August 2, 2012

With 24 breweries located in The Green Mountain State, it's considered one of the top beer-crafting hot spots in the country. You could always throw back a frosty one at one of the brewing locations or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can grab the Official Passport and head out on the Vermont Brewery Challenge. It's a tour of all the beer-making locations around the state where you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at the process from “hops” to finish.

With so many breweries involved in the Challenge, why not make a weekend out of it by staying at a Vermont bed and breakfast in one of the towns along the trail? You can spend your days touring facilities and tasting handcrafted beers and your evenings relaxing on the inn's front porch, taking a dip in the Jacuzzi or star gazing out on the deck. It's a beer lover's paradise!

After enjoying a few cold ones at The Brewery at Trapp Family Lodge, head back to a Stowe bed and breakfast such as The Gables Inn. This 19th century former farm house is centrally located near Stowe and Stowe Mountain Resort and offers romantic rooms with Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces. Enjoy a gourmet breakfast on the porch or at a table on the front lawn underneath their trademark yellow umbrellas. Built in 1886, the casually elegant Heart of the Village Inn located in Shelburne near the Fiddlehead Brewing Company is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Each of the five inn rooms and the four located in the Carriage Barn are outfitted in period furnishings and named after historic Shelburne figures including ‘Marsett,' ‘Mary Deyette,' ‘Harrington' and ‘Barstow.'

In Brattleboro, you can either stop by McNeil's Pub and Brewery or make it a 2-in-1 when you stay at Forty Putney Road. The self-described “beer geeks” at the inn offer more than 30 craft beers in their pub located on-site. Learn about some of the local brews during their Saturday night beer tasting and then wake up to a delicious 2-course breakfast such as grilled pineapple with fresh ham followed up by Innkeeper Amy's “Perfect Pancakes.” Formerly the private residence of businessman and former Vermont State Senator Charles W. Woodhouse, the 14-room Willard Street Inn, a Burlington bed and breakfast, boasts scenic views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. Take a seat in the marble-floored solarium for a sumptuous breakfast comprised of fresh ingredients from the inn's garden before making stops at The Vermont Pub & Brewery or the Switchback Brewing Co. later in the day.

There's more to Vermont than just green mountains, leaf peeping and skiing. Next time you make plans to visit, take the Vermont Brewery Challenge and experience the state's beer-crafting culture along with a few sips, of course.

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