It has been long known that Vermont is one of the top locations for microbreweries in the United States and a prime destination for beer connoisseurs who are trying to avoid the stuff that is produced for the masses.
With that being said, it can still be overwhelming looking at your “passport” and trying to decide which of the page-full of breweries you should try to go to – especially if you’re only in town for a long weekend!
Knowing that everyone has different tastes, here are our suggestions for the breweries you MUST make the time for before you leave.
A popular brand throughout the Northeast, Long Trail Brewery has a bar-like feel where you can just relax for a few hours and not get the sense that the staff wants to kick you out for the next group of tourists.
If you take a walk upstairs to view the bottling process, you’ll see the best that automation has to offer – and get as close to the action as anyplace we can think of.
Did we mention the beer is delicious, and there are some flavors found at the Brewery that we hadn’t seen before or since?
Yes, Long Trail should definitely be one of your first stops on your trek through VT.
Beer Recommendations: Long Trail Ale, Long Trail Double Bag, Long Trail Chocolate Stout
Another must-stop that should occur before you get too far north is Harpoon Brewery. What Harpoon lacks in traditional brewery atmosphere they more that make up for with the roaring fireplace, restaurant, and board games that you can play while you’re waiting for your food.
Like many of the others on this list, Harpoon allows visitors to take advantage of a beer ‘sampler’ a route we would suggest taking with so many delicious drinks on tap.
Beer Recommendations: Harpoon IPA, UFO White, UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen
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(price as of Oct 29, 2015)
American Flatbread / Zero Gravity Brewing – Burlington, VT
Once you get to Burlington, American Flatbread / Zero Gravity Brewery has to be one of your first stops. The atmosphere here is perfect with a huge bar full of wood and brick, a nice fireplace, and one of the top beer selections you’ll find.
One thing that sets this place apart from the rest is their excellent food selection. You can stop here for lunch and a couple quality beers and be recharged for your next stop.
In the summer you may even be able to get a table outside and soak in the fresh Vermont air. Do not skip this stop.
Beer Recommendations: Too many to name (and constantly changing), but start with Afternooner and Peated IPA
One of the most unique breweries you’ll find, Switchback is located in an industrial complex with the entrance through the loading dock. They don’t have the glitz and glamour marketing that you’ll find in other places, and just focus on brewing the best beer possible.
Depending on the time of year you visit, they may have 1 or 2 beers on tap, but the quality of what you find in the brewery is unmatched if you find the same beer in a local pub. You’ll also be able to walk the floor of the brewery and get up close and personal with the vats.
The only thing of note with this brewery is that there are only 2 tours a week – Saturday at 1pm and 2pm, making it a little more exclusive than most.
Beer Recommendations: Switchback Ale, Seasonal (if available)
Not far from Burlington, The Alchemist is a feel-good story about a business that had to recover from Tropical Storm Irene and is focused on perfecting one beer, Heady Topper, and American Double IPA.
Taking a look at their beer archive one can almost imagine how tremendous their Pub and Brewery must have been before the storm, and we wish them the best as they continue their journey.
Beer Recommendations: Just one delicious drink – Heady Topper
If you have more time during your trip, this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of breweries to visit. You may want to pick up the Vermont Beer Passport and challenge yourself to visiting all of the breweries listed.
Thanks for reading and let us know if there are any other breweries that you can’t live without when visiting VT in the comments below!
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(price as of Oct 29, 2015)