Long Trail Brewing Company. Bridgewater Corners, Vermont.

 

Photo courtesy of Long Trail Brewing Company Facebook page.

The Lowdown:

Location: 5520 US RTE 4 Bridgewater Corners, Vermont

Food: http://longtrail.com//visit-us/menu Yes! When we were there we killed the free popcorn!

Kid friendly: Yes. My kids still talk about this brewery trip.  If you go in the summer bring a change of clothes. They will love splashing in the creek behind the brewery.

Quality of beer:https://untappd.com/

Photo courtesy of Long Trail Facebook page

Beer to go? Yes. Growler fills, bottles, cans, and limited edition bottle releases like the one I had.

Contact info: 802-672-5011

We went on a family vacation to Vermont a few years ago and set out on a destination for arguably one of Vermont’s most popular breweries, Long Trail Brewing Company. Long Trail is tucked away in Bridgewater Corners and is located in perhaps the quintessential setting that is Vermont. Trees, woods, and a small creek supply the backdrop to this brewery. There is plenty of parking in the large stone lot.

Once inside you immediately take notice of how spacious it is. There is plenty of room for seats along the bar and dining area. There is a great retail shop where you can get stickers, glasses, shirts, and beers to go.

While the atmosphere is casual, the service is top notch. A hostess led us to a comfortable booth that looked out onto the creek. We ordered a flight that included; the Long Trail Ale (Altbier), Limbo IPA, Blackbeary Wheat (Pale Wheat Ale), Double Bag (Altbier), Mostly Cloudy (Witbier), and the Brush and Barrel Series Saison. The Mostly Cloudy Witbier was our beer of choice for the flight.  Very light, slightly(not overly) hoppy and perfect for taking in the relaxed pace of the brewery.

The menu http://longtrail.com/visit-us/menu includes an upgraded version of brewery fare with a commitment to incorporating their own brews into many of the recipes, as well as sourcing local meats and produce when possible.  My son reported that this was one the best burgers he had ever had, which if you know him, you know that this is a very high compliment. They are proud members of the Vermont Fresh Network which supports Vermont agriculture by providing a connection between farmers and chefs.

  • Photo courtesy of Long Trail Brewing Company Facebook page.

    After lunch, we walked around and explored the rest of the brewery.  Outside of the restaurant is a large wooden deck that is perfect for soaking up the natural ambiance of Vermont.  Off of the deck are several log benches that point towards a small creek and stone steps that lead down to the creek.

  •          As you walk down to the creek you take notice to the Long Trail logo that is beautifully carved into the rock.  You can’t help but to just stop, admire, and say, “WOW! THAT’S AWESOME”.
  • Once we made our way to the creek it didn’t take long for the shoes and socks to come off. Soon, the creek was scattered with kids and adults alike, splashing and enjoying the beauty of the moment.
  • A view from the creek towards the back of the brewery.

Long Trail Brewery is the perfect spot for a family fun day at a brewery. The beauty of nature, quality beers, and picturesque location make this brewery a must visit when visiting Vermont.

Thank you, Long Trail Brewery, for allowing me to use some pictures from your Facebook page. I look forward to visiting you again soon!

 

Alewerks Brewing Company. Williamsburg, VA

 

The Lowdown:

Location: 197 B. Ewell Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188

Food:  Snacks- Just enough to help you enjoy the beer. Offering a made-from-scratch pretzel served with cheese or mustard. Chips and salsa are also available (not made at the brewery).

Kid Friendly:  Yes. The casual atmosphere is great for families, especially in the outdoor seating area you can find; corn hole and giant Jenga.

Quality of beer: Untappd

Beer to go: Yes- Growler fills available year round beer as well as limited bottle releases.

Other items to drink: Bottled water and soda.

Contact info: (757) 220-3670   alewerks.com

 

 

We first came to the Alewerks Brewing Company in the summer of 2010 when it was nothing more than a simple tasting room and a small retail shop. Since then they have dramatically expanded their space. Alewerks has added a bar, additional seating, improved their retail selection, and built a beautiful family friendly Biergarten. Another noticeable change is they’ve redesigned their packaging and tweaked their lineup to allow new additions, specifically Superb IPA and Weekend Lager.  Both beers have received positive feedback and demand thus far.

 

 

 

This summer we found the outdoor Biergarten to be the perfect place for the family on a warm June day.  We sampled our flights while the kids played Corn hole and Jenga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our flight included year-round offerings as well as a few limited releases. Drake Tail (IPA ), Tavern Brown Ale, Red Marker Ale (Red Ale), White Ale (Witbier) and my personal favorite, Chesapeake pale ale, are some of the Alewerks drafts that you can find all year.

