Totally forgot to post these bad boys. Pretty epic lineup of bottles for James’ 30th birthday. Check it:
Totally forgot to post these bad boys. Pretty epic lineup of bottles for James’ 30th birthday. Check it:
Now, if any of you know me you know I do not go crazy trying to obtain all of the (extremely overhyped, in my opinion) barrel aged variations of many of the most highly sought after beers on the market. Most times I’m just as satisfied with the base version of the beer and it’s not worth the driving around and giving up some of my favorite New England beer to trade for these, so I generally don’t seek them. That said, barrel aging usually does not detract from the original experience, and there are plenty of beers that are aged in barrels because the style dictates it and they’re presented best when aged in a barrel, like sour/tart farmhouse saisons, lambics, etc. So please, count me in as a fan of barrel aged beer, but understand that comes with its caveats.
It was nice to finally get together with some of the Albany-Area BAs this weekend. It’s good to know there are some like-minded (and likely sick, twisted) individuals in the area who are into beer traveling and trading like myself. Nothing too crazy last night, just a great lineup of beers and some killer chicken from Ross. And now, on to the beer porn!
So yesterday was one of those trips that started as a small, innocent beer run over to to Night Shift to pick up Elise’s Barrel Society bottles and the newly released Mainer Weisse (one of our absolute favorite beers of 2012). And then I said to myself “Well… Blue lobster still has bottles of their Berliner and and their Prairie collab on shelves, couldn’t hurt to swing up there while I’m at it”. It still didn’t seem too bad of a day at that point. But then the hits kept coming. Allagash decided to release a new Coolship beer. Jack’s Abby unleashes Baby Maker. And the the big one: Hill Farmstead was finally putting CD7 on the shelves. That was the one that threw me for the biggest loop since while the others were almost on the route back home from Allagash, Hill Farmstead was 3.5 hours out of the way. Still, I had to try to work it into my day.
OK, time to get off my butt and start posting some of the pictures from all of the great beer events in August. August is a busy month when it comes to beer, and given that my birthday falls in the later part it gives me excuse to try to hit up as many of the events as I can (which is why I have deemed the entire month of August my “birth month”). The month starts out with a bang at Brewery Ommegang with Belgium Comes to Cooperstown and then immediately steps up its game with the Festival or Farmhouse Ales at Hill Farmstead (followed by the largest bottle share I have ever seen in my life) and rounds out the end of the month with the Night of the Great Thirst at Ebenezer’s and the Tree House Anniversary dinner at Armsby Abbey. Let’s just say it was a busy month.
My buddy Richard (of Fourteen Stone fame) has never really done Vermont before so with Elaborative One and Prolegomena still on shelves and the lottery for the Festival of Farmhouse Ales live at Hill Farmstead I figured it was a great opportunity to give him the grand tour (or as much as we could cover in the day) of the Green Mountain State. Follow us along, won’t you?
Worthy Burger, located in a old freight house alongside the railroad tracks in South Royalton, VT has been on my radar for awhile now. The premise behind owners Dave Brodrick of Blind Tiger fame (which has a cult-like following in the craft beer community) Jason Merrill and Kurt Lessard’s business is simple: pair wood fire grilled grass fed burgers with locally source Vermont ingredients and homemade condiments, with a side of beef tallow fries all for a reasonable price. Top that off with a great selection of craft beer from Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Hill Farmstead and other Vermont and New England breweries and you have a sure winner on your hands.
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Knowing full well that my 1000th unique checkin on Untappd was coming up and unfortunately it was going to hit just days before our trip to Tampa, I enlisted Merc, Pig Destroyer Jon and Mike to drum up a seriously nice string of beers to celebrate the night. Continue Reading →
Another Thursday, another trip up to Greensboro, VT. This time with Pig Destroyer Jon and Mike from Fourteen Stone in tow.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Biere de Norma was released this week. It’s Hill Farmstead’s Biere de Mars, and something I got to try unfinished back in January when I picked beers for the Gang Bang Beer It Forward #3 packing party. It was tasty as hell back then and I knew I had to come back up to grab it when it went on sale, even if it was only a one bottle limit per person.
A trip to Hill Farmstead isn’t complete without doing a tasting. It was pretty much a given due to the wait anyway. I’m sure the lines were even worse today with the inevitable running out of Norma. Even still, it’s a good opportunity to sip on something you haven’t had yet to see if you want a growler or not, such as Society and Solitude #6.
