For better beer – Words and images by Mike V. Sardina
Buzzing on Pine Street
Zero Gravity may not have the hype and allure and draw that some of the other breweries in Vermont are known for, but that doesn’t take anything away from its place in the beer scene in the Green State. In fact, the lack of pomp surrounding the brewery perhaps makes it even better.
Walk into just about any gas station or general store in Vermont and you can pick up (relatively) fresh and cold six packs of Green State Lager or Conehead India Pale Ale. Sure, these are not the sexiest, most-sought after beers, no one is making a six-hour cannonball run to bring home a trunkful of these cans. But these beers are a damn fine Pilsner and IPA, respectively. Accessible. Available. Drinkable.
When Zero Gravity outgrew the small pub system at their original Flatbread Brewpub location in the heart of Burlington, they moved to Burlington’s South End Arts District to set up a full-on production spot. There on Pine Street, in 2015, they opened up a 30-barrel brewery, with a full canning line, as well as an impressive taproom space.
Here, brewmaster Paul Saylor and the crew are cranking beers like Green State, Cone Head, and Little Wolf (their American Pale Ale) at a steady clip to supply the state with these reliable, comforting almost, core beers. But they are also making the most out of their Newlands system. In addition to Green State, they brew Keller, a dry-hopped Lager that is the perfect summer crusher. Their traditional Oktoberfest is also a treat, each and every year as summer winds its way down, each sip inviting the change of the season into fall.
The addition of a fourth vessel—a whirlpool—allowed them to start experimenting with bigger, hoppier beers, now regularly producing Double IPAs such as Madonna and Grand Royal. Again, these beers may not have the draw that other notable DIPAs do within Vermont, but they quite good in their own right.
The front-of-house at Pine Street is cozy and inviting, a wonderful place to wile away the hours in the Queen City. Sure, there might not be a line there to get a seat at the bar, and sure you don’t have to get there hours before open to get some beer to bring home, you can just walk over to their cooler and grab a six-pack of good, tasty, fresh beer. And that, at the end of the day, is definitely worth a buzz.