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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Dining on a Dime: Magic Hat Artifactory

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2019 at 5:38 PM

Magic Hat #9 - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Magic Hat #9
No. 9, No. 9, No. 9, No. 9, No. 9, No. 9, No. 9.

I knew what I wanted before I walked in the door of the Magic Hat taproom in South Burlington, a beer bunker called the Artifactory.

Too much time had passed since I drank a Magic Hat #9 in its long-neck amber bottle with the psychedelic orange label that says it all: # 9. (That first mark is a number symbol, not a hashtag; the label was designed pre-hashtag: #artwork.)

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

Hired Hand Brewing Co. to Add Full Brewery in Vergennes

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Hired Hand brews - MELISSA PASANEN
  • Melissa Pasanen
  • Hired Hand brews
Ian Huizenga had not planned on adding a full-fledged brewery to his pair of neighboring Vergennes food and beverage businesses. But then 23,000 square feet next door became available and, he said, he really had no choice.

“I knew it was my only shot at doing a brewery right here,” he said.

Huizenga is chef and co-owner of Bar Antidote, a restaurant and bar, and a brewpub, Hired Hand Brewing Co., for which he brews beer at the Bobcat Café & Brewery in Bristol. He had just finished installing two fermenters and a chiller in the basement of Bobcat last March when he found out the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes, previously in the School Street space, was moving to a new location.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hill Farmstead Top Brewery in the World for Fifth Year

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2019 at 4:13 PM

The team at Hill Farmstead, founder Shaun Hill standing fourth from left - HILL FARMSTEAD BREWERY
  • Hill Farmstead Brewery
  • The team at Hill Farmstead, founder Shaun Hill standing fourth from left
Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro was named the best brewery in the world for the fifth straight year by RateBeer,  which announced its annual ratings on Tuesday. The brewery on a dirt road in the Northeast Kingdom beat out more than 34,000 breweries  to win the 2018 title,  according to RateBeer.

"At this point, it's kind of like we really hope we get No. 1," said Phil Young, who works in production and retail at Hill Farmstead.  "If you're at the top, there's nowhere to go but down, so you want to stay there."

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Vermont Symphony Orchestra Debuts a New Collaboration: Beer

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 1:27 PM

Jukebox starts its third season September 1 at ArtsRiot - COURTESY OF ELLEN VOORHEIS
  • Courtesy of Ellen Voorheis
  • Jukebox starts its third season September 1 at ArtsRiot
Not long ago, it was considered impolite to let out a cough during a classical music concert. Now audience members can clink their glasses and cheer.

That is, if they’re listening to a Vermont Symphony Orchestra string quartet perform at ArtsRiot in Burlington, site of a musical series called Jukebox. The collaboration of the symphony and the bar kicks off its third season this Saturday night, September 1, at the Pine Street club.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Long Trail Brewing Makes Vermont's First CBD Beer

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 3:30 PM

Ian Harbage at Luce Farm in Starksboro - COURTESY OF LONG TRAIL BREWING
  • Courtesy of Long Trail Brewing
  • Ian Harbage at Luce Farm in Starksboro
First there were cannabidiol (CBD) pastries, sold in retail packages at free-thinking retailers such as Burlington's Green State Gardener. Then, restaurants began jumping on the bandwagon with CBD pastries, breakfast and lunches, and special CBD cocktail nights. Now, Long Trail Brewing (LT) head brewers Ian Harbage and Sam Clemens are piloting  a beer infused with the cannabinoid compound.

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Dining on a Dime: Zero Gravity Craft Brewery

Posted By on Sun, Aug 6, 2017 at 1:39 PM

Coney Island hot dogs and beer at Zero Gravity - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Coney Island hot dogs and beer at Zero Gravity
There are tougher choices in life, to be sure. But, when I became a regular at Zero Gravity Craft Brewery last winter, the burning question of the day was often: lamb sausage or bratwurst? Coney Island dog or Italian sausage?

Those Frank Pace-made bar snacks are available at the Pine Street brewery, where you can eat and drink for less than $12.

As with most crucial decisions, a number of factors figured into my choice: Was I alone or with a pal? In the mood for Dijon or yellow mustard, kimchi or kraut? Did I feel like smushing a sausage down into its roll so I could take a bite without peppers and onions spilling onto the bar? Or did I desire a less messy eating event?

In short, I became a pro at making the call.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

New Brewers Festival Coming to Killington

Posted By on Mon, Jun 12, 2017 at 5:21 PM

Vermont Brewers Festival on the Burlington Waterfront - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Vermont Brewers Festival on the Burlington Waterfront
The Vermont Brewers Association announced on Monday afternoon that it will host a brewers festival at Killington Resort next March, to be called — wait for it — the Vermont Brewers Festival at Killington.

The VBA hosts the annual Vermont Brewers Festival at Waterfront Park in Burlington in July (this year Friday and Saturday, July 21 and 22). The organization that represents 52 Vermont craft brewers has been considering for some time adding a second festival to its lineup, according to marketing and festival director Amy Cronin.

"We wanted to play into Vermont being so beautiful," Cronin said. "And offer something in another part of the state, and make it special."

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Drop-In's Head Brewer Vilija Bizinkauskas Talks Food Pairings and Beer for Mom

Posted By on Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Head Brewer Vilija Bizinkauskas at Drop-In Brewery - BROOKE WILCOX
  • Brooke Wilcox
  • Head Brewer Vilija Bizinkauskas at Drop-In Brewery
I recently sat down with Drop-In Brewery’s head brewer, Vilija Bizinkauskas, to talk beer nostalgia, Vermont beer culture and the unseen challenges of the brewing lifestyle. Post-talk — and post-pints — I carried an armful of treasure home with me: a growler of Berlinner Weisse (the tart, off-sour pilsner way too flavorful for its 2.9 percent ABV) and a few freshly minted cans of milk stout called Fetchez La Vache.

Though it was noon on a Tuesday, I promptly called a few friends to help share my bounty come happy hour. Luckily, Bizinkauskas has ample knowledge of snacks to pair with Drop-In brews.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Pints and Bites at Hired Hand Brewing Co.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 12:01 PM

Left to right: Barn Red Ale and Tractor Pilsner from Hired Hand Brewing Co. - JULIA CLANCY
  • Julia Clancy
  • Left to right: Barn Red Ale and Tractor Pilsner from Hired Hand Brewing Co.
The list of ways in which Vermont spoils me is getting lengthy, and at the top of these indulgences is the $6 pint of local draft beer. Then Vermonters take it one step further: How about a six-buck pint of hyperlocal draft beer?

On a recent weekday evening, I walked into Hired Hand Brewing Co. at 35 Green Street in Vergennes. It's chef-owner Ian Huizenga’s recent expansion to the downstairs speakeasy Bar Antidote. I'd heard that Hired Hand had a mean menu of baked-cheese sandwiches, and what else does a three-degree day call for?

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016: The Year in Beer

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 at 6:56 PM

Vermont beer, circa 2016 - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Vermont beer, circa 2016
Another year, another beer.

While 2016 felt like a holding-pattern year for brewing in Vermont — no major upsets or unexpected trends, no big surprises or innovations — local brewers produced a generous  profusion of quality, creative beers that continued to blur lines between styles or throw out the rule book completely.  This year, I drank IPAs flavored with hibiscus, lavender-scented saisons and sours tinged with cranberries and sage, à la Thanksgiving stuffing. And so many of them were excellent.

Past years have given us an abundance of new production breweries and expansions at established ones. But 2016 was more about small batches and big flavors, with new breweries looking to their local communities (rather than to statewide markets) for support.

So, a few trends:

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