By: Olivia Kona
If you love to explore beer’s complexities and try new brews, then a visit to the annual Vermont Brewers Festival, a mere two hours south, is a must-do next July. This ever-popular artisanal event is held in one of the premier beer destinations of the world — the state of Vermont.
And you can’t beat the venue. Held in Burlington or “Beerlington”, as it’s known locally, in the city’s Waterfront Park, it overlooks stunning Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. The overall festival vibe is relaxed and mellow, just like the city itself.
Beer, that sudsy libation, used to be wine’s third cousin. Not anymore. Its status was raised by the craft beer movement and Beer Advocate’s Todd Alström’s 2005 post How to Review a Beer. Once reserved for wine, pairings are making a stir in the world of beer. Creating the delicate balance between beer and food is now an art form.
“You Can’t Get There from Here is our new sour beer made with an arctic berry from Canada,” said Burlington Beer’s founder Joe Lemnah on a Meet the Brewers panel at the festival. “Chocolate transforms this beer to a gauze-type characteristic of cherry and lychee after you take a bite.”
Beer and chocolate together? Absolutely. And it’s good, so good that the pairings can be phenomenal. Cheese and beer combinations were also on the program.
The festival offered 150 craft brews — some of which have unusual flavors, names and beautifully designed offbeat labels — from 46 Vermont, New England and Quebec breweries. White peaches, Kona coffee, mint, elderflowers, sea salt and sage are only some of the brewed ingredients.
A flavorite crowd pleaser was the Key lime pie beer. Called Six Holes in My Freezer, it was Drop-In Brewing’s breakout beer in 2015.
Not all of the beers were on the sweet side or brewed with unusual ingredients. Many ultra fine IPAs, Pilsners, Ales, Lagers and Porters were presented, as well.
The 25th annual festival is in 2017 and tickets usually go on sale in May, but you have to be quick. The event can sell out in less than ten minutes!
This year, tickets were $35 and included a souvenir tasting glass and 15 beer tickets. Beers are either one or two tickets depending on alcohol content. Locally sourced food for purchase is also available.
For more info: http://www.vtbrewfest.com