor.
Switchback Brewing Co.
160 Flynn Ave, Burlington, VT 05406
Not far from Citizen Cider is Switchback Brewing Co. They offer a variety of classic style beers and even some German style. Don’t forget to order a hot dog or brat steamed in Switchback ale. p/s – They have the cutest little flight glasses.
Zero Gravity Craft Brewery
716 Pine St, Burlington, VT 05401
With 2 locations in town, the choice is up to you. We recommend visiting the Brewpub at Flatbread on Paul St. if you want to take a break from walking around Burlington and need a bite to eat. Wood-fired pizza is hand crafted on location and popped into the oval clay dome oven to cook to crispy perfection.
You can also get growlers filled here but be sure to leave your clear growlers at home (and why do you even have clear growlers, anyway?!).GROWLER POLICY
Downtown Burlington Shops & Restaurants
There’s lots to explore while visiting the city of Burlington. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes as most places are within walking distance to each other. So many shops, restaurants and events like 4th Friday during the summer months (May – Sept) that features food trucks, craft beer, music, kids activities and more.
Magic Hat Brewing Co.
5 Bartlett Bay Rd, South Burlington, VT 05403
Seriously the MOST FUN stop while in Burlington (South Burlington to be exact!). This place is seriously beyond funky. It’s a whole new level of artsy, quirky, coolness. The “Artifactory,” as they call it, combines brewery, merch store, tasting room, self-guided tour and art displays all in one for a really entertaining experience. We especially loved the self-guided tour that had a small movie theater where you can sit for a moment and learn about the brewery. Sculptures and artwork lined the walls as you make your way to the brewery production overlook.
Once you’re finished with the self-guided tour, park yourself at the tasting room bar. Yes. You can order the classic Magic Hat #9 but there’s also a few “taproom only” selections for you to sample, drink or fill up your growlers.VIEW TAP LIST
Four Quarters Brewing Co.
150 West Canal St, Winooski, VT
Just a few minutes north of Burlington, is a small 4 barrel brewery that offer up an eclectic and often seasonal selection of beers in their taproom. Saisons, wild ales, vegetable beers, imperial stouts and other styles are created from fresh, locally sourced ingredients when possible. They are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday only so plan accordingly. Although their website is not up to date, the best way to see what is on tap and happenings at the brewery is to follow them on Facebook.FOUR QUARTERS ON FACEBOOK
Burlington Beer Co.
25 Omega Dr #150, Williston, VT 05495
Tucked away in an industrial park, you might think your GPS is going haywire. But don’t fear. You’re in the right place. The moment you step inside the warehouse taproom and brewery, you know you’re in the right place. Just look for the telltale hieroglyphic artwork all over the walls. Oh yeah. And, the big stainless steel fermenters. Those kind of give it away. (wink)
You can do flights, full pours, growler fills and even take home cans, if available on the day of your visit.
On warmer days, they roll up the warehouse doors to let the breezes flow. Hang out, play cards or board games and make new friends.
Fiddlehead Brewing Co.
6305 Shelburne Rd, Shelburne, VT 05482
Another no-brainer, just south of Burlington when it comes to getting those juicy IPAs, is Fiddlehead Brewing Co. Our most recent fav from Fiddlehead is Mastermind DIPA. So crushable and full of citrus fruit notes. It’s a special release every summer that raises money for the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital.FUNDRAISER INFO
Know that on can release days, you best get there early. Quantities are limited and the line is long. On regular days, just belly up to the bar for a pint or get your growlers filled.
After visiting Fiddlehead, you have to get a pizza from Folino’s Brick Oven Pizza who shares the building. It’s wood-fired and the selections use interesting ingredients you’d never think to put on a pizza pie. We devoured a fabulous pizza topped with sliced scallops, crispy bacon pieces, fresh basil, cheese and lemon zest. No marinara but instead olive oil. So good! The place is BYOB, so grab a growler of beer at Fiddlehead and enjoy a relaxed lunch.
