Vermont Beer Trail: Day 2 of 4

The Alchemist Heady TopperAfter breakfast on the second day of the Vermont Beer Trail trip, there was no question where the next stop would be on the way to Burlington. Beverage Warehouse in Winooski was about to get a delivery by The Alchemist of fresh Heady Topper according to their Facebook page. In fact, my husband had been monitoring their page for several weeks to see if there were any patterns to the deliveries. What he learned was they put half the shipment out in the morning and half around 5pm.

To track your own Heady, checkout Heady Spotter: http://www.headyspotter.com or @HeadySpotter on Twitter.

TIP: Keep your Heady Topper chilled. It’s pretty much a must. Mine went straight into a cooler filled with ice. It stayed that way the entire trip. Lots of ice refills due to the summer heat.

After the hard-to-find treasure was secured, the rest of the day could be easy breezy. No stress. Just good brews wherever and whenever we liked as we explored Shelburne and Burlington.


 

Fiddlehead BrewingFIDDLEHEAD BREWING
(Shelburne, VT)

Although there were only two beers to sample here, they were completely amazing. I ended up taking home a small growler of the crisp, slightly sweet Kolsch. The day was another scorcher just the like the previous one. 90+ temps and massive humidity. Thank goodness for beer to keep us cool.

While there, you have to get a pizza from Folino’s… who shares the building. It’s wood-fired and the selections use interesting ingredients you’d never think to put on pie. We consumed a fabulous pizza topped with sliced scallops, bacon, 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.

What I Sampled:

  • Kolsch (ABV: 5.3%)
  • Fiddlehead IPA (ABV: 6.2%)


 

Magic Hat Brewing CompanyMAGIC HAT BREWING COMPANY
(Burlington, VT)

I remember drinking tons of #9 back in the day when the craft beer revolution was just starting to gain momentum. The Magic Hat brand was so different. So fun. They revolutionized how craft breweries market themselves. Since I’m an artist and worked as an art director for years, this was a must stop for me. Beer + Design.

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. I especially loved the self-guided tour that had a small movie theater where you could sit for a moment and learn about the brewery. Sculptures and artwork lined the walls as you made your way to the brewery production overlook.

The tasting area has classic Magic Hat beer selections along with some you can only get in Vermont or at this location. Samples are free.

What I Sampled:

  • Humdinger Series: Over the Pils (ABV: 8.1%)
  • Big Hundo Double IPA (ABV: 9%)
  • Single Chair Golden Ale (ABV: 5%)
  • Hocus Pocus Pale Wheat Ale (ABV: 4.5%)


TIP: Stick to ordering sampler flights instead of full pints if you have a full day scheduled of brewery stops. I opted to share my samples with my husband. No one wants a bunch of drunk drivers making the Vermont Beer Trail dangerous!

Switchback Brewing CompanySWITCHBACK BREWING COMPANY
(Burlington, VT)

The newly opened, Switchback Brewing Co. tasting room and store was nicely designed with its clean industrial, modern vibe. Maegan, our bartender was awesome! She was so helpful and friendly. If you stop by, tell her Stouts & Stilettos sent you!

While sampling the well-crafted beer, be sure to try the McKenzie hot dogs that are steamed in Switchback Ale.

Before you head out, you can get a glimpse of the brewery through windows that look in on the operation.

What I Sampled:

  • Switchback Ale (ABV: 5%)
  • Extra Pale Ale (ABV: 4.8%)
  • Slow-Fermented Brown Ale (ABV: 5.2%)
  • Roasted Red Ale (ABV: 5.6%)
  • Dooley’s Belated Porter (ABV: 5.7%)


 

Zero Gravity Craft BreweryZERO GRAVITY CRAFT BREWERY
(Burlington, VT)

Inside the refurbished, historic brick building, you’ll find both Zero Gravity Craft Brewery and American Flatbread in the heart of downtown Burlington. Good beer and good food in one stop. You can sit on the old world styled bar or the dining room area that looks onto the wood-fired clay-dome oven.

They do not offer sampler flights but you can order beer by the 1/2 pint which I opted to do. After all, this trip was about trying everything the Vermont Beer Trail has to offer.

What I Sampled:

  • Belgian Crush Pale Ale (ABV: 5.7%)
  • Conehead White IPA (ABV: 5.8%)

TIP: While in Burlington, venture over to Church Street Marketplace for shopping and dining. The street is closed off to traffic and many of the restaurants have cafe seating outside.

 

Burlington Beer CompanyBURLINGTON BREWING COMPANY
(Williston, VT)

These guys may have just opened their doors but by no means are they amateurs. Joe Lemnah (Founder & Head Brewer) has brewing experience at Olde Saratoga, Dogfish Head, and Evolution – and you can tell by sampling their craft beer.

While visiting, you are basically standing in the brewery. It feels like you have VIP, insider access to what’s going on. I spied the brewers prepping fresh, local grown strawberries for an upcoming cream ale. I seriously am thinking about driving back just to taste that!

Can’t wait to see what they do with the place and how they expand their offerings as the business grows.

What I Sampled:

  • Mason Jar Mild Brown Ale (ABV: 4.5%)
  • C’est Bon Saison (ABV: 4.7%)
  • Summerfield Golden Ale (ABV: 4.9%)

 

Crop Bistro & BreweryCROP BISTRO & BREWERY
(Stowe, VT)

After a great day in the Burlington area, our next stop was Stowe to check-in at our B&B, get a late night dinner and a proper pint of beer. Our inn keeper suggestion Crop Bistro & Brewery and thank goodness they did.

I ordered their Helles Bock Lager (4.5% ABV) and a fabulous Hawaiian swordfish served with pan fried noodles, edamame, snap peas and miso emulsion. Heavenly. Paired nicely with the helles.

The restaurant has both a dining room side and a pub side. We opted to sit in the pub area where we could get a good look at the brewery setup. Of course!



Vermont Beercation #2: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4


 

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