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Vermont's Vibrant Craft Beer Scene

Vermont Sunset over Woodchuck Ciderstock

Vermont excels in many areas – cheddar, maple syrup, Segway public service announcements… and pilgrimage-inducing local beer. In fact it has more breweries per capita than any other state; probably because it has less people than any other state, excluding Wyoming. That means clear water, clean air and an expansive palette of local flora with which to craft mind-bending brews.

Editors Chris and Jim heeded the call of the Alpine mecca in order to bag themselves a few trophy suds. In the spirit of legendary beer hunters of yore, they came with an open mind, full hearts and space in their suitcase for spoils to come.

It didn’t take long to track down our first target. Fresh out of tidy Burlington International Airport, we sniff out Switchback Brewing Co., just a few miles away. The breeze coming in from nearby Lake Champlain bests the freshest of dryer sheets, wafting delicately salty wisps of air into the nostrils and setting the stage for a palate tour de force. 

Arriving to a warehouse exterior, we enter to find a sunny taproom full of reclaimed wood and expansive windows. It’s around noon, so after a quick scan of the taps we hop on the comfortably priced flights, served on paddles made from snowboards. This time, they were first class. 

After our flight landed, we enjoyed another kind of flight from Switchback Brewing Co.

The first flames of our fiery passion for flavor were quickly quelled with thirst quenching sud-works, among which included the flagship Switchback Ale, Connector IPA, and the appropriately nutty Dooley’s Belated Porter. The unanimous winner was the Thai Lime Gose, which delicately tickled the palate with tartness. With a quick good luck pat to a resident three-legged dog, we soldiered on.

After consulting our trusty GPS apps (where would we be without them? Lost, probably), we started threading our way through the thin New England state via what turned out to be a main thoroughfare: Shelburne Road.

I knew that Fiddlehead Brewing Company, makers of extremely rare (for out-of-towners) and highly sought after Double IPAs Second Fiddle and Mastermind, was located somewhere on Shelburne Road. Just as we were about to delve into our phone’s location settings again, I spotted the brewery’s sign – right on the side of the road.


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