US Beer Road Trip

The Man and I like to road trip, and often jump at a chance to head out and explore. It took no coaxing at all to get The Man (who doesn’t drink) to drive me around New York and Vermont collecting beer.

First stop after crossing the border was to hit Paula’s Donuts in Tonawanda just off the I-90. Not beer related, but delicious nonetheless.

We set up the next instalment of Stephen King’s Dark Tower audiobook series, The Wolves of the Calla, and meandered through the Adirondacks, listening, chatting and generally goofing off until we realized that Ommegang, our first stop, closed at 5. Since it was 2 at that point and we were still a ways away, we sped up our meandering and got there at 4:15. Too late for a tour, but plenty of time to check out the bottle shop.



We found some cheap and cheerful accommodations in nearby Johnstown, thankfully close to a car wash and a steak house. What more do you need?

We had an early start, and went back to meandering again, this time north through the Adirondacks, into Vermont and along the east side of Lake Champlain. It was a dreary morning, but the scenery is still lovely for all that.

I pulled up the offline map on the iPad and the list of addresses in my notebook when we got in to Burlington, and started our quest for Alchemist’s Heady Topper. For a non-drinker, The Man was really getting into the whole scavenger hunt aspect of the quest.

First stop: The Shopping Bag. Their delivery hadn’t arrived yet, but they invited us to stick around and grab “the state’s best burger”. We decided to move on and come back to it if we had to.

Second stop: Beverage Warehouse in Winooski. A huge jumble of connecting rooms with lots of liquor, beer and wine. We flagged down someone who said, no luck, they had the shipment in and sold already. “If you’re not in line by 10, you’re not going to get it”. Ditto with Lawson’s. OK, next.

Third stop: Fairground Liquor, which from the outside looks just like a gas station snack bar. Because it actually is a gas station snack bar. The Man and I scoped out the fridge and couldn’t see any Heady, nor could we see a gap in the bottles where Heady should be. He asked very nice woman behind the counter if there was any, and before he could finish his question, she said “Heady? It’s on the bottom of the third fridge.” I say she was a very nice woman, because she let us take everything they had, 20 cans. Bingo!

As we got back in the car, he asked me if we wanted to pursue any more, but it was getting near lunch time and we still had to hit Waterbury & find Hill Farmstead before it closed at 5.

Lovely. Just lovely. The drive was perfect, the sun came out, and life was good. Prohibition Pig was closed for lunch on Thursdays, so we snacked on the last of the granola bars in the car and hit the Craft Beer Cellar. If there was ever a place that I would stunned into indecision by the sheer selection of lovelies on the shelf, it’s the Craft Beer Cellar. They really know their shit, and luckily Victor was able to guide me to some interesting bottles to bring back for Beer Club.

We made it to Hill Farmstead, and I was happy to only see about a half dozen cars in the parking lot and no trace of the ginormous line I had heard about. There were about 6 people ahead of us, and the line moved so fast I only had time to try 2 of my 4 samples!

It’s not a secret that I am not a big IPA fan; too much bitterness makes my taste buds angry. But if more  tasted like Abner and Society & Solitude, I would drink more IPA styes for sure! Incredibly good. So good that I changed my mind about how many of the 5 bottle limit would be for Beer Club and how many would be for my personal enjoyment.

Back to Waterbury along winding secondary roads as we watched the sun set ahead of us, and dinner at Prohibition Pig where The Man’s mac and cheese was about the best I’ve ever had and made me regret my dinner choice. I hate it when that happens.


sunset in Vermont


We found more cheap & cheerful accommodations, opting for the Ho Hum Motel, just to see if it was (yes). It had gotten quite a bit colder, and we made the call to bring the beer inside. Good thing too, as the soda cans that got left in the back seat froze solid and burst.


The haul

Friday dawned sunny and mild and we took the long way home. I was less than enthused about going home, but there were several assignments that I had ignored until the last minute (quel surprise).


You can take the 401, but it’s not nearly as scenic. Or slow.

The Final Beer Tally:

  • Omemgang – 8 bottles of Glimmer Glass seasonal saison for Beer Club, and 2 bottles of Upside Brown + 1 of Three Philosophers for me
  • Alchemist – 28 cans of Heady Topper: 12 for Beer Club the rest for me.
  • Lost Nation Lamoille Bretta, 5 for Beer Club
  • Crop Bistro Dunkel Lager, 5 for Beer Club
  • Stone Corral Latigo, 5 for Beer Club
  • Hill Farmstead, 2 x 2L growlers of Abner for Beer Club, 1 x 750ml each of Edward, What is Enlightenment andEverett for me.

This should be a very good beer club!!



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