For better beer – Words and images by Mike V. Sardina
Hotel Vermont – Come Thirsty
The first time I ever visited the Hotel Vermont on Cherry Street in Burlington, Vermont, I was slightly younger in age and likely a lot more naive, at least as far as beer in the Northeast is concerned. Through a mutual friend, I had been in contact with Matt Canning, the “beer concierge” at the Hotel. When I texted him with my ETA as I departed Portland, Maine, almost three years ago now, driving to Vermont, he simply replied, “Excellent. Come thirsty.”
I arrived to meet a softly spoken, if not strongly opinionated individual, a wealth of beer knowledge when it came to the brewers in Vermont. He brought out a tray with two sweating beer cans and two glasses sitting upon a white cloth, a can of Heady Topper and one of Sip of Sunshine. Quenching my thirst, sampling those renowned Vermont double IPAs, we talked about all things beer in the Green Mountain State.
Finishing our beers, Matt proceeded to take me all over the greater Burlington area for beer… We went out to Fiddlehead and cracked open a growler of IPA in Folino’s next door. We visited Zero Gravity’s brewery on Pine Street and had a glass of Green State Lager. Mule Bar in Winooski. Farmhouse Tap and Grill, just nearby downtown. A meal at Hen of the Wood and a glass of Susan. It was truly a crash course into a beer scene that I still entirely love.
Leaving the next day to head onward West to Greensboro, I knew that I’d be back to the Hotel Vermont—and I have been, many times now. These occasions have always been filled with good friends and great beers from Vermont to be found on a well curated list at the bar, Juniper… Hill Farmstead’s Edward or Anna, The Alchemist’s Focal Banger, Lost Nation’s The Wind, to name just a few favorites… Whenever I visit Burlington and the Hotel Vermont, I always come thirsty, and I always leave full of great memories.