Four Central Vermont Breweries for Visiting & Tasting
By Melanie Heisinger
Courtesy of von Trapp Brewing.
With more breweries per capita than any other state in the country, Vermont displays a particular passion for beer, so much so that “Vermont-style” IPAs are being brewed as far away as Poland and the Czech Republic. Many of the state’s most famous brewers work in Central Vermont, with more than a dozen welcoming visitors to watch production, sample their products, and ideally, leave with a growler or two and bags of schwag. Here are four beloved Central Vermont breweries; grab your designated driver and go.
For the fourth year in a row (and the fifth time in six years), Hill Farmstead in tiny Greensboro Bend has been named the best brewery in the world by RateBeer, a well-known brew-review website. The fame has turned Route 14 out of Montpelier into a virtual yellow brick road, particularly during summer and fall, for beer enthusiasts and aficionados from around the world. Awaiting them are a taproom and retail shop with its beloved brews, named after brewer Shaun Hill’s family ancestors—Edward, Marie, Mary, and more.
403 Hill Rd, Greensboro Bend
Vermont’s craft-brew scene was arguably launched into the stratosphere with the release of Heady Topper, first canned in 2011 in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, which destroyed the Alchemist Bar in Waterbury. Consistently rated among the top 10 beers worldwide, it’s created an almost cult-like following, with lines forming outside Vermont liquor stores and cars bearing license plates from afar. In July 2016, Alchemist opened a new brewery and cannery in Stowe, which also has a Visitors Center with a tasting section, full views of the brewing process, and plenty of retail schwag.
100 Cottage Club Rd, Stowe
The hills of Stowe continue to be alive with the sound of music, thanks to the famous Von Trapp family, which runs the Trapp Family Lodge. In 2010, they added a brewery and a gorgeous chalet-style Bierhall. Although IPAs are brewed here, the focus is on producing primarily the crisp, clean lagers, pilsners, kölsches, and bocks associated with their ancestral homeland of Austria. Enjoy them all with a menu of pretzels, schnitzel, and knackwurst, plus views of the mountain landscape through large windows.
1333 Luce Hill Rd, Stowe
Sunlight powers 100 percent of the beer-making at Rock Art, and it uses all that solar energy to produce a distinct flavor of beer. Founder and owner Matt Nadeau’s “let’s try it” attitude has created and produced brews like Vermonster Barley Wine, maple wheat, grapefruit IPA, and Sun Rocked IPA, with tropical fruit, berries, and citrus flavors that reflect “everything that summer sunshine represents.” Visitors can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the process from the upstairs tasting room, and formal tours are available on request.
632 Laporte Rd, Morristown