|Riding around Berlin Pond in Vermont|
I had in mind a plan for a vacation, or as I like to call them beercation, in early August. In my travels I always like to involve good food and drink and I made the effort to spend a bunch of time doing that. The other part was to do a bunch of cycling, hit the trails, work off the beer gut, and drink as much incredibly good beer as I could.
I would like to report that I succeed heavily... aside from maybe the gut thing...
|East Montpelier up Snow Road|
In short if you are a flatlander (one of the good ones) like me showing up it's quite a challenge, but the views are all worth it. I was staying in the Waitsfield VT area which is in the center of the state, and came across a website that offered many central trails and routes as ideas for rides. It's this one here: Central VT bike routes . With that I set off excited, but realized I was in for a real challenge.
I did a simple Berlin pond loop earlier and noticed that my crossbike (I have named her Cynthia), could do well, but the gravel and bumpy roads and thin air was doing a number on my lungs.
By the time I headed to East Montpelier it was evident that taking breaks was gonna have to happen. The good thing is there are plenty of reasons to stop and just take in the vistas, if not to pick your spleen off the ground from the tough climbs.
|Typical Vermont trail road|
By the time I made it to Barre for my highest ride though I thought I was going to die. Strangely on these bike tours I was doing, I saw NO other riders doing them. Two wheeled riders, cyclist and motorcyclists are everywhere in Vermont. For a motorcycle rider, you have numerous twisties and little cars. For the cyclists the same appeal. Many of the main highways are just easy enough to ride on with no fear of getting hit. It just seemed when I went off road.. I was alone, and I thought... am I crazy enough to do this shit?
Still there is something to be said to be stuck in the middle of nowhere overlooking the mountains, and nobody to be in your way. It does feel like you have it all for yourself. The rides in Barre, Montpelier, and Norwich were hard, but there is plenty of simple riding to do just on the main roads.
|Lake Champlain trail outside Burlington VT|
Even with all this riding hey... I am not just here to sight see ya know! While every vacation is beercation like I say, nothing says beercation like being in Vermont.
|Lawson's Finest Liquids - Sip of Sunshine IPA|
After much research I decided I was going to stay in the Waitsfield area to be near Warren which contains the Lawson's brewery. It is also not far from many trails, and gives easy access to the towns of Montpelier and Waterbury for more beer choices as well.
Beer hunting is fine, but there's ways to go about it than just spending a bunch of time waiting forever in line, or chasing hyped (depending on your opinion) beers.
It was evident that after a few days there was more than enough great beer to go around. I do like IPAs, but I am not crazy or obsessed with them as some people are. However, due the styles popularity and the demand for the ones that come from many Vermont brewers, IPAs dominate the landscape. Good news.. they are excellent.. bad news.. you want something else your choices are really limited.
|Lost Nation's - Rustic Ale|
Nevertheless, the Hill Farmstead brewery has expanded and is in a great scenic area of Greensboro. Sometimes the crowds can be a bit big, but one tip someone told me was to visit not too long before the close to avoid large crowds.
|The Alchemist Focal Banger at Mad Taco|
The Waitsfield area turned out to be more convenient than I imagined. Stores and shops for delivery of Lawson's and Alchemist products were nearby, even after the early morning crowds left and took their cases home back across the border.
Same with restaurants as well. The Mad Taco offers a fantastic tap list, and simple basic and well made food. It's also dirt cheap as I feasted on Pork Belly tacos so much I practically overdosed on them. Dining options in the area are far and few between, but manageable, and I found myself at Mad Taco often so much that I pretty much had just about everything on the menu.
More importantly was the fantastic place I stayed at called the White Horse Inn.
|Get your fridge ready for beercation!|
An amazing breakfast was presented every morning from a seasoned pastry chef. Timely and clean rooms and excellent hospitality.
The chef bakes so much he leaves cookies and little nibbles all over the Inn for you to snack on.
Did I mention they also provided me a fridge for my beer cation needs? I needed this more for the purchases at the stores I visited in the state and travels along the way than for the beers bought in Vermont proper. Heck the White Horse Inn servers Lawson's and Alchemist beers to begin with!
More so Vermont offers everything you want in a beercation. Spectacular beer, and spectacular scenery.. it's even better when you can combine it both.
Till next time .... cause you know I am coming back!