Recapping: Vermont Brewers Festival

Happy Monday All!

As some of you already know, Friday evening I attended the Vermont Brewers Festival so this morning I thought I’d recap some of the festivities! Last summer was my first time attending and it quickly became one of my favorite nights of the year. I mean what could be better than an evening with great friends, gorgeous summer weather on the waterfront and of course, the copious amounts of amazing beer!

Arguably the worst part of brew fest is far before the actual event when tickets go on sale… these tickets sell out SO FAST! This year I read that they sold out in less than 20 minutes! In fact, the day the tickets went on sale Zach had an accident on an ATV and had to be taken to the ER for what we thought could be a broken hand. Of course I took him to the ER but not before making sure we had secured both of our tickets… priorities people, priorities.

The gates opened just before 5:30 to let people in to the food area where Maria and I consumed a much needed and incredibly tasty gyro… Ahli Baba’s, you never disappoint me. Shortly after 5:30 the horn sounds, the gate drops and it’s off to the brews! A massive bag of kettle corn, 15 drink tickets and a lovely souvenir glass in hand we made our way through the crowd.

283360F7-202E-47C3-AACD-27C79C3B1408 Another festival, another festival selfie with this lovely lady

In terms of lines there were definitely some long ones for a few places- Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s and surprisingly (to me anyway) Burlington Beer Company. I opted out of waiting as I am fortunate enough to have most of these at my disposal but with a good “line beer” I am sure the wait would have been worth it. I believe I counted 35 Vermont breweries and 14 out of towners, pretty impressive for a tiny state 😉

Zach and IMy handsome date, without a broken hand

Some of our favorite local brews were…

Drop In Brewing Company: These ladies looked like they were having a great time, which I loved. As for the beer, Zach and I are big hops fans, so we tried their Supernova IPA. Zach loved it, I thought it was solid but I didn’t enjoy the aftertaste. I tried some of Maria’s Sunshine and Hoppiness and that was amazing!

14th Star Brewing Company: I’m pretty sure this was the only place I spent two drink tickets for one beer and it was completely worth it for the Double Honey IPA. Sweet but stilly hoppy, I was a big fan.

Kingdom Brewing Company: I was just kidding about that previous statement, I also spent two drink tickets on the Kingdom’s Out of Bounds IPA and it ended up being my favorite beer of the night. It was smooth and easy drinking but definitely packed a punch of hops. I would get into trouble drinking these all day!

As for the Out of Towners:

Portsmouth Brewery: I’ve actually been to the brewery in New Hampshire but I had never tried their I.L.L. which was quite literally a hoppy lager that I really enjoyed.

Brasserie Dunham: These guys from Quebec had some of the coolest names for their beers, Maria tried a Leo’s Early Breakfast IPA which combines guava puree and earl grey tea… what??

LadiesTaking photos with these attractive babes in front of the bathrooms, because there wasn’t a gorgeous lake right next to us or anything…

As I’ve said before, this is one of my favorite events of the year. I feel like the 5:30-9:30 time slot is the perfect amount of time for going at your own pace and enjoying the evening with friends. The 15 drink tickets always seem to be too little at the beginning and then by then end you still have 3 left and are well on your way to that beer-induced “happy place” for the rest of the night. I love that people from all over come to join in on the fun and the location (though poorly documented in my photos) is hard to beat!

Jason, Maria and INot sure why I have two full beers in my hand

Also, just an important fact about me… I am a sucker for swag- coaster swag, sticker swag, I’m down with all of it. If you share this feeling with me then the brew fest is absolutely a must!

SwagSwag for days

So there you have it, my time at brew fest was just as awesome as I hoped it would be and (insert incredibly dorky terminator voice) I’ll be back!
Yep, I did that.

Side note: I’m quickly realizing that this blog started as a fitness/lifestyle blog and has quickly turned into “Kari drinks at various fun events across the state, oh and sometimes she works out.” I mean when in Rome, right?

How was your weekend?

Have you ever attended a Brew Fest?

