Vermont is basically New England’s craft beer mecca. I traveled there last weekend to visit family and friends. Though I surprisingly didn’t make many plans of visiting breweries, I did get a chance to check out a few local places to drink and hang out and see music.
After getting stuck in traffic with tons of cars with skis and snowboard strapped to the roof, I made it to downtown Burlington. I met up with a friend working at Manhattan Pizza and Pub, which doesn’t sound very “Vermont” at all, but I didn’t let the name fool me. The Friday night special is $5 Heady Toppers and $5 foot long cheesesteak subs, which was exactly what I wanted after the 6 hour (stupid ski traffic) drive up. Of course, I took plenty advantage of this $5 Heady Topper special, but I did also enjoy the 20 taps of additional deliciousness. Their tap list included local VT offerings from Fiddlehead, Switchback, and Citizen Cider, which are unavailable to me in CT, as well as some of my favorites like Maine Brewing Co.’s MO, Founders Breakfast Stout, and Lagunitas Sucks.
It would sadly turn out that the only place I would be able to find that coveted Alchemist IPA would be at bars. I searched a few liquor stores throughout the weekend and was left empty handed (well not really, I picked up a few different beers, of course).
Saturday night was the big Winter Is A Drag Ball at Higher Ground in South Burlington. The venue reminded me of The Outer Space in Hamden, as it had two multiple venues in one. The “Sailors and Mermaids” theme was a huge hit. I rocked a sweet pirate outfit, but it was pretty tame compared to some of the other ensembles, ranging in descriptives from sequined to scantily (or both!). A tribute band to Prince’s Purple Rain kicked off the show in the main room, with acts from local performers taking place onstage throughout the night. Dancing, drinking, and people-watching galore. Not a bad beer selection for a rock club, either. I went for Switchback’s unfiltered pale ale for most of the night, save for a pint of Magic Hat’s local seasonal Maple Chocolate Porter. Not much of a fan of the latter, but it was worth a try since I think it’s only available around their brewery. There’s only so many sweet flavors I can tolerate before my teeth hurt though.
The under-the-sea themed decorations were awesome too, especially the jellyfish chandeliers.
I found more of them as I walked around Burlington outside!
A few hours (and beers) into the night, I also decided that I needed to get my face painted like David Bowie. So I did.
For the post partying hangover cure, I got brunch on Sunday at Luenigs on Church Street, with some killer pumpkin french toast on brioche with mascarpone, candied bacon, and of course, plenty of maple syrup. Although their bloody mary selections looked tasty, I opted for the local cider on draft, from Citizen Cider in Essex Junction. I’m not that big a cider fan myself, but the light, subtly sweet bubbly cider was definitely a great breakfast libation.
After exploring downtown Burlington and picking up some wool socks, chocolate, and cheese (I love when my activities coincide with the name of a Ween record!), I stopped for a snack and a pint at Vermont Pub and Brewery. I enjoyed the Dogbite Bitter on cask, which is a really great ESB, that was excellent on cask. Perfect temperature with a slight malty sweetness. It’s brewed with East Kent Golding and Fuggle (possibly my favorite hop varietal, mostly because I like the name, don’t judge me…) The pub also collaborates with other breweries- their current collaborative offering is with Magic Hat Brewing and is a sour IPA brewed with passion fruit.
It was a short trip but I definitely plan on heading back, especially in the summer, because the thought of drinking craft beer on Lake Champlain sounds AWESOME right now with 6 inches of snow on the ground.
Now here are some dog pictures.