There’s nothing quite like experiencing the spectacular foliage of New England. The beautiful colors of the maples, oaks, and aspens are breathtaking. However, that is not all that makes a trip to Stowe this time of year a great outing. We’ve also taken notice of the breweries that dot the Vermont landscape, and Stowe is a great central spot from which to explore foliage and beer.
Stowe’s mountain lodge, named by Boston magazine to its “Best of New England” list in 2010, is not just a delicious place to stay but has a great house brew, Hour Glass Ale. Ask Chef Sean Buchanan and we’re sure he’ll still be happy to pair it with locally-grown and organically-produced fresh vegetables, all natural meats and artisan cheeses, if you stop in separate from the Stowe Brew Tour organized by Burlington Brew Tours.
If you didn’t know this, Vermont is home to more breweries per capita than any other state, with nearly two dozen brewers according to Sarah Stewart of draftmag.com. She presents neighboring Burlington as one of America’s “beertowns,” which very much seems to agree with Chad Brodsky, the owner of Burlington Brew Tours. He calls attention to a feature ranking by MSNBC that positions Burlington as No. 4 among the “Top 10 Cities for Beer lovers” in the world.
Harpoon, with a brewery in Windsor, VT, may be one of the state’s most famous breweries, regularly churning out its famed India Pale Ale. It’s a good hour and a half away from Stowe by car but might be worth a quick trip in your PC-12 to stop by the brewer’s annual Oktoberfest. Back in 1987, Harpoon received the first permit to be issued in twenty-five years by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to brew and package beer commercially. In 2000, Harpoon expanded to Windsor. But, while Harpoon is perhaps most recognizable, the small breweries around Vermont, like Hill Farmstead Brewery, may be particularly interesting.
Down the road from Stowe, Hill Farmstead Brewery had its first brew day on march 30, 2010. Founded by Shaun Hill, the brewery somewhat dates back to the 1780s when his ancestors co-founded Greensboro. Today Shaun uses water sourced from the well on his family’s land. Its clean, soft profile accentuates the malt, hops and yeast in each beer. Shaun loves hops, rarely brews the same beer and prefers oak barrels. Edward, his American Pale Ale, appears to be a favorite. Hill Farmstead only produced two batches per week when it first opened. Before that, Shaun brewed three beers while in Denmark, earning him two Golds and one Silver at the World Beer Cup. Hill Farmstead now brews 200 to 400 gallons per week, mostly for Vermont taps, though Shaun does seem to share his beer with Philadelphia and New York City - on rare occasions. And, yes, he welcomes visitors.