Additional beers on tap at the time included The Springhouse Ale (Saison/Farmhouse Ale) and Pumpkin Ale. Alewerks also had bottles of the Springhouse Ale and Droste Effect (Imperial/Double Stout).

 

 

On the day we went to Alewerks the brewery was hopping, but the staff was very attentive and helpful.

On weekends, the brewery offers scheduled tours covering, the history of beer, the brewing process and a closer look at the operation.  Weekends and special events will bring the sweet smell of food trucks to the site.  Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates about special events.

While the “barbecue” scene in Williamsburg is well established, the craft beer scene is still fairly fresh. Alewerks is forging the path and setting the bar high for those who come after.  If you visit Williamsburg the Alewerks is definitely a worthwhile stop.

Thank you Alewerks for giving me permission to use some of the pictures from your Facebook site.

 

 

Virginia Beer Company. Williamsburg, VA

 

The Lowdown:

Location: 401 2nd St. Williamsburg, VA

Food: Not on site.  But, they do have a rotation of food trucks that come in every day. Virginia Beer Co also has an exclusive delivery menu with a nearby Italian restaurant, who waves their delivery charges for their customers. They also allow picnics and food delivery from other restaurants.

Kid Friendly: Yes. They have a special area available with games, coloring books, wifi, etc to keep the kids busy while the parents can sip and relax. Also, there is a grassy area outside where they have corn hole available for play.

The quality of beer:  https://untappd.com usually average between 3-4.5 stars.

Beer to go: Yes. Cans available of year-round beers. Wrenish Rye (Dry hopped Amber Ale), Elbow Patches (Oatmeal Stout), Free Verse (IPA), and Saving Daylight (Citrus Wheat).  VA Beer Co will also fill/sell 32 oz. & 64 oz. aluminum Crowlers, 32 oz & 64 oz. grunts/growlers, 32 oz and 64 oz branded Hydro Flasks, and 64 oz stainless steel ManCan mini keg growlers.

What else to drink: A selection of gourmet sodas and Coke products, and offer filtered water (for free) and bottled water (for sale).

Contact info: www.VirginiaBeerCo.com

Instagram:@virginiabeerco

Facebook: The Virginia Beer Co.

The Virginia Beer Company, located just a few miles away from Colonial Williamsburg, will celebrate its one-year anniversary in March 2017.  This brewery is gaining traction fast, with well-organized and committed founders.

We found this brewery via untappd . After a tour of William and Mary College, we were in desperate need of adult refreshments. Luckily, the Virginia Beer Company was able to help us. There is plenty of parking on the side of the building and large bay doors on the front of the brewery that allows a nice breeze to come through.

The Virginia Beer Company doesn’t have a kitchen. They have bags of local snacks available, such as Route 11 Potato Chips and Whitley’s Peanuts.  Every day they’re open they have local food trucks come to the brewery. On the day of our visit, we enjoyed tasty and traditional Southern Barbecue.

The inside of the brewery is new, neat, clean, and family friendly. Our kids were drawn to the family area stocked with toys, cards, and board games. They made fast friends with other kids and seemed happy and content to play while we sipped on our flights.

 

Our flight of eight beers was a diverse assortment of palatable brews. consisting of Free Verse (IPA-American), Saving Daylight (Pale Wheat Ale), Elbow Patches (Oatmeal Stout), Deadbolt (Imperial/DIPA), Kind Intentions (English Mild Ale), The Convert (Brown Ale), Wit and Measure (Witbier). Our favorite of the flight was Saison Tournante, a Farmhouse Saison made with Citra and Mosaic hops. The Saison Tournante was the beer I went back for more of, it conceals a high abv and it is perfect for a hot June day.

I did have the pleasure of speaking with one of the owners of the brewery. I told him I was from PA and just visiting the area for a few days and how impressive both the beer and new brewery are. He told me that they always have the four year-round beers on draft and a small batch Workshop Series. They aim to release one new beer per week, start selling cans of their IPA series and will start to offer 750 ml bottles releases of barrel-aged beers. The first release for their one-year anniversary will be a variant of Waypost, a Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon and Scotch barrels.

My trip to this brewery was brief, but I am looking forward to going back. I follow their Facebook and Instagram accounts to see what they’re planning next. I’ve seen them do collaboration brews with other breweries such as Aslin Beer Co., O’Connor Brewing Co., Alewerks Brewing Co., and Twain’s Brewpub and Billiards. In just one year, Virginia Beer Co has won seven regional awards for their IPA series, Saison Tournante series, Citrus Wheat, Imperial Red Ale, and American Mild.

There always seems to be something going on at the brewery.  Some events include it’s offering discounts to William and Mary Students, faculty,  and alum,  live music, karaoke, industry nights, beer dinners and local/national fundraisers.