Frost Beer Works
171 Commerce St, Hinesburg, VT 05461
Although we didn’t get to make it to Frost during our most recent visit (Aug 2016), our Vermont beer friends tell us this is a must-stop brewery in Hinesburg if you love IPAs. Yes, sir! We LOVE IPAs. Like kissy-face love them. I’m getting depressed sitting here thinking about how we didn’t visit this hop-forward brewery on our beercation. Don’t be like us! You better get there. (You’re welcome)
Otter Creek Brewing Co.
793 Exchange St, Middlebury, VT 05753
Although we can get Otter Creek beer pretty easily where we live here in Pennsylvania, we wanted to make a stop to see where the magic happens. From the taproom, you can look right into the brewery. It’s behind glass, but still fun to watch.
Otter Creek has tasty food, too. Fresh ingredients, large portions, and affordable pricing. I tried both the daily special tuna fish sandwich and also the bacon, apple, cheddar panini. Both served with house made chips. Excellent!
Before you leave, check out the gift shop. While there, I snagged a 12 pack of Otter Creek Fresh Slice and a “can” glass for a souvenir.
Drop-in Brewing Co.
610 US-7, Middlebury, VT 05753
One of the smallest breweries we visited, it’s a fresh and minimalistic space with a wall of windows looking into the microbrewery. Everywhere we looked in the tasting room there was something visually interesting to look at as we sipped the amazingly generous free samples.
We were mesmerized by the amount of growlers the owners collected over the years that were displayed on a large shelf on the wall just above a shelf of collected beer bottles. Art rock posters on the walls. Classic alternative playing in the speakers overhead. Our kind of place! Then there was the electric guitar and amp that could be played by anyone feeling so inspired. Awesome! If only I knew how to play, I would have totally wailed.
Foley Brothers Brewing
79 Stone Mill Dam Rd, Brandon, VT 05733
We loved that Foley Brothers not only has good quality, small batch beer, but it’s also a cozy, inviting place. The tasting room is just south of Middlebury and housed in a renovated but still rustic barn with amazing wood beams and wide plank hardwood floors.
As you taste, you can watch the beer production happening just across the lawn in another out building. The brewer’s father was pouring beer samples and chatting with everyone about each beer selection. So friendly and knowledgeable.
Prohibition Pig Pub & Brewery
23 S Main St, Waterbury, VT 05676
Fab food. Tons of local craft brew on draft including their own. Besides having goodies like Hill Farmstead Brewery and Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Pro-Pig’s housebrewed beers are quite tasty too. They have a variety of styles like NE-style IPAs and Pale Ales, Goses, Porters, Brown Ales and more.TAPLIST
This place will definitely blow your diet! Southern comfort food like: Beef Brisket, Slow-roasted Pork, Mac ‘n Cheese, Fried Chicken with Buttermilk Biscuits. Panko-coated Pimento Cheese Balls with Chili Pepper Jam was our favorite selection. Crispy, gooey, perfection. We order those every time we visit. It’s THAT good.
Note that the brewery taproom is in the back of the building – a completely separate entrance which has a different food menu with a tex-mex flare. Think gourmet tacos, quesadillas, nachos, etc. Bring your growlers to fill!
FUN FACT: This building was previously The Alchemist Pub & Brewery before the area flooded from Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Craft Beer Cellar
3 Elm St, Waterbury, VT 05676
Before heading to the Reservoir, check out the the Craft Beer Cellar across from the brewery entrance. A nicely curated choice of bottles. Need tips on how to bottle shop like a pro?SHOPPING TIPS
Plus they have a growler bar with 8 taps of local beers. They will only fill Craft Beer Cellar branded growlers and no samples are allowed.GROWLER POLICY TAPLIST
The Reservoir Restaurant & Tap Room
1 S Main St, Waterbury, VT 05676
Although the place is rustic, the food menu is more upscale with filet mignon, scallops and such. Another great place for tons of unique and local craft beer on draft. Unfortunately their website is outdated so you can’t check out the latest and greatest brews available. Perhaps they’ll get that updated really soon.
