The Middlebury Tasting Trail is a day of Vermont beer, wine, and spirits

Vermont tourists increasingly visit breweries, wineries, and distilleries as part of their trip through the Green Mountain State.  The Middlebury Tasting Trail was organized to provide Middlebury-area visitors with an itinerary for sampling some of the best liquids of Vermont within a day.  We had a chance to interview Sara from Lincoln Peak Vineyard to get some more information on the trail.

What is The Middlebury Tasting Trail and how did it get started?
The Middlebury Tasting Trail is a string of seven beverage producers all located within five miles of each other in Middlebury, VT. With beer, wine, hard cider, and spirits producers, the trail offers a wide variety of tastings. Otter Creek BrewingWoodchuck Cider, Lincoln Peak VineyardStonecutter Spirits, Appalachian Gap Distillery, Drop-In Brewing, and WhistlePig Whiskey are on the trail, along with a seasonal pop-up tasting at Windfall Orchard. I (Sara Granstrom at Lincoln Peak Vineyard) had the inspiration for the trail a few years ago, when a few new businesses were opening their doors in Middlebury and we had a nice cluster of producers in very close proximity to each other. Other folks jumped on the idea. We started with five members, and we’ve grown to seven plus one seasonal member this year.

 

How have you seen the Vermont beer scene change over the last few years and how has that impacted area tourism?  Are you seeing beer or wine or other spirits rise or fall in popularity?
The enthusiasm and interest in Vermont-produced beverages of all kinds, especially alcoholic beverages, has continued to grow unchecked. Spirits, in particular, have exploded lately, it seems to me. I’m also seeing a strong and steady interest in Vermont wines, as our industry continues to garner regional and some national attention. Wine writers and sommeliers are particularly interested in the Marquette grape, as a stellar example of what cold-climate viticulture can produce.

The Middlebury Tasting Trail

What are some tips you have for a Vermont tourist heading out on the tasting trail?
If you’re coming to the Middlebury Tasting Trail, make a day (or a weekend) of it! Middlebury has a lovely downtown, a wide variety of great places to eat lunch and dinner, comfy accommodations, and a bunch of shops on either side of the gorgeous waterfall in the center of town. Since there are so many tastings on the trail, we highly recommend having a designated driver, hiring a driver, and/or splitting it up across a couple of days.

 

How is the Vermont community and local economy benefiting from the rise of the brewery scene, in your opinion?
Aside from helping to make Vermont an even more fun place to live and work, the beer industry has, of course, driven a lot of tourism to the state. It’s boosted interested in other alcoholic beverages produced here, and promoted the state as a great place to find high-quality a yummy things to drink.

 

Aside from the tasting trail, what are some of your other favorite things to do in the Middlebury area?
 There’s another excellent trail in town: the Trail Around Middlebury (aka the TAM). With about 18 miles of trail, the TAM offers a lot of walking, running, and exploring, plus river access and a few mountain-bike-approved segments. You could even bring bikes and bike the TAM to access a lot of the Middlebury Tasting Trail. (Ask for the local biking intel and rent bikes at Frog Hollow Bikes.)

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