Thursday, September 23, 2010

Adventures in Vermont by Boy Kyle


After driving for almost 5 hours from Belfast, Kyle and I decided that we needed to take a break from the car. Which is why the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, VT came in very handy. Not only was it convenient, it was also one of the absolute highlights of the entire trip. I will now give them a shameless plug. Go to the Three Penny Taproom if you are ever in the general vicinity. Scott Kerner (one of the owners) was behind the bar when we walked in and he was by far the greatest bartender I have ever encountered. He was very knowledgeable, friendly and seemed completely overjoyed to be able to get us beer. And the best part was that you could tell that it wasn't a faux personality that some bartenders and servers adopt to try and get more of a tip. Scott was genuinely having the time of his life talking to us about craft beer and getting to know us.

Unfortunately we did have to leave eventually. By the time we got to our hotel in Burlington we were exhausted and it was only 8pm. By a stroke of luck there was a restaurant at the hotel so we didn't have to bother trying to figure out what to do about dinner. The next day we ventured out to the Magic Hat Brewery, which happened to be about 2 blocks from where we were staying. Neither Kyle nor I have been a fan of Magic Hat but I thought that it might be an interesting tour. Plus maybe they'd have something we never heard about and would enjoy. We did discover an ale that we'd never heard of but we didn't like it at all. I can't say it was a bad beer but I can say that my taste buds were VERY displeased. No official tour but we got to walk around on a balcony and see the first batch of the day being bottled.

From Magic Hat to Otter Creek. Otter Creek was nice and they had a fantastic pumpkin ale, which we bought for the campsite. I don't really have much else to say about Otter Creek, they don't do tours anymore for insurance reasons, and the beer we had was quite good but unremarkable.

Then we arrived at our campsite. And quickly found out why it was labeled a "Premium Lean-To."

We also discovered that we had left our pillows in Burlington. I'm still paying for that mistake since I haven't had a proper night's sleep even as of last night. But what made the night even more uncomfortable was the rather loud and active pack of coyotes that were serenading us all night long. Throw in an overnight low of 40 degrees and you can see why neither of us slept well that night.
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The next morning we went to the Long Trail Brewery. Long Trail makes great beer and after Magic Hat we were delighted to be able to start our afternoon off with something pleasant. The food was pretty average and the other patrons were a little annoying but it was a very nice time just the same. After the brewery we wandered around the little town of Woodstock. It was rather quaint and somewhat artsy. We found a great coffee shop downtown and relaxed for a bit before heading back to camp. Once there, we had dinner and got ready to call it an early night. At least that was the initial plan. Kyle was extremely concerned about having a repeat performance of the night before. I initially thought we could stick it out but the more we talked, the more I realized that there was no way she would be happy staying another night. I wasn't particularly excited about driving the 3-4 hours home but I didn't want the trip to end on a sour note. I hadn't slept well the previous night but Kyle had had a worse time of it than I did. I don't want to give the impression that I was disappointed at going home early because really there would have been very little difference between leaving that night and leaving first thing in the morning. So I opted for going home that night because I wanted to ease Kyle's mind and be sure that we would get a decent amount of quality sleep. So I drove as much as I could before fatigue set in and Kyle got us the rest of the way home. It was an amazing trip and I think I'd like to do something similar next year. Maybe some new destinations along with past favorites.
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