Burlington, VT

5:58 PM

All we can say right now is, “Wow.”

We sit in the GGT Tibet Inn in Burlington, Vermont sipping Magic Hat spirits. It’s a long story of how we got here, but I think it is worth telling. The drive from the White Mountain National Forest was rainy, but Hwy. 302 treated us well. We found a breakfast spot, The Coffee Pot in Littleton, NH. The owner’s story is for another time, but worth a read. Two eggs, ham, hash browns, and a cup of joe later, Vermont waited us. 302 turned into Hwy. 2 and then 89. The rain slowed at 89, just in time for the Ben and Jerry’s headquarters. A quick 30 minute tour followed by a tasting of Dublin Mudslide and we were off to the GGT. The owner is the first Tibetan national to open a business in Vermont. He has pictures with powerful politicians in the lobby. Another cool story, but for later.

After check in, it was off to the Magic Hat brewery. We didn’t plan it, but it is less than a mile from the hotel. Sarah from Magic Hat welcomed us and introduced us to Matty O, the brew master of the Magic Hat brewery. The bearded man who is a year or two older than me greeted us with a smile. He wore coveralls, boots, and a patch that said Bru Tang clan. He took us on a personal tour, an inside the ropes tour of the entire plant. From water to enzyme to barley to vat to yeast to open fermentation to production to bottling to consumption, we saw it all. It was incredible to get the attention we received. Matt’s story is of a guy who loves beer and found a way to make a living being a part of it. He graduated with a degree in anthropology and went to work as a brew master. Eight years ago he was hired at Magic Hat. The rest: #9, BlindFaith, Circus Boy, HocusPocus, Joe’s Garage, Fat Angel, is history. He spent an hour with us.

Mike, Sean, and I are on a natural high as we look back on the tour. The huge barrels of beer fermenting showed the CO2 rising up from it. In the middle of the production floor, our host popped open 3 bottles of #9 for us. We sipped, took pictures and reveled in the scene as others on a normal tour looked down on us. As the tour ended and our knowledge of the process grew, Matt said he wanted to get us some beer. We didn’t know what that meant, but he disappeared with a dolly. He came back with a smile and 4 boxes of beer. Each box was a case. Life was good. We sip and have called a taxi to see Burlington. A band plays tonight at Red Creek.

The story of the day is a man and a company who love what they do. My whole journey is about passionate people. We met a man who has taken his hobby to another level. The energy of a passionate person has rubbed off on us. We take it out to share with others.

12:42 AM

We made it home. Breakwater was the first stop. Staring out at Lake Champlain, a classic rock band churned out there fair. 40-somethings danced in front of the band. The sun set and we hopped from place to place. Our Maine friends gave us some great locations. We hit What Ale’s You, 3 Needs, Church Street Tavern (dinner), Red Square (listened to a band) and a few others. Church Street is a must see. The wide road is blocked to traffic and filled with shops, restaurants, and bars. Perfect. A bluegrass band played in the middle of the street. Some have said it reminded them of Miami.

The GGT Tibet Inn has not disappointed. Bed time.

Burlington is a spot I could live. The water, the nice people, the excellent lay out of the city. Not too shabby.