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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.

The other evening, after a failed search for the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't Lake Champlain swing, I decided to cool off with a beer rather than a flying dip into the lake.  A friend and I snagged a picnic table on the patio of Zero Gravity and opted for the Coney Island hot dogs — two for $7.

The grilled McKenzie dogs are topped with beefy chili, chopped raw onion, and a squiggly squirt of yellow mustard.  I drank a 10-ounce pour ($4) called London Calling, an English-style session ale to go with my all-American meal.  Two Coney Island hot dogs and a beer totaled $11.


Six months ago, when I was passing time at the bar with Tmave (a dark lager) and bratwurst, taproom regulars were sometimes on the receiving end of a culinary treat courtesy of Pace. He was trying out stuff for the Great Northern, the adjacent restaurant he would open in May, and would pass around things like little oyster po' boys and pork belly something-or-others.

Those days are gone. If you want to eat Pace food that isn't a sausage, go next door. Still, a couple of hot dogs and a beer are themselves a treat.
Dining on a Dime is a weekly series featuring well-made, filling bites (something substantial enough to qualify as a small meal or better) for $12 or less. Know of a tasty dish we should feature? Drop us a line:

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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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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Good Measure Brewing Opens Doors to Northfield Tasting Room

Posted By on Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Tap handles at Good Measure Brewing - GOOD MEASURE BREWING
  • Good Measure Brewing
  • Tap handles at Good Measure Brewing
Good Measure Brewing moved into its Northfield home base in January 2016. By September, the brewers had begun distributing kegs of their distinct, expertly balanced beer to restaurants and suppliers across the state. A tasting room has been in the works ever since, with extensive renovations and restructuring of the 1920s-era building — formerly home to a series of grocery stores — and bringing everything up to code. At last, Good Measure’s tasting room opened its doors on Friday.

“Our idea is that the tasting room is a meeting place,” says co-owner Scott Kerner (who helped open Montpelier’s Three Penny Taproom in 2009, as well). “It’s a place to fill up your growler, have a pint, have a snack. Food will be simple, but well attended — just like our beer.”

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Seven Favorite Vermont Beers of 2016

Posted By on Sat, Dec 10, 2016 at 11:00 AM

  • Julia Clancy
I moved to Vermont in September 2015 with an English degree, a background in restaurant cooking and a lime-colored Dutch oven seat-belted in the passenger side of my Volvo. I drove past Drop-In Brewing in Middlebury and thought of a friend from Ireland, where I had spent four months at a cooking program on a hundred-acre farm in County Cork.

He was a New Zealand brewer-cum-chef; I was an aspiring American cook trying to emulate my brother’s homebrew talents. We brewed a stout and a dry-hopped elderflower pale ale in the green Dutch oven and stored the brews in a neighbor's broom closet. We bottled on Halloween after our herb and spice exam, and popped the bottles on Thanksgiving after a 13-hour day in the kitchen. The pale ale was terrible.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Inside the von Trapp Bierhall, Soft-Opening September 15

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 5:42 PM

Ten years ago, the Trapp Family Lodge was a stodgy resort for tourists seeking an Alpine escape. In 2010, the family started brewing lager on the premises; by 2014, that operation had expanded its capacity from 2,000 to 50,000 barrels per year. And two years ago, executive vice president Sam von Trapp told Seven Days that workers had broken ground on a new Austrian-style bierhall, which would welcome mountain revelers for steins and sausages, hopefully by summer, 2015.

As with most construction projects, things didn't go according to plan. But after nearly two years of building and preparation, the bierhall opens tomorrow with an all-star team.

Jack Pickett — whose Phoenix Table and Bar, Frida’s Taqueria and Blue Moon Café fed locals for years — is leading the kitchen. Former Gracie’s Restaurant owner Paul “Archie” Archdeacon will run the front of the house. “It’s been really neat bringing two really popular Stowe restaurateurs together,” Sam von Trapp said,  speaking by phone on Tuesday. 

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