Ice Wine and Craft Beer in the Green Mountain State

Like many New Englanders, I spent last weekend in Vermont. This time of year the state is inundated with “leafers,” vacationers who come to see the green mountains turn red, yellow and orange as the leaves turn color. I didn’t make the trip north to view the foliage (though I did pay foliage rates – yes, in the Northeast we have different hotel rates for foliage season), but the colors were a nice backdrop during the weekend.

My wife and I (and our cairn terrier Carrie) made the trip purely as a relaxing weekend, but working in this industry I couldn’t help but note a few experiences that I wanted to share with Beverage Dynamics readers. Since most vacations include beverage alcohol, that happens often.

 

More than just ice wines

I tasted a number of wines at Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge, VT. It wasn’t the first time – I’ve been enjoying their products for nearly 5 years, but this was the first time I had a chance to try their new Vermont Ice Hard Cider.

boydenvalley

Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge, VT.

Not only was the cider sweet and refreshing – the owner told me she likens it to an apple-flavored champagne – I was also able to taste a combination of the hard cider and Boyden Valley’s Cassis black currant dessert wine, which was available on tap.

Tasting sheet at Boyden Valley, as well as a nearly-empty glass of cider/cassis.

Tasting sheet at Boyden Valley, as well as a nearly empty glass of cranberry wine.

The hard cider is part of the winery’s Vermont Ice collection, which also includes a red wine, white wine and apple cider wine. I gave out 50ml bottles of the three ice wines as favors at my wedding and they were a big hit. Other unique offerings include maple, rhubarb, blueberry and cranberry fruit wines (I drink the cranberry at Thanksgiving every year) and glogg (a Swedish wine served warm in a mug), as well as apple crème and maple crème liqueurs.

 

A disappointment becomes a highlight

The Bench restaurant in Stowe, VT.

The Bench restaurant in Stowe, VT.

Earlier this month I discovered that Pie in the Sky, one of my favorite restaurants in Stowe, had closed a few months ago. Fortunately, a new restaurant opened in the same location just last week. The new restaurant, The Bench, is a rustic-themed restaurant specializing in wood-fired food and craft beer.

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The Bench’s copper wall behind the bar sports 28 tap handles.

The full menu wasn’t available yet when I visited, but the mac-and-cheese appetizer and tomato and basil pizza I tried were a good start. The bar features a large copper-plated wall sporting 28 tap handles. I had the Long Trail Limbo IPA and my wife tried the Allagash White Witbier. While I’m sure we’ll miss Pie in the Sky, I have a feeling The Bench will become a part of our annual Vermont vacation.

Our pizza and beer selections at The Bench.

Our pizza and beer selections at The Bench.

For more information on the companies mentioned in this post, as well as other great businesses you should visit if planning a trip to the Northern Vermont area, visit the links below.

 

Boyden Valley Winery: http://www.boydenvalley.com

The Bench: http://www.benchvt.com/

 

Great Vermont Corn Maze: http://www.vermontcornmaze.com

Sterling Ridge Resort: http://www.sterlingridgeresort.com

Cold Hollow Cider Mill: http://www.coldhollow.com

Brown & Jenkins Coffee: http://www.brownjenkins.com

Ben & Jerry’s: http://www.benjerry.com

 

NOTE: This blog contains my personal opinions and was not influenced by any of the brands included. The trip was planned and paid for by me personally.

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