A Memorial Day Beercation
Last weekend E and I made the long drive up to Vermont (6 + hours) for the weekend to spend some quality time with some of our favorite people. It was supposed to be more of a couples retreat with some relaxation by the pool but it was a bit too cold for that. Instead it became more of a beercation filled with stops to several local breweries all over northwest Vermont. We stopped at some of a favorite restaurants and shops and enjoyed some new places as well. Everyone always asks for our itinerary so I figured it would be easier to share it here. Enjoy the wild ride!
We stayed at the adorable Green Mountain Inn in Stowe, which is about a 15 minute drive from Waterbury. It was also about a 30 minute drive to Burlington. In other words, the hotel is perfectly located, right in the center of all of the action! We loved our room, the beds were ridiculously comfortable, and they have a restaurant with an AMAZING beer list right downstairs, called The Whip.
When we arrived at the Green Mountain Inn we noticed their bar was still open and serving beers. It had been a long drive so we decided to take seats at the bar and order drinks. We were surprised at how great of a beer selection they had. They had Alchemist Heady Topper cans, Fiddlehead IPA, Lost Nation Pitch Black (a favorite of ours) and other local brews. We each ordered a beer right before last call (we sat down at 10:30PM after 6 hours of driving). It was a nice beginning to a beer filled weekend!
For the last couple years, every time we have gone up to Vermont someone told us that we NEEDED to go to Hen of the Wood. Unfortunately it is impossible to get a reservation at the last minute. This time we booked MONTHS in advance. We were so excited! I put on a dress and some cute booties and we were ready to go! Between the four of us we ordered about 80% of the menu. EVERYTHING WAS DELICIOUS. Hands down, one of my favorite dining experiences that I have ever had. We started with beer (or course). Three out of the four of us ordered Alchemist beers. A Focal Banger for me and Heady Topper for the boys. We ordered a selection of appetizers; all were amazing. My favorite was the beets. The beets were perfectly cooked and the ricotta cheese complimented it so nicely. For my main, I ordered the halibut which was flaky and gorgeous and the grits and asparagus that accompanied it were outstanding. Our main courses were followed by a cheese course. We had quite the selection of hard and soft cheese. All were delicious. We finished this glorious meal with maple and raspberry ice cream. Made in house and so refreshing. I dreamed about this meal that night. I cannot wait to go back!
One of E’s all time favorite restaurants. All of the pork products. While I don’t eat pork, they make AMAZING mac and cheese with locally made Cabot Cheese. It is some of the best mac and cheese I have ever had. Additionally, they have an EPIC beer list, that includes their own brews, Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, The Alchemist, Fiddlehead and more! We always end up ordering too much but it is worth it. Also, the bartenders are awesome! They are so knowledgeable about every beer and cocktail they serve. They unfortunately don’t take reservations, so show up and sit at the bar. I find it to be more fun at the bar anyway!
Cabot Mac n’ Cheese
House-made Pretzels with Heady Topper Mustard
On our last morning in Vermont we were looking for somewhere new to eat breakfast. The front desk suggested we go to McCarthy’s Restaurant. They had great Yelp reviews so we figured we would give it a try. They have an expansive menu and all of the locals eat here. I was surprised to see that they served Myer’s Bagels from Burlington. They are my FAVORITE kind of bagels in the world – MONTREAL STYLE BAGELS. My mother is originally from Montreal so I grew up eating them.
As a girl who lives so close to New York, I know that admitting that I love Montreal style bagels better then New York bagels is a problem. They are just so dense, sweet and delicious. What makes these bagels different is that they are egg-less, dipped in honey and fire roasted. I ordered a Montreal Spice bagel as a side to my over-easy eggs, which were yolky and perfectly cooked, and seasoned potatoes. I was in heaven.
The perfect place to stop after a long wait in line at Hill Farmstead. We had heard great things about The Parker Pie Co. from friends and decided to check it out. When we arrived we thought we had the wrong place. It is actually in the back of a convenience store. They have two seating areas, front and back, both of which have their own bars with different beers on tap. We decided to sit in the back bar. It was quieter and we liked the beers back there better. We ordered the Green Mountain Special Pie sans bacon and split it between the four of us. It was a nice snack after two flights at Hill Farmstead in addition to the beers we ordered at Parker. Since we were still in Hill Farmstead country we all went with different Hill Farmstead selections. Why the hell not?! While Parker Pie is little out of the way, they are definitely worth visiting. We would definitely go back!
On our first trip to Vermont we kind of stumbled into Lost Nation by accident. And what a happy accident it was. It was then that we were sold on Gose, a salty summer beer, and Pitch Black, smokey deliciousness. Ever since we have always stopped in for a pint or two. Since our first trip they have expanded and now serve food outside in their Biergarten. They serve a selection of BBQ, seafood and sandwiches as well as cheese. Everything we have ordered is delicious. Also, they are now canning their famous Gose in addition to their Lost Galaxy IPA. We were also lucky enough to get our hands on two bottles of Fuzzy from their bottle share program. It is their Pitch Black aged on cherries in bourbon barrels. Cannot wait to crack those bottles!
I highly recommend going on your way back into the Stowe/Waterbury area from Hill Farmstead and Parker Pie. You won’t be disappointed.
So first let me tell you that Hill Farmstead is kind of in the middle of nowhere. It is at least 30 minutes away from Stowe/Waterbury and you are on a dirt road for part of the drive. You really should drive up there though. This time we were lucky enough to be there when it was sunny out, albeit a little windy. The grounds and surrounding area are gorgeous – picturesque really. The dandelions were popping out of the grass. It was beautiful to just wander. We were there about an hour before they were scheduled to open and there was already a line forming. We were there to fill up some growlers and buy some bottles since Hill Farmstead does not distribute outside of Vermont. We did two flights so as to try everything they had on tap while in line.
They make some of the best beers we have ever had, and that is saying something because we have had A LOT of beer. Our favorites include Edward, Everett, Mary, Arthur, Abner, Society and Solitude #5 and Harlan.
Right down the block from Myer’s Bagels in Burlington. We stopped in for a flight and tried everything on tap. They didn’t have anything all that spectacular but they had great deck area to sit and hang out with friends while drinking a beer.
Directly across the street from Zero Gravity is Queen City. They have a great bar area and taproom setup but the beer wasn’t anything to write home about.
Beer was kind of bland but their bar area and outdoor seating have a spectacular view. Go just for the view. It is worth it.
We decided to make a last minute stop into Fiddlehead on the way back from Burlington. THANK GOD we did. They had HODAD on tap. It is by far one of my favorite beers. We have a can from last years batch just chilling in the refrigerator. We got a growler of Hodad and by some miracle they had Second Fiddle and Tejas Marron cans available for purchase. Of course we bought one of each!
Switchback is right down the block from the Worlds Tallest Filing Cabinet. Stop by for a flight after posing next to the filing cabinet. All that posing makes a girl thirsty!
Other Local Attractions
GO. It is strange and hilarious and kind of random.
Moooooooovin’ right along. Who doesn’t love free cheese samples?
Every time we are in Waterbury we visit the Ben and Jerry’s Factory for a tour. We have done the tour probably five times but it is always fun. While the tour isn’t free, it is definitely worth doing at least once. They show you how they make Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chunky Monkey ice cream and at the end you even get a free sample!