These Craft Beers Prove Vermont Might Just Be The Best Beer State

While the fall foliage alone should be enough to get you to finally take that road trip to Vermont this fall, there are also quaint, little postcard-looking towns, a great food scene, and a surprising number of high-quality craft breweries. Sure, California (and San Diego, in particular) gets a lot of praise for its beer (specifically IPAs), but when it comes to quality per capita?

Vermont just might have Cali beat.

Obviously, an actual visit to the home of Ben & Jerry’s and Bernie Sanders might not be in the cards for everyone. Especially if you live very far away, but that shouldn’t stop you from sampling some of the pale ales, IPAs, lagers, and other beers The Green Mountain State has to offer anyway. We found eight of the best beers that prove that Vermont is one of (if not the best) states for beer fans — check them out below!

Fiddlehead Second Fiddle

Fiddlehead Second Fiddle
Fiddlehead

ABV: 8.2%

Average Price: $16.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

If you’re a big beer fan and hazy IPA drinker, you’ve probably already tried Fiddlehead IPA. It’s well-known for its juicy, citrus-filled, dank flavor profile. It’s time to step it up to Second Fiddle, its 8.2% ABV, dry-hopped imperial IPA.

Tasting Notes:

Fresh cut grass, grapefruit, tangerine, caramelized pineapple, and resinous, floral one highlight the nose. The palate is juicy and loaded with more tropical fruits, citrus peels, grapefruit, ripe melon, and dank, bitter, herbal hops. It’s a very complex, multi-dimensional take on the imperial IPA.

Bottom Line:

If you’re an IPA fan, Fiddlehead Second Fiddle must be on your list. It’s like someone took the juicy, tropical fruit flavor of a New England-style IPA and paired it with the dank, bitter, citrus flavor of a West Coast IPA.

The Alchemist Heady Topper

The Alchemist Heady Topper
The Alchemist

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $19.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

The Alchemist Heady Topper is more than just a great IPA. Just like Sierra Nevada created the American pale ale style we all know and love The Alchemist’s John Kimmich created the hazy, juicy, New England-style IPA when he brewed Heady Topper back in 2004.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is all bready malts, caramel, citrus zest, tropical fruits, and dank, resinous pine. It’s definitely inviting if you’re an IPA fan. On the palate, you’ll find ripe tangerine, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, caramel malts, and more floral, herbal, earthy, dank pine needles. The finish is a dry mix of fruity sweetness and bitter hops.

Bottom Line:

This is a very complex, balanced beer. It’s the kind of beer that is on every beer drinker’s bucket list and one that you should definitely try if you get a chance.

Switchback Ale

Switchback Ale
Switchback

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Referred to as Vermont’s “#1 draft beer,” Switchback Ale proves that sometimes simple is better. It’s a refreshing malty, hoppy, easy-drinking amber ale. It’s 5% ABV, unfiltered, naturally carbonated, and truly memorable.

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of wet grass, bready malts, caramel, dried fruits, and herbal, piney hops greet you before your first sip. The palate is a mix of bready malts, sweet caramel, dried fruits, pine, fruit esters, and herbal, slightly bitter hops. It’s a crisp mix of sweet malts, fruits, and lightly bitter hops.

Bottom Line:

This is an easy-drinking mix of malt and hops that you’ll go back to again and again. There’s nothing overly dynamic about this beer. It’s just simple, clean, and refreshing.

Grass Roots Brother Soigné

Grass Roots Brother Soigné
Grass Roots

ABV: 5%

Average Price: Limited Availability

The Beer:

For those unaware, Grassroots Brewing is a part of the highly regarded Hill Farmstead Brewery. This offshoot’s most iconic beer is its Brother Soigné, a saison known for its tart flavor due to the addition of blood orange, hibiscus, and lime in the fermentation process.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is filled with aromas of bold citrus peels, earthy yeast, lime zest, and a final note of floral, herbal scents. The palate is crisp, tart, and slightly sour with notes of tangerine, grapefruit, lime peel, and light floral flavor. The finish is dry, crisp, and slightly tart.

Bottom Line:

This is a truly unique beer. It’s a summery, yeasty, earthy saison that also has unique tart, citrus, and floral flavors. There’s a reason it’s such a coveted beer.

Zero Gravity Green State Lager

Zero Gravity Green State Lager
Zero Gravity

ABV: 4.9%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

The Beer:

There’s something special about a well-made lager. And in a state known for its hazy IPAs, Zero Gravity Green State Lager manages to make a name for itself due to its crisp, easy-drinking flavor profile of Noble hops and Pilsner malts.

Tasting Notes:

Before your first sip, you’ll enjoy aromas of lemon zest, cereal grains, bread-like malts, wet grass, and floral, piney hops. The palate is a mix of caramel, bready malts, citrus peels, cereal grains, and herbal, earthy resinous hops at the very end. It’s crisp, refreshing, and perfect for any time of year.

Bottom Line:

Zero Gravity Green State Lager is tremendously popular and it definitely deserves the acclaim it gets. It’s simple, crisp, and very well-balanced.

Foam Brewers Built to Spill

Foam Brewers Built to Spill
Foam Brewers

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $18 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

If you find yourself with a four-pack of this delicious beer, you definitely won’t want to spill any. This 8% ABV double IPA from the folks at Foam Brewers is known for its hazy, juicy flavor profile of ripe pineapple, citrus peels, and tropical fruits.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is lemon zest, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, guava, bready malts, and grassy, herbal hops. The palate follows suit with mango, caramelized pineapple, bread-like malts, tangerine, and more herbal, floral, piney hops at the finish. The ending is a mix of sweetness and subtly bitter hops.

Bottom Line:

This is a great example of a New England-style IPA done right. It’s hazy, juicy, and fruity, but it also has enough malt and bitter hop presence to round it out nicely.

Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine

Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine
Lawson’s Finest

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $17.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

Technically Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine is currently brewed in Connecticut at Two Roads, but its genesis was in Vermont and it’s Green Mountain State through and through. It’s known for its mix of tropical fruits, citrus zest, and layers and layers of piney, herbal hops.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is all ripe grapefruit, tangerine, freshly cut grass, pineapple, and other tropical fruit aromas. Drinking it reveals hints of bread-like, caramel malts mixed with pineapple, orange peel, mango, and earthy, dank, bright hops. The finish is a nice mix of sweetness and hop bitterness that leaves you craving more.

Bottom Line:

Lawson’s Finest Sip of Sunshine is one of those beers that you always want to grab if you spot it in the wild. Fresh, floral, and fruity, it’s an iconic New England-style IPA for a reason.

Hill Farmstead Edward

Hill Farmstead Edward
Hill Farmstead

ABV: 5.2%

Average Price: Limited Availability

The Beer:

Hill Farmstead is not only the biggest name in Vermont brewing, but it just might also be the biggest name (among aficionados) in American brewing. One of its most recognizable additions to the beer world is its iconic Edward. This 5.2% ABV American pale ale is brewed with house ale yeast, American malted barley, and Chinook, Columbus, Centennial, and Simcoe hops.

Tasting Notes:

Complex aromas of lemon peels, tangerine, grapefruit, mango, and herbal, earthy pine needles greet you before your first sip. The palate is all wet grass, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon zest, bready malts, and floral, piney hops. The finish is crisp and highly refreshing.

Bottom Line:

This is yet another beer that proves that simplicity is key. This is a straightforward fruity, citrus-filled, hoppy American pale ale. Definitely a beer you should add to your bucket list if you’ve never tried it.

Source: https://uproxx.com/life/best-craft-beer-vermont/