Drink the Best of Vermont: 8 Places to Try Handcrafted Local Booze

The Blue Bar at Jessica's at Swift House Inn. Photo by Caleb Kenna
Swift House Inn, Middlebury, Vermont. Caleb Kenna Photography

Vermont may not be a hustling and bustling state with crazy nightlife, but there are certainly plenty of places to enjoy an alcoholic drink in the area. More importantly, Vermont has an incredible selection of breweries, cideries, wineries, and distilleries that brew, ferment, and distill delicious beverages for all tastes. For your ease and convenience, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite producers located within 30 miles of Swift House Inn that are currently open for tastings. Take in the beauty of Vermont with a carefully handcrafted drink at these nearby locations!

Otter Creek Brewing Company

Otter Creek Brewing Co. is a beloved Middlebury brewery best known for their delicious IPAs. The Pub and Beer Garden are currently open for indoor and outdoor dining. Reservations required. 793 Exchange St., Middlebury, VT. 802-388-0727

Fiddlehead Brewing Company

Fiddlehead Brewing Co. is located about 30 minutes away from Swift House Inn in the town of Shelburne. Their Fiddlehead IPA and Second Fiddle Double IPA are cherished by Vermont beer-drinkers. Their tasting room is currently open for indoor and outdoor dining 7 days a week, 12-9 p.m. Bring your own food, or make a stop at Folino’s next door for some wood-fired pizza. Combine your visit with a stop at Shelburne Vineyard right across the street! 6305 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne, VT. 802-399-2994

Hired Hand Brewing Company

Located in the charming town of Vergennes just 15 minutes from Swift House, Hired Hand Brewing Co. is a lovely spot to grab a pint of local Vermont beer. They share a location with Bar Antidote, which has delicious farm-to-table comfort food to go with your beverages. They are currently open for indoor and outdoor dining and takeout. Call 802-877-2555 after 3:30pm to make a reservation. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 4-8 p.m. 35 Green St., Vergennes, VT.

Shelburne Vineyard

Producing wine in Vermont is no easy task, but our friends at Shelburne Vineyard have done a spectacular job of making delicious wines that are beloved by Vermonters. Located in Shelburne about 30 minutes away (and right across from Fiddlehead!), their tasting room is currently open Thursday through Tuesday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Reservations highly encouraged. 6308 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne, VT. 802-985-8222

Lincoln Peak Vineyard

Just a five minute drive from Swift House, Lincoln Peak is a beautiful vineyard with lovely Vermont wines. Buy a glass or a bottle, or take advantage of their curated wine flights to sample a variety of their wines. Their tasting room is currently open by reservation Friday through Sunday, 12-7 p.m. Make a reservation online or call802-388-7368.

Golden Rule Mead

Golden Rule Mead’s tasting room is the only location on this list within reasonable walking distance from Swift House Inn. Their mead is brewed at the Artesano Meadery in Groton, Vermont, and you can try it yourself just a 5 minute walk away! Open Friday and Saturday, 4-8 p.m. 8 Elm St., Middlebury, VT.

Woodchuck Cider

Woodchuck is a powerhouse in the world of hard cider, and we love that they are located right here in Middlebury just a three minute drive away. Originally founded in Proctorsville, VT in 1991, they have been brewing cider locally in Middlebury since 2000. The Woodchuck Cider House is currently open Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 1321 Exchange St., Middlebury, VT. 802-385-3656

Appalachian Gap Distillery

Appalachian Gap has a variety of spirits handcrafted right in Middlebury. They are located less than 5 minutes away from Swift House Inn. Visit their tasting room to try their delicious gin, whiskey, rum, and more! Tasting room open Friday through Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Other times may be available by appointment. Call for curbside pickup orders 7 days a week. 88 Mainelli Rd., Middlebury, VT. 802-989-7362

Local Bars

Of course, there are places to find a beverage without going directly to the source. We are partial to our bar at Jessica’s at Swift House Inn, where you can order a specialty cocktail, peruse the extensive wine list, or try our beers on tap or by the can. Two Brothers Tavern, Mister Ups, and Fire and Ice are some other local restaurants we love with bars where you can pull up a stool and meet some locals or watch a game. If this isn’t enough for you, there are also many more producers located a bit further away in Vermont, as well as some that have currently closed their tasting rooms (such as our favorite, Shacksbury Cider). Take advantage of your time visiting Middlebury and explore as many of these spots as you responsibly can!

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