Since it’s Vermont Beer Week, we called on our local expert to give us some tips on beerfests in general , and specifically what you will find during Stratton’s Columbus Day Weekend event.
Greg’s (Meuleman’s Craft Drafts) Guide to Beer Festivals
First, don’t go to an event just because it says “beer festival.” Don’t get me wrong, beer is a good thing. But on occasion these two words are linked just to hype a non-event event. Stratton is different. Harvest Fest truly is a festival with so much more than the collection of brews, which happens to be impressive for the October 8 Brewfest in the Stratton base area tent.
In addition to the hundred plus brews and ciders, you’ll find music and fun throughout the Village, a 5k for you and your dog, challenging run up the mountain and much more.
After your gondola ride, and before the Chili Cook-off, seek out the Brewfest program and spend a few minutes studying it. Pick a few beers that are interesting and that you have never tried (and may never see again.)
Start on the softer side, maybe a lager or a sour. Perhaps a cider. Then move onto the bigger beers — an IPA or a stout.
Here are a few of the brews featured on the Stratton line-up that pique my curiosity:
You’ll find two special release beers from Northshire Brewing; the Spiced Pear Pilsner and Cherry Chocolate Stout – these will go fast. Also on my short-list would be Murray Hill Cider from Champlain Orchards, Rogue Ales’ Marrionberry Braggot (ale brewed with honey) and Long Trail’s Citrus Limbo.
And don’t forget the favorites. Now that you are in the spirit of the festival, have found some friends and food, enjoy a full-pour of one of your top picks and relax. No need to think about the beer, just enjoy it.
Here are a few of my mine:
Lost Nation Mosaic IPA, featuring 100 percent Mosaic hops which five off notes of tangerine and mango with less bitterness.
Allagash 16 Counties, a light bodied Belgian style farmhouse ale with a slight peppery finish
14th Star Maple Breakfast Stout. This smooth, easy drinking stout with a hint of maple to soften the bitterness sometimes found in a stout. Oats give it a nice mouthfeel.
Trapp Family Brewing Octoberfest, a true Marzen style lager, copper in color with a slight caramel maltiness and crisp finish. After all, it is October.