Vermont’s IPA Highway


While there are numerous breweries in Vermont, a large number of craft beer enthusiasts travel to Vermont on beercations specifically to visit to three breweries: Hill Farmstead, Alchemist, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Each of these three breweries are renown for their India Pale Ale (IPA) beer. In 2012, John Kimmich (the Alchemist) coined the phrase “IPA Highway” to speak about the route between the three popular breweries. This route is most often discussed on popular beer forums, so I hope to answer a few questions here about directions, attractions, and other places to stop along the way.

There’s about sixty to seventy miles between the Warren General Store and Hill Farmstead Brewery (Greensboro Bend) and numerous stops along the way. Depending on which direction you start on the “IPA Highway” (either north to south starting at Hill Farmstead or south to north starting in Warren), there’s lots of scenery to enjoy and dozens of great places to stop.

Please remember, there’s lots of great breweries to consider in Vermont. Here’s our brewery listing and our brewery map. Also, be sure to check the local VT Beer event list while you are planning your route – and check it again before you begin your journey since new events are always being added!

 

Vermont's IPA Highway

For this guide, I’ll start in the south and work our way northwards ending at Hill Farmstead. All brewery addresses, web site links, social media links (Facebook, Twitter, Beer Advocate, RateBeer, Untappd, etc.) are at the bottom of the page.


Warren, Vermont (Route 100)

Sean Lawson’s brewery is located near Warren, but you can’t visit the brewery. While the brewery isn’t open to the public, you can find a few of his offerings at the nearby Warren General Store (limit 4 bottles per person). The General Store is located just a short drive off Route 100 on Main Street.

In addition to Warren Store, you can find his beer at the Hunger Mountain Co-op (limit 2 bottles per person) in Montpelier and the Vermont Beverage Warehouse in Winooski (near Burlington). These stores usually only get a weekly shipment of a single beer, so selection is usually limited to whatever was just delivered. Hunger co-op and Vermont Beverage Warehouse sell out very quickly.

The easiest way to get Lawson’s beer is to visit the Waitsfield Farmers’ Market that happens on several weekends in the summer. Waitsfield is just north of Warren along Vermont Highway 100. Lawson’s blog is kept up to date with the Farmer’s Market dates and which beer will be sold. At the Farmer’s Market, you can usually buy Lawson’s cheaper than at the stores and there’s a greater selection to choose from with higher bottle limits.

Personally, I love the scenic drive heading to/from Warren and the surrounding area. The Warren General Store has lots of “knickknacks”, gifts, and a deli serving sandwiches along with Lawson’s Finest Liquids and other beer and wine. However, many opt to stop in Montpelier or Winooski (depending on their routes) and pick up Lawson’s from the co-op or beverage store rather than drive to Warren because the brewery does not have a visitor center, tasting room, or anything open to the public.


Waitsfield, Vermont (Route 100)

If you are traveling to Waitsfield for the Farmers’ Market to purchase Lawson’s Finest Liquids, be ready for long lines at the table. The brewery’s blog lists which dates and which beer will be available along with any purchasing limits.

Food & Drinks

Hiking & Outdoorsy Stuff

  • Mad River Glen – Skiing, restaurants, shops, and special events are hosted at Mad River Glen including Siptemberfest Beer Festival
  • Sugarbush - Skiing, golfing, hiking, shops, and special events are hosted at Sugarbush including the Brew-Grass music/beer festival

Waterbury, Vermont (Route 100)

Waterbury hosts the Alchemist Brewery along with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. The Alchemist Cannery has a self-guided tour and offers samples of Heady Topper. The current canning days are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. These three days are the best to arrive and buy Heady Topper. Depending on what the case limits are for a particular week, Heady Topper usually sells out either on Thursday evening or Friday and the next batches aren’t available until the following Monday. It’s best to check their Facebook and Twitter accounts to know when they have Heady Topper available for sale.

Update: The Alchemist has temporarily closed their retail shop and tasting room. You can still buy Heady Topper at numerous retail outlets. Please check the Alchemist’s web site for delivery dates and locations.

Waterbury finds itself in a perfect location to get beer from Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Many restaurants and pubs carry numerous offerings. In 2012, the Boston Globe named Waterbury the Best Beer Town in New England.

Food & Drinks

  • Blackback Pub – The pub usually has multiple Hill Farmstead and Lawson’s on tap, small seating area, and food. Between 16-25 beers on tap.
  • Prohibition Pig – Has several local beers including Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s, and more on tap, several BBQ food offerings
  • Reservoir - Restaurant and tap room with several local beers including Hill Farmstead and Lawson’s
  • Hen of the Wood – Restaurant serves seasonal foods using mostly local ingredients. Also, has Heady Topper on tap along with Hill Farmstead. You will need to make reservations.
  • The Blue Stone – Rustic pizza shop and tavern featuring old-world hand tossed pizza. Heady Topper in cans along with numerous other Vermont and regional beer offerings.

