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NYC Recommendations from an Unqualified Insider

NYC Recommendations from an Unqualified Insider

In June, I presented my mom and aunt with a “comprehensive” list of personal recommendations for sipping and eating your way around Burlington, VT. It took me two minutes to write (no Google searching necessary) and I did it on an index card.

That right there pretty much sums up my expertise on living in cities. I knew Burlington pretty well by the end of my summer 2016 living there, and to date, it was the largest city I had ever spent any considerable amount of time (just larger than Bad Homburg, Germany where I lived for half of 2012, if you count the immediate surrounding towns).

I am approaching seven full weeks in New York, not a far cry from the ten weeks I spent in Burlington, but the depth to my local knowledge is not only shallow, it is practically non-existent. So with that disclaimer out of the way, I present my NYC Recommendations.

(Disclaimer number two: I am drawn towards efficiency, value, the outdoors, and good coffee. My recommendations may or may not reflect those tendencies.  I have also been living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, so I would be the last person to ask about trendy locations in Brooklyn, for example, or anything along those lines.)

EAT

Orwasher’s Bakery

Brunch is outrageously popular in New York, but with a busy schedule and a tendency to spend my weekends outdoors, I have yet to partake in the brunch scene. A good bakery is more up my alley if I want something special for my morning. Orwasher’s is traditional, and they do it right. Hearty breads including a quinoa spelt bread that I love, great bagels, and donuts that they fill for you by hand with any sweet concoction imaginable.

Dig Inn

Fast-casual dining is definitely a movement right now, and right up my alley is Dig Inn. They feature a simple but flexible build-your-own bowl menu with a variety of grains, veggies, protein, and fun add-ons to choose from. Any combination is good in my book because they keep it healthy and fresh. Locations throughout the city make it a great stop for any occasion.

Quality Eats

For a trendy downtown restaurant on the Upper East Side, Quality Eats is hard to beat. Maddie, her parents, and I went there for her birthday dinner, and I was impressed by their creative, carnivore-focused menu and outstanding atmosphere.

Levain’s

No NYC dining list would be complete without dessert, and no dessert is better than Levain’s. They serve up the best cookies in the world. That is a fact, not an opinion. Tucked in a tiny basement off a side-street on the Upper West Side, Levain’s always brings a crowd. Try one of each, but if you have to pick, I recommend the double chocolate and the walnut chocolate chip.

DRINK

Birch Coffee

I am not exactly “branching” out with this recommendation, but having tried Birch at multiple locations, I do not see any reason to look past what is one of the ubiquitous establishments in New York’s third-wave coffee scene. The woodworking craftsmanship on display, earthy vibes, and coffee any way you like it make it a standout. They really seem to care about the product from start to finish, and that is why it is a go to for me when I want to treat myself to a really good coffee.

Irving Farm 

Irving Farm was the first coffee shop I discovered when I started visiting New York to spend time with Maddie’s family, way before I knew I would be working here. Now, I have the option of walking past it every day on my way to work, and it is always tempting to stop. The coffee is great, and I have always enjoyed passing their roastery on Route 22 in Millerton, NY when driving between Pawling and Williamstown. But even cooler is the fact that they have huge spaces, perfect to sit and read or work on a laptop. They also have a hub in Grand Central if you are just passing through.

LIC Beer Project

A hidden gem that will probably explode in popularity in the beer world within the next couple years, the brewery produces fantastic hoppy libations and features some of the coolest can art I have ever seen. They have the industrial charm going on, and they are a quick trip across the east river from Midtown if you want to drink from the source or attend a weekend can release.

Five Boroughs Brewing

I have yet to try any of the Five Boroughs offerings, but a Dudley guy named Kevin O’Donnell is one of the co-founders of the recently-opened brewery in Brooklyn. It is a hike to get down to the tap room from the Upper East Side, so I am keeping my eyes out for drafts and cans in Manhattan.

EXPLORE

Central Park’s Great Hill

In the northwest corner of the park, a bit removed from the crowds that flock to the Bridal Path and Reservoir Track, the Great Hill is my favorite place to run. The steep elevation, views of the city, wooded dirt trails, and a serene grassy oval atop the hill where I tend to see dogs chasing after tennis balls make the skyscrapers and crowded blocks seem a little further away. It is ideal for sunrises, too.

Randal’s Island

Randal’s Island is off the beaten track for most New Yorkers, but from my apartment, the pedestrian bridge on 103rd Street that crosses the East River is easy to access. The island is packed with playing fields and views of the Manhattan skyline, and running there is a breath of fresh air from the crowds that flock to Central Park.

