A Beer Lovers Dream: The Maine Event

For the first time ever, this summer we are exploring new waters, specifically the salty waters of Maine. Join us for a Thursday night party on July 20th in anticipation of the Vermont Brewers Festival, featuring six of Maine’s best breweries.

Held in our beautiful outdoor courtyard from 6pm – 9pm, this event will include a mini-beer festival of world class beer, inspired seafood, and spectacular lake views.

Brewers include Maine Beer CompanyBissell BrothersOxbow Brewing CompanyAllagash Brewing CompanyFoundation Brewing Company, and Liquid Riot Bottling Company.

The event will also feature live music and multiple food vendor options including the NOFA-VT pizza oven, lobster rolls from Bleu Northeast Seafood and burgers from Juniper Bar & Restaurant.

Live music by Barika will be rocking us through the evening.

Tickets are $35 plus tax and service and include two beer tokens and a Hotel Vermont glass. 21+ only. Tickets available here.

The Art of Cupping with Brio Coffeeworks

How many of us have caught up with a friend, ignited sparks with a new acquaintance, or studied our days away with a cup of coffee between our palms? For some, no routine is more sacred than that morning cup of coffee. Coffee can be, simply put, what makes some of us function.

That’s why Juniper has partnered with Brio Coffeeworks to maintain our coffee selections. Turns out coffee, much like all the food on offer at Juniper, is seasonal. All of our coffee offerings are roasted weekly at Brio Coffeeworks’ Pine Street location, but the green coffee beans shipped to Vermont tend to lose flavor and stop brewing an ideal cup of coffee if allowed to sit around too long after harvest. That’s why Nate and Magda, the owner’s of Brio Coffeeworks, change up their offerings, capturing beans from various parts of the world and offset harvests in order to offer the best beans to brew.

The Honduras we’ve been enjoying in the restaurant of late will slowly no longer be available in good quality, and so now we’re deciding between a Guatemalan and a Brazilian offering. Now hold up. If the Honduras harvest is so long ago that the beans are no longer fresh, what the what is a Guatemalan bean doing on offer? We asked Nate the same question, and he didn’t skip a beat in his response. Elevation plays a key role in ripeness, and Brio’s Guatemalan sources pick later than those in Honduras. Advancements in technology play a role too; Guatemalan producers have begun using hermetically sealed bags that prolong the shelf life of a green coffee bean. Brazilian beans are grown south of the equator, and thus harvest on a diametric schedule.

Now that we have the freshest raw ingredient on offer, how do we choose the best roast for the restaurant? The industry standard in coffee selection is known as a cupping, and much like wine or beer tastings, a coffee cupping is designed to expose and highlight all the best traits of a coffee while accounting for variances in brewing styles. Here’s how it went down.

First, all of our coffee options are presented in ceramic cups, with two cups of each roast being available. Having two cups means a single bad bean or defect in that sample wont lead us to misjudge a roast and allows a composite tasting to occur. The beans are smelled whole, and then smelled again after grinding to take in their dry aroma.

Next the coffee is brewed in the cup by adding 200 degree water and allowed to steep for 4 minutes. While steeping, the grounds of the coffee float to the top to form a crust. Once our brew time is finished, we use a spoon to push back the crust and release the wet aroma of the coffee. After a quick pull back on the spoon to coat its convex surface, we can raise the spoon to our nose to smell the wet aroma even more closely.

Now comes the tasting portion. The coffees are skimmed to remove as much of the grounds as possible, while leaving brewed oils behind. Spoons are taken and with about 1/2 tsp per dip, the coffee is audibly slurped onto the palette, aerating and spreading the liquid across the mouth. Coffee is evaluated for aroma, perceived sweetness, and the expression of acids (be they fruity, citric acids, or tannic tartaric acids). Our goal was to identify a balance of all these roles and to select a coffee that we can all wake up to.

Want to know more? Nate and Magda love visitors, and they hold a public cupping every Friday at their Pine Street Location.

This guest post authored by Cameron Keitel, Hotel Vermont’s Food & Beverage Manager.

Fall Foliage Tour: Classic Route 100

This foliage route takes you on Route 100 through Stowe, across Smuggler’s Notch, down through Jeffersonville and back to Burlington with some stops along the way. Soak up the brilliant colors and enjoy some of Vermont’s most iconic offerings. If you need directions or a map please stop by the Front Desk upon check in.

8:00 am: Breakfast Grab pastries at the bar or fuel up with our hearty and classic breakfasts.

9:00 am: On the Road with a Coffee Stop Take I-89 South to get off at Exit 9 in Middlesex for a coffee and snack stop at Red Hen Bakery. Red Hen Bakery supplies not only the bread at Hotel Vermont, but also many restaurants in the greater Burlington area. They make a killer cinnamon bun. 10:00 am: Waterbury Reservoir Jump on to Route 100 to Waterbury Reservoir. Completed in 1938, the Waterbury Dam serves to control three rivers that converge in Waterbury. The man-made reservoir is a popular spot for boating, fishing and swimming in the summer and has easy walking trails for exploration.

