There are few things more Vermont than a cold craft beer. In celebration of EMS’s new store in Burlington, and the release of the full Green Mountain Gravel Growler film, we asked five EMS team members about their favorite breweries in the Green Mountain State.

Credit: Lauren Danilek

Ellen: Fiddlehead Brewery

I was a fan of Fiddlehead long before I visited their tasting room and they gifted me a trash bag for our rainy bike sojourn. Their beers are so approachable. My favorite is the Aetherium White Ale (notes of coriander and orange peel), but their most popular is probably their Fiddlehead IPA: “The ubiquitous house beer of the Green Mountain State,” according to Thrillist. I’m all about the ambiance of a brewery, and Fiddlehead just does it for me. Wood beams and John Prine? It’s a space you just want to hang out in. Plus, they put their money where their mouth is—their Team Mastermind Fund donates partial brew sales to children’s charities; in 2022 alone they raised almost $20,000. I’m Team Fiddlehead. Note: While they don’t serve food, you can order pizza next door and bring it over.

Courtesy: Dan Castillo

Dan: Burlington Beer Company

Oh this is a tough one. Burlington has so many world-class craft breweries. Within a 5 mile radius of the city you have Zero Gravity, Foam, Switchback, Simple Roots, Green Empire, Queen City, Four Quarters, Black Flannel, and if you are feeling something more cidery, Citizen Cider. Widen out to a 10 mile radius and you double your list.

For me though, I have to go with Burlington Beer Company. It’s located in the South End and even before I moved to Burly, I made sure every trip I made to the city included a visit (It helped that their old location was right next to MetroRock). I actually had the pleasure of visiting them recently for my Birthday. I chose a flight of four very different tasting, but all equally delicious IPAs, three of which I have had in the past while one was brand new. I paired them with my Fried Chicken Sandwich on their outdoor patio before the cold caught up to us and we moved inside to the packed bar to have a beer called Barista, a double coffee porter, scored 89 on BeerAdvocate.  I ended up taking a four pack of Barista home with me from their extensive retail shop as I enjoy heavier pours in late Fall and Winter.

For those of you not able to visit, do not fret. They are now distributed in 11 states, as far south as Maryland. You can even use the beer-finder tool on their website to find your local pour or can of every product they make

Dan Castillo is currently the Manager of the EMS in Burlington, VT and has been with the company for over a decade. When not helping outfit for adventures, you can find him living the MountainLife. He Climbs, Hikes, Paddles, Bikes, and overall loves the outdoors.

Ryan: Three Penny Taproom

Not actually a brewery, I know. But if you’re into beer in Montpelier, this is still the place to go. Variety is what sets Three Penny apart: They carry a slew of beers on top from across Vermont and New England, in basically any genre you could be craving. The tap list also changes pretty regularly, so regulars get the treat of almost always having new things to try when they visit. We weren’t able to visit Hill Farmstead on our bikepacking trip, but Three Penny carries a sizable selection of their beers as well, a rarity. Add their Philly Pork sandwich to that and you have a must-visit in Montpelier.

Patrick: The Alchemist

I’ve always loved a good IPA. Living in New Hampshire, there’s never been a shortage of IPAs available locally. About a decade ago, I caught wind that my fellow beer enthusiasts were making regular trips to Vermont to score a IIPA called Heady Topper from The Alchemist Brewery. I was naturally intrigued and perplexed. Once I was able to make the pilgrimage for myself, the Heady Topper experience opened my eyes, and my palate, to the wonderful world of super fresh, super hoppy New England IPAs. These days, Toppers can be found throughout Vermont, but it’s worth swinging over to the Alchemist Brewery in Stowe, VT to sample Toppers, Focal Bangers, and other specialty batches brewed by The Alchemist.

Patrick is the Customer Service Manager at EMS and also is a part of the fundraising team, most recently with ACS’s Bikes Battling Cancer and the Alzheimer’s Association’s 48 Peaks events (he is also a guest chef on Cooking with Mike). As a home brewer himself, Patrick enjoys emulating favorite brews and is a top notch beer tester.

Credit: Lauren Danilek

Mike: Lost Nation

Cruising down the rail trail in Morrisville, you’ll come across Lost Nation Brewing, easily identifiable from the bright red exterior paint and the smokey smell of barbeque in the air. Lost Nation is known for their European style ales, lagers, and outdoor biergarten. I found my happy place in a tall glass of their Gose. In a time where many breweries fill taps with nearly identical variations of IPAs, it was nice to find a place that offered more variety. With a Gose, Pilsner, Czech Lager, Session Ale, Maibock, Helles, American Pale all on tap, there was something for everyone. To you IPA lovers, they did also have a Mosaic IPA on tap—to each their own. I paired my beers with a pulled pork sandwich and fries fresh from the BBQ pit. The brewery and restaurant combo has everything you need for a hearty lunch, be warned it may be hard to get back on the trail afterwards. I highly recommend you follow your nose and stop in. The beer and food were top notch.