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Brewery Passports: How to Go Brewery Hopping in Vermont

pouring pints in a brewery

Are you a beer lover? If you’re planning a stay-cation or are looking for an alternative to out-of-state travel, visiting Vermont’s Breweries may be the right adventure to embark on. Around the year 2008, I discovered that breweries that are members of the Vermont Brewers Association offer brewery passports. These passports were created to encourage participants to visit local breweries, where they receive stamps on their passports. Those who collect enough stamps win a prize.

At the time, the promise of a prize was enough motivation for me, so I went to a local brewery and obtained a passport, which staring my journey on a statewide adventure. Back in 2008, I had a cardboard passport, as apps were not as popular, but now Vermont Brewers Association has an app to download, which will help you plan and document your individual journey.

 

BEER TRAILS

With the help of the Vermont Brewers app or website, plan what kind of beer trail you’d like to take. When I partook in the challenge, the point of the passport was to visit as many breweries as you could. Since then, the process has evolved, allowing you to pick the type of beer trail you’d like to follow. Tours are offered for a range of interests. You may choose a trail that takes you to “Dog Friendly” breweries so you can take your pup along with you or one that brings you to regions of the state like the “Burlington Area,” “Northeast Kingdom,” or “Southern Vermont.” During my own tour, I took day trips to certain geographic regions of the state going to one or two breweries near each other. As I wanted to pace myself, I took a year going to various breweries when I had free weekends.

 

BEER BY STYLE

One way to narrow down your tour may not be by region, but by beer style. Many have a favorite beer, which may be what you’d like to plan your sampling tour around. One of my favorite breweries—Goodwater, located in Williston—aims to blend classic beer styles with modern tastes. Goodwater has easy-to-drink beers ranging from Pale Ale, IPA, Red, Brown Ale, and German-style Kölsch. If you are a lover of a specific beer, such as American-Style Brown Ale, Classic French & Belgian Saison, or Wood-Aged Sour, check out the “Beers” option on the Vermont Brewers Association app to create your own brew tour based on preference. This will ensure you seek out breweries with a beer you know you’ll love.

 

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FESTIVALS

If you’re looking to sample beers from various breweries instead of only one, a beer festival may be an event to attend. Being loyal to The Vermont Brewers Association, the only festival I attended is their annual event on the Burlington Waterfront, usually hosted in July. Living in the Burlington area I’m not as familiar with festivals in other parts of the state but am aware of other events such as the Southern Vermont Summer Homebrew Festival in Bennington, and the Vermont Brewers Association Festival in Killington. Since beer seems to be a booming industry in Vermont, if you search around, there are probably other festivals in your area.

 

DOCUMENT YOUR JOURNEY

The Vermont Brewers Association App is a fun way to document your beer trail, allowing you to check in with the app. This feature will track each participating brewery you visit, by “stamping” your location to help you work towards a prize. If you want to document your journey in pictures, the photo booth feature on the app allows you to take a selfie or photo at the breweries you visit. Beyond using the Vermont Brewers Association App, you can always document your journey on your favorite social media platform. One lower-tech way to document the journey would be by using the cardboard brew passport, which I believe is still available to have stamped at breweries. Whichever way you choose to document your journey have fun and enjoy some new beers.

 

PRIZES

Prizes are different each year, but what I received when I completed my passport in 2008 was a set of Vermont Brewer’s pint glasses, matching logo coasters, and a tee-shirt. I wasn’t sure what I would get for a prize when I completed my beer challenge; I mostly wanted the satisfaction of going to every brewery on the passport. I enjoyed discovering new beers and touring our beautiful state.

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