Long Island City

I have barely explore Long Island City, but something about it feels right. It is not stuffy or pretentious like parts of Manhattan, and I appreciate how truly outstanding establishments like the LIC Beer Project can reside right next to warehouses that service broken-down food trucks. I look forward to going back, if only to try as many possible items on the John Brown Smokehouse’s menu as possible, because all of it is barbecue done right.

The High Line and Chelsea Market

For many people, walking the High Line and going to Chelsea Market are chart toppers when it comes to a New York bucket list of fun things to do. And though I am trying not to act too touristy, now that I have lived here for a number of weeks, I still find these activities to be fun and exciting. It is a bit like walking down Church Street in Burlington – I have done it a hundred times, but it never really gets old. Plus, these activities are in fact active, and shopping in Chelsea is a good way to find unique, quality items and foods.

Short Hikes in the ADKs

Short Hikes in the ADKs

INTRODUCTION

Exploring all that the Adirondack Park has to offer is, for me, as synonymous with summer as days at Camp Dudley and meals around my grandparents’ dining room table. The first iteration – pre-Dudley – consisted of family adventures to lakes, rivers, and short peaks. Once I began attending camp, my explorations transitioned into organized hiking and canoeing trips ranging from two to five days in length. These were the moments that got me hooked on the ADKs, especially as I began to plan and lead my own trips, trying to impart my love of the wilderness onto thirteen and fourteen-year-old boys. In the most recent years, I have returned to short excursions as a means of seeing new places in the mountains I love. This third iteration comes equipped with trail running shoes and a mountain bike, and I have realized that I can cover more ground running than I had previously thought possible. Though my progress towards my 46er may have slowed, I am getting out more than ever.

Because short hikes are often easy to complete, even on a whim, and still a ton of fun, I wanted to recommend my favorites. My disclaimer is that my excursions always begin in Westport, on Lake Champlain. Getting deep into the western High Peaks region is often beyond a half-day trip for me, so this list is inherently biased toward the eastern High Peaks. Still, I find each selection exhilarating and well worth the effort.

Indian Head, June 2017

RECOMMENDATIONS

Indian Head

This 8.5 round trip trek is the epitome of what a run-hike should be. It starts easy, with the first 2.5 miles on a dirt road leading away from the Ausable Club towards Lower Ausable Lake. After the uphill “warm-up,” the trail branches off into windy single-track along a river, but because it remains gradual in elevation gain, most of it is easy to run. The final mile of the approach features a short, steep section and a quick jaunt along a ridge to access the view. And what a view it is. The high peaks of Colvin and Blake tower to the left, and Gothics highlights the Great Range skyline to the right. Below, the valley and lakes are stunning.

Cascade

The most accessible and most summited 46er, Cascade is still an worthy climb despite the frequent crowds. Only 2.4 miles from the trailhead, which is halfway between Keene and Lake Placid, the Cascade summit is rocky and treeless – a rare occurrence for smaller ADK peaks. This allows for 360 degree views of the high peaks and into Lake Placid. But the best part of the hike, in my opinion, is a small flat boggy area that comes just before the final rocky scramble to the summit. It is unlike any place in the ADKs that I know, and when the light is right, it is magical.

Hurricane

Hurricane too short to be a 46er, but it is still a stout test. Whereas Cascade is moderately steep the whole way up, Hurricane’s 3.4 mile ascent features rolling topography in the beginning and gradual switchbacks in the middle section, which all contributes to great mountain running. Up top, the rocky summit is surpassed only by the fire tower – though the climb is the most nerve-wracking part of the entire hike, the views are worth it. Being one of the most easterly peaks, Lake Champlain is visible, and in the opposite direction, the whole High Peaks region unfolds amidst clouds or sun.

View from Hurricane, August 2016

Avalanche Lake

A round trip from the Adirondack Loj to Avalanche Lake can range from 4 to 5.5 miles, depending on how much exploring of the lake is on tap. This gradual, highly trafficked trail is wide in many places, which equates to a fast pace, less looking down, and more taking in the views. After ascending through Avalanche Pass, a view of the lake opens up as a sliver between steep cliffs on either side. Across the lake from the trail, the Trap Dyke landslide spills into the lake, and also presents the most precarious route up Colden. The lake feels bottomless, and a swim across provides opportunities to free-climb the rock wall and cliff jump from any desired height. Hikers often pass through the lake en route to or from some of the highest peaks in the ADKs, but the lake is well worth a trip of its own.

