One of the Vermont's most valued products, aside from maple syrup and cheese of course, is their craft beer. Locals and visitors from out of town can find a great selection of local nectar at markets, bars and brew fests around the state. But the best way to sample the freshest beer is right off the taps at the brewery. So grab your passport, it's time to go on a self-guided Vermont brewery tour.
It's not the same passport you need to get into Canada, and probably won't help you get across the border --unless the on-duty boarder patrol is a beer aficionado. This is the Vermont Brewery Challenge Passport, created by the Vermont Brewers Association (VBA). This passport is also a lot easier to get. No application necessary. Simply stop in to any Vermont brewery and pick one up. There's usually a large stack sitting right at the bar. So order up a pint and get the first stamp to begin the journey.
As you earn stamps at each brewery, you can earn prizes from the Brewers Association for your loyal patronage. Prizes are awarded when the passport is mailed in to the VBA. Visit four breweries, get a bottle opener. Ten brewery visits entitles you to a VBA t-shirt. If you visit all of the breweries, you'll earn the collector's set of Vermont beer gear and a place in the hearts of brewmasters everywhere.
Get your first few stamps by visiting these breweries located just a short drive from the Mount Snow Valley.
Madison Brewing Co. - Main Street, Bennington Madison has 6 beers on tap at all times, from English ales to an American Honey Wheat. Take home a growler for $11. Open Sun-Thur 11:30am-10:00pm, Fri/Sat 11:30am-11:00pm (summer); Sun-Thur 11:30am-9:30pm, Fri/Sat 11:30am-10:30pm (winter)
Northshire Brewing - County Street, Bennington Northshire brews a small selection of robust beers available at many pubs and liquors stores around the region. Open for tours Tues & Thur 3:00-6:00pm, Saturday 10:00am-1:00pm
McNeil's Pub & Brewery - Elliot Street, Brattleboro Find McNeil's brews in 22oz bottles at most gas stations, markets and beer stores throughout the Northeast. Open Mon-Thur 4:00pm until late, Fri-Sun 2:00pm until late
Harpoon Brewery - Ruth Carney Drive, Windsor Less than a mile off Exit 9 on Interstate 91, Harpoon offers great food in their tap room, regular brewery tours and an annual Oktoberfest in the fall. Great beer merchandise, too. Open Sun 10:00am-6:00pm, Tues-Wed 10:00am-6:00pm, Thurs-Sat 10:00am-9:00pm, Closed Mondays
After a long day of sampling fine Vermont libations, rest up at one of our comfortable rental homes, just a short "hop" from the taps.