Best Breweries in Vermont | The AlchemistPhoto Credit : Mark Fleming
Vermont is home to roughly 15 breweries per 100,000 residents — more per capita than any other state — earning it the title of craft beer capital of the United States. It’s blessed not only with abundance but quality, too, and in every part of the state: from world-famous Hill Farmstead Brewery in the Northeast Kingdom to acclaimed newcomer Black Flannel in Essex to perennial favorite Long Trail in the heart of the Green Mountains. The following roundup of best breweries in Vermont is drawn from Yankee’s travel writings, and includes many places that our editors have returned to again and again over the years.
The Alchemist | Stowe
People come from far and wide to get their hands on brews from The Alchemist, whose offerings include Heady Topper, the now-legendary double IPA that many credit with starting the craft beer craze, and of which Hop Culture has noted: “No single American beer has been doted upon with as much unrelenting, unabashed praise.” The state-of-the-art brewery and visitors center in Stowe lets you sample and buy beers that are considered among the best in New England, from headliner IPAs like Heady Topper and Focal Banger to sour golden ales and imperial stouts.
Vermont’s first and only brewery/distillery hybrid, Black Flannel has brewed a dizzying 80-plusstyles of beer since opening in 2020 — safe to say, there’s always something new to discover here. Some popular picks are the hazy IPA Disco Montage; a fruity, deeply malty Belgian dubbel; and Stormin’ the Castle, a hearty Scotch ale perfect for cold-weather sipping. Then there’s the distillery, which turns out superlative gins, rums, whiskeys, and other spirits, many distilled with evocative ingredients such as fruits, maple syrup, and spices. The crowning touch? A restaurant run by James Beard Award–nominated chef Christian Kruse.
Burlington Beer Co. | Burlington
Burlington Beer Co. is the brainchild of Joe Lemnah, a native son who brought his talents home after working at Olde Saratoga, Dogfish Head, and Evolution. Encompassing a taproom, restaurant, and barrel house, the brewery showcases Lemnah’s creativity (this is the man who once home-brewed a pumpkin beer inside a pumpkin) with rotating beers that emphasize local, seasonal ingredients. Two delicious examples include Barista, a coffee porter made with beans from Woodstock roaster Abracadabra, and Beekeeper, an imperial IPA brewed with Vermont honey.
Foam Brewers | Burlington
Located in a historic brick building just steps from Waterfront Park and the Burlington Bike Trail, this recent James Beard Award semifinalist was opened in 2016 by a trio of brewers already steeped in expertise from stints at Magic Hat and Switchback. Foam offers a collection of seasonally rotating brews — the saisons and IPAs are especially worth checking out — and is also the only spot pouring the innovative aged and blended beers from the nearby House of Fermentology, a blendery cofounded by Foam partner Todd Haire.
Four Quarters Brewing | Winooski
This small-batch specialist was opened in 2014 by beer geek Brian Eckert while he was also holding down a full-time job as a web developer at Ben & Jerry’s. Four Quarters’ subsequent success spurred a move in 2021 to a new Main Street location that has a brewhouse, a 29-tapline taproom, and an outdoor patio — the perfect setup for sampling Eckert’s imaginative concoctions, which have included Pickle Juice (a sour ale brewed with cucumbers, honey dew, and fresh dill) and Cider Donut Stout (an Imperial milk stout brewed with apple cider and apple cider doughnuts from Champlain Orchards).
Hill Farmstead Brewery | Greensboro
When beer lovers make a pilgrimage to Vermont, it’s likely to this tucked-away corner of the Northeast Kingdom. On land the Hill family has farmed for seven generations, Danish-trained Shaun Hill crafts beer consistently voted the world’s best. Standards run from summer’s lagers to winter’s stouts, and from citrusy IPAs to powerful barley wines. Look also for brews with subtle fruit flavors, perhaps aged in bourbon, wine, or cognac barrels.
Lawson’s Finest Liquids | Waitsfield
The Mad River Valley is outdoor-sports central in Vermont. When hikers, skiers, and cyclists work up a thirst, they head to Lawson’s taproom for the brewery’s IPAs, Pilsners, porters, brown ale, and seasonal releases (in winter, look for powerful Maple Tripple), with light fare for pairing. Frequent live performances include jazz, blues, and folk. Occasional beer-themed dinners and popular Beer and Brats Wednesdays round out the schedule.
Long Trail Brewing Company | Bridgewater
“Take a Hike” says the Long Trail label, and a hike (or drive) to Bridgewater will lead to the brewery’s pub on the banks of the Ottauquechee River. Depending on the weather, taps might feature quenchers like Belgian White and Blackberry Wheat, or the chewy, chilly-day favorite Double Bag. Grab a burger or bratwurst (made with beer), take in the river views from the deck, and stick around for live music.
Switchback Brewing Co. | Burlington
Down in Burlington’s South End arts district, the Queen City’s heart of hip, Switchback has built a following around its eponymous flagship brew, an unfiltered amber ale that manages to be malty and hoppy at the same time. The pub crowd ventures beyond into IPAs, British-style Brown Ale, and specialties like Märzen lager while enjoying hot dogs, brats, vegan chili, and Friday-night live music.
Zero Gravity | Burlington
Proving you can never have too much of a good thing, Zero Gravity expanded beyond its home at the American Flatbread Burlington Hearth restaurant to set up an honest-to-goodness 30-barrel brewhouse on Pine Street in 2015, compete with tasting room, retail shop, and beer garden. Under the guidance of brewmaster Paul Sayler, the brewery turns out quaffs that honor the qualities of classic beer styles — Belgian tripel, Czech pilsner, India pale ale, etc. — while still making room for only-in-Vermont creativity. One specialty offering to look for: the Yuzu Lager, which packs a bright citrusy-malty punch.
Do you have a brewery you’d like to add to the list? Tell us about it in the comments below!