Even though this brewery is in its early stages I am impressed by the organization and focus of the brewery team.  Robby,  from Virginia Beer Co, has gone above and beyond to help me prepare this post, providing information on the brewery, their upcoming plans, and future vision.  He also has given me permission to use some photos off of their Facebook site to use in this blog.

 

This attitude of attentive customer service is also apparent when you visit the brewery.  On my visit, the staff was very knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful.

Thank you for the information and I look forward to visiting again. Cheers!!!!

Chatty Monks Brewing Company. West Reading, PA

The Lowdown

Location: 610 Penn Ave, West Reading, PA 19611

Food: Full menu. Weekly specials. No dessert.

Kid Friendly: Yes. They have a kids menu, coloring books for kids and Tootsie Pops ( pending parental approval).

Quality of Beer: https://untappd.com/  Usually 3.5 to 5 stars.

Beer to go? Currently offer growler fills only. All beers except nitro draft beers. Growlers with Chatty Monks logo also available in 32oz, 64oz, and 2L growlers.  They will fill outside growlers also.

What else to drink? Seasonal sangrias. The Sweetheart Sangria was currently offered. Wynridge Farm hard (apple) cider. Cabernet/Merlot red wine and Chardonnay white wine from Karamoor Estates.  Coke products as well as Reading Draft Rootbeer and Orange Cream Soda.

Contact info :  (484) 818-0716  www.chattymonks.com

Chatty Monks came to West Reading three years ago, opened its doors during a closed street “Arts on the Avenue” event, and stole the hearts of all who desperately needed a craft brewery to call our own in the Reading/ Berks area.   I’ve been going ever since to enjoy their small batch, rotating list of seasonal experiments, as well as some flagships that regulars have come to love and expect.

I recently took my valentine to enjoy a brunch at Chatty’s.  You can always count on Chatty Monks to offer a more eclectic and upscale choice of menu offerings then you might find at more “standard fare” brewery restaurants.  Chatty Monks food offerings are classy, without being pretentious, and frequently changing with the seasons, much like the beer list itself.  Rebecca Keller is the Executive chef who also runs the West Reading Farmers Market and uses fresh, local produce for all menu options whenever possible. I love hearing that breweries use local businesses to help make a farm to table kitchen.

My date and I looked over the brunch menu and decided on a breakfast panini with eggs, bacon, and cheese with hash browns on the side. She selected the cranberry raisin pancakes with apples, pistachios and brown sugar on top. All of the food was very delicious.  It’s always clever, pairs great with the beers, and you leave wishing you had time to sample more of the culinary creations.

Upon entering the establishment, the first thing you see is the overhead sign that states the mantra; “Chew Chant Chill”. This declaration tells patrons, “We don’t have TVs hanging on every wall here; sit, relax, talk, enjoy delicious beer and food”.   Between the Monks adorning the walls, and the church pews as seats you can get comfortable and enjoy the good company, and the experience. 

In addition to the main floor dining and bar area, there is also a full upstairs dining room that is named “The Abbey”. It is a beautifully decorated dining area where the whole wall is made up of reclaimed barn wood stamped with a Chatty Monks logo. Pull a stool up to the cozy copper top bar and continue to sample the drafts on the list.  The servers are always eager to bring samples and chat about the latest and upcoming drafts. 

About the beer. Chatty Monks is known for their flagship IPA, Endoplasmic Reticulum.  It’s always on tap as is a stout on nitro.  They usually have on a porter for all those patrons who come in and say, ” I usually drink Yuengling, do you have anything like that”?

Besides those three beers, it’s all up to what head brewer Cliff Plank dreams up. Recently he brewed several pale ales and a stout brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, and bourbon. For brunch today, I enjoyed the “46 Hours”, an American Blonde infused with coffee. It was very good. Not overly powerful coffee flavor, but just a hint to let you know its there.  Cliff came to Chatty’s less than a year ago, a former architect turned head brewer. He’s brought a creative zest to the rotating drafts that are artfully crafted and complex.

Chatty Monks seems to have hit the mark with creating a formula for a destination that pleases the masses as well as the most discerning craft beer connoisseur. Given their popularity in their small West Reading brewery it will be interesting to see what’s next for their brand.

Hidden River Brewing Co

 

The Lowdown

Location: Douglassville, PA

Food: Yes;  paninis,  small plates, and snacks. Locally sourced farm/table seasonal.

Kid Friendly: Yes. Various books and games to keep them busy.  No kids menu available.

The quality of beer:  Untappd scores for most beers consistently rate high at 4+ bottlecaps.  Usually don’t brew the same batch twice.

Beer to go: Their priority is to have beer on draft for the pub. Their loose policy is 16 oz and 32 oz growler fills on Thursday and Sunday, and 32 oz cans on Friday and Saturday. Fills are first come and first serve and variable depending on any given beer on hand.