South Fork Boquet River

For a multitude of outstanding swimming holes, a hike up the South Fork of the Bouqet River is by far the best option. Though the best spots have undoubtedly received a wide range of names by locals, the Camp Dudley folks have our own nomenclature. There is “Shoebox” right at the start of the trailhead, which is off of Route 73 southeast of Keene Valley, the famed “Inkspot” a thirty-minute hike up the river, and the gloriously beautiful Venus Pools further up the valley. The trail leads all the way to Grace Peak and South Dix, but exploring anywhere from 0 to 4 miles up the river is an epic quest in swimming hole adventuring in itself.

The End of College is Now Officially Inevitable

The End of College is Now Officially Inevitable

SUMMER TEMPS, A VISIT FROM PEPPER, & A ROUTE 100 DAY

The day of my final assignment at Middlebury College was Tuesday, May 16th. The chill of my 7 AM bike ride across campus to the Atwater dining hall did little to shake the glowing warmth. Inside, I knew that only a few hours remained between myself and the completion of my critical thesis defense, which would mark my final task as a college student. Outside, the clear blue skies signaled a swift rise in temperature – what I project to be the final departure from early spring chills.

That afternoon, as expected, I walked down the English Department hallway one last time. I had defended my thesis, and I was done.

First on the list of celebrations was the consumption of a special Hill Farmstead beer called Birth of Tragedy that I had acquired in March and was saving for this very moment. I was not bothered by the fact that I was drinking a heavy stout in summer-like temperatures, nor was I concerned with the foreboding name of the beer (it’s all down hill from here, right?!). I paired it with a Busch Heavy, the beer that kicked off my college experience, and enjoyed.

Celebration beers paired with my critical and creative theses.

I have not yet mentioned that I went home for Mothers’ Day and returned to school with my dog Pepper in tow. Her presence helps to ease the stress of finals week for Maddie and other friends, and we love taking her on our adventures. The following morning, I launched an epic Route 100 Day – one of the bucket list items that I wanted to complete before graduation, and an adventure that I highly recommend. Maddie, our friend Lisa, Pepper, and I kicked things off with mountain biking at Blueberry Lake in Warren. Discovering new trails combined with the first day on the mountain bike of the spring made for an epic morning, and when Pepper got tired, I had no issue slowing down to enjoy the sunshine, practice my photography, and hang out in the river while she cooled off.

Pepper after a few miles on the Blueberry Lake trails.

We enjoyed lunch at Mad Taco in Waitsfield after the ride – a mandatory stop along Route 100 that must include hot sauce sampling (all made in-house), outdoor seating, and perhaps a beer from Lawson’s.  After our meal, Maddie and Lisa returned to Middlebury while Pepper and I continued North.

Between Waitsfield and Stowe, which was my ultimate destination, Route 100 winds over hills, through valleys, and past the town of Waterbury – the original home of the Alchemist Brewery and its famed Heady Topper. Though the old brewery is not open to the public, Waterbury is still revered as a beer destination because of the breweries, restaurants, and stores that have popped up around the town. Though I did not stop everywhere, I would recommend Prohibition Pig for a bite to eat, The Reservoir for outdoor seating, and the Craft Beer Cellar for an outstanding selection.

Beyond Waterbury, I arrived at the Ben and Jerry’s headquarters and visitor center for a drippy ice cream cone, swung through the Cold Hollow Cider Mill to check out their apple products (although it was much busier when I had stopped last Fall), and stopped by the Cabot Cheese Annex Store for unlimited cheese samples. It was a wide-ranging and less-than-healthy culinary experience along Route 100, but it was prototypically Vermont, and I loved it.

The final stop was Stowe, a town that boasts a multitude of attractions and shops. Though many are overpriced, the two places I visited are both of excellent quality and not too pricey, either. First up was PK Coffee – the modern design, simple coffee menu, and screened-in porch made it an ideal place to recharge. Second, last but not least, was the Alchemist Brewery & Visitor Center. Gone are the days when scoring a single four-pack of Heady Topper means standing in line, tracking down delivery trucks, or just getting really, really lucky. The new brewery is visitor (and dog!) friendly, offers free samples, and has quantity limits that far exceed anything I could carry or afford. Plus, they offer a variety of beers besides just Heady; when I visited, they had Broken Spoke APA, Focal Banger IPA, The Crusher IIPA, and Beelzebub Imperial Stout. Coming home with a case or more was certainly not a bad way to stock up for my graduation party next weekend over in Westport, nor do mixed Alchemist four-packs make bad gifts.

