As the days grow shorter and the air has a bit more crisp, my beer senses start to turn away from those summer saisons and sours towards more steady and hearty versions. This week I decided to celebrate Fall by tasting four interesting Vermont beers that were recommended by my friend John at Stowe Public House and Bottle Shop: two Oktoberfests, a maple ale, and a limited-edition amber lager!
I started with the Maple Red Ale from Bent Hill Brewery (Braintree, Vermont). Bent Hill is on my short list to visit as their beers keep popping up in various local establishments.
- Maple Red Ale from Bent Hill Brewery (4.8% ABV) Brewed with Vienna malt, a touch of hops and imbued with maple syrup made right at the brewery. Pours beautifully with a nice, dark amber …. subtle maple flavor pushes through.
Appearance: 4.7 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: x.5 | Overall: 4.5
Stone Corral is one of my favorite breweries in the area (see our past review). In addition to fine beers, there is great food and spectacular views of Fall foliage.
- Oktoberfest Lager from Stone Corral Brewing (6.0% ABV) A lager made from Bavarian malts and hops. A fine beer with a definite lager taste.
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.4 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.4 | Overall: 4.4
To find 14th Star Brewing you have to trek a little ways north of Burlington to St. Albans. 14th Star is veteran-owned and proud of it (see our past review).
- Oktoberfest Marzen from 14th Star Brewing (5.9% ABV) A classic German marzen, brewed with German malts and hops. This is a marzen alright!
Appearance: 4.5 | Aroma: 4.3 | Feel: 4.4 | Taste: 4.5 | Overall: 4.4
I finished up with a bottle of Red Fort from Wunderkammer Bier (Greensboro, Vermont). Wunderkammer is the inspired creation of Hill Farmstead brewer Vasilios Gletsos. Gletsos creates small, interesting batches and adorns them with his art. In this case, the bottle of Red Fort is small-scale reproduction of his larger wood-cut print that you can find on 22-oz. bottles. Needless to say, I was very excited to score some of this hard-to-find beer.
- Red Fort from Wunderkammer Bier (6.4% ABV) An amber lager, fermented with God-knows-what and aged in oak barrels. Nice amber pour, with an unexpected, but pleasant sour taste. Must have been due to the “mixed culture” used to ferment the beer. Very complex flavors.
Appearance: 4.6 | Aroma: 4.6 | Feel: 4.5 | Taste: 4.6 | Overall: 4.6
The Cicerone says: All of the above beers are very good and will get you through a dreary autumn day. Keep an eye out for anything from Wunderkammer Bier and pounce if you spot some!