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A Weekend at Home

As much as I love traveling and getting away for the weekends I can’t help but really appreciate weekends at home.  If I’m lucky they end up with the perfect amounts of fun and relaxation, this weekend was certainly no exception!

On Friday my sister, Katie and I went over to the newly renovated taproom at Switchback Brewing to hang out with our cousin who is a brewer.  The new bar is gorgeous and I was surprised by how spacious it was in there, even when the after-work crowd started pouring in they definitely had the space and the staff to keep up!  In terms of beer, my friends and I aren’t exactly beer snobs (read: we sort of are and can’t help it) but if we are at the bars Switchback is our “easy drinking” choice.  I really love their new Pale Ale and I get excited to see it on tap around town.

   Switchback Pale Ale

We weren’t sure if you could have dogs in the taproom but they quickly informed us that Maggie was welcome so we brought her in and after being pretty forward with a few humans she calmed down.

Maggie at Switchback

This also happened…

Maggie at Switchback

After Switchback we did a quick costume change and went over the the South End Truck Stop, as I mentioned in my VT Bucket List post, I have been wanting to get over to the truck stop this summer so I was pretty excited to make it happen.  I didn’t take any pictures but just know that the food trucks smelled delicious but I will admit it was very busy, like almost too busy.  I ate a pulled pork sandwich from Southern Smoke and it was one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve ever had!  After living in the south I have semi-high standard but it was literally incredible!

I promised my friend Tori (who writes the Hotel Vermont Blog) that I would stop by their Milonga Tango Argentine dance party, so Maria and I headed over to the courtyard to listen to some great music and watch the very impressive tango dancers!  We arrived at the tail end of the party, long enough to get asked to dance but not brave (read: boozed) enough to say yes… but we still had a blast sipping on a couple glasses of wine in the beautifully decorated courtyard and chatting away.  If you get to the Burlington area and need a place to stay definitely check out Hotel Vermont and the Courtyard Burlington Harbor! Seriously can’t go wrong with either- but I’m wicked biased 😉

On Saturday Katie and I walked down to Church St to test out a new Italian restaurant, Pascolo Ristorante.  Pascolo was opened by the Farmhouse Group who already have one of Burlington’s darling restaurants (and one of my personal favs) with The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. The service was great and all of our meals looked excellent.  I had accidentally eaten breakfast an hour before so I wasn’t starving by any means but I did get this pretty boss caprese sandwich on focaccia bread. I also just ate a piece of leftover Margherita pizza that was excellent cold… I think I’m the only person on the planet that enjoys cold pizza over hot.

Caprese

After lunch (and a quick stop at the Shaved Ice cart on Church St) a few friends and I gathered our stuff and headed out to another stop on my bucket list, Niquette Bay!

Z at Niquette

We went sort of later in the day so it wasn’t as packed (score!) but we still managed to have a blast swimming around in the surprisingly warm water and jumping off the cliffs! The sun had moved beyond our spot so we didn’t get scorched out there which was a super nice change to my recent burns.

On Sunday we had people over to our oven of an apartment to watch the World Cup Final, 2 box fans between 10 people means things got real sweaty real fast. Props to my friends for sticking it out 😉  Zach is obsessed with the Germany squad so I definitely leaned towards them over Argentina… sorry for your loss Messi- welcome to being cursed.  I knew I wanted to make some sort of dessert to fit the theme (I am all about themes people- ALL about them) but I literally had an hour to prepare so I went with this recipe from CookiesCakesPiesOhMy for Black Forest cupcakes… Germany- Black Forest- World Cup- Cupcakes, you get the theme.

Black Forest Cupcakes

The recipe could not have been easier and while I was worried when the batter was so thick they came out perfectly moist and got rave reviews from the friends and family- even Zach ate one and that never happens. Please ignore my happy birthday cupcake liners, I forgot I didn’t have any regular ones when I started making them.  Seriously though, make these cupcakes, they will not disappoint!

Did you do anything new and exciting this weekend?

Did you watch any of the World Cup games?