The Blackback Pub
1 Stowe St #2, Waterbury, VT 05676
A quaint Irish-styled pub with a nice food menu and local craft beer selections from Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist, Frost, Foley Brothers, Lawson’s and more.TAPLIST
Blackback also has an amazing array of top shelf bourbons and whiskeys of which we couldn’t resist. The bartender was very knowledgeable and helped us make my selections… so many choices! But the best part? It’s right across the street from Prohibition Pig and The Reservoir. You can’t NOT check it out.
Other Things To Do In Waterbury
We’re both foodies just as much as we’re beer enthusiasts. So it was a no-brainer to make a few stops that were all about the eats.
The famous Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory is in Waterbury. Go on the guided tour ($4/adult) and get a free ice cream sample at the end. Afterwards, hit up the ice cream parlor. Tons of flavors to choose from! You could easily spend an hour or more here.
The Cabot Cheese annex store, Lake Champlain Chocolates retail store and the Smuggler’s Notch Distillery barrel house tasting room are all in the same shopping plaza. You can sample Cabot cheeses to your heart’s content, snag local beers, ciders and wine as well as those harder to find Cabot cheese flavors. Then head over to the distillery tasting room for samples and pick up a few bottles to take home. And, finish with decadent chocolates made in Burlington, VT. We always take home several chocolate bars, especially the milk chocolate and sea salt variety. All of these places are great to pick up gifts for family and friends back home.
The Green Mountain Coffee visitor center and cafe is a must-stop for you coffee lovers. It’s in this beautifully restored, historic train station building that was built in 1875. You can sample coffee as well as grab a bite to eat. Don’t forget to snag a few coffee bags or Keurig pods fresh from the source!
The Alchemist Brewery
100 Cottage Club Rd, Stowe, VT 05672
Now in their beautiful new brewery just off of RT 108 (aka Mountain Road), you can easily get those cans of Heady Topper and Focal Banger. But know that you might have to go before The Alchemist opens their doors. Expect to stand in line for about 30 – 60 minutes. But be glad folks no longer have to chase the Heady Topper truck from distributor to distributor to get those cans!
Note: You can NOT buy flights or full pours to enjoy in the tasting room. Small samples are given so you can taste before you buy your cans.FULL BREWERY REVIEW
Piecass Pizzeria & Lounge
1899 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 05672
Italian-style pizzas and pasta dishes with a solid draft beer selection with selections like Lawson’s, Zero Gravity, Lost Nation, The Alchemist, Stowe Cider and more. They also have live music from time to time. Great evening hangout spot.BEER LIST
Idletyme Brewing Co. (formerly called Crop Bistro)
1859 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 05672
Cute place with a fun outdoor patio space that includes a bar, seating and lawn games. It sits right on the walking and bike trail.
Expect basic brew styles here but they do offer flights so you can try them all. Definitely stop in for the food and scenery. So relaxing and the food is quite good. Homemade pretzel nuggets with their signature mustard, truffle mac ‘n cheese, beer-braised pork shank… need I say more?DINNER MENU
4000 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT 05672
Want to get all fancy? Like high-end, gourmet food? Then you’re going to want to hit up Flannel at the Topnotch Resort & Spa. Seriously good food for date night in Vermont. Beautiful views as you sit atop the mountain side. They have both indoor and outdoor dining.
I tend to go for scallops and risotto when visiting. Derek on the other hand is a ‘burger and fries’ guy. Check out that nicely fried egg on top. The burger even had onions sauteed in Heady Topper. So freakin’ good! Their menu changes seasonally so there’s always something new to explore.
FUN FACT: Stowe, Vermont does not allow fast food restaurants in their town. And many of the restaurants there make it a priority to buy locally grown/farmed ingredients or locally made foods. Needless to say you can taste the fresh difference. Delicious.
Von Trapp Brewing
1333 Luce Hill Rd, Stowe, VT 05672
We’d describe this place as a little taste of Austria right here in the U.S.A. You’ll enjoy crisp, traditional lagers inside the bierhall or on the outside deck overlooking this breathtaking view. You can even stay in the alpine-style lodge on the 2,500 acre property that is still owned by the famous von Trapp family.
