Our last full day in Vermont. You guessed it, we went to a brewery. The Von Trapp brewery in Stowe, which is Maria’s youngest son; Johannes Von Trapp’s dream made reality. When we arrived we were greeted with our first sighting of New England snow! We couldn’t resist making snow angels.
The brewery has only been open a month and is also a restaurant. Of course we stopped for lunch: beer cheese soup, pretzels, salted shaved radish and 3 types of sausage! Bauernwurst, knackwurst and bratwurst with sauerkraut mash. The beer cheese soup was fantastic; a bit of tang at the end, and the two mustards that came with the sausages and pretzels were really moreish: one was a sweet German mustard and the other so strong the fumes stung your nose!
A new beer that we did taste was a kombucha – made from a culture that grows on trees; it’s not quite bacteria, and not quite yeast; it’s commonly mistaken for mushrooms. Urgh, mushroom beer. A kind of tea made from this culture is steeped to flavour the beer and is thought to have many health benefits. Thankfully it didn’t taste anything like how it sounds; it was sharp and fruity without any hint of mushroom!
A short drive down the lane brought us to the original Von Trapp family lodge. Now a huge hotel, this alpine lodge was really touristy as you’d expect – there was even one hardcore fan in the lounge singing “The Sound of Music.” We escaped her dreadful droning outside and made friends with the cattle instead, who were much easier on the ears!
We paid some more cows a visit in the afternoon at the Ben & Jerry’s factory near to the pretty town of Stowe. Usually $4, the tour was free as this was another factory out of production (they don’t make ice cream here at the weekend), but we did get a decent sample from their flavour lab; caramel apple, not broccoli like the tour guide teased. The flavour was made just for the tour and probably won’t ever make the shelves, but we think it should! We were mainly there for the ‘scoop shop’ but it was cool to hear about the company’s political activism, hear the cool names they give to their desserts, and to see the flavour graveyard – the resting place of their defunct flavours.
We weren’t brave enough to tackle the ‘Vermontster’; a mountainous 20 scoops of ice cream, 4 bananas, 3 cookies and a brownie, 4 servings of hot fudge or caramel, 10 spoonfuls of chopped nuts, whipped cream and finally 8 spoonfuls of toppings! It’s served in a bucket that’s bigger than your head! Which I guess you’d need for puking in after you finished? Sensibility we had just one scoop each – Bourbon Brown Butter and The Tonight Dough, named after Jimmy Fallon’s TV show.