2011 VT Brewers Festival Recap

Vermont Pub and Brewery's Purple Haze

This past weekend I took a trip up to Burlington to check out the VT Brewers Festival. The last time I was in this town was back in April 2010 when I did the Burlington Brew Tours, needless to say it was time to get back. Our first stop was Magic Hat which is a very welcoming brewery, offering free tastings of their brews on tap without having to take the tour. They had an imperial stout which was surprisingly good. I cast a judgement on Magic Hat that I know I shouldn’t, this beer proved me wrong. After a few samples we went to American Flatbread, which houses Zero Gravity brews. These brews are extremely light, made from ingrideints found right in Vermont. Of course we had to have dinner and a beer at Vermont Pub and Brewery.

Cask at American Flatbread/Zero Gravity

The next day was a long wait until our night session kicked off at 6pm. I am not used to going to a night session of a festival as it is deemed a frat party by most and a more rowdy crowd. For a hot day like it was I was glad we chose the night session. Lisa got creative and made us all Pretzel necklaces to wear at the fest. We knew they would come in handy, but had no idea the amount of praise we would get by fellow beer lovers who didn’t think of making one. We were easily asked a dozen times where we bought them or if we were selling them. Next time. On to the beers!

Line for Lawsons

Vermont has a lot of sleeper hits that you don’t know about unless you go to events like these. Lawson’s Finest being one of them. The line for these guys was easily 25 minutes long to get a sample. That was the first one I checked off my list in order to get a taste. I had their Acer Quercus: “A collaboration between The Bruery and Lawson’s Finest Liquids, this complex ale is seeping with Vermont maple syrup and maplewood smoked malt. Brewed at The Bruery with the use of oak cubes”. This was well worth the wait and a top beer of the day for me. Other brews like Switchback‘s Brown, Vermont Pub and Brewery‘s Purple Haze and Three Needs Swartzbier were good. Wormtown‘s (MA) and Otter Creek‘s (VT) Black IPAs were awesome as usual. The beer of the day went to Hill Farmstead and their Edward American APA. This smacked you in the face with flavor and was the most refreshing beer of the festival. I hadn’t heard about these guys until this so I was surprised at how I could have missed them. Portsmouth Brewery made an appearance with their Ginga Ninja and their JOS on Cask with Kahlua, tasty!

One of the bad things about a night session is the amount of beer left. While the festival was not over crowded with people, it seemed the beer wasn’t properly rationed between the two sessions. We all luckily tried all the beers we wanted but as the fest drew to a close we were left with tickets in our hands without anywhere to use them. Some of the brewers look at you as if you are just there to get drunk, making it hard to comment them about their beer or ask them a question during the festival.

All in all a great event and I hope to get back their next week. Check out the rest of my photos on my Google + or Facebook pages. For now I have my sites locked on the Beer Bloggers Conference which is a month from today!!