The Green Mountain state has a storied brewing history. In fact, Vermont is often considered the birthplace of the New England IPA, once just an off-shoot of the citrus-forward East Coast IPA and now it’s own identifiable beer style. And while the small state of Vermont doesn’t boast a remarkable number of breweries, it does rank first in breweries per capita according to the Brewers Association.
Not only is craft beer alive and well in Vermont, but the state offers a variety of expertly produced agricultural products. Vermont’s cheese is world-renowned with Jasper Hill and Willow Hill producing some of the country’s best. Distilleries like Whistlepig and Caledonia offer exceptional whiskey and gin. And, Vermont’s cideries are among the best we’ve tried. Shacksbury continues to produce stunning wild-fermented cider alongside creative explorations in flavor. Fable Farm’s co-ferments and exquisitely crafted ciders are next to none. And, we could spend hours sitting in the shade of one of Windfall Orchard’s apple trees. Not to mention the natural wine magic happening at ZAFA and their collaboration project with Shacksbury: Co Cellars. Vermont’s food and beverage world is thriving.
Below we’ve picked out seven of the best craft breweries in Vermont. These breweries have become synonymous with Vermont beer and continue to innovate even after years of brewing. Although most people will just scroll on by, we want to take a moment to highlight a few smaller and newer operations worthy of an “honorable mention:” Wunderkammer, Hermit Thrush, Four Quarters, and River Roost.
The Best Breweries in Vermont
Hill Farmstead Brewery
403 Hill Rd, Greensboro Bend, VT | (802) 533-7450
Hill Farmstead is not only one of the best breweries in the country, it’s often considered the best brewery in the world. For good reason. Hill Farmstead takes the farmhouse tradition to heart producing elegant saisons, grisettes, and biere de gardes that evoke a specific time and place. In fact, founder Shaun Hill names many of his beers after ancestors that lived on the family farm.
There’s a reason that Hill Farmstead’s reign as a world-class brewery has continued for so long. The enigmatic brewery founder chases perfection in each product. Even better, Hill Farmstead has grown and evolved, now offering New England IPAs that are as emblematic of their style as Hill Farmstead’s saisons.
Take one look at Hill Farmstead’s alumni list (Suarez Family Brewery, Casita, The Veil, the aforementioned Wunderkammer) and it’s clear that this brewery in the middle of nowhere Vermont is special. Hill Farmstead attracts quality brewers who want to perfect their craft as much as Shaun Hill himself. Or, at the very least, make a damn fine beer.
Read an in-depth review of one of Hill Farmstead’s beers here.
112 Lake St, Burlington, VT | (802) 399-2511
While Hill Farmstead has made a name for itself with finely crafted farmhouse ales, Foam Brewers earned acclaim for its new school hazy IPAs. However, what separated Foam Brewers from the rest of their contemporary New England IPA breweries was the balanced and accessible approach. Foam’s beer never felt overwhelming or challenging. It was a welcome invitation.
Foam Brewers, which opened in 2016, is a truly Vermont brewery. The founding members are industry pros cutting their teeth at New England staples like Switchback and Magic Hat. Foam represents the new class of craft breweries in the Green Mountain State.
In addition to soft, balanced hazy IPAs, Foam produces fantastic lagers, saisons, and kettle sours. Plus, founder Todd Haire’s side project House of Fermentology has officially been brought under the Foam banner. The diverse lineup of beers available at Foam is only matched by the eye-catching artwork produced by a series of artists. The visuals, liquid, and creative output of the Foam team all coincide to make this brewery one of the best in the country.
100 Cottage Club Rd, Stowe, VT | (802) 882-8165
Like Shaun Hill at Hill Farmstead, John Kimmich founder of The Alchemist is a master at what he does. And what he does is hops.
The Alchemist is often credited with creating the prototypical hazy IPA and for leading the modern push for highly-sought-after, fresh beer. The Alchemist earned a cult-like following around beers like Heady Topper and Focal Banger with folks traveling from states far away to track down the scarcely available IPAs.
These beers–and many of The Alchemist’s other quality brews–are much more readily available now, but still held in high esteem. The Alchemist hasn’t changed much about what they do, but they continue to innovate, especially in issues like sustainability. Their community impact is a top priority for founders John and Jen Kimmich and they continue to push themselves and the industry forward in environmentally-minded ways.
Lawson’s Finest Liquids
155 Carroll Rd, Waitsfield, VT | (802) 496-4677
Another Vermont craft beer staple is Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Founded by husband and wife Sean and Karen Lawson in 2008, Lawson’s Finest Liquids produces a diverse lineup of beer. Though the brewery has long been praised for its hoppy beers Sip of Sunshine and the Super Session series, Lawson’s exploration in maple stouts combines Vermont’s syrup history with modern craft beer drinker’s sensibilities.
Not only does Lawnson’s produce excellent beers, but it has also become a significant part of its local community. Lawson’s is a member of the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility as well as the Mad River Valley Chamber.
Read more about Lawson’s delicious maple stout beers here.
Zero Gravity Craft Brewery
716 Pine St, Burlington, VT | (802) 497-0054
Zero Gravity captures the wild beauty of Vermont in each beer. And, the Burlington-based brewery is committed to keeping that beauty alive. Zero Gravity is a 1% for the Planet member and has crafted several mission-driven beers raising money and awareness for social justice issues.
Zero Gravity has led with charming can designs and engaging photography. Each Instagram photo has us wishing we could take a hike or hit the beach with the Zero Gravity team. With a Zero Gravity beer of course.
The brewery doesn’t have the same hype cachet as some of the previously mentioned breweries, but their products are excellent and consistent. Green State Lager and Little Wolf are two beers I’d perennially keep in my party cooler.
Lost Nation Brewing
87 Creamery Rd, Morrisville, VT | (802) 851-8041
Founded in 2013, Lost Nation is another brewery that may not populate your Instagram feed but is a well-respected member of the Vermont brewing scene. Lost Nation’s beers tend to be more rustic and traditional, channeling the tree-filled woods of its home state.
The simply titled Gose is one of the best examples of the tart German-style beer in the country while Mosaic IPA is a balanced beer that feels both historic and exceedingly modern.
This unerring dedication to European styles may feel stubborn, but it’s that commitment that has led Lost Nation to be one of the best breweries in Vermont.
Red Clover Ale Co.
43 Center St, Brandon, VT | (802) 465-8412
As one of the newest craft breweries in Vermont, it might seem strange to include Red Clover Ale Co. alongside much more established breweries. But make no mistake, the Brandon, VT brewery is the real deal.
Founded by three brothers-in-law, Red Clover Ale Co. excels at gentle, subtle hazy IPAs–picking up the baton from Foam Brewers. Moreover, Red Clover’s founders channel their family history in farming to produce fresh, locally-inspired beers. The taplist is varied and any visit will find something that pleases their palate–from a superbly balanced New England IPA to an unfussy Vienna Lager.
Red Clover Ale Co. signifies the latest crop of breweries in Vermont. They’re small, driven by local supporters, and passionate about their craft. They forgo bombast for balance. And, they’re unpretentious in their pursuit of something special. We named Red Clover Ale Co. one of the best new breweries in the US for 2019 and we imagine they’ll remain one of the best craft breweries in Vermont for years to come.
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