Let's face it: When it comes to hiking, no one on the East Coast does it quite as New England does. Sure, each state has its own national parks and recreational trails, but Vermont stands out above the rest. It's not just a pastime in this state, it's a lifestyle - and it's one that's usually accompanied by a post-hike stop at one of the state's most beloved breweries.
For those who don't know, Vermont is home to some of the most award-winning breweries in the country, and its tasting rooms are a favorite for both locals and tourists. For those who enjoy all aspects of Vermont life, there's nothing like working hard on a good hike before enjoying a cold brew at one's favorite brewery. If it's not the smell of hops that hits you in the face upon walking in, it'll certainly be the views that are inevitably waiting on the back patio - as most breweries have in this state. Looking for some brewery + hike pairings? Start with these.
There's no denying that the biggest city in the state is home to some incredible breweries. The best part is that most of them are well within driving (or Uber-ing) distance of one another. When it comes to hiking, this city has it all, including trails that are not far from its city center.
- Mount Philo State Park. This park is a great introductory run for those who have never hiked in Vermont before. The state is home to a number of trails that range in difficulty from not challenging at all, to better-double-up-on-the-trekking-poles. In that range, Mount Philo definitely errs on the side of novice, with some effort required throughout. The views at the top, however, are well worth the payoff - the sweeping vista of Lake Champlain and the city of Shelburne below is second to none. Note: This park is very popular, so hikers should get an early start if they want to spend time at the top.
- Red Rocks Park. Red Rocks is a unique woodland park that offers multiple trails leading to Lake Champlain's waterfront. It doesn't take much effort and 90% of the trails are relatively flat; plus, it's super close to downtown.
- Foam Brewers. Foam Brewers is still the newest on the list but they've already made a tremendous splash in Burlington. Their beers are carefully curated and full of hoppy goodness.
- Zero Gravity Brewery. Visitors can find Zero Gravity attached to a great restaurant called American Flatbread, serving up all local and organic flatbread needs to accompany the adjoining brewery's offerings.
- Queen City Brewery. While it takes some effort to find (look for an industrial building), Queen City Brewery specializes in European-style beers and offers a historic tasting room from which to sip its offerings.
Stowe is the first place that most people think of thanks to Vermont's thriving ski culture. While the slopes are the place to go during the winter, the summer months hold plenty of allure for the avid hiker - and beer enthusiast.
- Sterling Pond. For an easy hike that will lead to pretty views, visitors can feel confident taking the Sterling Pond hike. This pond and its surrounding landscape are best seen in the fall, but it's gorgeous year-round. The 1.1-mile hike from Smuggler's Notch Road in Stowe will lead to the 1.4-mile loop around the pond before hikers can head back into Stowe. Easy and scenic!
- Stowe Pinnacle. For a bit more of a challenge, Stowe Pinnacle offers two options: The first is to hike the entire pinnacle from the lower parking lot. The second is to park in the upper Stowe Pinnacle lot and hike the few miles to the top, which gives way to incredible, nearly 360-degree views of the surrounding Green Mountains. It takes no longer than two hours usually, leaving plenty of time for a brewery stop afterward.
- Von Trapp Lodge & Bierhall. Von Trapp Lodge - of the famous Von Trapp family from The Sound of Music - is known for its incredible accommodations situated right in the middle of the Green Mountains. It's also known for its brewery and bierhall, which is arguably one of the most scenic in all of Vermont. Enjoy traditional German brews while taking in the sights, sounds, and flavors (the menu is incredible) of 'mini Austria.'
- The Alchemist. Somewhat of a local secret and favorite, The Alchemist can only be found in Vermont. This brewery has a longstanding reputation with its fans both in and out of the state, and many people drive from all over just to pick up packs of beer by the box to bring home - it's that good.
- Idletyme Brewing Company. With a gorgeous beer garden, Idletyme Brewing Company offers beers and views that will have visitors thinking they never even left their hike. Surrounded by nature, this outdoor patio is one of the best parts about drinking - and dining - at Idletyme.