It’s a bluebird day in Vermont; one of those rare, perfect weather days you need to take full advantage of. There’s copious sun and the brightest blues up in the sky. Temperatures are pleasant with little humidity and a gentle breeze. When you get days like this in Vermont, you can’t just stay inside. Maybe you’re hiking. Perhaps you’re biking. Or, if you’re like me, you’re hunkered down on the patio, deck, or a picnic table at one of your favorite Vermont breweries.
Let’s be real. Summer day drinking is one of my favorite past times and not just for the tasty libations. It’s more about the camaraderie, the laughs, the memories. Think about it. Who isn’t happy when you’re outside, sipping some seriously tasty local suds with perfect weather?
In case you find yourself looking to sip an outdoor beer in Vermont this summer, here are my picks for the Best Vermont Breweries for Summer Day Drinking. All of these breweries feature outdoor seating and many have beautiful, Vermonty views.
What Vermont brewery would you add to the list? Share in the comments below to keep the conversation going!
The 9 Best Vermont Breweries for Summer Day Drinking
9. Four Quarters, Winooski, Vermont
The outside seating at Four Quarters Brewing, located on Canal Street in Winooski, is limited to a few picnic tables overlooking a record-inspired stage, where live bands often play. Although the outside space isn’t large, the beers Brewer Brian Eckert is putting out now are worthy of a stop for “summer in a glass”. Seriously. Don’t miss Strawberry-Rhubarb or Tomato-Basil Fleur de Lis for a ripe bite of summer, or Herbie, a watermelon wheat, for a highly drinkable, low-octane pour.
8. Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, Vermont
When Prohibition Pig in Waterbury introduced their new brewery space out back, they also created an al fresco drinking/dining experience. Their patio is packed during the dog days of summer. And for good reason. Although Waterbury has a few bars offering outdoor seating, ProPig’s is the largest. They also have one of the best draft lists in town. The menu is smaller in the brewery, but the service tends to be quicker. As an added benefit, you can sample a wide variety of Vermont craft beers, not just those made on site, and get a ProPig crowler to go.
7. Otter Creek Brewing, Middlebury, Vermont
The patio, decked out with bright orange umbrellas and lined with lush flower boxes, at Otter Creek Brewing is a new addition to the recently renovated visitor center in Middlebury. Although your view from the patio is of beer storage tanks, the outdoor seating area is a big-time win for attracting summer visitors. Out back there’s ample green grass, perfect for energetic kids and dogs that need to go for a stroll as well. Try a Pilot Brew, which are limited to on-site pours, and Chili Nachos. And don’t miss Otter Creek’s summer music series with $3 can specials.
6. Hill Farmstead, Greensboro, Vermont
Hill Farmstead is regularly named the best brewery in the world. It’s even better in the summer. Warm weather to me means road trips to beer destinations, and Hill Farmstead is a haul no matter where you’re from. Enjoy a pour of an on-site only beer on the wrap-around porch. Test your luck, and try to procure tickets to the Festival of Farmhouse Ales, the beer festival of the summer in Vermont.
Hang out in the grass or under the pergola, nibbling on some eats from the food truck. What’s one of the best reasons to visit in the summertime? No 4WD needed; you won’t have to fight the surrounding dirt roads layered in ice or snow or deep mud ruts. For me, Hill Farmstead is a Vermont beer destination in every season, made more enjoyable during a summer afternoon visit.
5. von Trapp Brewing, Stowe, Vermont
Some of the very best views with a beer can be found at von Trapp Brewing in Stowe, on the grounds of Trapp Family Lodge. They recently opened a new Bierhall to complement the larger brewing facility. The low-ABV, easy drinkers in the form of traditional German lagers, dunkels, Helles, and pilsners make for a good summer afternoon overlooking the mountains. Check out the Bierhall for brats and traditional beer fare, while taking in the sights just up the road at the original brewery.
4. Lost Nation Brewing, Morrisville, Vermont
Lost Nation Brewing, located in Morrisville, Vermont, is one of my top picks for food at a brewery. They have a beer garden that’s complete with a smoker and delicious smoked meats (pork belly, pork shoulder, prime rib, pork ribs). No doubt it’s some of the best barbecue in Vermont.
The beer garden itself is a great spot to spend an afternoon. In addition to eight or so of their own beers on tap, they also have a rotating draft list of pours that you won’t readily find in Vermont. For the non-beer drinkers, they have Rookie’s Root Beer and Ginger and KIS Kombucha, great summertime alternatives to craft beer.
3. Idletyme Brewing Company, Stowe, Vermont
One of the best outdoor bars and biergartens in Vermont is at Idletyme Brewing Company in Stowe. Located just off the Stowe Recreation Path, Idletyme is a great Vermont brewery to visit after a walk, jog, or bike along the path. (The outdoor space is expansive. And the mostly lagered beers coming out of Idletyme make for easy summer drinking.
On a hot day, there’s nothing more refreshing than a true-to-form Munich-style pilsner, blueberry Hefeweizen, or Munich-style lager. And the good news too? Many of Idletyme’s brews are lower octane (i.e., 4.8% abv, 5.5% abv), so you can have a few pints to spread out your afternoon fun without getting sloppy.
2. Whetstone Station, Brattleboro, Vermont
Driving back from Treehouse Brewing last summer, I stopped at Whetstone Station Restaurant & Brewery, located on the Connecticut River, in Southern Vermont for a mid-day bite. I had no idea I was going to discover the most bad-ass beer deck in all of Vermont. The views overlooking the river and the bridge from their bier garden are expansive and stunning.
Whetstone doesn’t have an extensive list of their own beers, but they are worth a try. And the guest list often includes the likes of Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s, Mystic, Crooked Stave, and Foundation. Check out their extensive cellared bottle list. Don’t miss Tim’s Awesome Burger (complete with peanut butter… don’t knock it ’til you try it.)
1. Foam Brewers, Burlington, Vermont
One of my fondest brewery memories in Vermont was actually this past February. There was snow on the ground but the brick patio at Foam Brewers, overlooking Lake Champlain on the Burlington waterfront, was packed. It was one of those 70-degree, sunny, winter days that come around once or twice a season.
In any season, the patio at Foam makes for some excellent summer day drinking. Foam and House of Fermentology have some of the best craft beer offerings in the state right now. As a bonus, the view is hands-down the best from a brewery in Vermont. Also, don’t miss the charcuterie plate and live music, in addition to the selection of well-rounded brews and the Lake Champlain views.
What’s your favorite summer watering hole? Share in the comments below to keep the conversation going!