My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, November 20th.
I am sitting here enjoying some nice fresh beer in the comfort of my home (a Victory Prima Pils), which I poured from a growler. This simple and enjoyable act is thanks, in part, to a recent change in the beer laws here in Vermont. Growlers sales are on an upward trend nationwide and Vermont has joined a growing number of states that allow larger quantities of “fresh” beer to be sold in retail locations other than a brewery.
Growlers have, of course, been available in Vermont for a while, but a quirky twist to our laws here required that these growlers be filled “from the source”; that is they had to be filled by a brewer at the brewery where the beer was produced. They could then be sold in other places after that, but as all of you know, the shelf life of this type of beer is not conducive to wide distribution without significant loss of quality. The sale of growlers in Vermont outside of that relatively narrow definition were not legal… until recently. In an effort pioneered by two retailers (the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier and the Bennington Beverage Outlet in Bennington, of course), supported heavily by many members of the Vermont Brewers Association as well as a large group of the State’s beverage retailers, the Vermont Department of Liquor Control (DLC) has begun to push forward a rule change that will eventually loosen, significantly, the rules governing the sale of growler-based beer in this state. Like many things in life, this pending rule change has a story behind it… and the story does not have and ending, yet.
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, November 13th.
Last weekend my son, Jamie, and I traveled down to Boston for the annual Belgian Beer Fest. Held at the Cyclorama in the Back Bay region of Boston, this festival brings together Belgian and Belgian-style brewers as well as distributors of these beers for a celebration of a type of beer that I have come to love.
I was disappointed that I missed the opportunity to participate in the “Night of Funk” held on Friday night before the actual festival on Saturday. This one-session festival unto itself is THE place where the brewers haul out their very best for the crowd lucky enough to gain tickets to this exclusive session. We attended the afternoon session on Saturday and the brewers and distributor representatives in attendance were still talking about what a “Funky” time they had the night before. Next year I will try to get in line sooner for tickets, so that I too can experience the very best that this festival has to offer.
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, October 9th.
It has been a good summer here in Vermont; plenty of sunshine and some very warm days. However as we head into October and the core of our autumn season, our thoughts and actions have slowly moved from summer-time to the fall harvest, bright foliage (complete with the hordes of out of state “leaf peepers”) and the last of the outdoor beer festivals of the year. A couple of weeks ago I attended the 2010 rendition of SIPtemberfest at the Mad River Glen in Waitsfield, Vermont.
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, September 25th.
Earlier this month, the Saturday of the long Labor Day weekend, I traveled down the spine of the Green Mountains to the Mount Snow Ski Resort to attend their 16th Annual Brewers Festival. You geographers all know that the Green Mountains almost split Vermont in half from north to south. These mountains and their placement within the state add to the travel difficulties of moving around our beautiful, but very rural state. Like many places in Vermont, the Mount Snow region is accessible only by secondary roads and, while the drive down Route 100 through the mountains is a beautiful one, is does take nearly three hours to get there from near Montpelier where I live… and it is only about 140 miles.
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, September 18th.
Last Saturday I traveled to tiny and quite rural W. Campton New Hampshire to visit the 14th Annual New England Homebrewer’s Jamboree. Sponsored by at least six homebrew clubs and featuring more than 120 competition entries of beer, wine, cider, mead and other specialty beverages, this has to be the quintessential event for all the talented homebrewer’s across the northeastern US… a true celebration of handcrafted beverages.
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, August 28th.
All of the typical signs are evident that summer is coming to an end and that fall is almost upon us; school began in most local districts this last week, the Champlain Valley Fair starts its 10-day run today and the summer green of the Vermont hillsides are slowly showing a hint of that blaze of color that will be dominant in a month or so.
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, July 31st.
Each July for the last 10 years some of New England’s best barbequers and grillers have descended upon tiny Windsor, VT for the New England Championships of BBQ, which is hosted on the grounds of the Harpoon Brewery. This New England Barbecue Society supervised event is attended by thousands of hungry BBQ fans all hoping to get a taste of some of the best BBQ this side of Kansas City and, of course, to sample some of Harpoon’s great beers.
My latest featured article for RateBeer’s The HopPress… posted on Saturday, July 24th.
Last weekend was the 18th annual Vermont Brewer’s Festival (VBF) in Burlington, Vermont. I had not taken this event in for a couple of years, so I was really looking forward to visiting with some of the new breweries that were to be there this year and to see if they had made any changes in the event to improve upon the experience of the festival attendees from years past.
Organized by the 21-member breweries of the Vermont Brewers Association, the VBF is held every year on the shores of Lake Champlain in Burlington’s Waterfront Park. It is a truly beautiful setting to hold such an event and last Saturday’s hot and sunny weather made it seem that much better. The proximity of the lake and a steady,cooling breeze coming off of the water made the day seem pleasant, in spite of the fact that the temperature reached 90F that afternoon.