Friday, June 15, 2012

On the Road 4: Harpoon Brewery, Windsor, VT

P1020696 fig. a:  a world of beer

Let's just say you're in Vermont, driving along highway 91 between White River Junction and Brattleboro, or vice versa.  (I can think of at least one good reason you might be tooling around in that area.)

And let's just say you've worked up a thirst that could use some quenching.

Keep your eyes open for the signs to Windsor, VT.  Windsor's got a typically quaint New England town centre, and, if you're game, you can experience the thrill of crossing over to New Hampshire in a covered bridge.  It's also the home of Vermont's Constitution House, the place where Vermont's Constitution was signed in 1777, breaking it off from the British Empire (years before it joined the Union), and establishing a proud tradition of rugged independence.  But none of that is going to quench that thirst of yours.

Which is why you should also know that Windsor is home to the Harpoon Brewery's Vermont location.  Harpoon is based in Boston, and they're justly famous for their definitive IPA and their UFO series of unfiltered Hefeweizens, but about a decade ago they expanded into Vermont when the former Catamount Brewery, another New England craft beer legend, came up for sale.

beer factory fig. b:  beer factory

Not only did Harpoon get a chance to expand their production capacity, but they acquired a fully-operational beer factory in an idyllic location just on the outskirts of Windsor in the lush Connecticut River Valley--a foothold in the foothills of Vermont.

world of harpoon fig. c: beer menu

In addition to the beer factory (which you can tour), Harpoon's Windsor location features a pub/restaurant and an extensive beer garden that's quite active during the warm-weather months.  We didn't get a chance to try their food (we had a rendez-cue in Putney), but we did sample some of their fine beers, many of which are virtually impossible to get anywhere other than Harpoon's two main locations and attest to the talent of their brewmasters.  We recommend focusing on their limited edition 100 Barrel Series beers.  Their Catamount Maple Wheat beer was quite simply one of the best beers I've tried in years.  We were intrigued by the sound of it, but worried it might be too sweet, but it was wonderfully balanced, with some maple-caramel tones, but none of the syrupy sweetness.  They also have a store where you can purchase their entire line of Harpoon beers, as well as a wide range of Harpoon merch (if that's your bag).

Keep Vermont Beered!

Harpoon Brewery, 336 Ruth Carney Drive, Windsor, VT 05089


No comments: