8 Best Vermont Breweries near Mount Snow

With one of the oldest craft brew festivals in the state, and new breweries popping up all over the region, Mount Snow is a hot spot for beer lovers.
Posted on January 17, 2023
Group of Men Drink Beer Apres Ski on Deck at Mount Snow
Beer and skiing go together, and beer is to Vermont what wine is to California. One of the earliest leaders in the microbrew movement, there are now more than 40 craft breweries in Vermont, as well as suggested brew trails that you can drive to visit brewpubs. It also claims the highest number of breweries per capita. And several of these must-visit Vermont breweries are near Mount Snow.
The rise of Vermont breweries near ski mountains is not by chance. “To brew good beer, you need good water, and Vermont has that.” says Steve Parkes. Parkes, who founded Middlebury's Drop In Brewing Company, literally wrote the textbooks on brewing and presides over the nation’s top brewing school, the American Brewers Guild. His students have gone on to found breweries all over the state and the country. And Vermont’s clear mountain streams provide top quality water, a key ingredient.
Mount Snow Resort has many local Vermont brews on tap at The Bullwheel, Cuzzins and its other on-mountain restaurants as well as a large selection for take-out at Canned, in the base village. The ski resort’s annual fall Brewers’ Festival was one of the first and has been going on for 27 years, becoming so popular that 10 years ago it also launched the Winter Brewers Festival, (held April 1, 2023). That’s an ideal place to sample local brews and ciders.
But any weekend, within an hour’s drive of Mount Snow, you can find excellent craft breweries (and some distilleries as well), including two that are right down the road.
Here are eight Vermont breweries to visit, all within an hour of Mount Snow.
Snow Republic, West Dover
Walt Bansley has been many things. He grew up in southern California and served in the Persian Gulf with the Marine Corps before moving to Connecticut and becoming a trial lawyer. There, he found himself spending weekends carving up the slopes at Mount Snow. That’s when the idea hit him to found a brewery just a few miles from the ski resort’s base in a building he had purchased years earlier: one of Vermont’s largest log cabins. Bansley hired a top brewer and opened Snow Republic in late 2019. Since then, it’s become a go-to apres-ski spot with New England IPAs such as Hop Avalanche and Joy Ride on draft and Tartar Sauce in cans. Snow Republic also turns out classic European-style beers such as Flip Flop, a Belgium wit beer and Stick Season, a porter. Wood fired pizzas, burgers and fried chicken sandwiches are served as well and there’s a classic shuffleboard table and plenty of games for kids, too.
Beer Naked Brewery, Marlboro
Beer Naked Brewery on Route 9 is known for three things: its beer, its pizza and its spectacular views. Located at the top of Hogback Mountain, it looks out across much of southern Vermont. The brewery turns out ales with great names such as Brainwashed Hoppy Blonde and a Maple Brown Ale as well as seasonal brews such as Narcissist Hibiscus Mead and Sour Cherry. The pizzas, produced by Pizzapalooza, include such favorites as Honey Pear Pie and The Cowboy (made with Vermont maple bbq sauce, chicken, maple bacon, bleu cheese, carmelized onions and mozzarella). Skiers also know Beer Naked for a fourth thing: it may be the only brewery that you can ski down from. Until it was shut down in 1986 Hogback Mountain once had a ski area. You can see the remnants of the old lifts and a firetower at the top and backcountry skiers and snowshoers can still explore the old trails.
Valley Craft Ales, Wilmington
A newcomer to the scene, Valley Craft Ales opened in the summer of 2022 and its beers are now found in more than 30 retail shops around the state. But the best place to sample them? Valley Craft’s new pub in Wilmington. Valley Craft Ales’ owners bought the former Old Red Mill Inn and have made a taproom on the ground floor, serving beer and pizza, and have simple rooms for rent upstairs. Plans call to move the brewery facilities into the downstairs area, as well as a co-working/incubator space and to open a full restaurant. For now, pull up a seat at the bar and sample the low-alcohol Pilsners and IPAs, wheat beers and lagers.
Whetstone Beer Co., Brattleboro
Since 2006, Whetstone Beer Co. has been part of the Brattleboro food and beverage scene. About 25 miles east of Mount Snow, the brewery produces more than 13 canned brews (each features distinctive artwork featuring trains), including seasonal ones such as Coconut Black Ale and Chair Stout. Whetstone Station & Restaurant, the site of a former railway station that actually sits on the Vermont/New Hampshire borderline, on the banks of the Connecticut River. While Whetstone now owns a larger brewery at another Brattleboro site, many of its beers are still brewed on site at The Station and some can only be tasted there, such as O.M.F.Q, a traditional Belgian Quad, or Stolen Gin Sour Ale. The restaurant’s Burger Bar lets you build your own burger or chicken sandwich and come spring, you can enjoy a burger and beer in the biergarden overlooking the river.
Hermit Thrush, Brattleboro
True localvores who appreciate terroir will love Hermit Thrush’s sour beers for this: the brewers there use Brattleboro’s own wild yeast, hops and fruits from local farms and reuse oak barrels from some of the region’s distilleries to add flavor to their brews. The results? Bottled beers that connoisseurs seek out such as the barrel-aged Cuvee 2022 that sells for $35 for a 500 ml bottle or Coolship Plum ($23). Not all its beers are high falutin’. The brewery is especially known for sours such as Party Jam, which comes in variations such as Party Jam Passion Fruit to Party Jam Blueberry. You can taste most of them at the Brattleboro taproom, open every day 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. (6 p.m. on Sundays) and the brewery will ship sampler packs to any Vermont address.
Madison Brewing Co., Bennington
One of the earliest brewpubs in the region, Madison Brewing opened in Bennington’s historic district in the early 1990s and has been going strong ever since. About 20 miles west of Mount Snow, it’s a great place to head for IPAs such as Bald Mountain, Sucker Pond Blonde or the double IPA, F Bomb. There are also more unusual seasonal brews such as French Toast Brown (infused with the flavors of French toast and Vermont maple syrup) and Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout. There’s also pub grub, burgers and comfort food such as pork schnitzel and cottage pie.
Farm Road Brewing, Bennington
Another new brewery in the region, Farm Road Brewing was the vision of Navy veteran Seth Barrows. A homebrewer, Barrows completed the six-month American Brewing Guild program (based in Middlebury, Vt.) before opening Farm Road Brewing in 2021. The brewery’s 12 taps pour beer such as Bronson, a New England IPA and the lighter Nelson Session. An American red ale, 767 is brewed with Vermont-grown Champlain Valley hops. A light menu of pizza, wings and the like is provided in partnership with Ramunto’s.
Harvest Brewing, Bennington
A nano-brewery with a rotating tap list, Harvest Brewing is only Thursday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (and it’s best to call ahead). But it’s worth the drive to sample its hazy New England IPAs such as Method or Powder Day. When the kitchen is open, the menu is Tex-Mex.
Produced in partnership with Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine.