Cheese and Brew in VT
Any thoughts on best breweries and cheesemakers to visit in Vermont? We will be heading through the Burlington area on our way to Montreal in a few weeks. I've seen the nice maps put out by the Ag agency, looking for advice on which places to hit up...
I can't speak to the cheese side of things … if you're willing, (sign up and) send a message to http://beeradvocate.com/user/profile/... … she can point you in the right direction, most certainly.
As for breweries … the go-to spots in the greater Burlington area are:
- The Alchemist, Waterbury: a must-go place; simply exceptional beer and very good food.
- Magic Hat, South Burlington: cool proper industrial brewery with tour, plus great shop/tasting bar, growlers, great vibe, &c.
- American Flatbread and Taproom
- Vermont Pub and Brewery
- Three Needs
All about a block apart in Burlington; Flatbread has a decent self-brewed selection ("Zero Gravity" series), and a *fantastic* craft/import selection, at all times; the food and feeling are wonderful, as well. VPB is an institution, for good reason. Three Needs is a bit more … gauche, but does have novel craft beers.
Depending on which way you're going, Otter Creek (Middlebury, on rte 7) or McNeill's (Brattleboro, on 91) are options, as well.
Where are you coming from? If you're coming up from points south, get off at the Brattleboro exit and check out McNeills, then go one town up to Putney, wind up the road to the teeming metropolis of Westminster West and meet the "girls" at Vermont Shepherd. Best-in-the-country cheese (literally) a nice cave tour, good prices on the cheese if you buy it right at the farmstand, great scenery. I actually enjoy the "seconds" more than the firsts -- they're often cheeses that came out atypical (so can't be sold under the usual labels) but just fabulous in their own right.
And TJ Buckley's is nothing to sneeze at, either, if you have the cash.
Long Trail Brewery is pretty much in the middle of the state so I'm not sure if it's on your route. There is a lame "self-guided" tour but the beer is good and fresh and the lunches are tasty. It is located in Bridgewater on Route 4. I like both the beer and the food a little better at Long Trail than at Harpoon which is located in Windsor on Route 5 but Harpoon might be closer if you're traveling up 91.
In Burlington on College Street -- the "Vermont Pub & Brewery" is certainly worth a visit -- very good craft beers, good pub menu/atmosphere.
And while in Burlington, check out the array of cheeses and other delights, local and not-so-local, at the "Cheese Outlet/Fresh Market" on Pine Street. It was here that I first discovered Boucher Blue! Exquisite! "Sweet, earthy, creamy!"
And since you're headed up to Montreal, you'll be passing not far from the Boucher Farm in Highgate VT, where the Boucher cheeses are made. I haven't been there myself, but I gather from their website/blog that you can buy their cheeses at the farm.
Send me some Boucher Blue!