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The Beers Next Door

July 12, 2018

Not too long ago I walked into Westmere Beverage looking for a beer recommendation. I wanted a six pack of twelve-ounce cans. Something good, but not silly expensive. It needed to be refreshing enough for summer, and a beer I could enjoy without thinking too much about it.

Also known as a six-pack.

Beer is entering a strange era. It seems as if the end of the pool I’ve been playing in lately is filled with four-packs of sixteen-ounce cans. For my own sanity, I try not to look too closely at the prices. Some are more than $20. Most are less. But not much less. And I think Albany is incredibly lucky to have access to as many fantastic beers as we do.

Now, flashback to last week when I took a road trip up to Montreal for candy. I stopped at my old friend’s house in Burlington on the way back. And he took me to his local supermarket to check out the beer selection.

It was a category re-defining moment.

Right there on the shelf were four packs of sixteen-ounce cans from brands that are highly sought after around the country. I could have bought all the Heady Topper I could carry. But I didn’t. I walked out of there with four packs of Focal Banger, an American pale ale for Idletyme, and a single hop IPA from Burlington Beer Co.

The beers are fantastic. But here’s the rub. The four-packs were about $12 each.

One of my beer friends locally doesn’t buy a lot of the great beer that comes our way. And that’s because he’s up in Vermont all the time, and can’t justify paying $22 for a four pack when Heady Topper is only $12.

He’s even acknowledging that the more expensive beers could be better than Heady. There are certainly other beers I would rather have than a Heady myself. But I’m starting to reconsider the value proposition.

Now, here’s the twist.

Saturday, I’m headed into Vermont again. But this time I’ll be there for a whole week. No, I don’t think there will be time to get up to Hill Farmstead. It’s going to be a big trip with three families. And we’ll be in the south central part of the state, just outside Rutland.

Plus, there is a distillery that I simply must visit. Vermont Spirits is really the only thing on my to do list, besides check out the beer in the supermarkets and beer stores. Maybe, just maybe, I can convince the crew to go to a brewery. But if I can only make one executive decision, it’s for the distillery.

That said, I’m open for any recommendations of breweries and beers that I should try while I’m out there. I might have to pop back up to Burlington and refill my growlers from Foam Brewers.

I tend to go into these trips blindly. I still don’t even know the name of the town where we’re staying. I’m sure it’s in an email somewhere. But who reads emails these days?

Tomorrow is a very special post. It has to be special if I wrote a beer post for a Thursday. And next week is “Vacation Week”. That doesn’t mean the blog is taking a vacation. There will be posts. They will just be vacation themed, and will include another guest post from Emily L.

So get ready. The fun is just beginning.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2018 10:49 am

    Are you telling us you crossed the border with all those beers? Tell us your secret if so. In return, I will share my source for Cott’s Black Cherry Soda at a bargain price.

  2. Laura permalink
    July 12, 2018 11:24 am

    Foley Brothers, Burlington Beer Co, Foam, and Frost are the ones we make special trips for!

  3. July 12, 2018 11:34 pm

    Four Quarters in Winooski. I would actually take them over Foam or anyone else in that area, for that matter.

  4. albanylandlord permalink
    July 15, 2018 9:11 pm

    The beer scene evolves so fast it is overwhelming. I have heard good things about Foley Bros. and Foam also. I tend to ask at the store and then check reviews on beer advocate. The beer store in Waterbury VT (Craft BEer Cellar) is excellent, though I’m sure there are plenty of others. (Great gastropubs there also as you probably know.) I would have a style in mind when asking or browsing. Personally I’m usually looking for more subtle well balanced beers these days.
    The drive to Hill Farmstead can seem overwhelming even from central / northern VT. but it is the best beer trip I have ever made. Great place to be also, it’s not just the beer. But the beer… Oh the beer.

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