Tuesday, August 14, 2012

VT trip #2

So as you can tell by my twitter/blog, I love Vermont.  Instead of taking vacations to the beach, cruises, and island getaways, I prefer to vacation where the beer is.  This past weekend, my husband and I made the trek up to VT once again to visit our 2 favorite breweries, The Alchemist & Hill Farmstead.  Hill Farmstead was having their annual saison festival, where tickets had sold out in just one day.  We made sure to visit The Alchemist first thing on Friday morning, as they usually sell out of their famous Heady Topper shortly after opening.  We arrived at 11 on the dot and people were already waiting for the doors to open.  People also weren't just getting a case for the weekend, everyone that ordered was ordering at least 3-5 cases.  This stuff is THAT good. 

Next stop, one of our favorite bars for lunch - The Prohibition Pig.  This is where the old Alchemist used to be, until it was flooded out.  They always have great local brews on tap and killer grub.  I had the Alchemist/Hill Farmstead colab Walden and the Lawson's Finest Liquids Knockout Blonde.  They also do 2 sizes with their beers, so you can try lots of different brews without getting too crazy, especially at 12pm!  I also had their grass fed burger topped with pickled onion (my GOD these were delicious), bacon, and VT bleu cheese.  This was hands down the best bleu cheese I've ever had.  VT does beer and cheese on another level. 

For dinner that evening, we went to our favorite bar to grab Hill Farmstead beers - The Blackback Pub and Flyshop.  They always have at least 5-10 HF beers on tap and serve them in the correct HF glassware.

I went a little overboard, seeing all the HF goodies on tap and had quite a few.  Luckily, we had some great company to share it with.  It was so awesome to have a bunch of Philly beer geeks with us representing!  We ended the night at back at our condo with some eVolution Lot #3 and our newest homebrew, a double IPA brewed with galaxy hops. 

The next morning, armed with coffee and bagel sandwiches, we headed to pick up some Lawson's & to the saison festival.  We went to a really cute farmer's market and were able to snag 8 bottles of Double Sunshine Ipa and a really nice Lawson's beer bag for free! 

When we arrived at HF, the fest was already underway and there were lots of cars parked from all over - New York, Mass, North Carolina, PA, etc.  They only sold 300 tickets, so we were excited that it wouldn't be too crowded.  There were a few tents set up with beer and a few set up with cheeses/grub.  Here's a list of all the beers I personally got to try on tap:

E. - rustic Belgian inspired farmhouse pale ale.  Aged in white wine barrels that held Mimosa.
Flora - wine barrel-aged & microflora-driven version of Florence
Mimosa - wild saison brewed with citrus & aged in wine barrels*
*this was def. the most sought after beer at the festival and it was to DIE for
Anna - honey saison crafted from American malted barley, European & American hops, VT wildflower honey & their distinctive farmhouse yeast
Florence - farmhouse saison made with Butterworks Farm organic wheat
Art - barrel aged version of Arthur, their traditional farmhouse saison

From their friends:
Tired Hands - Mysterious Mood
Fantome - Saison D'Erezee Printemps
Cantillon Zwanze 2010

What an awesome event with so many great beers!  We stayed until the heavy metal band, "Maid in Iron," played for a bit.  We headed back to the condo, refreshed, and made our way back out to our favorite bars for some dinner and more drinks.

All in all, it was such an awesome trip and we got some killer beers to drink (and haul back to PA).  I think we will be taking a break from traveling to VT for some time, but hoping to make the saison fest again next year.  Who is coming with us?!


PS - Stopping at the original Ben & Jerry's in Waterbury didn't hurt, either.

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