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?
Clearly the first stop of the day had to be Hill Farmstead. Between my solo trips and the ones with Pig Destroyer Jon and Mike we’ve brought back plenty of HF for Richard to try but this was his first time actually visiting the brewery. Perfect timing since he’ll be able to take some of this on his upcoming trip back home. Shaun was brewing that day and had some visitors from Blaugies and Shelton brothers to help the Hill Farmstead crew.
Dan getting his John Deere on.
Bob taking care of the spent grains.
Tastings are now held in the pavillion, I’m not sure if this is a permanent change or not but it was certainly a welcomed one. This does extend your stay at Hill Farmstead a little, but with as beautiful as a day it was and how great the beer is, it is certainly worth it.
We met a fellow beer traveler who was taking a 3+ week long stint to visit breweries around the country. For “research”. I want to go to that school!
After a detour to Cold Hollow for cider doughnuts and Vermont Smoke and Cure meat sticks we made a brief stop at The Cabot Annex Store and tasted just about every cheese they had. I of course picked up a few things for Elise, the little cheese fiend that she is.
The Alchemist stop was brief (as always) but was enough time for a couple of tastings and to grab a case each.
Some discs that Merc is clearly pissed off he does not own.
Our next stop was for eats and a beer at Mule Bar, a new venture from the owners of Mad Taco and Three Penny Taproom.
It’s a real chill place. Only a few patrons at tables on the sidewalk when we walked in but was full by the time we left. Yes, for the umpteenth time the stools are fantastic and I want to steal them for my own bar. Seriously, just go sit on them.
The beer selection was top notch and offered an alternative to the bars who all get the same Hill Farmstead and Lawson’s distro all at the same time. I mistook the Jack’s Abby Smoke and Dagger for the Lawson’s collaboration, but I was lucky enough to rectify that at the Beverage Warehouse and we had a couple other samples while we were there as well. I stuck with my decision (as did Richard) but the bartender refused to allow us to pay for my own mistake. I appreciate that.
The food was outstanding. Most of the charcuterie (except the dried meats) is done in house, and while the pork belly was good it was really outclassed by the chicken liver mousse, which absolutely floored me. These were accompanied with some well charred slices of bread and condiments, but really could have benefitted from some house pickled veggies.
I finished my meal with some poutine. The fries were thinly cut with a great crunch to them that held up well to the pool of gravy on the bottom of the plate.
The Mule Bar only deals in sixtels, so while it’s more work for the staff there’s quite a bit of turnover and always something new on the tap lines. This is a feature I quite liked: they put their upcoming beers on a chalkboard right on one of their “Walken” coolers (har har).
Mule Bar was a great stop and had some very friendly and knowledgeable staff. I’m looking forward to giong back and checking out the rest of their menu and what’s new on tap.
The next stop was to Beverage Warehouse located just a short jaunt from Mule Bar. No surprise, no Lawson’s available but there were actually plenty of cases of Heady there. I lucked out and snagged some Ale Apathacary LeTeche, the aformentioned Jack’s Abby / Lawson’s Finest Liquids collaboration Smoked Maple Lager, and the Fantome / Hill Farmstead collaboration Five Sciences.
And finally, our last impromptu stop of the day was to snag some cookies for the girls and get some ice cream sandwiches from Vermont Cookie Love on the way home.
All in all I’d say a pretty successful trip, and I was happy to show Richard some of my favorite spots in the state, although we did take about 6 little unplanned detours and got home much later than I expected. (But that happens every time, right?) Definitely looking forward to my next Vermont State Parks camping excursion, a trip I’m hoping to plan soon before we inevitably run out of summer.
You stay classy, Vermont.