Brew-Inn: Part VI: Favorite Microbreweries in Vermont

Pouring beer at Phelps Barn, Grafton Inn VT

Phelps Barn at Grafton Inn

This is the last in our series about innkeepers picks for favorite microbreweries, wineries and distilleries in New England. The 12 Distinctive Inns of New England (DINE) have offered up quite the arm chair beer, wine and spirits tour over the past few weeks in the DINE blog.  We like to call it our “spirited” tour and it makes for the perfect itinerary for tasting and pairing your way through New England. Try combining  a romantic getaway at one of 12 DINE inns with tours and tastings at one of these many New England microbreweries, distilleries and wineries we’ve discovered in our Brew-Inn series, and you have an ideal vacation.

The first post in our Brew-Inn series took us on a state-wide tour of microbreweries in Massachusetts, all recommended by our innkeepers at Gateways Inn, Harbor Light Inn, Captain’s House Inn and Deerfield Inn.  The second post in our series focused on Newport, Rhode Island,  where the Newport Craft Brewing & Distilling, a microbrewery and distillery favorite of Nancy and Bill at Cliffside Inn and makers of Newport Storm craft beers was the recommendation.  The third post explored options in Maine, where the craft brewing movement has exploded, and also home to some fabulous wineries and distillery favorites of Captain Jefferds Inn and Camden Maine Stay Inn too.  Next, we explored wineries and brewery favorites of innkeepers at Inn at Harbor Hill Marina, all located in Mystic Country on or near the Connecticut Shoreline.  The fifth in our Brew-Inn series, featured ideas for combining a stay in New Hampshire at Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield or the Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness with wonderful microbreweries and distilleries in the region.  Today we will end our series with a trip down the Vermont Beer Trail, offering up some favorites from innkeepers at Rabbit Hill Inn and the Grafton Inn.

Renowned for its farm to table foods and spirits, it’s no wonder that beer lovers love to visit Vermont to taste (and fill their cars) with some well-known and other limited availability craft brews. Since Vermont is a smaller state, these favorites from innkeepers at Rabbit Hill Inn and Grafton Inn are all within a drive and make for the ideal beer trail road trip.  Of course, you’ll find several Vermont craft beers both in cans and bottles and on tap at the Grafton Inn’s Phelps Barn Pub, Old Tavern Restaurant and the new Pine Room Tavern.  You’ll always find at least one Vermont Craft beer on tap at the Snooty Fox Pub at Rabbit Hill Inn too, and many other offerings in cans and bottles.

Beer festival at Hill Farmstead Brewery

Credit: Hill Farmstead Brewery photo

Hill Farmstead in Greensboro, VT: Leslie at the Rabbit Hill Inn says this is a “Must-Go”.  Named 2015 & 2016 Best Brewery in the World, as well as Best Brewery in Vermont and New England by RateBeer, many of its beers have been listed in the top ten new beers in the world.  This is one place you’re going to want to schedule carefully for on your trip around Vermont breweries, because it’s only open Wednesday through Saturday. Speaking of timing, in addition you may want to plan your trip to Grafton Inn or Rabbit Hill Inn to coincide with their August 4, 2018 Festival of Farmhouse Ales. Make sure there is ample room in your trunk and a camera is nearby to capture this barn-based brewery – vintage Vermont!  See for yourself if it really is the best beer in the world, then let your innkeeper know.

Lost Nation Brewing Co in Morrisville, VT:   Here’s a place to find great beers and really good food. This 7,000bbl brewery pumps out a wide variety of ales and lagers, taking inspiration from some of the lesser known European styles blended with true Vermont grit. Several varieties are crafted here from light to dark ales, pilsners and IPAs.  Here’s another one that requires planning.  It’s open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 am to 9:00pm.

Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville, VT:   A larger production brewery, you’ll find both a tasting room, and a viewing room where you can enjoy flights and tastings of the wide variety of craft beers made here.  In true Vermont fashion, this brewery is 100% solar.  In keeping with its Vermont heritage, look for beers like a Vermont Maple Wheat Ale and Vermont Spruce Stout. The Brewery also offers a variety of KIS Kombucha There’s also a fun line-up of “Hoppenings” here too.  Every third Thursday of the month come celebrate Pint Night and try one of the 8 featured beers. As the name of this brewery implies, you can enjoy the local artwork spread throughout the building upstairs and downstairs.  It’s open 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 6:00pm.

The Alchemist Brewery, Stowe, VT:  This craft brewer was made famous by its flagship double IPA, Heady Topper, the 3rd highest-rated beer in the world.   People hoard Heady Topper and come from far and wide to get it. And it’s got a story of tenacity.  The Alchemist Cannery was built in early 2011, as a 15-barrel brewery and canning line in Waterbury, VT.  It was built specifically to produce the Heady Topper IPA, in the early days of IPA production. The first two cans of Heady Topper rolled off the line just two days after Tropical Storm Irene demolished the Alchemist Pub and Brewery.  Today, production still takes place in Waterbury, but the tasting room and visitor center is in Stowe. While their top seller is still the Heady Topper, you might have fun tasting and saying some of their other options. Skadoosh is an American IPA and Dubbel Twubble is a Belgian Style Twubble beer.  Fun to say and even more delicious to drink.

The Den at Harry's Hardware Store

Credit: Harry’s Hardware Store

Harry’s Hardware Store, in Cabot, VT: Yes, this really is a hardware store with beer – only in Vermont, right?! While Cabot is famous for its cheese production, this is one very fun place, where cool people sell cool stuff. Inside you’ll find Ken’s Den serving a variety of Vermont craft beers on tap, plus wine and a great coffee bar. This is a one of its kind in Vermont located on Main Street in Cabot. Open 7 days a week (hours vary).

Kingdom Taproom in St. Johnsbury, VT: Serving an impressive variety of beers and reasonably sized menu of foods & snacks to match the beer offerings.  Plus, it’s just 15 minutes north of Rabbit Hill Inn.

Beer Naked Brewery in Marlboro, VT:  We promise you don’t have to be bare naked to enjoy a beer naked beer here atop Hogback Mountain.  While a bit of a schlep from both Rabbit Hill Inn and Grafton Inn, this brewery and pizzapalooza comes with a stunning view of the Mount Snow region from its mountain top location.  Brewing IPAs and ales with names like Fun House Pale Ale and Party Guy Sour Ale, you know this is one fun place to enjoy a beer with a view.

Long Trail Brewing Company in Bridgewater Corners, VT: Among the trailblazers of craft brewing in Vermont, when the state was far better known for its maple syrup than its craft beers, the first batch of Long Trail Ale® rolled off the line in 1989, nearly 30 years ago. Back then the brewery—known as the Mountain Brewers—was a modest 8000 barrel-a-year brew house tucked into the basement of the Old Woolen Mill in Bridgewater Corners. The goal then as it is now was to create an affordable, American-made alternative to the pricey German and English exports that filled the shelves. Today, Long Trail Beer is known throughout the Green Mountain state, New England and beyond almost as well as the trail its named after. Having moved into much larger digs, this brewery offers quite a range of IPAs, ales, wheat beers and a number of limited editions.  Open seven days a week, the spacious riverside pub and restaurant was inspired by the Hofbräu House in Munich, Germany, and a great place to try their many beers on tap.

Visit each of the Distinctive Inns of New England by clicking below on links that will take you to each of their websites.  Better yet, visit them in person and we’re pretty sure “hoppiness” will follow.

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In New Hampshire:  Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness & Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield

In Connecticut: Inn at Harbor Hill Marina in Niantic

In Maine:  Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport & Camden Maine Stay Inn in Camden

In Vermont:  Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford & Grafton Inn in Grafton

In Massachusetts:  Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Gateways Inn & Restaurant in Lenox, Deerfield Inn in Historic Deerfield and Captain’s House Inn in Chatham on Cape Cod.

In Rhode Island: Cliffside Inn in Newport