|Brewery #1 Lawson's Finest Liquids|
When friends we had barely met before asked us to join them on an epic journey into the the mountains of Vermont to ride bikes on questionable roads and drink beer we thought: "Why Not?". Besides, they are planning all the logistics of the trip and all we had to do is ride.
|Previewing part of the route on Google, Thumbs Up!|
|Not a paved road.|
We ultimately ended up with a version that spanned 3 days and about 160 miles starting and ending in Montpelier. The first day which consisted of a late start, the Lincoln gap, 60+ miles and a trail section was definitely the hardest.
|This is at the top of the "Dead End"|
But enough with the dramatic hype of the difficulty of this trip let's get on with the fun stuff.
|Typical Vermont Gravel|
We got rolling about noon and had over 25 miles before our first brew stop. The route started out interesting with some gravel roads that turned to trail that resulted in our first wrong turn of many. Fast forward 20 miles and we took another wrong turn looking for Lawson's Finest Liquids. Fear not, we found it. The taproom alone is worth the visit.
|I'm not really sure about the order of these beautiful views but I know this was on the first day. |
The next stretch included the Lincoln Gap. It has the notoriety of being the steepest paved mile in the US. It is no joke.
|Anybody up for a quick side hike?|
|Everybody made it to the top in decent time.|
|I think this was still the first day|
After Lincoln gap everybody was a little worn down and there was still one pretty big climb before we got to Middlebury. We rolled into town around 6:00 to find that one of the breweries we were targeting closed at 5:00, What? Isn't that when people get out of work and might want to get a beer. We checked the second brewery. Closed at 6:00. Ummm. OK, we'll try the "Mad Taco". Good luck finding it, I'm going to keep it the secret that it apparently is. When we finally did find it, there was an hour wait to get a taco and they couldn't serve beer before the food was ready. FAIL. We ultimately found The Two Brother's Tavern which required hungry puppy dog eyes to get a table, but they had plenty of beer and food.
|Food & Beer|
|Breakfast in Bristol |
|Happy Birthday Girl|
|A breakdown with a view|
From there we started our trip toward Hinesburg. The trip was interrupted when somebody lost a shift cable. Problem? No. Between the group we had 2 spares.
When we got to Hinesburg we found 2 breweries that were actually open. Frost & Foam.
|Frost had quite a line waiting or beer.|
|Foam was more of a warehouse with no sign. (Notice the lack of shoe, "foreshadowing")|
|Sidewalk cobbler service.|
We sat outside in the park alongside the brewery and enjoyed the weather. This was another one of the points in our trip that I thought that I could be content to just stop riding for the day.
|Gorilla Glue and Saran Wrap to the rescue. |
From Frost and Foam we mad our way to Fiddlehead...Fantastic. We stopped, drank beer and ordered pizzas.
The trip from Fiddlehead into Burlington was mostly on the Burlington bike path which was busy but pleasant.
|Waterfront Park, Maybe we can just stay here.|
|The bikes are in for the night and we went out for Sushi|
|Emerging from the first trail section of the day|
|This is the prohibition deer, unfazed by our proximity and public drinking.|
Except the pig was (supposedly) closed so we ended up at The Blackback Pub. It was not a bad choice. The beer selection was huge and the food was excellent.
|Good Lunch Spot|
|Good Beer Spot|
Wait, not it wasn't. Prohibition Pig was actually open. But we didn't go there. We got some beers at the store across the street and drank them in the park.
|Louts Mode: Namaste|
This was the last stop for beer on this version of the trip. We crossed back over the river and made our way back to the Dog River park and ride.
I will replace this with a cooler video if it becomes available.
Takeaways / Unofficial TripAdvisor Review of the GMGG:
- I would do it again. Preferably the northern loop that we missed with some river trail.
- I liked the 3 day format. Plenty of riding including a full day of riding but not a huge commitment away from home or work.
- I liked the minimal packing, air B&B, hotel version. Nobody needs to pedal a bunch of crap over the Lincoln Gap.
- Less is more. We had a group of pretty strong riders and we were still using up the whole day. If you aren't the kind of rider that could do a road century at a moment's notice, consider keeping the daily mileage below 50.
- The beer to riding ratio was well spread out.
- Check the brewery hours before you go. There isn't much rhyme or reason to when they are open.
- Don't miss the river trail.
- Try not to be sick! My wife was brewing some kind of cold on the first day and had to drag herself through the last 20 miles. She was down for over a week after the trip. (It wasn't COVID) Luckily none of the rest of us got it even though we were sharing a lot of space.
- Make sure your route includes the breweries so you don't spend too much time searching for them once you get to a town.
- Book your hotel room early, or better yet, find an Air B&B or VRBO
- Go with the flow, it is an adventure!
Rides / Routes
Questions? Leave them in the comments section or leave a comment on one of my rides.