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It’s not a secret that the beer scene in Vermont is positively booming. With more breweries per capita than any other state, folks come to the Green Mountains from far and wide to sample the latest IPAs, find the hottest new releases, and bring home a few pints of the next best thing in brewing. It’s no wonder that a Vermont beer-cation is seen by many aficionados and casual enthusiasts alike as a veritable mecca.
Now of course, popping open a crisp lager on a hot day is hard to beat, but don’t feel that you need to wait for the dog days of Summer or Vermont Foliage to embark on your brewery odyssey. If you haven’t done aprés ski at a brewery or bierhall, it begs the question - have you really done aprés ski at all?
Whether you’re grabbing a pint after a deep day of pow, sitting by the lodge fire with a hearty porter, or tipping back a cool DIPA after a bluebird day on the hill, there’s no question that a great beer just makes it that much sweeter. Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite Vermont breweries after a day of skiing and riding.
The von Trapp family is legendary in Vermont and for far more than just their musical and theatrical fame - they brew one heck of a beer. With the desire to brew an American version of the lagers they enjoyed in Austria, the von Trapp family has created one of the best and most beautiful beirhalls in the state. Located just down the road from Stowe Mountain Resort, pop in after a day on the slopes and you’ll start to appreciate the effort and attention to detail that this brewing family puts forth.
Beer of choice: BOHEMIAN PILSNER | 5.4% ABV 42 IBU | “Our award-winning interpretation of a Bohemian Style Pilsner. Spicy, citrus peel botanicals combine with a dry, peppery finish to create a truly thirst-quenching lager. A beer that demands you take more than one sip.”
With soaring ceilings, impressive timber framing, and relaxing fireplaces the taproom at Lawson’s Finest Liquid is a veritable oasis. We love to post up at one of the community-style tables, put in an order of pretzels and chili, and bring on the beer flights. After hitting up nearby Mad River or Sugarbush, there’s a palpable buzz in the air at the taproom, and it just feels like you belong.
Beer of choice: Double Sunshine Ruby Red Grapefruit Double IPA | 8% ABV | “This special edition of our American Double IPA is made with ruby red grapefruit, adding an extra layer of mouth-watering, juicy, lush fruit character along with dank tropical aromas.”
Killington is called the Beast of the East, and after a particularly gnarly session of ripping bump runs on Outer Limits, there’s nothing like heading to Long Trail Brewing for a little R&R. The riverside taproom was modeled after the Hofbräu House in Munich, Germany, and is an absolute stunner. Of course, Long Trail is a Vermont classic, but what we love is that they keep pushing the envelope and moving forward with great new beers all the time and keeping us on our toes and on the lookout for new releases.
Beer of choice: Hibernator | 6% ABV | “A Vermont classic, built to take the bite from a cold winter night with the rich malt base highlighted by warming notes of caramel and toffee.”
Greensboro Bend, VT
Now it’s a bit of a stretch since Hill Farmstead is a solid 45-minute drive from it’s closest skiing neighbor Burke Mountain. But let’s be honest, many people have driven significantly farther distances to try the beer from Hill Farmstead (ourselves included). Hill Farmstead has won more beer-cult-connoisseur love and accolades than seemingly any other beer in the state, and with their consistent production of mind-blowingly excellent beers, we echo those sentiments. Make the pilgrimage and come up to the Farmstead.
Beer of choice: Edward | 5.2% ABV | “Edward (1917-2002) is our grandfather; Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to him and his five children. In his honor, this American Pale Ale is dutifully crafted from American malted barley, a plethora of American hops, our ale yeast and water from Edward’s well. It is unfiltered and dry hopped.”
Outer Limits Brewing is housed in a brightly renovated brick farmhouse and in addition to a great pint of beer, they also sling a mean pizza pie. Perfect for stopping in for a spell on the way home from riding at Okemo, Outer Limits often has great live music and is just a great all-around hang.
Beer of choice: Atmosbeer (Dark Mild) | 3.6% ABV | “The OG of session beers, our dark mild will leave you wanting more. This style lies between brown ale and porter. We have brewed our dark mild using maple sugar.”
While some of the other brewery bierhalls can feel like stunning architectural feats, the taproom at Lost Nation feels more like a clubhouse, and we love it. Set towards the back of their brewing facility, you’ll find a simple long wooden bar and four or five low-top tables, and some damn fine beers. Serving up a great pub menu of tons of favorites, Lost Nation is the perfect spot to grab some brews and a meal after a day crushing the runs at Smugglers’ Notch.
Beer of choice: Lost Nation Mosaic IPA | 5.5% ABV |“Our single hop IPA is brewed and dry hopped with Mosaic hops. Clean and crisp with an incredible balance between juicy fruit flavors and hop bitterness.”
What do you get when you cross one of the area's best restaurants with some of the best local beers? Prohibition Pig, of course! Conveniently located just a few miles down the road from a similar local’s favorite, Bolton Valley, Prohibition Pig’s brewery is found behind the restaurant itself and is deliciously chill and relaxed. Excellent food, outstanding beers, and a great vibe? Count us in.
Beer of choice: Winter IPA | 6.7% ABV | “West Coast Style IPA w/Cascade, Centennial & Chinook Hop”
So close to Stowe Resort, it’s practically slopeside, The Alchemist Brewery is similarly legendary. Practically revolutionizing the double IPA that is now so ubiquitous, The Alchemist has repeatedly demonstrated why they’re one of the best in the game. Their taproom is just as excellent an experience as drinking their creations, with a fun open space, epic artwork, and of course, ice-cold brews. Word on the street it’s getting even better this Summer with the addition of additional seating and event space options. We’re pumped.
Beer of choice: Heady Topper | 8% ABV | “Heady Topper is an American double IPA. This beer is not intended to be the biggest or most bitter. It is meant to give you wave after wave of hoppy goodness on your palate. Tremendous amounts of American hops will creep up on you, and leave you with a dense hoppy finish in your mouth. So drinkable, it's scary. Sometimes I wish I could crawl right into the can.”
We’ve been massive fans of Drop-In Brewing ever since Brewmaster & Founder Steve Parkes opened in 2012. With their taproom in the perfect location to grab a growler on our way back from the Middlebury Snowbowl, we’re happy to have another excuse to stop in and chat. The beers here are fresh and classy and are the perfect bookend for a great day of skiing and riding.
Beer of choice: Red Dwarf | American Amber Ale | 5.2% ABV | “Red Dwarf has a well-balanced caramel malt flavor and complex hop profile, lending a citrusy, floral flavor and aroma. The finish is clean and dry. This beer is a perfect companion to virtually every meal.”
With ski season in full swing, there’s no better time to book your Green Mountain getaway and imbibe with a growler or two. Be sure to check out of full Skiing and Riding Guide for a deeper dive into the season. And as always, stay up to date on the latest Deals and Packages for your next Vermont adventure.