What else to drink?  Rotating variety of house-made sodas and wine from Manatawny Creek Winery.

Contact info: 484-273-2266    www.hiddenriverbrewing.com

 

Hidden River Brewing Company can be summed up in two words, unique and complex. Unique,  because you won’t find this gem tucked into an industrial park somewhere, this “haunted” house turned craft brewery is brimming with character.  Hidden River, located in the Historic Brinton Lodge in Douglassville, PA, is a historic site that has warmed guests by its fires for over three hundred years.

A visit to Hidden River is a multi-sensory experience.  We followed the signs for “beer” leading us directly into the brewery, greeted, at first by the aromas of hops and barley, second by a friendly face waving us into the bar area.  The front room holding the bar is cozy, warm, compact and inviting.  If more space and a bit less bustle are what you are looking for there are several additional rooms for you to choose where you feel like settling down. Each historically decorated dining room had a warm fire burning, bookshelves lined with a wide variety of well-borrowed reads, and board games to entertain all ages.  The craziest ( and best ) thing about Hidden River…. No TV! ; talk, read, engage. Just like old times.

We decided to settle into the back dining room which gave off a cozy mountain lodge vibe.  Smooth jazz was playing softly in the background.  There are several mounted hunting trophies including a lamp, made from what appears to be the leg of a goat? My daughter found the lamp fascinating and snuck a chance to pet it whenever we passed by. Hidden River has a limited menu, but it is all very good. They seem to be focused on being a farm to table brew pub. All of their items have been sourced locally, and in some instances repurposed.  The cookies and soft pretzel plate are made with spent grains from their brewery.  We decided to go with the Soft Pretzel plate ($5), Buck’n Mole Press ($12), Cheese Plate ($13) and Greenery & Shrooms Press ($12).Overall, I enjoyed the originality of their food offerings. I feel like every brewery has their burgers, wings, fries, etc. Which is fine, except here. Hidden River embraces the farm to table concept by creating local offerings into a delicious meal. I honestly didn’t think the “Greenery & Shrooms” would be for me.  However, for once, it felt good to be wrong. In addition to great beers,  they make their own soda on site. The kids enjoyed an elderberry ginger soda, deciding they would wait for next time to try the blackberry hibiscus soda.

So far, the atmosphere, vibe, and food were all remarkable. What about the beer? It is, after all, a brewery.  That it is, a complex brewery indeed.  I was fortunate enough to chat with one of the head brewers at Hidden River, Doug Reeser. After a brief conversation, it became quite apparent how different this brewery really is. He told me that they don’t have a flagship beer at Hidden River, they just pretty much, brew whatever they feel like, whenever they feel like it. Otherwise, you’re brewing the same thing week in and week out (sounds like work).  Seems crazy, but it makes sense. This will keep their creative juices flowing and not restricting days to just “brewing the flagship” and that’s it.

The beers we sampled were quite good. We had the Excess Access, Neoplatonism, Rituals and Virtues, Mutatis Mutandis and Kindling.

As I read through the names and descriptions to the beers it struck me that this is not a place that does “simple”. It’s not a glorified homebrew kit here. Everything is complex, and that’s how they like it.

The Neoplatonism is a hoppy pale ale brewed with Galaxy and Motueka Pale Ale with peachy notes, sweet orange and a bit of mango.  I found this to be very easy drinking and quickly found myself wanting another one. It also seemed very thick, almost like a pale ale smoothie.

The Kindling is a unique smoked porter with hints of dates. To be honest, I am not a fan of smoked porters. At all. However, I feel the dates, plum, and apricot takes off the smoke and ash on the back end.

I could go on with the beer descriptions, but it’d be a waste of time.  They usually don’t brew the same batch twice. Its, “here today, gone by the end of the week”.

In conclusion, I feel this is a must stop brewery for anyone visiting Berks County for any stretch of time. The relaxed ambiance mixed with the ever changing tap list is a reason to go back again and again.  I’m looking forward to coming back in the summertime to check out the deck, which overlooks a small hidden river.

 

Dogfish Head

 

Here’s a picture of a flight and some amazing grub from  Dogfish Head this past summer. Can’t wait to go back. 

My wife and I had a great time here with the kids. Its location is near the beach in Rehoboth DE, which means that it gets pretty busy in the summer.

Our favorite out of this flight was the Red and White.  This witbier was aged in pinot noir with a 10% ABV. Its untappd  score is a 3.8 and I wish I had bought a case of this limited edition.

My wife fell in love with the Namaste, a light summer wit that has notes of fresh cut lemongrass, orange, and coriander. It still holds as a  perennial favorite