5 TOP CRAFT BREWERIES
In Benchmark Destinations
Tap into a few of these favorite, no-frills independent craft breweries, just a stone’s throw from a Benchmark or Gemstone hotel or resort.
ALCHEMIST BREWERY | Stowe, VT
This brewery is truly a feast for the senses. Not only is it covered head to toe in murals – including the black and white stylings from Montreal-based art group En Masse, the Dr. Suess–like trees by Dan Blakeslee, and the wild-haired, brightly colored characters by Alchemist’s own art director Jess Graham – but there is nothing separating guests from the sights and smells of the brewing process. Visitors sample beers right in the midst of all the brewing and canning action in the 15-barrel small-production operation, including sipping on their wildly popular flagship double IPA, Heady Topper, which has enjoyed a five-year run at the top of Beer Advocate’s list of best beers in the world.
ORCHID ISLAND BREWERY | Vero Beach, FL
“From Indian River groves to glass” – that’s the motto of this three-barrel brewhouse that specializes in small-batch IPAs and sour beers treated with local citrus from growers across Indian River County. The 12-tap tasting room, tucked inside an old bungalow across the street from the beach, rotates regularly, dependent upon what citrus is available for the current roster of beers. Our favorite: Star Ruby, an IPA zested with ruby red grapefruit.
CURAÇAO BREWING | Curaçao, Caribbean
Located in a bright pink historic plantation house on the outskirts of Willemstad, Curaçao’s capital city, this craft brewery isn’t just the only one on the island, but the first. That’s because not many places on the island serve draft beer, as the cost to keep the kegs and lines refrigerated is often too high. Owners and brewers Rick and Henk are always on hand and happy to offer impromptu tours of their small operation, specializing in IPAs, brown ales, Belgium wit biers, saisons, and a handful of different seasonal beers.
VAIL BREWING | Vail, CO
Despite being located in a no-frills industrial park in the Eagle-Vail area, this 10-barrel microbrewery’s atmosphere surprises with a classy-rustic vibe that includes two-century-old Pennsylvania barn posts framing the ever-changing chalkboard beer menu and tap handles made from objects found in local antique shops, like the head of a vintage golf club, an ice pick, and a 10th Mountain Division crampon. But even more unique, the beer on tap is never the same: Rather than create a few flagship brews for mass production, the all-veteran staff prefers to constantly explore and innovate, putting out a new brew every two weeks.
BIG LICK BREWING COMPANY | Roanoke, VA
This microbrewery went from one of the smallest distributors in the area to one of the largest with the opening of their 10,000-square-foot Roanoke location in 2017. The expansion has allowed them to start canning and kegging their staple IPAs and pale ales for distribution, but it’s still rare to find any of their brews outside of town, which is just fine for the locals who keep the brewery’s 24 taps constantly flowing. The tasting room itself is a spacious modern area with a wall of glass facing its 5,000 feet of outdoor seating, fire pits, lawn games, and food trucks that flock to the brewery during lunch and dinner.