The Alchemist Brewery, May 2017

I watched my car thermometer reach and then exceed 90 degrees as I turned south for Middlebury. The most direct route offers fewer exciting stops than Route 100 but plenty of appealing views. I especially like the stretch between Richmond and Hinesburg, with its winding dirt road and expanses that make you slow down and appreciate the quiet thrills of Spring in full bloom. My adventures like this one are not over, for I have a week-and-a-half until graduation and then a few weeks of Adirondack living in June, but they are waning. I approached this blog project to increase my own sense of mindfulness, but as I traversed Vermont’s roads, I realized that sometimes, the pursuit of mindfulness is sometimes just a big descriptor for the desire to have fun.

Richmond, May 2017
Winter Essentials in the ADKs

Winter Essentials in the ADKs

I spent time in the Adirondacks recently, and the hours were filled with spontaneous adventures, homey comforts, and good company. Having my grandparents’ farmhouse just a forty-five minute drive from Middlebury has been one of the greatest blessings of my college experience – one that I feel incredibly lucky to have. Westport is the gateway to the Adirondacks for me, and looking west from Middlebury at snow-covered ridges or glowing sunsets stirs in me the desire simply to go. Go to Westport for an overnight, clean laundry, and a home-cooked meal; go to Camp Dudley for a visit with my cousins or a good conversation with whomever is around; or go to the mountains for old stomping grounds or new discoveries.

For me, the Adirondacks in the summer are synonymous with my quest to become a 46er – to climb all forty-six peaks above 4000 feet. I’m two-thirds through, although most of the remaining mountains are more remote than those I’ve already summited.

But in the winter, the Adirondacks present a different challenge: finding fun and warmth in the sparseness and cold. It is the quiet of the Adirondacks in winter that will always remain with me – a quiet that I often seek out, but one that can also feel so foreign. When I go, I am both reveling in the silence and constantly seeking to fill it.

By now, I have my essentials figured out – my preferences, tricks, and tips. These essentials help me evoke feelings of summer, when the Storey Farm is often a busy, multi-generational community in constant flux. More importantly, they allow me to reflect with the hindsight the cold provides and to anticipate with the promise of the seasons. Compiling this list makes me mindful of what is meaningful to me – distinguishing between what I want and what I need.

ADIRONDACK WINTER ESSENTIALS

  • Eggs fresh from the Storey Farm chickens – I am happy to brave the icy morning air to collect warm eggs from the chicken coop. The “girls” are also happy to eat any and all of our vegetable scraps, which makes the eggs taste even better.
  • Good coffee – Sipping a warm cup of coffee is the perfect way to start a winter weekend day, whether I’m fueling up for an adventure or preparing for a cozy day of reading. I like making my own coffee, but I also highly recommend SubAlpine Coffee in Keene Valley and Dogwood Bakery in Wadhams!
  • Skinny skis and fat skis – Despite occasionally uncooperative snow conditions over the past two winters, nordic and alpine skiing have become two of my favorite activities. I have a good coach in Maddie, which makes these sports even more fun for me. When in the ADKs, visit Mt. Van Hoevenberg for nordic and Whiteface for alpine; both venues played host to the 1980 Winter Olympics!
  • A good pair of trail shoes – There’s always the possibility that Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate and skiing becomes impossible or too unpleasant. When this happens, I turn to the trails. Hiking and trail running can be a fantastic winter activity, as the bare trees open expansive views of high peaks. Good shoes or boots, wool socks (DarnTough all the way!), micro-spikes, and trekking poles are all useful tools to have.
  • Evenings by the fireplace – After a cold or wet day of adventuring, or if I’m just in the mood to sit and relax, a fire in the fireplace welcomes warmth into the farmhouse.
  • Cozy slippers – Besides a fire, the coziest thing about winter is slipping into a pair of slippers. I received Haflinger wool slippers for Christmas, and they are everything good slippers should be and so much more.
  • Good company – Sharing with others a place I love makes me happy, and unequivocally, the best way to stay cheery and warm is to be surrounded by friends.
Vermont Craft Beer Manifesto

Vermont Craft Beer Manifesto

INTRODUCTION

I think I subconsciously became hooked on Vermont craft beer years before I sipped my first Vermont IPA, when my dad reported enthusiastically about a new beer he’d found in the Burlington area. It had a strange name and came in tall silver cans.

