Stowe’s rustic New England charm keeps tourism high throughout the seasons and, come winter, it is considered the East Coast ski capitol. Here, the word “mountain” means something different than out West. Situated between the Green Mountains and the Hogbacks, Stowe is comprised of two mountains―Mt. Mansfield for intermediate and advanced skiers that peaks at almost 4,400 feet (the tallest in Vermont) and Spruce Peak for more beginning-level skiing.
Stowe is 45 minutes from Burlington with some of the state’s better-known breweries such as Magic Hat and the Vermont Pub and Brewery (birthplace of the Black IPA, see “Congratulations … It’s a Beer”). This beer scene motivated Chad Brodsky to launch Burlington Brew Tours, which takes visitors to the four area brewpubs and one of the local-centric taverns for lunch. Seeing an opportunity over in the mountain towns, Brodsky recently added Stowe Brew Tours, which operates year-round and can pick up in either Stowe or Burlington, and offers up some of the best places to stop.
The Shed Restaurant and Brewery (1859 Mountain Road)is the town’s main brewpub where, if you want to sample the six to eight beers on tap, the flight comes on a mini ski or Burton snowboard. Because of its small brewing system, unique beers are the order of the day, but one constant remains Mountain Ale, a strong, 7 percent ale that is the most popular for a reason and is perfect for the winter.
No visit to Stowe could be complete without checking out the Trapp Family Lodge (700 Trapp Hill Road), developed on the site where the actual von Trapp family―of Sound of Music fame―settled after moving from Austria. The Lodge is an all-in-one destination with ski-in/ski-out lodging, dining, spectacular vistas and, brand new, its own brewery. Naturally, the first two beers are Golden Helles and Vienna Amber, which, Brodsky claims, “are some of the finest German and Austrian lagers on the East Coast.”
If your preferences lean toward the British end of the spectrum, in the heart of the village resides Ye Old English Inn and Mr. Pickwick’s Pub (433 Mountain Road), perhaps higher rated than the Trapp Lodge. Instead of a brewery, this inn and restaurant offers a pub with a wide array of lagers and ales, some on cask, hailing from the British Isles to Vermont, including breweries such as Harpoon and Magic Hat. Brodsky notes that in Pickwick’s world-renowned cellars, “rest several thousand bottles of wine, vintage ports, rare cognacs, single malts and small batch bourbons.”