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

9 Back Road Bike Tours

July 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Biking, Blog

Biking in VermontWe’ve just come across this section of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce website which has some suggestions for bike tours, and we thought we’ll share it with you, because we believe they did a very nice job with it.
It presents 9 back road bike tours with very detailed descriptions of the routes and their level of difficulty; every type of cyclers is going to find one for him/her abilities. The presentation is very inviting and they made it very practical as well: each route has its own PDF for you to print and take on the road with you. We also liked the fact that they included some historic facts about the buildings and villages you see along the way… why not learn a little more about the places you are biking through as you are enjoying the landscape… and pedaling hard!
Here are the routes:
Berlin Pond Loop – 5 Miles -for casual cyclists – dirt road
Calais Historic Hamlets – about 20 Miles – reasonable degree of fitness – unpaved
Mad River Valley Recreation Path – 4.5 Miles – flat to gently rolling – mostly unpaved
Mad River Valley Tour – 16.3 Miles (5.7 Mile Optional Extension) – degree of fitness required – option more difficult
Montpelier – East Montpelier – 16.5 Miles (9.2 Mile Option) – quite hilly but can avoid the climb out of Montpelier
Northfield Tour – 12.3 Miles – 2 very steep hills – mostly unpaved
Lake Tour – 7 Miles – hilly terrain and dirt roads – Calais and Woodbury areas
Waterbury – Stowe – 22.2 Miles – few fairly rugged climbs mixed with easy terrain and exhalarating descents – half paved and half dirt road
Websterville Loop – 13.7 Miles – few good climbs – unpaved, gravel roads
In addition to the bike tours, the site has some other interesting information such as bicycle organizations, bike tours companies and even bike races.
So check it out, enjoy the tours and tell us what you thought! And check back with us soon… we have articles on the Champlain Bikeway and the famous Route 100 bike road in the works!
Link to Central Vermont Back Road Bike Tours.

Restaurants: in the NY Times

July 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Regional specialties, Restaurants

Hen of the WoodThe Hen of the Wood was again noticed last week, and by noone else than the Mark Bittman, who writes for NY Times’ dining section. Nice!
The title of his article definitely caught my attention: “Revitalized Eating in Vermont”. Seems like some other gourmets agree with our team (see our posting on “Waterbury award-winning restaurants“), and believe that there is now some nice gastronomy in Vermont!
I will let you read the article but in summary, he mentions “3 wonderful eating experiences” he had in Vermont last week-end:
– the Hen of the Wood,
Clotilde, a 70-family community supported agriculture operation,
Ariel’s in Brookfield.
Ariel’s? Interesting… The owners have another restaurant in Montpelier called Ariel’s Riverside… We were there the other day, and were actually disappointed that the owners had decided to change the menu from the BBQ place we loved (Finkerman’s Riverside) to this fancy, somewhat expensive, undifferentiating menu… oh well…

Waterbury Award-winning Restaurants

June 1, 2008 by  
Filed under Blog, Restaurants

Michael\'s on the hill
Two award-winning restaurants in Waterbury! Or rather two award-winning Chefs I should say – to be more accurate.
The first one is Michael Kloeti, from Michael’s on the Hill. In 2007, Michael was awarded Vermont Chef of the Year by the Vermont Hospitality Council. His restaurant is charming, located in a farmhouse dating from 1820, up on the hill, with views of the Green Mountains and his innovative food is simply delicious. It has that perfect blend of European and American Regional influences with a strong focus on local and fresh products. And, on top of it, Michael is a wonderful person. If you have the chance to attend one of his cooking classes, don’t miss it, you won’t regret it. Michael, with his warm Swiss accent, can talk to you for hours about his passion for cooking and his passion for fresh, organic, local ingredients. What is his background? Well, Michael is native from Switzerland, where he started his cooking training and first work. He then moved to New York and joined Gray Kunz at Lespinasse Restaurant, restaurant which received four stars from the New York Times. He has also worked as Sous Chef at the Lodge at Koele Resort in Lanai, Hawaii, and as Chef de Cuisine at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan. He and his wife Laura, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, finally moved to Vermont to raise their family and opened their restaurant Michael’s on the Hill in 2002. They also offer catering services, and it is quite a privilege to have Michael prepare your wedding dinner for instance!

The second chef is Eric Warnstedt, from Hen of the Wood. He is one of ten chefs from all over the U.S. to have received the 2008 Best New Chef award from the prestigious Food & Wine magazine, and will be featured in their July issue. The award recognizes up-and-coming chefs in America who are “innovators with a distinct culinary style and vision creating exceptionally delicious food”. Definitely a restaurant we need to check out. We are sure it must be quite an experience, with such recognition, and the setting seems wonderful – the restaurant is located in a historic 19th century grist mill. And finally, like Michael Kloeti, Eric Warnstedt likes to cook with the best local ingredients. Native of Florida, Eric worked previously at the Wildwood Restaurant in Portland, Oregon; Mark’s in Fort Lauderdale; and Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont. That is nice to see local gastronomy getting this kind of recognition. Vermont is the place for great outdoors, maple syrup, great cheddar and of course Ben & Jerry’s world-renown ice-cream… it can now add “fine gastronomy” to the list of great things to enjoy here!
And if you have dinner in one of these places, drop us a comment. We would love to know what you thought.

Links to their websites:
http://www.michaelsonthehill.com/
http://www.henofthewood.com/