Heady Topper.

I liked the originality. I liked the hyper-locality. I liked the idea of discovering something new.

Fast-forward to my gap year, when I was living in Germany. I was exposed to a drinking culture vastly different than what college social life is portrayed to be in the U.S. I could explore and discover good beer when I was hanging out with my teammates, when I was traveling throughout the country, or simply when I was passing by the local Getrankmarkt a few hundred yards from my homestay residence. My time in Germany gave me a glimpse of what a reasonable drinking culture looks like – one that I appreciated both for its general good-naturedness and its attention to quality.

Thus I began my four years in Vermont. I feel lucky that my budding interest in craft beer aligned with a location that is leading the craft beer movement in the U.S. It’s been a fantastic way to learn about the state and its people, and especially since turning twenty-one, I have thoroughly enjoyed detouring to breweries and tap rooms when traveling. I’ve driven the extra miles, waited in line a few times for longer than I’d care to admit, and planned my days around deliveries, but it’s all been worth it. Having some of the best beer in the world easily accessible is one thing, but being able to share these beers with family and friends and give gifts that truly make someone’s day is what it’s all about.

Before I offer my recommendations on craft beer – which should be useful for any Middlebury student, Vermonter, or visitor – I do want to share a few personal opinions on alcohol that might not be easily inferred from this post.

First, I have never and will never condone drinking and driving. Second, when it comes to alcohol and athletics, the immediate allure of drinking with your teammates after a victory should be tempered with the knowledge that any amount of alcohol, especially binge drinking for one “big night,” is incredibly detrimental to the technique, strength, and endurance that an athlete works to improve in practice week to week. The single healthiest choice an athlete can make is to eliminate alcohol, or at the very least avoid binge drinking at all costs. Third, alcohol consumption doesn’t only decrease athletic performance, it also hinders mental acuity. If operating at a high level and/or reducing stress and anxiety are your goals, drinking will prohibit your ability to achieve them. I aspire to be someone who works hard during the day, sleeps well at night, and doesn’t need alcohol to have fun. Lastly, and along those lines, it’s not only acceptable but truly awesome to be the sober one among friends. Having gone dry for both work and soccer-related reasons for long stretches over the past few years, I can attest that the stigma of not drinking is overwhelmingly surpassed by the feeling of supporting a friend in need. Plus, there are so many ways to reach life’s “highs” – friendship, laughter, and dancing to name a few – that alcohol should never be considered a necessity.

With that, I introduce my Vermont Craft Beer Manifesto – recommendations for how to make the most of the state’s epic craft beer scene. And remember, quality over quantity.

Image courtesy of the Winooski Beverage Warehouse, the best beer store in the state.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Listed alphabetically, not ranked unless otherwise noted; ** = top pick per category

Top 10 Vermont Craft Beers That I’ve Consumed

  1. Lawson’s Finest Liquids Double Sunshine (Double IPA)
  2. Hill Farmstead Juicy (Barrel Aged Saison)
  3. Hill Farmstead Damon – Double Barrel Aged (Russian Imperial Stout)
  4. Hill Farmstead Society & Solitude #4 (Double IPA)
  5. Fiddlehead Overstable (Double IPA)
  6. Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine (Double IPA)
  7. The Alchemist Heady Topper (Double IPA)
  8. Foam Imperial Teen (Imperial Stout)
  9. The Alchemist Focal Banger (Double IPA)
  10. Hill Farmstead Abner (Double IPA)

I like my Double IPAs. I love this list, but it doesn’t reflect the wide varieties available.

Top 9 Gateway Beers – Baby Steps into Vermont Craft Beer

  • Drop-In Sunshine and Hoppiness (Belgian Pale Ale)
  • Harpoon IPA
  • Magic Hat #9 (Fruit Beer / Pale Ale)
  • Otter Creek Over Easy (Pale Ale)
  • Rock Art Bohemian Pilsener
  • Switchback Ale (Amber / Red Ale)
  • The Shed Mountain Ale (Brown Ale)
  • Von Trapp Golden Helles Lager **
  • Zero Gravity Green State Lager (Pilsener)

Cost-effective and easy to find. Making your foray into Vermont craft beer easy!

