My friend Anna, knows good beer. As a resident of Burlington, her speciality is of course Vermont beer. So when she asked what I wanted for my upcoming birthday, I immediately responded with “Plan a brewery tour!” Anna quickly accepted the challenge, and whipped up a carefully crafted afternoon of walking through the city of Burlington, tasting delicious beer and enjoying the picturesque scenery.
When the day of the tour arrived, the weather in Burlington couldn’t have been better. The sun was out in full force, and there was just the right amount of puffy clouds dotting the blue sky. As my three friends laced up our sneakers (crucial for the upcoming 5 mile walk), we discussed our route and generously applied sunscreen to our arms & face.
Citizen Cider was our first stop at around 12:30 p.m. We sat inside at a long wooden table with a cool checkerboard (where were the checkers?). Service was quick, lunch (what’s better than a corndogs!) and flights were ordered and we settled in to catch up on each other’s lives. The ciders were crisp and refreshing, and the corndog & poutine hit the spot!
From Citizen’s, we walked down Pine Street, passing cool shops, restaurants and office buildings. Finding a gift card to Lunaroma in my purse, we veered off course for about 15 minutes. As Zero Gravity came into sight, we were greeted by a friendly sea of colorful flowers and umbrellas. The sun was now out in full force, so we positioned ourselves under an umbrella on their deck. Flights and IPAs were in order, service was again quick and efficient (place your order at their bar inside). We watched as the deck began to fill up with people also enjoying the beautiful weather. *Zero Gravity also have a cooler full of their cans if you need a to-go order and we voted that their outside seating was the best ambiance of the tour.
Lucky for us, Queen City Brewery is directly across the street. We had to wait a few minutes inside at the bar to order, and then headed back outside into the sunshine. The contrast of their outdoor seating area was on point. Between their orange chairs, black umbrellas and the purple flowers (which I think are lavender?), it was extremely inviting and comfortable. We googled the Burlington Bike to scope out where exactly we’d be jumping onto it.
After finishing up at Queen City, we followed Lakeside Ave down towards Lake Champlain and hopped onto the Burlington Bike Path. This is the part of the walk that we had all been looking forward to. You cannot ask for a more spectacular view of mountains, lake and the wonderful city of Burlington. Champ was a no-show, and talk of eating creemees quickly began. In the middle of our walk down the bike path, Anna’s parents scooted by on a tandem bike, which was a nice unexpected surprise!
We slipped off the Bike Path to slip into the recently opened Foam Brewers. Because of the nearby Wine & Food Festival, it was packed. Even so, we didn’t wait long and snagged a beer and an umbrella covered table out in the yard. After finishing our beer, we found ourselves at Burlington Bay, happily eating maple creemees with chocolate sprinkles (yes, “sprinkles” not “jimmies”).
From creemees, we detoured once again and sauntered down Church Market Place (people watching galore!) to swing into lululemon to spend another one of my gift cards. From there, it was to Vermont Pub & Brewery for our last beer and dinner. As always, their burgers were delicious, and the Grand Slam Baseball Beer was at the top of the list for best beer of the tour.
Brewery tour re-cap:
The milage for the walk was about 3.4 miles. We took our time, so it took us about 6 hours, but if we had stayed on track without any detours, the hours could’ve been cut down to around 4. We also had originally wanted to walk down to Switchback Brewing Co., but decided that it was a bit out of the way and would tack on too much time.
You can buy a growler to-go at each Brewery, and most do offer flights. The general consensus was that flights were the way to go. You can easily sample ones you wouldn’t usually have, since you’re only having 3 – 5 ounces of it. You don’t have to fully commit. If you don’t like the beer, another will surely be better. As I mentioned earlier, my friends and I liked the deck at Zero Gravity the best, but sitting outside and people watching at Vermont Pub & Brewery took a close second.
Our favorite beers of the tour included: Lone Wolf, a pale ale at Zero Gravity, the Grand Slam Baseball Beer, an American pale ale, at Vermont Pub & Brewery. Most of the IPAs from each place were delicious as well. All in all, between the four of us we probably tasted about 20 different types of beers and ciders.
I personally couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon. It was nice to “unplug” from normal life, and reconnect with good friends who I don’t see often. The beautiful weather certainly made the afternoon even better.
Cheers to Burlington’s Breweries!
*And, I may have already asked Anna to start planning next summer’s Brewery Tour..