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Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state in the U.S. But one sip of the award-winning suds from Hill Farmstead Brewery, the Alchemist or Lawson's Finest Liquids will prove that we hopheads value quality as much as quantity. Thirsty? Whether you're looking for smoky lagers, bitter IPAs, puckering sours or rich, roasty stouts, there's plenty on tap right here in BTV. Let's take a tour.
Start in Burlington's South End, where you'll find Switchback Brewing's sun-soaked taproom. This brewery deals exclusively in unfiltered ales, so don't be thrown off by the hazy liquid in your pint glass — just drink it; it's good for you.
Also in the South End Arts District is the funky Pine Street corridor, aka Beer Alley. First up: Zero Gravity Craft Brewery, which began life as part of American Flatbread downtown. Munch on popcorn while sipping one of eight brews, from the slightly sour Bernie Weisse — named after Vermont senator Bernie Sanders — to the popular Conehead IPA. In summer, sit on the sunny outdoor patio.
Look both ways, then cross the street to Queen City Brewery for European-style ales and lagers made the traditional way — we're talkin' steinbeers brewed with hot rocks in the kettle. Down the road, Citizen Cider is a hot spot for getting apple-sauced — responsibly, of course. Ciders here range from sweet to dry-hopped.
By now, you'll need a bite to eat. Vermont Pub & Brewery, located downtown since 1988, was Burlington's first brewpub and Vermont's second microbrewery. So pair your housemade Wee Heavy Scotch ale with pub classics like jalapeño poppers, fish and chips, or a corned beef sandwich.
Pizza, pool and arcade games make for a relaxed atmosphere at Three Needs Brewery & Taproom, on Pearl Street, a couple of blocks north. Up to four housemade beers — original Three Needs recipes brewed across town at Queen City Brewery — are on tap throughout the year. Swing by at 5 p.m. on weekdays for Duff Hour: a double dose of "The Simpsons" and $1 Vermont drafts.
Next, head down to the waterfront, where you can nibble on charcuterie while trying Foam Brewers' wild fermentations — we're partial to the wide array of farmhouse-style ales. There's also cold-brewed coffee on nitro and locally made kombucha.
Time to hail a cab or enlist a DD: It's up and over the river to our final destination, just outside the city limits — Winooski's tiny Four Quarters Brewing, which pours creative small-batch suds. It also brews specialty beers for nearby bars and restaurants, including the Monkey House and Mule Bar. Check 'em out if you want to continue your brews cruise. Have yourself a good ol' time and get home safely.
Expand your sudsy search, and you'll encounter these establishments within a seven-mile radius of Burlington:
Burlington Beer, Williston
Colchester's Mead Hall, Colchester
Magic Hat Brewing, South Burlington
Fiddlehead Brewing, Shelburne
For a guided tour, check out Burlington Brew Tours at burlingtonbrewtours.com.
Tags: What's Good, Breweries, beer, cider, Burlington Brew Tours, Switchback Brewery, The Tap Room at Switchback Brewing, Zero Gravity Craft Brewery, Queen City Brewery, Citizen Cider, Vermont Pub & Brewery, Three Needs Brewery & Taproom, Foam Brewers, Four Quarters Brewing, Burlington Beer Company, Colchester's Mead Hall, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Fiddlehead Brewing Company