FUN FACT: According to the von Trapp Family Lodge website, “In the early 1940s, the von Trapp family toured the United States as the Trapp Family Singers before eventually settling in Stowe, Vermont on an enchanted farm with sweeping mountain vistas reminiscent of their beloved Austria.” Does the von Trapp family name sound familiar but you can’t place where you’ve heard it? Hint: The Sound of Music movie.
Lost Nation Brewing
87 Creamery Rd, Morrisville, VT 0566
This is always our second stop AFTER Hill Farmstead when we make our way back to our beercation homebase in Stowe. We love grabbing a bite to eat in their outdoor bier garten as well as do a flight of our beer favorites like their Gose. It’s a german-style beer brewed with coriander and sea salt. It was our very first gose experience (circa 2014) and we’re now hooked on that style.
The food menu includes many items that are smoked on premise like baby back ribs, pork belly, etc. They even have mussels steamed in gose. Yum! Everything is tasty. Get lots of food. All the food!
TIP: Get a growler filled here and be mesmerized by their state-of-the-art filling station. It lights up and glows. Neat!
Rock Art Brewery
632 Laporte Rd, Morristown, VT 05661
Veterans in the Vermont beer scene, Rock Art Brewery has been around since 1997. But recently have come into their own with their IPA and Double IPAs.BEER LIST
Hill Farmstead Brewery
403 Hill Rd, Greensboro Bend, VT 05842
Duh! You CAN NOT go to Vermont without visiting Hill Farmstead in northern Vermont. It’s the destination of all beer destinations. One of the top breweries in the world not just by our measure but check out their rating on Beer Advocate if you don’t believe us.
As you travel a few dirt roads at the tail end of your journey to the brewery, you’ll think you’re completely lost. Don’t worry. Dirt roads are a thing in Vermont. And, you’re cell phone might not work. This place is really out there. Take printed travel directions to be safe in case you lose satellite or cell reception.
The brewery recently went through an expansion. More beer available. More space to enjoy it in. But it will be crowded as the day goes on. While you can sample everything, there is a 2 beer per person limit when purchasing full pours. So don’t chug those beautiful saisons. Grab a bite to eat from the food truck and savor the day… and the views.FULL BREWERY REVIEW
Parker Pie Co.
161 County Rd, West Glover, VT 05875
Besides the stellar pizza, they often get Hill Farmstead on tap so that’s a bonus. Just note that the location is further north of Hill Farmstead. If you don’t want to eat at Hill Farmstead, perhaps hit this place as your first stop of the day. Grab lunch and a beer, then head to Hill Farmstead.TAPLIST
LOOKING FOR LAWSON’S FINEST LIQUIDS?
The Warren, VT brewery does not offer retail sales or tours at their facility. Your best bet is to hit up various restaurants for inhouse consumption. Or, you can make a stop at a variety of stores that sell beer. Our favs are Hunger Mountain Coop (pronounced Co-Op) in Montpelier and Beverage Warehouse in Winooski. Be sure to check each location’s website for delivery days/times. Both places have a nice selection of bomber bottles and cans from local breweries and other states. Great way to pick up some things from breweries you don’t have time to visit.
In general, Lawson’s flagship beers are getting much easier to find. “Thanks to our alternating proprietorship at Two Roads Brewing in Stratford, CT, Lawson’s Finest brews our flagship beers Sip of Sunshine IPA and Super Session #2. It is then packaged into kegs and cans and distributed through our own wholesale company to the local Vermont market as well as locations in Connecticut through Hartford Distributors Inc. and Star Distributing and in Massachusetts through Atlantic Beverage Distributors.”FIND LAWSON’S
SO MANY BREWERIES SO LITTLE TIME
You’ll never hit ALL of the breweries during your visit. But you can try! We use this handy map to keep tabs on new breweries hitting the scene and to plan our route.
VERMONT BREWERY MAP
The Vermont Brewer’s Association has created an additional incentive to visit the states 50+ breweries. The more places you visit, the more stamps you get in your passport. The more stamps you get, the bigger the prize.DOWNLOAD BEER PASSPORT
BEER RUN TIPS
Don’t make rookie mistakes and let your beer go bad – specifically those that are to be kept cold. We’ve put together a whole slew of tips when going on a beer run.BEER RUN TIPS