Brewed in Vermont
When I landed in Boston, MA, on my journey to Vermont, I had a little down time before my train arrived, so naturally I found myself at the bar with new friends I had met on my journey out of the terminal. The bartender asked me where I’m headed. I told him I’m on my first trip to Vermont. He then proceeded to exclaim his love for Vermont breweries. Him and his friends take a yearly visit up to the prestigious beer galleries. At that time, I wasn’t a huge beer drinker, so I didn’t pay much attention. Now, on the other hand, the distaste of beer has fizzled. I make an experience out of traveling from town to town, finding a new specialty beer, creatively crafted in Vermont. Many pubs will even give free samples! There’s an exceptional variety and culture that I can only liken to the natural and divine distinction of wine country in California. Ancient alchemy meets modern day science in the green mountain state, and the result is unparalleled.
One that is near and dear to my heart, and my liver I’m sure, is Switchback. My most recent reasoning for why I like to drink this particular beer above all others is so obviously simple in my mind – I don’t end up having to ice my head all day the next day due to a migraine. My explanation of this phenomenon is that this beer is unfiltered and naturally conditioned. It could be all in my head (no pun intended), but I like to think there’s some science behind it. Here’s why I think Vermonters love Switchback – This unique beverage that started as a one-man show 15 years ago, in a space of 5000sqft, grew to a 30 person team, in a 28000 sqft factory. Because of that 30-person team’s dedication to the business, they have now become part owners of the thriving company. The founder of the company explained that “Entrusting the brewery to the employees ensures the company will carry on with its mission to provide great beer and great jobs to the local community.” This move makes Switchback the first 100% employee owned brewery in Vermont. It’s really refreshing to see this mentality, and surprisingly, this is the warm sensation one receives from almost every aspect of this great state of the union. A sense of genuine support and appreciation for the community, who work hard for what they believe in and create quality products that people can stand to support. The uniqueness is commendable.
Speaking of uniqueness, our next brewery is by no means a standard beer distributor. Their packaging is as exceptional as their story. I first ventured to Magic Hat Brewery when my parent’s visited from out of town. I was as impressed with the brew selection as I was with their history. The artistic vision began with one man who set up shop in his home in the early 90s. Since then, the operation has transformed into a factory that distributes upwards of 175,000 barrels a year. On the day I entered their factory, I was greeted warmly by a barista offering me free shots of a variety of exclusive flavors, from Elder Betty to their signature #9. I was pleasantly surprised by this offer, and decided to partake. I sipped my beverages and made pleasant conversation with the barista. He informed me that I can guide myself thru the factory or take a tour. My parents wanted to take a tour so we browsed the large bar-room while waiting for the tour to begin. Once it did, I was delighted with the choice.
The thing I enjoyed most about the trip is the thing I believe gives Magic Hat their extraordinary vibe – their choice to create aesthetically pleasing illustrations with each new flavor. They have talented artists working on each new product, “putting a performance into every bottle of beer.” They even host yearly competitions that give individuals like you are I an opportunity to express your art-form and manifest your next booming creation, live in front of all of Burlington (Video 2016!). Their brewery, and each flavor they unleash, makes for an overall tantalizing experience.
One of the most fabulous attractions in Burlington is the brew tour schedule, launched in 2009, which offers a behind-the-scenes in-depth journey of some of the culture surrounding Vermont. You are chauffeured around Burlington (avoid the DUI), and have the opportunity to indulge in the marvelous and majestic variety of tonics throughout the boisterous city. Some of the stops include:
- Vermont Pub and Brewery (third oldest brewery on the East Coast!)
- Magic Hat
- Three Needs
- Rock Art
- Trapp Lager
- The Alchemist Cannery
If you’re planning a trip out to these parts, or are just searching for a vacation venture like no other, come on out and turn your travels into a funtastic adventure for the whole family (21 and up family, of course). This offers a safe and comfortable way to enjoy Vermont’s tasteful, handcrafted beer selection.