11:00 am: Stowe Activities Route 100 from Waterbury to Stowe is home to many of Vermont’s most iconic businesses. Make a sweet stop at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory where you can grab a scoop of your favorite flavor, visit the Flavor Graveyard and take a tour of the facilities. Just a way down the road, you can also visit the Cabot Cheese Store. Taste over fifteen different cheddars and grab some cheesy apparel for yourself. Cold Hollow Cider Mill also calls Route 100 home. No fall tour would be complete without locally pressed cider and fresh out of the oven cider donuts.

12:30 pm: Lunch We recommend two options for lunch. The Apple Core at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is a great place to grab a sandwich and relax. Be warned the sandwiches are huge (and delicious!) and can most likely feed two people. With a unique flair, they offer all sandwiches on white or sweet potato wheat bread. A second option takes a little bit of navigating but is more than worth it. Not just for beer enthusiast (although we definitely recommend sampling some of their hoppy creations) Lost Nation Brewing in Morrisville is a local brewing company that offers lunch and dinner to those who make the trek. They are open 11:30am – 9 pm Wednesday – Sunday and offer growlers to go.

2:00 pm: Through the Notch continue on Route 15 through Smuggler’s Notch. Separating Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield, from Spruce and Sterling Peak, the notch is open for transport spring – fall and closes access in the winter. Two ski resorts, Stowe Mountain and Smuggler’s Notch, are on either side of the notch. Adventure seekers can use the road to ski or snowshoe to either resort in the winter. Smugglers Notch derives its name from activities precipitated by a request of President Thomas Jefferson to prevent American involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. The Embargo Act of 1807 forbade American trade with Great Britain and Canada. But proximity to Montreal made it a convenient trading partner, and the Act caused great hardship for Vermonters, many of whom continued the illegal trade with Canada, carrying goods and herding livestock through the Notch. Fugitive slaves also used the Notch as an escape route to Canada. The route was improved to accommodate automobile traffic in 1922 thus providing a route for liquor to be brought in from Canada during the Prohibition years.

3:30 pm: Back to Burlington Follow Route 15 back into Burlington. If there is still more that you would like to see please inquire with the Front Desk upon your return. They can recommend some great sight seeing places along the lake.

A Trip to the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm

Working at Hotel Vermont does have its perks. We like to visit as many of our farmers, vendors and purveyors as possible, helping us to better relay the story behind each product to our guests. Every six weeks or so, we load up the van and set out to the back roads of Vermont for a staff field trip.

This trip we drove up to Greensboro in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, about a two-hour drive from Burlington, to meet with the folks at the award-winning cheese Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm, Todd Hardy from Honey Gardens, and the beer masters at Hill Farmstead Brewery.

Greeted by the sweet sounds of grazing cows, we pulled into Jasper Hill Farm to meet with their expert cheese makers. Jasper Hill Farm is a working farm with an on-site creamery that produces world-class cheese. The farm milks a herd of about 45 Ayrshire cows. Being a pasture dairy farm, the cows graze as the weather permits: roughly from May – October.

The Kehler brothers, Andy and Mateo, bought the Jasper Hill Farm in 1998 and have since learned the trade of farming and cheese making. The milk produced on the farm goes into batches of their cheese, however the Jasper Hill Creamery also uses milk from other Vermont farms (each cheese in their collection is made from a single herd of cows) to make their cheese well as using the cellars to store and age cheese made from the other dairies.

We toured the facilities and learned about the science behind the cheese-making process. Jasper Hill is on the cutting edge of cheese microbiology, working with scientists to help explore the microbial communities that help turn milk into cheese. We also learned about their new “Green Machine,” a process, which converts manure and compost into methane that then heats hot water for the building.

We visited six out of the seven cheese cellars. Each cellar houses specific cheeses, making sure that the temperature, humidity and microbes are perfectly conditioned to the cheese within. Cheeses mature differently based on the microbes in the air, so it’s important that the cheese does not become contaminated. Currently, the Cellars is producing twelve types of cheese using six producers and six herds. Their cheese is all cows milk-based and ranges from bleu cheese to French brie to an Alpine cheese. Most recently, Bayley Hazen Blue cheese has been named World’s Best Unpasteurized Cheese by a panel of international judges at the World Cheese Awards.

Thanks so much to the staff at Jasper Hill for hosting us! We hope to be back soon!


Fall Festivals for September

Kids are headed back to school and the college students are back in town making it hard to deny that fall is on the way. The changing weather doesn’t stop the energy in town; a number of festivals celebrate everything for local art to beer, makes for a great time to visit Burlington.

