Brattleboro Brewers Festival
What an amazing day! Headed out around 11am to hit up the Brattleboro Brewers Festival in Brattleboro, VT. Stopped off at Top of the Hill Grill, my favorite seasonal place in New England. Had a messy yummy “Shader” (Burger with Taco seasoning topped with with roasted peppers, grilled onions and Ranch dressing), man I miss Brat.
The festival was great. I got to meet Amy and Tim from Here For The Beer. They are so nice and I hope to do a video blog with them sometime soon. Amy and Tim were the brains behind the event, and from what I could tell they were some of the busiest people there as well. There was a major focus on Vermont beer and it was great to see, and taste, VT beers alongside some of the best US and International craft beers (ie Dogfish Head, BrewDog, and Stone) VT breweries came out and shared some of their newer stuff where most of the other breweries had their standard offerings.
The Red Giant from Element Brewing Company in Millers Falls, MA was bolder than I expected, in a very good way. There was some spice to this bready beer finished with a powerhouse punch of fruity hops. Very nice, very drinkable. I need to make a trip over to Millers this summer for sure.
The most talked about beer seemed to be the cask fermented Chinooker’d IPA from Lawson’s Finest Liquids in Warren, VT. This hoppy IPA stresses the pine and citrus flavours and was very tasty. More mellow that I expected it is not necessarily a hop head beer but a fine IPA strong on the hops. Lawson’s only brews in super small batches so you need to head to the Mad River Valley in VT to try one, do look them up if you are up north.
The stand out to me was Hill Farmstead Brewery‘s offerings. This brand new brewery up in Greensboro Bend, VT is so new that they have not even had their grand opening yet, it’s next weekend! Their Abner: Imperial IPA, pictured here and Edward: IPA made most of the IPA’s at the festival seem boring in comparison. I’m not joking, this stuff was the most balanced sweetly hoppy beers I had all day. The Abner Imperial was mellow and strong all at the same time. At 8.2%ABV the alcohol is well hidden. The floral hops stand out mellowed by the sweet malts. The Edward:IPA is a smaller version of Abner and just as amazing. The perfect session beer to me, I could have just stayed here and been happy as a clam. If you can get your hands on these new brews, please do. Rock on!
Also present was Grafton Village Cheese. I am a lucky guy to be able to get Grafton cheeses right down the road. I chatted with Kelly, their West Coast rep and was happy to find out that they are available out there, Whole Paycheck and if you are in San Diego, Henry’s Farmers Market. Kelly encouraged me to try the horseradish cheddar. I’m not a horseradish fan but it was good, she was right.