Memorial Day weekend I embarked on the three and a half hour drive up to northern Vermont to enjoy the trifecta of Vermont beers – Hill Farmstead Brewery, Alchemist Brewery and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. First stop was Hill Farmstead’s Second Anniversary Celebration. With sunshine, live music, yummy food and top-notch beers, I was in my happy place.
Unfortunately, my tasting strategy was lacking and I didn’t get to try as many of the special release beers as I had hoped. With long lines at the specialty tent, the kegs were turning over quickly. (Hill Farmstead Twitter feed reported that Mimosa kicked in nine minutes!)
I did try the following:
Edward – American Pale Ale (and their flagship beer)
Civil Disobedience #4 – Black Saison from oak barrels
Society & Solitude #2 – Imperial Black IPA
Grassroots/Mikkeller Collaboration: Wheat is the New Hops – IPA brewed with wheat
Abner – Imperial IPA
Of course I wasn’t leaving there empty-handed. Before we took off I grabbed bottles of Everett and Anna and growler of Abner.
Next stop was Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT. Located at the old Alchemist Pub and Brewery location, Prohibition Pig had great BBQ and an notable beer list. Here I had my first Lawson’s of the weekend, Permagrin Rye, as well as some delicious Heady Topper!
Finally, we made our last leg to Burlington where we were spending the night. First on the agenda was Farmhouse Tap & Grill, which had been a favorite from my last trip to the city. We spent the remainder of the evening parked in their great beer garden where more Lawson’s was on tap. This time it was the Knockout Blonde and Big Hapi before finishing the night with more Heady. (Double Sunshine was the next keg on tap, but unfortunately didn’t come on while we were there.)
Sunday’s mission was all about Alchemist, but first we made a quick stop to the Beverage Warehouse in Winooski. As they boast having every beer available in Vermont, I went to the store hoping to score some Lawson’s to take back to Boston. I had done my research and knew that deliveries were made on Friday and that pickings would be slim, if any, come Sunday. So true! I ended up passing over the few bottles of Big Hapi left in favor of a bomber of the Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA, which I had yet to try.
With the cooler starting to fill up at this point, we finally made our way to the Alchemist Cannery in Waterbury – home of the Heady Topper. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to experience it (it is only available sporadically in the Boston area and in very limited quantities), know that Heady Topper lives up to the hype. With a 100 BeerAdvocate rating, this Imperial IPA is a world-class beer and a must-have for hopheads.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited to finally have the chance to purchase as much as I wanted and at a price significantly cheaper than what it sells for in Boston. So we pull into the driveway and wouldn’t you know, there’s a sign posted alerting visitors to the fact that they were out of cans! Not wanting to waste too much time, we had a quick sample and poke around the facilities before heading out to track down some Heady. Luckily, they had plenty at our next stop, the Hunger Mountain Co-op – phew! I think I amused my fellow shoppers and Co-op staff as I desperately clutched as much beer as I could hold while we located a shopping cart to fill up. These native Vermonters don’t know how good they have it!
Tired and happy, I brought my haul back home and promptly filled the fridge. I hope no one was actually planning on putting food in there!