It’s no secret that Burlington’s South End has been experiencing a wakeup call over the last few years, and we couldn’t be happier that more breweries are deciding to call it home. To really experience what the South End has to offer in the beer department, we embarked on a South Ender Bender beer walk.
To help you plan your own day of exploring the South End’s breweries, read on for an overview of what we did. We’ll share where we walked, what we drank, and how much we spent.
But first, here are a couple of tips to help you make it through:
Pick a Nice Day
The Saturday that we went on our beer-inspired journey, the weather was absolutely perfect—sunny, warm, and not too hot. That’s the first piece of advice for anyone attempting the South Ender Bender—don’t do it in weather that will make you miserable.
Park Strategically—or Don’t Drive at All
We’re fortunate—we live close enough to the South End that we didn’t need to take a bus, grab a cab, or have a designated driver. But please, if you’re going to do a beer walk, be smart. There’s plenty of street parking in the area, so if you do drive over, plan your parking situation ahead of time.
Stop #1: Switchback Brewing Co.
We started our South Ender Bender around 1:30 PM at Switchback. On Saturdays, brewery tours are offered at 1:00 and 2:00. If you want 4 beer samples with your tour it’s $5, but without the samples it’s free. Call ahead to make reservations because the tours fill up quickly. We didn’t take the tour this time, but it is absolutely worth your time. This is one brewery tour that is led by an actual brewer, and the history of the brewery and of the beer itself is fascinating. This is a great place to start your beer walk where you can really get some bang for your buck.
Since we’d done the tour recently, this day we decided to skip it, but still really enjoyed hanging out in the bright tap room drinking a Slow-Fermented Brown and an Extra Pale Ale. Here we paid $9.00 +tip for 2 pints.
[DETOUR: At this point in the tour, Ian’s button broke and we had to walk back home so that he could quickly change. Another piece of advice: make sure your clothes aren’t falling apart before you leave the house.]
Stop #2: Queen City Brewery
Our next stop was Queen City.
Be careful if you’re walking from Switchback to here—the sidewalk is closed and it can get a bit dicey.
Queen City just got their Vermont first-class liquor license and can now serve pints in their tasting room without a designated Pint Night, but with so many unique styles to choose from a flight is also highly recommended here. We enjoyed a Yorkshire Porter and a City Beer. Also, free pretzels! After Ian finished his first drink, he requested a half pint of Mai Bock. The girl behind the counter seemed confused and offered him a 12 oz. pour for the price of a flight, which he accepted.
Here we spent $16.79+ tip for 2 full pints and one half pint.
Stop #3: Zero Gravity Brewery
After Queen City, we dashed across the street to the newly opened Zero Gravity location.
If you haven’t been here yet, you need to go. The beer garden/deck area is a seriously relaxing place to enjoy your brews—it almost feels like you’re on a friend’s back porch as the hustle of Pine Street disappears. Inside the tasting room is also beautiful, and feels spacious and airy with the large doors open.
Here I had a Conehead while Ian went for a flight including Green State Lager, Bob White, Little Wolf, and Bretthead. We spent $14.00 +tip for the pint and the flights.
Stop #4: Citizen Cider
No trip to Pine Street is complete without visiting Citizen.
It was crowded as usual even though it was still quite early, but we found seats at a table and ordered some food and drinks. Ian got a flight with Full Nelson, Citzen Cellar: Holmstead Apple Project, B-Cider, Citizen Cellar: Vermont Cascade, and Citizen Cellar: Happy Valley Heirloom along with a burger and fries. I went for the bRose with a fried chicken biscuit and cabbage slaw. Mine was definitely more of a snack and I was still kind of hungry after I ate it, but Ian really enjoyed his burger and said it filled him up. For our dinner and drinks at Citizen Cider, we paid $38.53 +tip.
Bonus Stop: Arts Riot
While it’s not a brewery, Arta Riot still has a great selection of beer on tap as well as delicious craft cocktails and food. When we went, which was pretty early, it was literally dead and there was nothing going on there, but you can plan your walk so that you hit this bar when there’s music or another performance happening.
Even though we officially ended at Citizen Cider for the food, we probably wouldn’t end there again. The sweetness of the cider after the delicious beers we had been drinking wasn’t a great way to leave it.
Overall though, the South Ender Bender is a great way to experience everything that Burlington’s South End has to offer. If you plan your route well and pace yourself, this is the perfect Burlington brewery walking tour!