No visit to Vermont would be complete without a stop to sample its legendary brews, and no brewer enjoys as much fame perhaps anywhere in the country as The Alchemist. Inexplicable to the uninitiated, this place has garnered a fervent following, and the brewery’s signature beer, Heady Topper, is considered the best example of an IPA in the world. Heady Topper alone draws thousands of visitors every year, as it is only sold in-state.
Established in 2002 and owned by Erin and Sanderson Wheeler, The Bobcat Café and Brewery is a great neighborhood-gathering place where a variety of handcrafted brews are served alongside tasty food. Located in Bristol, which is in the heart of the Green Mountains, the brew team procures top-quality ingredients for their craft beers, all of which can be sampled within a warm and inviting space seven nights a week. Great options include the Easy Rider, which is a Belgian pale ale, and the Kölsch. As for cuisine, the café serves comfort fare with a contemporary twist.
Drop-In Brewing Company is a Middlebury-based craft brewery that opened in 2012. Owned by Steve Parkes and Christine Mckeever-Parkes, this venue is a kegging-only brewery, and its tasting room is open daily. Within an inviting space adorned with brewing memorabilia, beer lovers can try great choices such as the Fetchez La Vache, which is a milk stout, Sunshine and Hoppiness, a Belgian-style golden ale that is also a Drop-In flagship brew, and the Chicharito, a pale ale with notes of chocolate and vanilla. The brewery is also the home of the American Brewers Guild, a craft brewing school.
Part of the Neshobe River Winery, a family-run boutique winery, Foley Brothers Brewing is a small craft brewery located in Brandon. Situated in the foothills of the Green Mountains, this venue produces approximately 15 barrels each week and uses both old and new techniques when creating their craft brews. Placing an emphasis on hoppy pale ales, some must-try beers include the Fair Maiden Double IPA and the Pieces of Eight Double IPA. Established in 2012, the tasting room is currently open Wednesday through Saturday.
Located in Greensboro, Hill Farmstead Brewery specializes in farmhouse ales, hoppy American ales, and barrel-aged varieties. Owned by Shaun Hill, this small-batch brewery places emphasis on quality rather than quantity. Honoring his ancestors, Hill operates his business on land that used to be his grandfather’s dairy farm and names many brews after family members. Open Wednesday through to Saturday, the establishment features six draft lines plus limited-release bottles. Favored choices include Everett, a porter with notes of chocolate, coffee and malty sweetness; Abner, an IPA with notes of citrus and pine named after the owner’s great grandfather; and Society & Solitude #4, an experimental Double IPA.
Opened to the public for the first time in 2014, Four Quarters Brewing is a small brewery, featuring farmhouse, barrel-aged, and American- and Belgian-style brews. Located in Winooski, outside of Burlington, this cozy place has a tasting room that guests may visit Thursday through to Sunday. Some of the tasty brews beer lovers will find here include the Fleur Savage, which is fermented in wine barrels, and the Siren’s Song, a chocolate and sea-salted Baltic porter. Visitors will also find a line-up of local products for sale, including honey and maple syrup.
Founded by Andy Pherson, Long Trail Brewing Co. has been a part of Vermont’s craft brewing scene for many years. Established in 1989, this Bridgewater Corners brewery is set along the banks of the Ottauquechee River and features a brewpub where guests can sample a variety of craft brews, including small-batch farmhouse ales that can only be found at the brewery, alongside locally inspired cuisine. Must-try brews include the Limbo IPA, which features a blend of Australian and Pacific Northwest hops; the Double Bag, a double altbier; and the eponymous and flagship brew, Long Trail Ale. Hours changes seasonally.
Founded by Allen Van Anda and James Griffith, Lost Nation Brewing is a brewery based in Morrisville. Looking to “produce honest beers,” the brew team focuses on creating small batches, which are inspired by lesser-known European-style lagers and ales along with Vermont living. Beer lovers can visit the brewery’s cozy tap room Wednesday through Sunday and sample a variety of beers, including Gose, which is a German-style beer brewed with coriander and sea salt, and Rustic Ale, a ruby-coloured hoppy ale. There is also a rotating menu with delectable, locally sourced food options.
In 2004, Zero Gravity Craft Brewery was launched within the American Flatbread restaurant in the heart of downtown Burlington. Tucked inside a renovated historical brick building, the welcoming space was (and still is!) a relaxing place to enjoy craft beers and artisanal flat breads. However, as word spread of Zero Gravity’s delicious brews, the team realized they needed an additional location. In 2015, a new Zero Gravity brewery opened up in Burlington’s South End Arts District. Here you’ll find tasting rooms, a gift shop and a beautiful beer garden. Make sure you try a pint of Smokey The Beer or the Black Cat Porter.
Located in the southeastern community of Brattleboro, Whetstone Station is an experimental brewery and restaurant. The brainchild of Tim and Amy Brady and David Hiler, this downtown venue creates unique brews with an added non-traditional element, plus they post their recipes online. Guests visiting this spacious establishment (which comes complete with lofty ceilings and two outdoor decks) will always have something new to try as Whetstone Station never brews the same beer twice. As for food, the culinary team creates a delicious array of seasonal dishes inspired by local ingredients.