Every state in the country hangs on tight to its own identity. Texas has cowboys. Michigan has cars. Tennessee has music. And ever since the microbrew revolution of the late 1980’s, Vermont has craft beer.
The Vermont craft beer industry can trace its existence to Greg Noonan, who opened the Vermont Pub & Brewery of Burlington in 1988. This was abruptly following the state of Vermont having passed a bill legalizing brewpubs. From here, many microbrews spread like wildfire across the state.
This modern industry gave rise to all different kinds of creative new beer. In 1994, among the most famous of Vermont brews was born- Magic Hat Brewing. Beer drinkers across the state, and eventually across the country, welcomed the company’s pioneering, apricot IPA based beer. But now with over 40 microbreweries- the state with the most per capita- Vermont craftsman have created many more exotic varieties and flavors in recent years.
Many of the varieties Vermont introduced the world to come from the IPA (India Pale Ale) family. Named for beer the British Navy used to bring on their travels to India, IPAs had added hops to prevent spoilage on the longer travel, which would take upwards of years. Distinct with a crisp bitterness, many Vermont brewers preferred IPAs as their signature base.
The Black IPA, for starters, was the brainchild of Noonan himself. Having started brewing the Black IPA in 1994, Noonan crafted it differently than traditional IPAs in that it was much darker with malty and ‘roasty.’ Using extra hops not only gave the Black IPA its dark color but can be credited for its typically hoppier flavor.
More recently, Vermont brewers collectively created the Vermont IPA. Generally less bitter than counterparts, these IPAs were brewed more to showcase aroma. That is, they smell much bitterer than they taste. This is meant to leave a much lighter impression on the palate without notes of the malty sweetness, like that found in the black IPA, for example.
There are also many more varieties Vermont microbreweries can be credited with, such as the first certified organic beer and non-GMO offering. And at the rate breweries are springing up across the state, they are sure to create many more different types of exotic varieties in the very near future.