This weekend my wife Megan and I spent a short part of the afternoon checking out yet another waterfall in our hometown of Stowe. Having visited both Bingham and Mos Glen Falls, we decided to see what was going on at Sterling Falls Gorge. You can view a video of our visit on our Facebook page. In short, Sterling Falls is worth the trip, but if you’ve visited Bingham and Mos Glen you could be in for a minor disappointment. It’s kind of hard to beat Mos Glen, considering it’s the largest waterfall in Vermont. On the other hand, the hiking is much easier at Sterling which might be better for children and there’s a recreation area for your pets to roam as they please. One unexpected viewing bonus at Sterling is the French, chateau-like, all stone estate to the North of the falls, just off the access road. It’s a private residence so you’ll want to keep some distance, but the view from the road is all you’ll need to revel in its beauty. The best thing about all of these waterfalls is that they’re easily accessed and take only 15 minutes or so to complete…did I mention they’re free? Pack a lunch and some tasty beverages (Lost Nation Vermont Pilsner accompanied us) and you’re set for a nice stroll in the Vermont outdoors. Surrounded by ranges to the East and West of the town, Stowe sits in somewhat of a bowl, which lends itself to dramatic, geological appeal. As the buyer of craft beer and other beverages at Stowe Mercantile, it’s nice to get out and see, in action, the component that makes up anywhere from 85-98% of these products-water! However beautiful and pristine Vermont’s waterways may seem, the protection of our state’s most valuable resource has recently come under scrutiny in regards to the Lake Champlain water quality. Year after year of unregulated, agricultural runoff by the hundreds of farms that line Lake Champlain have lead to toxic, summer algae blooms. Anyone who lives in Vermont or the thousands that visit know that summer time is not the time for water quality complications. In 2015 the state responded by putting up $16 million dollars in order to improve the lake’s health and overall impact on the economy. Brewers, tourists, and locals alike can find some solace in the fact we’re finally doing something about this unfortunate reality.Until then, our recommendation for the cleanest bodies of water is to seek out those in constant circulation-waterfalls! We can’t wait until it’s actually warm enough to jump in.
Yesterday, Denise and I ventured to the Essex Resort & Spa to Farrell Distributing’s 2015 Retail Portfolio Show. As the new beer buyer here at Stowe Mercantile I’m really excited as to what 2015 and the future of beer distributing in Vermont has to offer. These expos are great opportunities to cultivate long-lasting business relationships with individual breweries, wineries, and cider makers. Stowe Mercantile is committed to establishing an alcohol beverage market where an overwhelming amount of the product is sourced locally. With this in mind and our strict time budget, Denise and I figured our time would be best spent at the beer tables and we’re glad we did. The sun was out, a slight breeze was blowing, and the beer exhibitors had prime outdoor real estate. Before the event we decided there to be two things we really needed to pursue; find out who could hold Summer tastings and who had plans to bottle/can in the very near future. (besides the obvious of tasting great beer) We’re happy to report that within the next year, most of the beer that you enjoy at your favorite pub will be available in bottles or cans. My favorite brew pub in Burlington, Zero Gravity, has plans to open their new location on Pine St. next month and are planning to have canning capabilities before the end of the Summer! Matty O from Fiddlehead Brewing in Shelburne, VT. informed us that they are hoping to increase production, but for now we’ll have to join the waiting list…we’ll wait. Their Second Fiddle IPA is one of the better new offerings out there. Another company we’re happy to have run in to is Champlain Orchards out of Shoreham, VT. Dave Bridges, their brand ambassador, stopped by the store last week for a short chat about their new products and when we showed up to their booth he actually remembered my name. These guys are my new favorite cider maker in Vermont. For now, they are the only cider maker in Vermont sourcing all of their apples from the Green Mountain State. Be on the lookout for next month’s release of Champlain Orchard’s Macintosh and Maple. They’re even canning, and you can find it their VT Hard Cider in cans here at Stowe Mercantile. To wrap this up, as beer, wine, cider, and mead enthusiasts, you should be pumped about what we’ll have to offer you in the coming months. A big thanks to Farrell Distributing for inviting us. We hope to see you at our Summer tastings at Stowe Mercantile.
Here is a list of some recent beverage acquisitions we thought you should know about:
Champlain Orchards: VT Hard Cider (16 oz. cans), Cranberry (750ml), and Heirloom (750ml)
14th Star Brewing: A-Dog Ale Brown Ale (16 oz. Cans), Maple Breakfast Stout (16 oz. Cans)
Long Trail Brewing : Triple Bag (aged in oak barrels)
Harpoon Brewing: 100 Barrel Series Braggot Rights (American IPA w/ Wildflower Honey)
Long Trail’s Farmhouse selections now available at Stowe Mercantile!
Long Trail has surprised as all with a new line of Farmhouse beers and a new face to go with them! Long Trail started a Farmhouse Pilot Brewery to “have a place to play and exercise creative brewer chops”. They have come out with a Farmhouse IPA Sampler pack including a Session, Black Rye, American and White IPA.
They are all really delicious but the one that stands out to me the most is the American IPA, I just cant get enough!
Last November Long Trail also launched their first year-round offering from the Farmhouse Pilot Brewery called Limbo. I have to hand it to them on this one, its GOOD! The name came from a customer e-mailing them after trying some of their other limited offerings from the Farmhouse saying “hope you wont leave me in limbo for long” and the name was born. The packaging is like nothing they have ever done before, with a skeleton leaning against a tree in all black in red it really sticks out against most other beers.
Next time you are in town stop in and grab one to try and for more great beer and wine gifts check out our website!