Attractions & Shops

  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters – gift store, coffee for sale, and visitors center with self guided tour
  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory – gift store, ice cream for sale, $5 tour (free for small kids) with free ice cream at end of tour, very close to Alchemist
  • Cabot Annex Store (Waterbury Center) – located north of Waterbury, near Stowe,  you can sample cheeses and other offerings
  • Lake Champlain Chocolates outlet (Waterbury Center) – sample chocolates and buy “factory seconds”, in same shopping area as Cabot Annex
  • Cold Hollow Cider Mill (Waterbury Center) – operational cider mill with really, really great cider (not hard cider), make sure you take home cider donuts when available

Hiking & Outdoorsy Stuff


Stowe, Vermont (Route 100)

Trapp Family Brewery serves traditional Austrian lagers along with snacks and sandwiches from the Deli. The views at Trapp Family Brewery are incredible and the scenery is worth taking a short detour from the IPA Highway. The Trapp Brewery is about 1/4 from the Trapp Lodge which has a restaurant and outdoor center where you can rent equipment.

Crop Bistro & Brewery has taken residence where the former Shed Brewery used to operate (Shed is now a brand owned by Otter Creek Brewing, produced in Middlebury, Vermont). The Crop Brewery began brewing in spring of 2013.

Route 108 heads away from the “IPA Highway”, but when it is open it provides a great scenic drive up Mount Mansfield to Smuggler’s Notch State Park.

Food & Drinks

  • Trapp Family Brewery – Great views, deli sandwiches, and Austrian lagers (other food offerings in Trapp Family Lodge’s restaurant, 1/4 mile from brewery)
  • Crop Bistro & Brewery – Has a wide array of food offerings and many Trappist beers

Hiking & Outdoorsy Stuff


Morrisville, Vermont (Route 100)

Rock Art Brewery is located on Route 100, so there’s no detour needed. The brewery has a gift store and offers samples, bottles, brewery tours, and growler fills.

Lost Nation Brewery is located just a few minutes off the route. They offer samples of their session beer and a growler filling station. With 18 draft lines, they will also serve beer from other Vermont breweries along with snacks and small plates.

Food & Drinks


Hardwick, Vermont (Route 15)

After leaving Morrisville, you’ll head through Hardwick. If you’re running low on gas or getting hungry, you should stop in Hardwick since there’s not many amenities in Greensboro area.

Food & Drinks


Greensboro Bend, Vermont (Route 16)

Make sure your GPS route (or printed instructions) includes Route 16, otherwise you might be traveling over roads that you shouldn’t travel on. Hill Farmstead Brewery has been permitted by Greensboro to build a new visitor’s center and tasting room which should provide additional space for visitors (no date on when the new visitor’s center will be completed).

Hill Farmstead Brewery is open four days per week and there’s usually a line that varies from one to three hours. There’s a growler limit of three per person, but you can jump back in line and get more growlers filled (as long as you wait in line again). They offer samplings, growler fills, and bottles. They require dark and clean growlers (no clear or funky smelling growlers).

Hiking & Outdoorsy Stuff


Honorable Mentions

These places may not be located on the “IPA Highway”, but depending on your travel route, you may drive close enough to visit. These places should be given consideration as part of your “IPA Highway” route planning.

 

Burlington Area

Burlington

Winooski (adjacent to Burlington)

  • Beverage Warehouse - although they sell out of Heady Topper and Lawson’s Finest without hours, you can still find one of the best selection of craft beer within Vermont
  • Mule Bar – newly opened craft beer pub, operated by the same owners as the Three Penny Taproom

South Burlington

  • Magic Hat Brewery – located about 15-20 minutes drive south of downtown Burlington

Short drives from Burlington

 

Montpelier Area

Montpelier

 

North East Kingdom (NEK) Area

Depending on your route

 

State Wide

 

About the Author

Jim is a web developer living in Burlington, Vermont and founder of vtbeer.org. He enjoys all of Vermont's craft beer and visiting the numerous breweries and pubs across Vermont. He spends too much time reading about beer and learning how to become a better homebrewer. While he favors Belgian beer and IPAs, he'd rather try a new beer than one he's already had.

 

About the Breweries

Alchemist Brewery

Brewery:
Alchemist Brewery


Website: http://www.alchemistbeer.com
Address Work 35 Crossroad Road Waterbury VT 05676

View our Alchemist Brewery information page.

News Archives for Alchemist Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Alchemist Brewery news section.

Burlington Beer Company

Brewery:
Burlington Beer Company


Website: http://www.burlingtonbeercompany.com Blog: http://btvbeer.blogspot.com
Address Work 25 Omega Dr. Suite 150 Williston VT 05495

View our Burlington Beer Company information page.

News Archives for Burlington Beer Company
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Burlington Beer Company news section.

