OK, we acknowledge that you're going to want to stop in Burlington if you're up this way. That's understandable.
Burlington keeps Magic Hat, Switchback Brewing, Three Needs Taproom and the Vermont Pub and Brewery all within close proximity. It also wrangles the state's more far-flung brewers, including Morrisville's Rock Art Brewery, Lyndonville's Trout River Brewing and Bennington's Madison and Northshire breweries in July for the annual Vermont Brewers Festival.But if you want to taste some of the hands-down best beers in the country and see why Vanity Fair readers know who a brewer like Shaun Hill is, head out to Greensboro Bend to Hill Farmstead. Hill views his brewing as an extension of the brewing heritage his family began on that very farm 220 years ago. Beers such as Everett Porter, Abner Double IPA and Ephraim Imperial Pale Ale are all named after founder Shaun Hill's ancestors and all sit in BeerAdvocate's Top 50. The European-trained brewer and philosophy student also named product after great philosophical works. We can't promise you'll be able to hold your own in a conversation with Hill, but we can promise that his Double Citra IPA will be one of the best beers you'll ever be fortunate enough to experience. If the Farmstead visit gets too intense, head just a bit down Interstate 89 to Waterbury and pop into The Alchemist for a few cans of its brutally bitter Heady Topper Double IPA. It's produced in limited quantities after Hurricane Irene wrecked the brewer's facilities a few years back, but it's arguably the best IPA produced in America. That you can tell beer geeks they can find such a thing on a trip to Vermont and not get laughed out of the room is perhaps the clearest indication of how far Vermont brewers have come in the past few years.