In a couple of more days, Year 2 of StoweBeer will be in the books … wow, what a year! We’re talking new beers, new breweries, new Field Research, farmers’ markets and brewfests! Looking back, here is a short list of some of my favorites!
Favorite Breweries … based on coolness vibe, views, eats, etc.
Sure, the Cicerone could have chosen the classics like Hill Farmstead and The Alchemist, but these three breweries below offer outstanding beer and are great to visit!
Foam Brewers (Burlington, Vermont). Housed in a pre-revolution era timber storehouse and situated within view of Lake Champlain, this brewery pairs a quirky vibe with its fantastic beers. You can also accompany the beverages with cheese, charcuterie and the occasional food truck! See our review here.
Four Quarters Brewing (Winooski, Vermont). Located in an off-the-beaten path neighborhood of Winooski, these brewers pump out a variety of ales, sours, saisons, and other interesting beers. The oddest beer I have ever tried is the Tomato Basil Fleur de Lis, infused with roasted tomatoes and fresh basil. See our review here.
Good Measure Brewing (Northfield, Vermont). A bit of a hole-in-the-wall, these guys are borderline nano-brewers … I still dream of Measure 23 (4.8% ABV), an English-style bitter that is made with real blueberry muffins and has a fabulous taste that lingers on your tongue. See our review here.
There are a tremendous number of great beers throughout the Vermont hills and valleys, but during this past year, I made it a point to capture my favorites. Of those, here are my top three:
- Kingdom Brewing’s (Newport, Vermont) Smoked Spruce Pale Ale (5.0% ABV) The flavors and smells coming from this beer are just amazing … certainly hints of spruce, ginger(?) and pine-needles. Pours with a super, dark golden color … loved this beer.
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.5 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.7 | Overall: 4.7
- Bent Hill Brewery’s (Braintree, Vermont) Chili Coconut Cinnamon Stout (5.4% ABV) Aside from the wonder aromas and flavors, the chili gives your tongue a beautiful zing during the aftertaste! A great stout for the winter!
Appearance: 4.5 | Aroma: 4.5 | Feel: 4.6| Taste: 4.8 | Overall: 4.8
- Hill Farmstead’s Brewery (Greensboro, Vermont) Juicy (7.4% ABV) A Belgian-styled saison, conditioned in wine barrels for over a year; this beer bursts with excellent aromas and flavors, alternating between tart, fruity and bitter.
Appearance: 4.7 | Aroma: 4.8 | Feel: 4.4| Taste: 4.8 | Overall: 4.8
Favorite Brewery in the Field Research Series (more field research to come in 2019)
- Trillium Brewing Company (Boston, Massachusetts). Right in the Cicerone’s old backyard, Trillium puts out top beers, including several hazy and hoppy IPAs. In addition to their main site (which includes a restaurant) in the Fort Point area, Trillium operates a beer garden in the summer on the Greenway and has opened a tap room in Canton, Massachusetts. They are also building out a location at a Connecticut farm. See our review here.
Favorite Logo/Beer Glasses Here are three of my favorites from this past year … sorry, one if from my Field Research series!
- Farnham Ale and Lager’s pint glass
- Burlington Beer Company’s snifter glass
- White Birch Brewing’s flute/tulip glass
The Cicerone says: Did you know that the Vermont Brewers Association lists 56 breweries in the state? You can visit one each week! But return visits are also worthwhile as the breweries are constantly coming up with new and interesting derivatives. More to come in 2019!