I’m pretty much floored every time I try one of Hill Farmstead’s DIPAs and S&S6 was no different. The mosaic hops hit you with a ton of citrus and tropical fruits, all while hiding the ABV and like all of their DIPAs, drinkable as hell. I followed that up with some Fear and Trembling, which I’m sure is amazing if you liked smoke beers but is are definitely not my thing, although the barrel aged versions of this are insanely good.
Shaun came over and poured me a taste of their unnamed Flanders Red, a beer that surely still has a bit of time to mature and is already one best tasting Flanders I’ve ever had; can’t wait for that one. I rounded the rest of the tasters up with Harlan and another shot at S&S6 because it was so damn tasty I just needed another sip, while running into and chatting with some great beer geeks I knew from MA, VT, CT, NH, and even NJ.
Naturally our next stop was to The Alchemist (with a slight detour to go find some Vermont Smoke and Cure pepperoni and real sticks).
We did a few tasters and grabbed a couple of cases of beer.
And I picked up this ridiculously amazing Heady Topper work shirt. Look for the fat Asian wearing this at a beer festival nearest you.
We grabbed a quick lunch at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill. Full post on that to come. On our way home, since we were passing it anyway, we stopped at Fiddleheads.
Love this sign. What more does one man need?
We tried the beers that were on tap, including the lager, biere de mars, and IPA. Pretty stiff competition compared to The Alchemist and Hill Farmstead. The beers were very approachable to someone just getting into craft beer, but definitely needed to be a little over the top for us.
I did check out the new Vermont Brewery Tour cards and as you can see, there are quite a few more breweries since I started mine. Craft beer in Vermont is getting big!
We headed home to split up our spoils. Until next time…
Last month Team New England got together to pack our boxes to ship off to our target team, and before we got together I wanted to make a run to grab some great VT beer to include in our box, and also get a few Hill Farmstead growlers filled to treat the guys while we were hard at work wrapping our bottles and packing the boxes for shipping. Now I’ve done a quite a bit on my frequent trips to Vermont over the past year or so, from The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, the Lawson’s Farmer’s Market, and the Bobcat Cafe, to the Blackback Pub, Prohibition Pig, Hen of the Wood, and Farmhouse Tap and Grill. This is a pretty respectable amount of places to go on your quest for VT craft beer, but there has been one place on my radar that has always escaped me: Three Penny Taproom. I have no idea what’s taken me so long to get there. Montpelier is not that far out of the way and I’ve even made a few stops through as I’ve done beer runs to Hunger Mountain Co-op, so I really have no excuse. After walking in and bellying up to the bar, I started my meal with a healthy pour of Hill Farmstead’s Arthur and pork liver pâté, served with sweet onion jam on toast. In the past I wouldn’t normally order liver, but I’ve been getting a little more adventurous with offal ever since the Hill Farmstead Dinner at Armsby Abbey and the Offal Dinner at The Meat House. This was a great starter overall but the onion jam was absolutely decadent. The burger is served on a house-made bun and available with a rotating selection of toppings. Both the burger and the thick-cut bacon was cooked to perfection (I prefer bacon to have plenty of flex and a little fat to chew) and the house made pickles killed it, reminding me I need to get off my ass and can some more for Chez Fuj. The bun was a little more dense than I prefer on a burger but there was no doubt there was a lot of thought and effort put into its creation. Most of the beers I had just seen while doing growler fills at Hill Farmstead were also on tap at Three Penny, along with plenty of other great beer from other breweries in the Northeast including fresh cans from The Alchemist, Smuttynose, Allagash and Mystic Brewery. With this many great beers on tap, and even some ciders and mead available, you should definitely consider this a great place to stop for those of you making the pilgrimage up to The Hill.
One of the owners, Scott Kerner, was manning the bar that day and it was great to see him in action. He was attentive, quick with suggestions (although I’m not sure if the guy who ordered a Guinness but received several Old Rasputins through my stay instead knew what was in store for him) and had such positive enthusiasm about his bar and the entire craft beer scene. And he knew the name of just about every person who walked in the door, including my own. The time we had to chat was by far too short, but I walked away completely impressed with Scott’s passion for his craft and the humble way he talked about business. Three Penny Taproom has been on Draft Mag’s Top 100 for several years now, has earned praise from The Boston Globe to many local Vermont publications and has quite the following of beer nerds on both BeerAdvocate and RateBeer, often touted as a must-stop location and one of the best bars in the nation. It deserves this praise. The small amount of time I spent at Three Penny Taproom did not do it justice, as this is the type of place to grab a spot at the bar, chat with the bar staff, split a few snacks, and strike up a conversation with a local sitting on the bar stool next to you while lingering over more than a few great craft beers. Next time.