August 28 – September 6, 2015: Champlain Valley Fair

The Champlain Valley Fair celebrates the end of summer with 10 days of rides, food, concerts, livestock shows, and games at the Champlain Expo in Essex Junction. Big names performing this year at the Grandstand include Little Big Town, EchoSmith, Jake Owen and the Happy Together Tour with The Turtles, Flo & Eddie, The Grass Roots and more. Fair admission: $12 adults, $5 children.

September 5: Vermont Heritage Brew Festival

Vermont Heritage Brew Festival highlights craft brews from at least 13 beer, cider and mead makers. Brews specifically created for the festival will be on tap alongside known favorites from Fiddlehead, Magic Hat, 14th Star, Champlain Orchards Cidery, Backacre, The Vermont Pub & Brewery, Eden, Shacksbury, Windfall Orchard, Whetstone Ciderworks, Groennfell Meadery, Drop-In Brewing, and Queen City Brewery.

Brewers will be located at four different locations on the Museum’s campus, designed so that visitors can stroll from one sip to the next. Maps will be available onsite.

Live music performances throughout the grounds feature: Pete Sutherland and Tristan Henderson (fiddle and guitar), Brass Balagan (a radical marching band), Erica and Eric Andrus, Scheitholt and his Zithers and Fiddleheads. Tickets are $55; $35 for Shelburne Museum members.

September 11 – 13: Art Hop

The Art Hop brings thousands of residents, visitors, and the community together to celebrate the dynamic art and culture of Burlington. It has gained a reputation as being Vermont’s largest and best arts festival, and won a Seven Daysie as the Best Event/Festival. Last year over 30,000 visitors were able to experience and enjoy art exhibits, music, performance, comedy, sculpture, and fashion from over 500 participating artists at over 100 locations throughout Burlington’s South End Arts District. This is a free street festival located on Pine Street.

September 12 – 13: Grand Point North

For its fifth consecutive year, Grace Potter’s Grand Point North will be held on the Burlington Waterfront. The family-friendly festival features local food and drink as well as an impressive line up including The Flaming Lips, Shakey Graves, Greensky Bluegrass. Tickets are almost sold out so get your now: $59 for a day pass children 12 and under free.

September 19 – 20: Eat by Northeast

Presented by Higher Ground and the Skinny Pancake, Eat by Northeast is a two-day food and music festival at Oakledge Park in Burlington’s South End. This free festival features dozen of local vendors serving all local fare and performances by Hug Your Farm All-Star Band, Josh Panda, Rebirth Brass Band, Caroline Rose and more.

September 25 – 27: Oktoberfest

Located on Burlington’s Waterfront, the Barvarian-style Oktoberfest Vermont is a weekend-long festival that celebrates local food, like oompah bands, games, contests and beer. Tickets $35 per person; must be 21+ to attend.


Picture by Miss Magpie of Find and Go Seek.

Jericho Settlers Farm Dinner

This Sunday at Jericho Settlers Farm we are excited to host our second annual on farm dinner as a benefit for the NOFA VT farm share program, which provides healthy organic CSA shares to low income Vermonters. We will be offering up a late summer BBQ with all the fixings. Caledonia Spirits will be providing their Barr Hill Gin for the welcome cocktail and we will have a cash bar with some of our local favorites, The Alchemist, Burlington Beer Company, Shelburne Vineyards and more. There will be live music by Colin Cope and Chris Page.

Jericho Settlers Farm is a diversified small family farm that is spread out across Jericho and Richmond. They raise cows, chickens, lambs, organic veggies and much more. They offer a bountiful CSA and have a farm stand on Barber Farm Road in Jericho.

For ticket information please click here.

Laughing Moon Chocolates for Hotel Vermont

We have partnered with Laughing Moon Chocolates to create an exclusive Hotel Vermont truffle. Handmade in Stowe, VT, the chocolates now accompany Hen of the Wood’s Little Sweets as our turn down treats for guests. Leigh Williams from Laughing Moon guest blogs today on the Laughing Moon story and our partnership. 

Making a special chocolate for the Hotel Vermont was a natural fit for Vermont based Laughing Moon Chocolates. The primary focus of both businesses is quality and guest experience and Laughing Moon Chocolate’s owner Leigh Williams wanted to create something exclusive to the hotel that tasted like Vermont. “We decided it needed an element of maple that stood out, and that was the jumping off point.” Hotel Vermont general manager Hans Van Wees has worked with Williams before and both welcomed the opportunity to collaborate again. The result is pure magic! Williams explains, “We created a homemade maple marshmallow and blended our truffle ganache with it.” It is a decadent combination of all that Hotel Vermont represents and Williams is pleased with the product. Laughing Moon Chocolates has a small retail shop in the village of Stowe, Vermont where all of their chocolates are cooked in small batches and hand-dipped to perfection. Laughing Moon has made a conscious decision to stay small and maintain the uniqueness that only a handmade product can offer. The Hotel Vermont Maple Marshmallow Truffle is available only at The Hotel Vermont and at Laughing Moon Chocolates in Stowe. They may be purchased online at laughingmoonchooclates.com.