When traveling, I always try to think about what you readers would want to see and learn about, so I will frequently include a travelogue for you as a jumping off point for your own travels. On a recent trip to the northeast for a wedding, we made sure to take in as much of the local area as possible and Stowe, VT was one of our stops.
The Alchemist – Stowe
When The Hubs realized that Stowe was just a short drive from Burlington where we flew into, he became downright giddy. He would actually have the opportunity to visit, and purchase from, a somewhat mythical brewery for those of us on the west coast – The Alchemist. If you live anywhere other than Vermont, and you are not a beer geek, you have probably NOT heard of them. Their beer is NOT available outside that area. If you get the chance to try one, you absolutely MUST. They specialize in unfiltered IPAs, but also do a bang up job on other styles as well. Because the beer is unfiltered means you have to keep it cold to preserve flavor, and several of their beers have a note to the drinker on the can that says “Drink From the Can”. And it is true! The best flavor can be achieved by drinking my favorite, Heady Topper, from the can. Yes, I know it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. Check out the pic below.
Each day at the brewery in Stowe, there is a list of what is available and how many 4 packs (16 oz cans) you can purchase of each beer. We bought the entire allotment for John, plus my allotment of Heady Topper. We had to buy collapsible coolers and ice to transport it to the wedding where we shared half of our stash at the rehearsal dinner. We “smuggled” the other half in our checked bags and our son’s checked bag to come back to Vegas. Pro Tip – did you know you can pack as much beer in your checked bag as you can clothes? Yes, that’s right. You can put 50 lbs of canned beer in your checked bag.
Other than great tasting beer, the brewery in Stowe is really cool! They have great merch and the artwork throughout is flat out fucking amazing. Because we have so much cool “beerware” we have to pick and choose what souvenirs we pick up and I selected one of the hoodies with the badass Heady Topper logo.
Von Trapp Family Lodge
From there we went to the Von Trapp Family Lodge that is just outside of Stowe. Well, we didn’t actually make it to the lodge. We stopped in at the Brewery & Bierhall instead. Being a fan of The Sound of Music and all things Julie Andrews, I wish we had taken a few more minutes and gone up to the actual Lodge, but I am thrilled we stopped at the brewery. Of course there was beer…and pretzels, and the best burger I have eaten all year. The cattle are raised on the property and the meat is for exclusive use of the Von Trapp Family Properties. Truly “farm to table” in every sense of the word.
Ben & Jerry’s
On our drive to The Alchemist we passed the original Ben & Jerry’s in Waterbury. Yes, the headquarters, and stopped there on our way back to Burlington. My sole reason for going was to see the Flavor Graveyard. Yes, really. In 1999 Ben & Jerry’s retired my all-time favorite flavor and I knew there was an actual graveyard, complete with headstones, to memorialize retired flavors. Three of my faves are in there – Rainforest Crunch, Dastardly Mash and Wavy Gravy. It would please me to no end if they did a limited release on any or all of those…just for me. I did however have a delish scoop of a salted Bourbon Caramel ice cream…I was there anyway. And of course I picked up some new “spoon” merch including a tasting spoon engraved with “I Like to Spoon”.
Of course there is so much more to see in Stowe, and RIGHT NOW is the time to go! The leaves are changing and the hills are a riot of fall color. Sadly we didn’t have the chance or opportunity to visit a “sugar house” where they make the maple syrup, but that’s the plan for the next trip to that neck of the woods.