Nestled to the west of Camel’s Hump in Huntington, VT, there’s a nano-brewery serving up great beers in small batches. In 1991 Bret Hamilton started homebrewing and in the summer of 2013, he opened up Stone Corral. His hobby may have started in 1991 but the desire to open a brewery began when his wife, Melissa, came back from the store after looking at rows and rows of all IPAs and asked: ‘Where’s all the beer?’ We made our way up to Stone Corral and after driving on a winding state highway onto a dirt road, and up a hill that my car was quite weary of. The brewery is currently occupying a shed on Bret and Melissa’s farm and the tasting room is a tack room just off the barn. Bret had four beers for us to try when we went.
Latigo – A Scottish 90/- ale made with just enough peated malt that is malty and just a little sweet. The peat really comes through in both aroma and finish but it is not overpowering.
Black Beer – This German black ale, porter hybrid is as dark as they come and very malt forward. The roasty and toasty aroma and flavors really shine in this very interesting style.
Big Belgium Draft – The name says it all for this beer. This Belgium strong ale weighs in at 8.9% ABV but goes down smooth with a hint of spiciness and an aroma of banana bread.
Palomino – If you thought that Stone Corral didn’t like hops, you were wrong. This dry hopped American pale ale has a fantastic aroma without being overly bitter. Bret knows how to make the malts shine though even when faced with a trio of aromatic hops.
It may be a small operation now but Bret is working on expanding his capacity with a larger brew kettle and is going to be receiving kegs soon. While he cannot fill growlers right now, he is hoping to have the new house finished by the fall and is hoping to be able to start filling then. Stone Corral is going to be at the Vermont Brewer’s Festival and I highly recommend trying them out if you were lucky enough to get tickets.