Last Friday, Clean Slate Café opened in the historic Montpelier building that was previously home to the Thrush Tavern. With a bright new interior, decorated with Vermont maps and travel ads from far-flung locations, the spot is worlds away from the former watering hole. It’s open for three meals each day, and buzz is already building around the burger — which is smoked, then grilled, courtesy of chef John Beresford.
It might be warming up outside, but at this Sunday’s Vermont Ice Wine Festival at Jay Peak Resort, guests can feel winter linger on their tongues. Eight Vermont ice-wine and cider makers will be pouring their libations alongside a spread of local fare.
“Ice wines and ice ciders are really true to Vermont terroir, and there’s just now beginning to be a critical mass of producers,” says Eleanor Leger, co-owner of Eden Ice Cider in West Charleston. “We hope that this will turn into a signature event for the north [region of Vermont].”
In addition to Eden Ice Cider, vignerons in the house will include representatives of Boyden Valley Winery, Champlain Orchards, East Shore Vineyard, Hall Home Place, Newhall Farm, Shelburne Vineyard and Windfall Orchard. Among the morsels on hand will be locally made cheeses, smoked fish, grass-fed beef, toffee, kale chips, maple syrup and popcorn.
In the spirit of this year’s presidential election, Magic Hat Brewing Co. has enlisted fans to vote on their “favorite Magic Hat beer of yesteryear” for inclusion in a special 12-pack that will be released in August.
Devotees began voting in January, choosing from eight out-of-production brews. Those have been whittled to three finalists: Jinx, Hocus Pocus and Fat Angel. Visitors will soon be able to view a campaign video for each on the Magic Hat website, then vote until April 6 to resurrect their favorite brew.
Notorious “gypsy” brewer Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales has a job everyone would hate: Based in Baltimore, he wanders the globe, microbrewing Belgian-influenced beers at established breweries. On Monday, he’ll blow through the Farmhouse Tap & Grill alongside some of his recent creations — Debutante, Folklore, Our Side, Stateside, Cellar Door and other barrel-aged brews.