Harpoon Brewery didn’t fit in our original itinerary of places to visit in Vermont, but when our GPS got us lost, we found ourselves in Windsor, VT.
Harpoon is one of the largest breweries in Vermont, second only to Long Trail. Even if you didn’t know that going in, the space suggests it. The large white building houses a brewery, restaurant, and gift shop.
We made our way past the lengthy lineup of people waiting to take a tour of the brewery (which are offered on the hour), and into the restaurant. The space was packed but we quickly found a seat and made our way through the menu of beer and food.
There are two preset flights of four 6oz samples for $6 each. Even getting both would barely scratch the surface of their varied tap line-up. I tried a few before grabbing a growler of the Keltic Irish Red to-go.
Our accidental detour that brought us to Harpoon landed us right in the middle of Artisans Park. Harpoon is there along with other great local companies,including a cheese shop, a glass maker, and an artisan distillery, making it an excellent intro to our Vermont vacation.
SILO Distillery – Windsor, VT:
I fell in love with the space and spirits at Silo, a local artisan distillery that makes lavender vodkas, whisky, and a very tasty and fragrant gin. It was founded in 2011, with production starting in 2013. Each spirit is hand crafted using local, natural ingredients in a custom built still. The grains used for production are purchased from local farmers, then milled in-house.
The distillery itself was built in a charming barn with tall ceilings made with beautiful light wood beams. There are two tasting bars and a glass wall along one side that lets you peek into the production space. The rest of the space is filled with local products and books. On the day of our visit, the space was set up for an art opening for a local photographer.
Sustainable Farmer Cheese Shop – Windsor, VT:
In the cheese shop next door, we happened upon a mac and cheese event – three very different takes on the classic comfort food, each created using Vermont-made cheese. Our favourite was a spicy edam made with fennel and topped with maple crackers (which we bought to take and make at home with the recipe cards on-site). It wasn’t the only free food sample in the shop, and since everything we tasted was exceptionally good, we ended up leaving with a number of products.
Simon Pearce – Windsor, VT:
A conversation at the cheese shop tipped us off to the live glass-blowing demos just around the corner at the Simon Pearce factory. We had read about their display shop and restaurant before heading to Vermont, which is situated on a breathtaking waterfall in Quichee which, in addition to looking great, actually powers the plant.
At the factory, we got to watch artists at work, heating, cutting, rolling, and shaping the glass with a range of traditional tools. The production was like a dance, as three artists working swiftly and in rhythm to create stunning glass objects in a matter of minutes.
Artisans Park is a great first stop in Vermont, and makes for an excellent crash course in local food and drink. Plan extra time to browse and shop when you visit Harpoon Brewery.
336 Ruth Carney Drive