Top 8 Regulars – Ubiquitous, Awesome Beers

  • 14th Star Tribute (Double IPA)
  • Burlington Beer Company Chasing Rabbits (Pale Wheat Ale)
  • Fiddlehead IPA
  • Long Trail Limbo IPA
  • Lost Nation Gose
  • Otter Creek Free Flow IPA
  • Stone Corral Trailblazer (Vienna Lager)
  • Zero Gravity Conehead Wheat IPA **

Best to keep some of these in the fridge at all times.

Top 7 Pale Ales / IPAs / Double IPAs – Epitome of Hoppiness

  • Foam Build to Spill (Double IPA, brewery only)
  • Foley Brothers Pieces of Eight (Double IPA)
  • Fiddlehead Second Fiddle (Double IPA)
  • Hill Farmstead Edward (Pale Ale, draft only)
  • Idletyme IPA
  • Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine (Double IPA) **
  • The Alchemist Focal Banger (IPA)

Vermont is best known for its hazy, citrusy IPAs, and these are all worth seeking out.

Top 6 Porters / Stouts / Imperial Stouts – For the Cold Days of Winter

  • Burlington Beer Company Barista (Porter)
  • Fiddlehead Hodad Porter **
  • Foley Brothers Hawaiian King (Imperial Stout)
  • Hill Farmstead Everett (Porter)
  • Lawson’s Finest Liquids Fayston Maple Imperial Stout (all variants)
  • Otter Creek Russian Imperial Stout

Vermont’s stouts don’t quite rival its IPAs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great!

Top 5 Restaurant & Brewery Combos – Emphasis on Great Restaurants

  • American Flatbread / Zero Gravity Craft Brewery, Burlington
  • Bar Antidote / Hired Hand Brewing Co., Vergennes
  • Bobcat Cafe & Brewery, Bristol
  • Felino’s Wood Fired Pizza / Fiddlehead Brewing Company, Shelburne **
  • Prohibition Pig Smoked Meats & Libations, Waterbury

** My favorite pizza and one of best breweries in Vermont, and they share a building.

Top 4 Taprooms – Restaurants / Bars with Excellent Tap Lists

  • Doc Ponds, Stowe
  • Farmhouse Tap and Grill, Burlington **
  • The Blackback Pub, Waterbury
  • Three Penny Taproom, Montpellier

Bonus recommendation: In Middlebury, it’s hard to beat Two Brothers!

Top 3 Brewery Destinations

  • Foam, Burlington
    • New to the Vermont craft beer scene, Foam made a splash in 2016 when it opened at the Waterfront Park in Burlington. Foam is ideal in so many ways: easy access, a funky taproom, hazy beers that are bursting with flavor, and frequent events. Plus, their beer is exclusive – you can only get it at the brewery. Bring a growler or hope they have bottles on hand (but those sell out fast!) – there’s something at Foam for everyone. (Bonus: visit Zero Gravity or Fiddlehead on your way to or from Foam!)
  • Hill Farmstead, Greensboro Bend **
    • It’s not considered the World’s best brewery for nothing! Hill Farmstead is the ultimate destination, and a visit epitomizes Vermont in so many ways. It’s remote – dirt roads and no cell service remote. If you think you’ve driven far enough, you’re probably still thirty minutes away. Perched on a gentle hillside with expansive views of the Green Mountains, the brewery is a Mecca for beer lovers. They fill growlers and release bottles weekly, and visiting the brewery is the only way to get HF in either form. Make a day of it by planning a hike or ski, and bring friends (and your wallet). It’s a special trip to take, but it’s always worth it. (Bonus: for an even more remote destination, visit Kingdom Brewery in Newport – you’ll practically be in Canada!)
  • The Alchemist, Stowe
    • Gone are the days when obtaining Heady Topper required long lines at beer stores or planning trips around delivery days. The new Alchemist brewery and visitor center in Stowe is massive, and it enables increased production and availability of not only Heady but Focal Banger, The Crusher, and other special releases. And they always sell their beer at $12.50 a four-pack, some of the best value out there. While Heady may be less elusive, the tradeoff that occurred makes the Stowe visitor center a must-see destination. (Bonus: Idletyme Brewery is under a mile from The Alchemist, and the new Von Trapp Beerhall is only a few miles away – both are excellent food and beer stops!)

These are the pinnacle, but bottom line, visiting any brewery is always an excellent idea.

Top 2 Beer Gifts to Impress Your Dad

  1. The Alchemist Heady Topper (Double IPA)
  2. Hill Farmstead: any bottle available

He’ll probably share it with you, too.

Top State for Craft Beer

  • Vermont!

 

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