Anyone who lives in Vermont has had a Long Trail–they produce the number one selling craft beer in the state. We decided to head to their Visitors Center in Bridgewater Corners to check out what one of the most popular breweries in the state had to offer. We walked into the slightly overwhelming building and decided to do the self-guided tour before grabbing some lunch.
The phrase “self-guided” is being used very loosely here, because there really is nowhere to go. We opened the door onto an overlook about 20 feet long that offered a view of the brewing area and bottling machine and was lined with panels of facts about the brewing process. As someone who is already quite familiar with the brewing process, I found the information tedious–there wasn’t much that was specific to Long Trail beer and there was so much writing that I found myself skimming more than I read. There were also a few informational posters in the restaurant area about Long Trail’s brewing process and their eco initiatives. We felt we had taken in all we could after less than five minutes, so we decided to try the heavily advertised lunch.
The Long Trail Visitors Center is an interesting mix of industrial and rustic with guests sitting at picnic tables and wooden barrels to eat. Since it’s right down the road from Killington there were a lot of skiers and riders wearing snow gear and enjoying an afternoon break. We waited for a couple of minutes at the host stand before someone came over, then a couple more until our table was ready (that waiting period would have been a good time to go up to the brewery–it’s really all the time we would have needed).
Ian ordered something from the Brown Bag Pilot series and I ordered the sampler, which arrived as six four-ounce glasses presented in a muffin tin, which I thought was clever. The sampler came with an information sheet about the six beers–five year-rounds and one seasonal. I’ll let you see the info for yourself below, but if you’re a Long Trail fan you probably already know all about these!
The Brown Bag series beer was a Bavarian Brown Smoked Ale, which was interesting, but after a while became a bit too much. Ian didn’t finish his glass because he said it was good to taste, but not to drink for a prolonged period of time.
We also ordered jalapeno poppers, the Long Trail Ale bratwurst, and a cheeseburger. Our jalapeno poppers never arrived and didn’t show up on the bill, so we’re not sure what happened to those because, aside from taking our order and bringing us our bill, our waitress never checked on us. My bratwurst was lukewarm, Ian’s burger was a little too charred, and the fries were standard. The only reason I would recommend eating in the Visitors Center is if you had made a drive to go there, like we did, because otherwise you would be ready to leave within a couple of minutes.
This was also the first brewery we visited where they did not offer free samples or growlers. You could buy beer to go, but it was in the same six packs and 12 packs you can buy in any grocery store, not straight from the keg like you would normally go to a brewery for.
Overall impression? Delicious beer, cool atmosphere, but I didn’t really experience any personality or defining characteristic at Long Trail. Maybe it was the crowd, but it’s not someplace I would ever feel the need to go back to, but I’m glad I got to experience it this time.
Junction or Route 4A and 100-A
Bridgewater Corners, VT
Self-guided tours, pub fare