Vermont….in a day

Posted: February 5, 2014 in Beer Drinking Adventures
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So it seems that I start off almost every one of my posts lately about getting laid off and now working as an independent contractor…blah blah blah.   So I took two days worth of in Vermont for a fair price but really formed it around specific areas of Vermont…those containing good beer.

After leaving my house at 4am in the morning, driving all the way across New York State in a snowstorm and arriving in Southern Vermont, I had to stop for gas and stretch the legs.  At the small town gas station that I went to, it was the typical ‘Vermont Products Sold Here’ place like every other tourist place in Vermont.  As I went inside to pay for gas (because the pump didn’t take credit cards…yup, rustic), I noticed that the display case had baked goods and one thing caught my eye…the ever so popular Cronut.  Oh Yes, the Cronut…the cross of the Croissant and the Donut.   When I asked for one, the woman had to remind me that it was 4.50 each.   Okay…Ill bite.   Let me tell you about this money suck creation…it basically looked like some smashed 10 croissants on top of each other, carved out the inside hole to make it look like a donut then drizzled it with maple icing.  Fucking Rip Off.

After working all day, the quest was on…the hunt for Heady Topper.  Before Hurricane Sandy rolled through and remodeled the Northeast, Heady Topper was easily available all over the state of Vermont, including distro in the southern part of the state about 45 minutes outside of Albany NY.  After Sandy, distro was shut down and limited to only the northern part of the state.  My goal was to find two places where I could scoop up a case from each.  Thankfully, my last stop for work of the day was on the exact same road as one of the places that got cases of it on Mondays.

After a 15 minute ride up into South Burlington, I made a stop Route 7 Liquors for a hopeful case of Heady Topper.  When I arrived, I asked the guy at the counter if they had Heady and what was the case limit.   Unfortunately, it was only a one case per person limit.   Well, after some solid Merc charm (yup, I am known for my charm), I was able to work in a second case for purchase.  🙂

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After a quick stop at the hotel to drop off said beer, I then made the 25 mile drive down into Waterbury VT for ‘dinner’.  First stop of the night was at Prohibition Pig.  It was my understanding that the location where Prohibition Pig currently resides use to be the former home of The Alchemist, maker of Heady Topper.   After Hurricane Sandy came in and ravaged the town of Waterbury, the Alchemist was forced to move because the building was heavily damaged.

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Prohibition Pig

Upon the arrival to Pro Pig, I grabbed a seat in the middle of the bar.  The place itself is a little tight but has a solid long bar made of nice wood.  The side wall has a solid collection of various whisky from all over the world that ranges from the cheap stuff to the most expensive.   For dinner, I decided to go with the pulled pork sandwich with a side of potato salad.  Unfortunately, for the 12.50 that I spent on it, the sandwich was no bigger than a McDonalds Cheeseburger but the potato salad was pretty solid.  Also, the nice thing about visiting in Northern Vermont was that there is plenty of ‘local’ beer on tap…and imbibe I did.

Hill Farmstead Motueka Single Hop Pale Ale ~ American Pale Ale ~ 5.2% ABV

The Alchemist Oursboros ~ American / Imperial IPA ~ 8.8% ABV

Lost Nation Brewing Gose ~ Gose  ~ 4.5% ABV

The Alchemist El Jefe – Black IPA – 7.0% ABV

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Interior of Prohibition Pig

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Blackback Pub

From there it was just a short walk over to Blackback Pub, which is a solid little basement bar.  The bar area is split into two small rooms with a full wrap around wood bar, as you can see in the picture below.  The town was pretty dead that night as it was extremely cold that evening, so the bar itself was almost empty except for the bartender and a single patron.  Something interesting happened while I was there, after bullshitting with the bartender for about 10 minutes, another patron walked into the bar.  He sat down right next to me (weird…) and started bullshitting with the two of us.  Upon learning that I was from the Buffalo area, the other patron informed the bartender to get me a Heady Topper on him…gee, thanks Mister.   But, as with everything…it came with a catch…I wasn’t allowed to check in on Untappd.   I have zero ideas why this had happened or why I wasn’t allowed to tick it but got the impression that the guy was an employee or someone important from The Alchemist.  Don’t know why the secrecy given the fact that it was on tap Heady Topper so I did the only thing I know most people would do…drink it and tick it.  Along with these beers too…

Grassroots/Mikkeller Limoncello IPA ~ American IPA ~ 9.0% ABV

Hill Farmstead Edward ~ American Pale Ale ~ 5.2% ABV

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Interior of Blackback Pub

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The Reservoir

Finally, just hopped across the street to the Reservoir.  Again, another dead place in the freezing cold of a Monday night too.  The Reservoir was a nice wide open space with high ceilings but a very small bar that only fit 5 patrons.  It had much more of a pub fitting to it rather than a bar.  One thing that I noticed between all three places was that there was a lot of carryover of the same beers on tap from place to place.  I know…poor me to go to three places with Heady Topper, Ourosboros and HF Edward on tap…was simply pointing out a fact.  Here is what I slugged down before I made my trip back to my hotel.

Bruery Humulus Lager ~ Imperial Lager ~7.2% ABV

Lawsons Finest Liquids Red Spruce Bitter ~ Spiced/Herb Beer ~ 4.9% ABV

Mystic Brewing Vinland Two ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 7.3% ABV

It was kind of funny to me that the second time that I ever got to have a Bruery beer on tap was in a small town in Northern Vermont.  For the record, the first time was Bruery Bois (5th Anniversary beer) in Manhattan about 6 months earlier.

Overall, it was a pretty solid trip even though this time, it was on my own dime as opposed to a company credit card (damn, I miss those days…)  Another thing was that it was actually a smart decision on my part to bring my beer purchases into my hotel room that night…normally I would just leave the shit in my car overnight and never worry about it but it started to get very cold when I returned back to my hotel room.  When I woke up in the morning to warm up my car, it was -14 degrees outside and for the thirty seconds I was outside, the hair on my head froze.

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