A BRIEF HISTORY OF CRAFT BREWING IN BURLINGTON
Brewers and hop lovers from around the world travel to Vermont for our beer — it’s a brewing culture unique enough to be recognized by the state itself. “Vermont beer” is a categorical distinction, a style defined by the Green Mountain State. According to the National Brewers Association, we currently have around fourteen breweries per 100,000 people over the age of twenty-one in the state, leading the country in number of craft breweries per capita... But where did it all start?
Perhaps, a bit of history is necessary to understand the reason why Burlington didn’t have local breweries or brewpubs. Vermont was impacted by prohibition as early as the 1880’s and through Federal Prohibition (1920-1933) much of the brewing history and culture that may have once existed had diminished to nothing. By the 1980s, due to outdated laws and legislation against “on-premise brewing”, Burlington had essentially gone over 100 years without a brewery. That is until one local micro-brewer was able to lobby the legislature and influence a change in laws that would shift the landscape of Burlington.
In 1986 a local Vermonter (and impromptu lobbyist) by the name of Greg Noonan published a book called “Brewing Lager Beer”, which quickly became gospel for micro brewers across the country. With esteemed accolades in 1988, Noonan decided to open Vermont Pub & Brewery in downtown Burlington which, at the time, was only the second microbrewery in the nation.
Many well-known local brewers and brew masters came through the doors of the Vermont Pub & Brewery, if it was to learn one of many brewing techniques from Noonan, or simply enjoy an excellently crafted beer. Breweries like the Alchemist , founded by John Kimmich, located in Stowe, and best known for “Heady Topper” and “Focal Banger”, credits their success in large part to what Noonan was able to teach. “Greg is a major reason that The Alchemist is a success,” Kimmich says. “He’s been a wonderful mentor. He’s got the blending of the chemistry knowledge with the esoteric side of things.”
Source: VT Pub & Brewery - History
It may come as a surprise, but two decades ago, not many folks in America had access to locally brewed beers, most of what was available was distributed by large beverage companies. It is with much gratitude and appreciation that we acknowledge Noonan’s impact on the Craft Beer Industry, which has grown into a $22.2 Billion per year industry. Today, The Vermont Pub & Brewery remains at the corner of St. Paul Street and College Street in Burlington’s downtown, where it all started. With over three decades of experience, they are now one of the most qualified breweries in the city, but the landscape is quickly shifting as more breweries continue to pop up throughout the area and experiment with new techniques and ‘taste ideas.’ However, Burlington, in large part, has to thank Vermont Pub & Brewery for its development as a beer destination.
Some beers that you would be able to find at the Vermont Pub & Brewery that have been a staple on their draft menu for decades include:
BOMBAY GRAB IPA - A big, bitter 77 IBU India Pale Ale, spiced with a blend of fragrant Magnum, Simcoe, and Cascade hops. An American IPA recipe. One of the original ‘“East Coast IPA’s.’”
BLACKWATCH IPA - A house favorite dark IPA! Roasty and bitter, made with British malts. This style was brought to modern brewing by our founder, Greg Noonan and its current popularity is vibrant and growing throughout the country. In 2010, the Brewers Association created a Black IPA category for this style of beer
BURLY IRISH ALE - A slightly caramel, medium bodied smooth Irish Red Ale. Rich, creamy and mellow. A local favorite for over 30 years!
CZECH YOUR PILS - A traditional Czech-style pilsner made with Continental pilsner malt and Saaz hops.
For more information check out their Beer Menu here.