Zwanze Day in Vermont

Zwanze Day in Vermont

Have you ever heard of Zwanze Day? Every year, beer enthusiasts celebrate the release of a special sour beer made by Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, Belgium. In Flemish, a zwanze is actually a joke, and Zwanze Day is meant to be fun day of drinking this rare beer that is different each year. Cantillon actually hand picks the bars and breweries across the world that they would like to participate in Zwanze day. Then, they send the Zwanze beer over to be tapped at the same time around the world (3 PM EST for us).

Zwanze Day Tickets

Zwanze Day Tickets

Here in Vermont, we were lucky enough to have a brewery that was picked by Cantillon to participate – Hill Farmstead. Hill Farmstead aka Shaun Hill (the brewmaster) really knows how to throw a party! Only ticket holders were allowed at the brewery for the day, and a tent was set up complete with five different beers: 2 Grassroots beers & 3 Cantillon beers (including Zwanze). They decided to approach the festival in a different manner than usual, handing out colored tickets that corresponded to each beer. Each person received one ticket per beer. This gave each drinker a guarantee that they would be able to try all of the beers so that they didn’t have to worry about waiting in any lines. For once, a beer event wasn’t all about getting a beer and drinking it in line so that you could get your hands on the next beer. Instead, we were able to hang out on Hill Farmstead’s beautiful land, enjoying each and every beer in a civilized manner. Shaun Hill mentioned that he is always trying to think of better ways to organize beer events, and I really thought this way worked well.

After the Zwanze event, we headed over the “Zwanze After Party” at a local restaurant, Parker Pie. This is one of our favorite hang outs in Northeastern Vermont. I’ve actually mentioned it before here. Parker Pie had some great Cantillon bottles and I was hooked on their Kriek as usual!

Post Zwanze Day at Parker Pie

Post Zwanze Day at Parker Pie

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*The Great Indoors: Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is often overlooked when it comes to indoor fun. It’s not a bad thing, people just usually head to this picturesque part of the Green Mountain state to enjoy everything outdoors. But, what about those who enjoy being inside? Well, it is time to set the record straight: if you want some of the best alcohol, food, and indoor fun in the state, head northeast! The following afternoon tour will give you a chance to taste, drink, and enjoy the best of the “NEK”.

Caledonia Spirit's Tanks and Ryan, one of the distillers

Caledonia Spirit’s Tanks and Ryan, one of the distillers

Caledonia Spirits & Winery, Hardwick, VT

Hardwick, Vermont is the home of award winning vodka, gin, and wine all made from honey and other Vermont ingredients. Head down to their giant distillery to learn about how they make all of their products from pure honey and also take a tour of their facility. End your visit with a free tasting of all three spirits (Elderberry Cordial, Barr Hill Vodka, and Barr Hill Gin) and their four delicious wines.

Hill Farmstead, Greensboro, VT

Outside of the Hill Farmstead Brewery

Outside of the Hill Farmstead Brewery

Have you ever wanted to enjoy the best beer in the country in the confines of a huge, wooden barn? Then, take a trip out to Hill Farmstead to find the Kingdom’s most popular beer. Some of Hill Farmstead’s beers have even earned a 100 on ratebeer.com. Greensboro, VT is a short but beautiful drive north of Hardwick. Beer is poured into samples, glasses, or growlers, fresh from the brewery that is also housed in the same barn.

The Parker Pie Co., West Glover, VT

End your tour with dinner, drinks, and entertainment at the Parker Pie Co. in West Glover, VT. What started out as a small pizza shop in the back of one of Vermont’s many country stores has turned into one of the best foodie, beer, and entertainment destinations in Vermont. The Parker Pie Co. uses fresh, Vermont products on their pizzas and has a constantly revolving beer menu. They also have the best indoor events in town including trivia night, live bands, and weekly ping pong tournaments. You may originally come for the pizza and beer, but you will most likely return for the atmosphere and entertainment.

Inside Parker Pie

Inside Parker Pie

The Northeast Kingdom is located off of interstate 91, about a three hour drive north from Boston.

*As published in Tavern Players, Spring Issue.