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VPR Cafe: Great Beer, But What About The Food?

Glenn Russell
Burlington Free Press
Many Vermont breweries are starting to complement their beer with creative menus, such as Lost Nation in Morrisville. Sally Pollack, food writer for the "Burlington Free Press," had this cheeseburger on her recent visit to the taproom.

Vermont is home to the highest-ranked brewery in the world and a wealth of pubs, restaurants and microbreweries that crank out delicious beer all year long. But lately, breweries in the state have been focusing their efforts on offerings to complement their drinks – food.

Sally Pollack, food writer for the Burlington Free Press, had the opportunity to sample food at several breweries across the state. She says, “I think it’s a way to bring more people in and augment the experience. It’s nice, as we all know, to enjoy a meal with beer.”

"I think it's a way to bring more people in and augment the experience. It's nice, as we all know, to enjoy a meal with beer." - Sally Pollack, food writer

She explains that there are really two types of businesses: those who really focus on both the beer and the food, like Prohibition Pig in Waterbury and Whetstone Station in Brattleboro, and those who focus more on the beer and pair it with food, such as Otter Creek and Fiddlehead.

Lost Nation Brewery in Morrisville: Sally says both the name and the bloody cheeseburger on the menu drew her to Morrisville. “It was delicious and I had their Gose, a salty, sour German-style beer and Gose gouda fondue. Absolutely delicious and beautifully presented with whole mushrooms and apple slices. We really just adored our evening there,” Pollack says. She plans on taking another trip to the brewery in warmer weather, walking along the Lamoille Valley Trail to get there.

Credit Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press
Burlington Free Press
At Lost Nation Brewery, Pollack sampled a Gose (a salty, sour German-style beer) and Gose gouda fondue.

Otter Creek in Middlebury: Pollack says that Otter Creek is at the end of a great tasting trail in Middlebury, just after a winery and a distillery. “There’s a little tap room with huge windows looking into their brewery, so you can have a very nice, casual meal. These are inexpensive meals, too,” Pollack says. She had a “really good” tuna panino and kale salad.

Vermont Pub and Brewery in Burlington: “Boy, was that a good beer,” Pollack says. “I felt like I was having fizzy fruit juice. I had their forbidden fruit beer, brewed with raspberries. We also had chicken wings, chili and a Philly cheese steak.”

Hill Farmstead in Greensboro: Just named the number one brewery in the world by RateBeer, Pollack says one of their award-winning beers from 2014 is a blueberry beer. “They get their blueberries from their neighbor’s pick-your-own blueberry patch. So you can go there and pick berries while you’re waiting for the best beer in the world.”

Earth Eagle in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Sally says their gruit brewed with moose head broth is a soup and a beer in one glass. “I was very happy with this little snowstorm drink,” she says.

As for places to go on her wish list,  Sally hopes to try Four Quarters Brewing in Winooski. “It’s this tiny little garage – we didn’t know if it was a bike shop or a brewery ... In March, they are going to start having sushi on Friday nights,” she says.

The VPR Cafe is produced in collaboration with the Burlington Free Press and is made possible on VPR by City Market in Burlington.

Broadcast on Feb. 7, 2015.

Franny was VPR's Director of Programming & Production.
Ric was a producer for Vermont Edition and host of the VPR Cafe.
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