Gift booze in Burlington
August 21, 2018 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to pick up some cider/wine/appropriate locally-made alcohol as a gift in/around Burlington, VT. Where should I go (and what product should it be)?

Aiming to spend about $30 on a bottle of cider, wine, spirit, or whatever the best local alcohol product is. I'll be in Burlington on a Saturday morning with a car and can go anywhere in/around Burlington or on the way north to the Canadian border.

My questions are basically (1) what should I pick up and (2) where should I go?
posted by andrewesque to Travel & Transportation around Burlington, VT (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I love everything I've tried from Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick - they have a vodka distilled from local honey called Barr Hill Vodka, and a couple of honey-infused gins (the standard Barr Hill Gin and the aged Tom Cat). The Barr Hill Gin is in your price range for a 750ml bottle; the vodka and the Tom Cat you would probably need to get the 375ml to stay around $30; they also have a maple syrup vodka but I think it's pretty expensive even in the 375ml bottle.

The Barr Hill Vodka and the two gins are pretty widely available in good New England liquor stores but I don't have a Burlington-specific recommendation. (You can buy them all at the distillery in Hardwick but that's not really "on the way" anywhere.)
posted by mskyle at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2018

The Alchemist brewery is nearby in Stowe, and several shops in Burlington sell their stuff. If this gift is for any kind of beer snob, I think it would be much appreciated.
posted by backseatpilot at 1:48 PM on August 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

Smuggler's Notch Distillery makes some great stuff.
posted by General Malaise at 2:07 PM on August 21, 2018

If this gift is for any kind of beer snob, I think it would be much appreciated.

Yes. Heady Topper is the "hard to get" beer from them and it's quite good if you're into the hoppy IPAs all the kids seem to like nowadays. A four pack will run you about $16 if I recall correctly so you could also pick up a second four pack of whatever their summer seasonal is. City Market is the place to go that is likely to have the finest selection. If you were looking at more like $75, I'd say try to find some Whistle Pig locally made whiskey. I've heard good things but their Vermont store list only indicates that they're selling it in bars.

The "la di dah" cider in Vermont is Shacksbury Cider who make a Lost and Found Cider from basically random apples. They're a little bit south of Burlington and their tasting room is open Saturday at noon. Might want to email and see if they have stuff in your price range (esoteric bottles are not, but I think their cans should be affordable) or if they sell stuff in any Burlington venues.
posted by jessamyn at 2:13 PM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

City Market is the place to go that is likely to have the finest selection.

I’m told that one has to be there on Alchemist’s delivery day (...Tuesday?) to score some Heady Topper, as it sells out fast.
posted by the_blizz at 2:56 PM on August 21, 2018

If you're getting Alchemist, get Heady Topper of the giftees haven't had it before, but pick up Focal Banger in addition. It's a newer addition to the retail shelf, despite having been available at bars and the brewery for a while. Plus, it's better.

The best game in town for basically all of your potential gifts is the Beverage Warehouse in Winooski.

Barr Hill Gin is on sale, and I think any liquor store will have it. I like the gin, but I think Tom Cat tastes like sawdust. VT has state controlled liquor prices, so you won't find unique deals anywhere.
posted by papayaninja at 4:50 PM on August 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, Foam is the most hyped brewery in Burlington right now. They do growlers and have some can releases.
posted by papayaninja at 5:00 PM on August 21, 2018

Seconding Barr Hill gin. It's amazing.
posted by Miko at 8:04 PM on August 21, 2018

Fourthing Heady Topper, which is a great beer with a currently-very-high cultural cachet.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:08 AM on August 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Heady Topper isn't selling out quite as quick as it once did. If that's your goal, running a circuit of City Market in downtown Burlington, Pearl Street Liquor right nearby City Market, or Winooski Beverage right over the river, will probably be fruitful. Alchemist also publishes their delivery schedule:

Bar Hill Gin is fantastic, as mentioned above.

Mad River Distillery has a tasting room and bar in downtown Burlington. You can taste and buy bottles there- rums, ryes, and bourbons. They're all good, but the whiskeys are on the younger side and are a touch harsher than I prefer.

Stonecutter Spirits is opening a tasting room in Burlington right behind City Market, but I don't think it's open yet. I've had their gin, which is quite good, but not their whiskey.

If you're looking for beer and have some time, there's a hell of a lot of breweries and tasting rooms in the area: Switchback, Magic Hat, Zero Gravity Brewing, Queen City Brewing, Vermont Pub and Brewery, Four Quarters Brewing, Simple Roots, Goodwater, Burlington Beer Co, 14th Star, and even more the further outside of Burlington you go. You'll be able to get growlers, cans or bottles at most of them.

Winooski Bev usually has a great selection of local beers, local ciders, and all the local liquor. Probably the best in the Burlington area. You could probably just stop there and get anything suggested here pretty easily. If you're short on time, just duck in there. They even have a little counter that often has tastings of local offerings.
posted by The Man from Lardfork at 6:14 AM on August 22, 2018

Thanks all for your answers! I've had some clarification on the itinerary and have much less time to take care of this than I had thought, so I'll probably end up popping over to Winooski Beverage to take care of this most easily. But I'm a big fan of Vermont (and of Quebec, which is the main reason for this trip) so I hope to be back!
posted by andrewesque at 1:25 PM on August 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

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