Independence Day at The Prohibition Pig

The last time I’d walked into this building was late last year. The appearance and the emotions were a little different that day. Back then, it was still called “The Alchemist Pub & Brewery” but it was only a shell of its former self. Irene had taken her toll on both the pub and the suds in the basement. I was there to pick up bottles of their “Hell or High Water” beers, which were the only beers left of the former Alchemist. I grabbed my case of beers, a shirt and was on my way; the first and only time I’d ever been in “The Alchemist”. Today, it’s known as the Prohibition Pig and walking in the same door sets a completely different tone.

Chalk-board art and even some news articles alluding to it’s past adorn the walls of The Pig. The bar on the right and the dining area are separated by a wall that greets you on your left. Like usual, we sat at the bar to chat up the bartender and get our fill of stories from the locals.

The bar, while dark, was beautiful. The taps (serving an impeccable tap list, by the way) were saddled by two huge bookshelves complete with a library ladder featuring all of the spirits used to make their impressive cocktail list. This was my first time seeing Heady Topper on tap and I couldn’t help myself but to do a Hill Farmstead Abner versus The Alchemist Heady Topper versus Lawson’s Finest Liquids comparison (pictured from left to right).

As much love as I have for Heady Topper, I gotta hand the win to Hill Farmstead. (I ended doing this same comparison with three other Hill Farmstead DIPAs later on this week again Heady Topper and Double Sunshine with a similar outcome. More on that to come.)

The problem with going to restaurants on trips like this is that I never have any idea when the next time I’m going to be back. (Sure I might be back in the area, but do I go back here or do I try another place like Hen of the Wood? Who knows.) Which leads to the question, do we get large main dishes or a bunch of small ones? Lately, it’s been the latter and I’m happier for it, since I get to try a larger array of dishes from the chef. Sometimes I get burned by this and don’t get to try something that only comes in a main dish, like the BBQ here at The Prohibition Pig. Oh well, the other dishes more than made up for it:

  • Pork Cracklins – dusted with house spice blend
  • Pretzel Knots – with Heady Topper mustard (yes Heady Topper mustard. You read that right)
  • Panko Fried Pimento Cheese – with chili pepper jam
  • Jumbo Crawfish Cake – with caper dill remoulade, field greens and diced peppers
  • Vermont Cuban – with smoked pork shoulder, house Canadian bacon, shoulder bacon, Heady Topper mustard aioli, sliced pickles, and Vermont swiss

Let that lineup sink marinate in your head a little bit. It’s pretty impressive. They really knocked the food out of the park on this one. I absolutely LOVED the VT Cuban, and for only $11 it was worth every penny. Sadly, it started pouring rain and not knowing the situation with our campsite, our dinner ended rather rapidly. Well, not before sneaking in one last beer, a James Bean.

I’d never seen the beer before (only three other people had checked into it on Untappd at the time) and I assumed it was a leftover from a recent Allagash event. I LOVED Curieux the last time I had it and a coffee aged version definitely piqued my interest. It was a little strange getting so much coffee out of such a light colored beer. It was definitely a different beast than Curieux, and I suggest you try it if you ever get your hands on it. Some of the beer’s flavors are lost due to coffee overpowering them, but it’s a strangeness you just need to experience. (And the weirdness is done in a fashion where I’d drink this again, by the way, unlike some of the completely out their Dogfish Head beers.)

Plenty of beverage centers no longer carry Heady Topper due to shortages and their inability to pick up from The Cannery any longer. (I commented about this here.)  This means those of us who used to only travel to Manchester or Bennington for their Heady Topper fix are now making our way to Waterbury instead. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate making a stop at the Prohibition Pig. Not only are you going to be able to get some Heady and some other great Vermont DIPAs on tap, the food here kicks ass (and is making salivate here writing this and looking at the pictures of this post). Go here!

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