Brewpubs of Vermont

September 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Regional specialties

Bob Cafe Brewery
This article is a special contribution from Kurt Staudter, Vermont Brewers Association

The idea of pairing beer with food is perhaps the oldest preoccupation of mankind, but only in Vermont has the art reached its zenith. Greg Noonan of the Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington is credited with being a brewpub pioneer, and for almost twenty years is still on the cutting edge of blending great food and interesting brews. Just down the block is the Zero Gravity Brewery at American Flatbread where in addition to their own beers, they have a fantastic selection of other offerings in their Burlington Taproom. If you’re looking for a game of pool, another great brewpub in the Queen City is Three Needs.
Outside of Burlington along the spine of the Green Mountains, we have The Alchemist in Waterbury, The Shed Restaurant and Brewery in Stowe, The Bobcat Café in Bristol, and Stonecutters Brewhouse in Barre. All have many exciting menu items to pair with creative craft beers.
On either end of the state you can get a craft brew with award winning food: In the Northeast Kingdom in Lyndonville, The Trout River Brewery serve up flatbreads on Friday and Saturday night, and in Bennington Madison Brewing declares that they are a great restaurant that happened to brew beer. Windsor County boasts three great places to have a meal and a fresh brew: The Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners, a little more upscale is the Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse at the Norwich Inn, and lighter fare can be found at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.
Another Vermont original is McNeill’s Brewery in Brattleboro, where locals and visitors gather at long shared tables, and can snack on light finger food over a pint of one of their award winning ales. Hours of operation for all the pubs can be found at www.vermontbrewers.com.
So if you’re hungry and want some of the best craft beers in the country, visit one of the many extraordinary Vermont brewpubs. You’ll quickly understand why Vermont is the place where the good things to eat and drink come from, and as they say “Vermont brews Best!”
Related post: Harpoon Brewery – BBQ Competition

Vermont Scenic Drives: Route 17

Chimney Point historic siteRoute 17 is not frequently listed among “scenic drives” but it definitely has a stunning view from the top of the Green Mountains at the Appalachian Gap (great during the foliage season) and lots of sweeping views of the Lake Champlain Valley. It will be enjoyed by people who love far away views and the immensity of the valley (and may be less by people who love the cozy valleys with mountain backdrops, which you find in Central Vermont on the famous route 100).
Route 17 is also very interesting by the great diversity of its landscapes, from the end of Lake Champlain, to the valley, the hills and finally the top of the Green Mountains.
You start at the shore of Lake Champlain (literally!) at “Chimney Point” state historic site (a wonderful spot unto itself). The first half of the drive, about 45 minutes, has you cruising across fabulous farm country in the Champlain Valley with sweeping views to the north and to the south across the flat and rolling farmlands. You can see the Green Mountains in the distance getting closer. The local scenes of farms and landscape are really classic Vermont.
Then, you hit Bristol, and start the “transition” to the Green Mountains. Bristol, itself, is just a perfect example of a 4-block long “Main Street”. The town is very vibrant with stores and restaurants. When we took the drive, last week-end, we enjoyed dinner and a “cold frosty one” at the Bob Cat Brewery (we will be back!).
Within seconds of leaving the town’s main street area heading east, we were into the hills and soon the Green Mountains, rapidly gaining altitude and enjoying the scenery as we headed up the very windy turns (no views there though).
Within 20 minutes, you finally cross through Appalachian Gap which has a very nice panoramic view to the West (fabulous sunset view!).You pass over the Long Trail at over 2,300 feet and then quickly head down the other side. A couple of minutes later, you get a glance of a ski lift. You are at the top of Mad River Glenn Ski area (how many times have you actually driven by the TOP of a ski lift?!). A few more minutes and you pass the bottom of the ski slope and quickly follow the wonderful river shores down towards Vermont’s famous Route 100 and the end of your Route 17 journey…
Pick a great day this summer to do it. Start around 5, stop in Bristol for dinner, and you should be perfectly timed to see the sunset at 8pm from Appalachian Gap.

Post-scriptum: Later this summer, I have done this drive again, but from route 100 to the lake this time… I actually prefer it in this direction. For the first few miles, before you start the climb, the Green Mountains are unbelievably impressive, truly rising as a wall in front of you… Later, Bristol is again a surprise at the end of the descent… and arriving at the lake at Chimney Point is precious. Enjoy!

Related posts:
Sunset on Historic Chimney Point
Brewpubs of Vermont
Enjoy Vermont foliage… Differently