Just a short couple of days in Vermont on our last trip but we made the most of it while we could. We stayed at Elise’s favorite state park, Mount Philo, again and lucked out with the weather the whole weekend.
Little higher res, non-Hipstergrammed version of Tuesday’s sunset in Vermont, overlooking Lake Champlain. Hoping to get a few more shots like this from the summit of Mount Philo this weekend. :)
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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Quick Swim at Niquette Bay
- The cool thing about the day passes at Vermont parks is that they’re good for every park in the state. Since we were staying the week, and there wasn’t any swimming at Mt. Philo, we made our way over to Niquette Bay. There’s a little bit of a walk through the forest to get to the beach itself but it’s worth it. The perfect place to take the pooch for a swim since it’s relatively shallow pretty far out into the water. This reminded me a lot of Log Bay on lake George.
A few brews and a few hours of sun later and we were heading back to our campsite at Mt. Philo.
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Within walking distance of Two Brother’s Tavern is the Marble Works, a historic district featuring some pretty amazing architecture, shops, restaurants and great views of the Middlebury falls. We walked through here after our dinner at Two Brother’s Tavern and it was well worth the trip over the historic footbridge.
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Quick Heady Topper Pit Stop
It wouldn’t be a Hill Farmstead trip without a stop for some fresh Heady on the way back. Good thing I picked it up then, too since they ran out on the day we planned on heading home from camping.
Snapped a couple of pics of their kickass delivery truck and the guys doin’ their damn thing. I some how resisted drinking some fresh from the tap, but I just had some the day before at our dinner at Prohibition Pig so I managed.
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Wow, finally. I’ve been waiting with anticipation to make the pilgrimage to Hill Farmstead ever since I started hearing about them BeerAdvocate. It’s a little too far out of the way for a day trip so it was a perfect opportunity to go there while we were staying at Mt. Philo. I’ve heard some pretty mixed reviews about the brewery experience, but luckily our visit was pretty eventful.
The drive from Waterbury to Hill Farmstead is long and winding. Mostly two-lane roads that take you through Stowe, and if you don’t mind a little detour you can visit Trapp Family Lodge on the way by like we did. (The place is beautiful, by the way, but reminds me of the place they stay at in Dirty Dancing.)
Further down the road houses and stores become less and less frequent until you turn on to a road that no shit reminded me of someplace Schrute Farms might be on. It’s a dirt/gravel road that my car nor my passengers (Elise, Kuma) loved. A couple of turns later and you see this beautiful bastard in the distance and you know the entire trip was worth it:
Like I said, I’ve heard mixed things about visiting Hill Farmstead from people on BA and even the Vermont folks I met that week. Going into it, I was expecting it to be a mostly in and out affair: get in, get my growlers, no bullshit, and get out of there. Fifteen, twenty minutes tops. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
Obviously we got the tasting flight (and then another when the first flight was drying up). There were about 6 beers on tap that day so we tried them all. While that was going on, Abner was brewing and I got to chat with Shaun Hill about it and Double Galaxy and even got to try some of the Abner wort (that was fucking badass). There was no Abner that day, but there was Nor so I settled on a growler of that (in retrospect, I’m extremely glad I did).
I also grabbed a growler of Double Galaxy I promised for Jon, and a bomber of Everett for Elise, the only bottled beer they had that day. While they were pouring my Nor, they mentioned it was on the way out. The growler of Nor after mine actually kicked their last keg of the stuff, so a new beer had to be chosen: Society and Solitude #4.
This beer was kegged just two days before. It was so new that Shawn hadn’t actually had a taste of it. I couldn’t NOT get a growler of this beer. After filling up a 750ml bottle, mine was the first half gallon growler of the brew. Ever. Pretty cool. After snagging a couple of glasses (necessary to bring for any of the festivals they have there) and a shirt for Elise, we were on our way to dinner with friends.
Actually making it to Hill Farmstead is a little bittersweet for me. I feel like each of my Vermont trips has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger, and now there’s not much else for me to do there but catch up on some of the “lesser” breweries I haven’t hit yet, and a festival or bottle release here and there. With any luck (hopefully) that’s not the case.
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Grass Fed Vermont Highland Beef Burger with Landaﬀ Creamery ’Landaﬀ’ cheddar, house made bacon, house pickled onions, Laughing Lotus Farm Kimchi and a healthy dollop of their house-made garlic mayo. Phenom.
Paired with Hill Farmstead Abner.
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Wow, this was… less than spectacular. The last time I had Rock Art was back when we went Mancamping last winter. I can’t say I’ve been impressed with most of Rock Art’s regular beers. I almost feel like their so-called “EXTREME” series of beers (all 8.0% ABV) should be their regular beers, and then they should have a SUPER CRAZY INSANE series of beers that maybe get into the double digits at least? I dunno. Their EXTREME beers are at least decent, the ones I’ve had at least. Not impressed by a single beer in this variety pack. I still have a few kicking around since JD picked them up a few months ago.