Covered Bridge Craft Brewery [Contract Brewer]

Brewery:
Covered Bridge Craft Brewery


Website: http://coveredbridgebrew.com
Address Work 30 Sleepy Hollow Lane Lyndonville VT 05851

View our Covered Bridge Craft Brewery information page.

News Archives for Covered Bridge Craft Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Covered Bridge Craft Brewery news section.

Crop Bistro and Brewery

Brewery:
Crop Bistro and Brewery


Website: http://www.cropvt.com
Address Work 1859 Mountain Road Stowe VT 05672

View our Crop Bistro and Brewery information page.

News Archives for Crop Bistro and Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Crop Bistro and Brewery news section.

Fiddlehead Brewing Company

Brewery:
Fiddlehead Brewing Company


Website: http://www.fiddleheadbrewing.com
Address Work 6305 Shelburne Rd Shelburne VT 05482

View our Fiddlehead Brewing Company information page.

News Archives for Fiddlehead Brewing Company
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Fiddlehead Brewing Company news section.

Grateful Hands Brewing [Closed]

Brewery:
Grateful Hands Brewing


Website: http://www.gratefulhandsbrewing.com
Closed

View our Grateful Hands Brewing information page.

News Archives for Grateful Hands Brewing
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Grateful Hands Brewing news section.

The brewery is closed.

Hill Farmstead Brewery

Brewery:
Hill Farmstead Brewery


Website: http://www.hillfarmstead.com
Address Work 403 Hill Road Greensboro Bend VT 05842

View our Hill Farmstead Brewery information page.

News Archives for Hill Farmstead Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Hill Farmstead Brewery news section.

Kingdom Brewing

Brewery:
Kingdom Brewing


Website: http://www.kingdombrewingvt.com/
Address Work 1876 Vermont Route 105E Newport Center VT 05855

View our Kingdom Brewing information page.

News Archives for Kingdom Brewing
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Kingdom Brewing news section.

Lawson's Finest Liquids

Brewery:
Lawson's Finest Liquids


Website: http://www.lawsonsfinest.com Blog: http://www.lawsonsfinest.blogspot.com
Address Work Warren VT 05674

View our Lawson's Finest Liquids information page.

News Archives for Lawson's Finest Liquids
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Lawson's Finest Liquids news section.

Lost Nation Brewing

Brewery:
Lost Nation Brewing


Website: http://lostnationbrewing.com/
Address Home 254 Wilkins Street Morrisville VT 05661

View our Lost Nation Brewing information page.

News Archives for Lost Nation Brewing
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Lost Nation Brewing news section.

Magic Hat Brewing Company

Brewery:
Magic Hat Brewing Company


Website: http://www.magichat.net
Address Work 5 Bartlett Bay Road South Burlington VT 04503

View our Magic Hat Brewing Company information page.

News Archives for Magic Hat Brewing Company
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Magic Hat Brewing Company news section.

Queen City Brewery

Brewery:
Queen City Brewery


Website: http://www.queencitybrewery.com
Address Work 703 Pine Street Burlington VT 05401 United States

View our Queen City Brewery information page.

News Archives for Queen City Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Queen City Brewery news section.

Rock Art Brewery

Brewery:
Rock Art Brewery


Website: http://www.rockartbrewery.com
Address Work 632 Laporte Road Rt 100 Morrisville VT 05661

View our Rock Art Brewery information page.

News Archives for Rock Art Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Rock Art Brewery news section.

Switchback Brewing Company

Brewery:
Switchback Brewing Company


Website: http://www.switchbackvt.com
Address Work 160 Flynn Avenue Burlington VT 05401

View our Switchback Brewing Company information page.

News Archives for Switchback Brewing Company
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Switchback Brewing Company news section.

Trapp Lager Brewery

Brewery:
Trapp Lager Brewery


Website: http://www.trappfamily.com
Address Home 700 Trapp Hill Road PO Box 1428 Stowe VT 05672

View our Trapp Lager Brewery information page.

News Archives for Trapp Lager Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Trapp Lager Brewery news section.

Trout River Brewing Company

Brewery:
Trout River Brewing Company


Website: http://www.troutriverbrewing.com
Address Work Route 5 PO. BOX 165 Lyndonville VT 05851

View our Trout River Brewing Company information page.

News Archives for Trout River Brewing Company
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Trout River Brewing Company news section.

Vermont Pub and Brewery

Brewery:
Vermont Pub and Brewery


Website: http://www.vermontbrewery.com
Address Work 144 College Street Burlington VT 05401

View our Vermont Pub and Brewery information page.

News Archives for Vermont Pub and Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Vermont Pub and Brewery news section.

Zero Gravity Craft Brewery

Brewery:
Zero Gravity Craft Brewery


Website: http://www.zerogravitybeer.com
Address Work American Flatbread 15 St. Paul Street Burlington VT 05401

View our Zero Gravity Craft Brewery information page.

News Archives for Zero Gravity Craft Brewery
For the most up-to-date brewery related news, view our Zero Gravity Craft Brewery news section.

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