An early start for us, as we caught a plane from Grand Rapids to Burlington VT, via Washington DC. After Mazen, had a teary farewell to his faithful truck, TSA negotiated, coffees in hand, we finally boarded a very small plane.
On time, after a 45-minute layover in DC, we get on a slightly larger plane to Burlington.
Sadly, the big blue bag of beer had a baggage handler mishap, and the dribbling trail and delightful smell of a broken bottle of Coffee & Cardamom BBA Imperial Stout followed us from carousel to car hire desk.
Canadian flags outside the airport, confusing at first, until the realisation of proximity, and the apparent wish of most of the Burnie voting Vermont residents to secede from Don’s America and declare Bernie king.
Mik getting behind the bar.
At Foam Brewing, we were greeted by Josh, brewer at this beautifully located brewpub, we traded beer and banter. Teaching Josh and some of his staff the proper use of Australian vernacular, we enjoyed Foam Brewing’s beers direct from tank.
Generous with his time, knowledge and product, we said our goodbyes to our new mate. Well impressed by what Josh and his young team are achieving.
A quick drive from Burlington to Stowe, with Hamish seemingly improving his basic navigational skills, we headed to The Alchemist.
John Kimmich was unfortunately out of town but had kindly arranged for his brewer Jim to take us back of house. Heady Topper in hand we explored this spectacular looking brewery, tasting room and bottle store.
The Alchemist has been brewing Heady Topper since 2003. This Double IPA is not intended to be the strongest or most bitter DIPA. “It is brewed to give wave after wave of hop flavour without any astringent bitterness.” If that’s the brief, they’ve nailed it.
Jim’s generosity of his time and knowledge (and Heady Topper and Focal Banger) was a fantastic experience.
Jim from The Alchemist talking beer to us.
Checking in to the Old Stage Coach Inn, Waterbury, a jet lagged induced nap before venturing to Mik’s spiritual Vermont home, “The Reservoir” or The Rez to locals.
After enjoying this venue last year, Mik was keen to show it off.
Josh, the exuberant VM, poured the requisite Hill Farmstead “Edward” and then proceeded to take us through the pubs “house beers’. The Rez has started brewing a couple of beers (single IPA & double IPA) in a local brewery. Piloted upstairs on their own system, they have certainly captured the taste of New England.
Nick our server, while baffled by questions of Pounds per Barrel, was very competent at steering our dinner choice.
Day 3 of this trip, showed us, that the locals of Vermont that we met, are indeed most generous with their time, knowledge, conversation and beer.