Friday, March 2, 2012
Burlington Brew Tour - Continued
We made it through our first brewery stop at the Vermont Brew Pub and now we walked down the street to American Flatbread which makes craft beer under the name Zero Gravity. Matt ushered us in a side door and we were directed to a large table in this packed establishment that he had reserved for us. The selection of beers was diverse and our group was becoming much more animated. We all became experts at judging the beers color and after tastes.
A personal favorite was the Ole Ale which had a dark, complex flavor. I decided to get a growler of this English ale to take back to New York with me. It was tough to watch all the brick oven pizza float by without having a slice, or two. Doreen and I doubled back after the tour and had dinner here just to confirm how good their Margarita-style pizza actually was.Next stop on this, the German Brew tour, was the German beer garden 2 blocks away. We again entered through a side entrance and walked downstairs to a small bar room. We were served a Franziskaner Weissbier and a selection of appetizers including wiener schnitzel and various types of bratwurst.
The food was delicious but not very filling; just enough to make you want to come back for a whole meal. I followed up with a Kostritzer on tap that finished our European experience nicely.
The final brewery of the tour was Magic Hat about 5 minutes by van outside of town. I would guess that the owner’s favorite holiday is Halloween because the whole place is done up like a costume party in New Orleans. Interestingly, the founder of Magic Hat, Alan Newman, lives a few houses down from where we were staying in Burlington. Before he got into brewing, he started Seventh Generation which sells environmentally conscious products. He left Magic hat a few years ago to start another brewery called Alchemy and Science which I’ve heard makes a killer IPA.
Back to the tour: There is a rusty metal castle tower next to the brewery’s front door that Doreen and I had to climb get the perspective from 20 feet above the group. We entered the brewery and walked into a large, dark circular room that contained T-shirts along with other merchandise and a packed bar pouring Magic Hat’s most popular selections. The walls and ceiling were covered with all sorts of posters and whimsical masks and creatures. Matt started us off with a #9 and followed it with about 5 or 6 others that, to be completely honest with you, I don’t remember too much about. All the visual stimulus, along with the previous tastings, made it tough for me to focus on what I was drinking.Matt took us for a short tour of the facility that included a history of the brewery complete with a cemetery for “dead” styles no longer produced there. A large glass observation area over looked the brew floor and bottling machinery. Shortly after that, we were whisked back into the van and were on our way to drop folks off at their respective hotels. We decided to double back to town, grab dinner and cab it back to our cottage. Overall, I would highly recommend the tour for novice or experienced craft beer drinkers. Matt’s knowledge and love for the subject made it a special occasion that we won’t soon forget.