Monday, March 28, 2016

New England explorations: Long Trail & 7 Barrel breweries

1.  En route to New Hampshire last February, the day they all voted, I stopped off in a little town in Vermont when the sign for Long Trail Brewing caught my eye.  First, the name:  The Long Trail is a hiking trail running the length of Vermont, 272 miles from the Massachusetts line to the Canadian border.  The Green Mountain Club started building the trail in 1910, making it the oldest long-distance footpath in the U.S.A.  The trail crosses most of the higher peaks in the state, including Killington Peak, scene of some good downhill skiing  back in my younger days.

The brewery is about eight miles from the entry to Killington.  Founded in 1989, it has grown in a quarter-century to be a regional presence, sold as far west as Ohio. Their standard line is heavy on the hoppy ales, IPAs, pales, etc.  I should pause to praise their Double Bag, a nice dark double alt (7.2% abv, 39 ibu). They do put up some more unusual brews in 22-oz. bottles, while the 12-oz. six-packs get the mainstays out to market.

Long Trail sets up their tour as a self-guided event, on a catwalk above the brewing system and packaging lines.  The fill rate on the bottles is quite impressive.  All the electricity needed to run this equipment they apparently generate themselves, solar and wind.  The Ottauquechee River, which runs out behind the pub on its way to Woodstock, is not tasked to supply any hydro power.

2. On down this valley and across the Connecticut River into New Hampshire, the first town is Lebanon and one of the first sites there is the 7 Barrel Brewing Co.
This is how it appeared on one of the snowiest days of the non-winter of 2016.  This business began in 1994 and soon after opening, one Paul S. White joined up and brewed and ran things until he passed away in 2009.  After probate and all, the business was bought by a group of local beer lovers, they hired Tony Lubold to do the brewing, and he has carried on White's penchant for favoring traditional English styles. The Dark Mild (5% abv, British understatement) was very good, as was a New Dublin Brown (4.5%. 30 ibu).  The pub menu featured Brit edibles like Bangers and Mash and Cock 'a' Leekie Shepherd Pie.
No candidates were campaigning here on election night.  My server said Bernie Sanders could have picked up thirty votes if he had stopped in earlier.  Maybe he figured he didn't need to, Bernie carried the state by a big margin.
(Visited 02/09/16)

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