Queen City Brewery | Burlington, VT | Beers | BeerAdvocate


Beginning its journey in 2014, QUEEN CITY BREWERY enjoys being a “comfy pub” at the historically industrial South End of Burlington. One of its founders, Paul Hale, was a former associate vice president of research at the University of Vermont. Managing partners Phil Kaszuba and Paul Held embrace the traditional beer styles head brewer Ben Gostanian crafts.

A ’40s pickup truck adorns the barroom inside the metal corrugated aluminum-sided warehouse. The cement floored pub features a laminated U-shaped 20-seat mahogany bar with a pipe-exposed high ceiling. Silver left side tanks service the bustling draught board (with over a dozen homemade brews). A meticulous pine-detailed, garage-doored Event Space welcomes large parties.

A rustic makeshift enclosed deck with orange plastic chairs matching the overhead canvas is where I sat with wife and dog to enjoy a host of German-style lagers and beyond during my two-hour November ’22 sojourn.

Queen City Brewery Tap Takeover — Pizzeria Verità

Ricey corn pilsner malting consumed Bushwick Lager, a ’50s-styled American light body with musky lemon-spiced herbage and wispy floral daubs.

Musky Noble hop herbage grazed the toasted cereal graining of German helles-styled South End Lager, ‘a delicate blonde lager,’ and the spicier toasted malting of Vienna Lager.

Dewy peat mossing, earthen truffle fungi and faded nuttiness saturated the dried fruited musk of Munich Dunkel, a lightly creamed Bavarian lager.

Another German lager, Psycho Keller, an unfiltered cellar beer, placed honey spiced Vienna malts against salted orange-oiled musk, leaving mild leafy foliage and fennel snips.

Spry herbal lemon zesting prodded the vanilla-creamed banana, clove and coriander expectancy of Hefeweizen, a sourdough-bottomed moderation.

Capturing much of the maple-glazed cured meat sweetness and only some of the smoked beechwood pilsner malting its Bamberg-derived style demands, Rauchbier gained a nifty lemon spritz.

Traditional springtime copper lager, Maibock, brought spicy red-orange-yellow fruiting to toasted caramel malting, picking up contrastive raw honeyed fungi must.

Smoothly effervescent Belgian tripel, Monk of Underhill, regaled butterscotch-candied sweetness to caramelized banana, lemon meringue and creamy vanilla affluence.

Moderately bitter Fuggle-hopped English IPA, Argument, left perfumed citrus spicing upon dry fungi herbage.

Soft-toned Yorkshire Porter allowed its black coffee-embittered dark chocolate roast to embrace weedy soy saucing and cola nuttiness.

Peaty mocha malting girded Barge Canal, a musty oatmeal stout with day-old coffee tones, chalky dried fruiting and spiced dark toffee atop charred oats.



6 Outstanding Breweries in Burlington Vermont


Alongside Queen City Brewery and Switchback Brewing, ZERO GRAVITY BREWERY calls the South End of Burlington home. An outgrowth of American Flatbread, this pristine brown aluminum-fronted pub opened its doors during 2015.

Inside the Beer Hall, a granite-topped L-shaped bar features white-tiled draught handles. The laminated floor gleams and a few community tables offer bar side seating. A stone hearth on the right side warms up several loungy booths and couches.

Outside, Edison lights illuminate the awning-topped tables at the wood-planked deck.

Never moving too far from stylistic parameters, most Zero Gravity brews will please mainstream imbibers as well as those with exquisite tastes. During my November ’22 midday excursion, discovered each available pouring – including a re-tasting of Madonna and Cone Head IPA’s.

Zero Gravity Brewing - Burlington Brew Tours - All-Inclusive, Guided Brewery  Tours & Craft Beer Events in Burlington, Vermont

At 3.2% ABV and 90 calories, Mc Lighty’s Lager retained a slickly arid phenol resonance permeating its dry lemon liming and cloy corn syruping. Strictly for passive light beer drones.

Approachable Cone Head IPA let spiced-up lemony grapefruit zesting and resilient orange rind bittering front its grassy hop astringency and dank cannabis restraint as salted mango, white peach and pineapple illusions flutter softly to the bready bottom.

Zestful lemon bluster beguiles tropical orange-peeled grapefruit and pineapple tang as oily pine resin seeps into Madonna Imperial IPA. Lemon candy, lemon curd and orange marmalade snips add tart edge.

Soothingly delicate lemony strawberry tartness caressed Strawberry Moon, an arid sour ale with mild limey bittering and fizzy pop pep over a pallid white wheat bed. Sharp blue cheese brings out a spicy citric tingle.

Dry rocky tan-headed black Irish-styled Extra Stout placed mildly creamed dark chocolate bittering next to tarry coffee-oiled bittering, hop-charred tobacco chaw and sour nut squelch above its clean watered surface.


Image result for foam brewers


Inside a large red brick warehouse across the street from Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, FOAM BREWERS set up shop April 2016. Run by a few local professionals dedicated to “resourcefully creating imaginative beers for enlightened palates,” Foam’s waterfront pub provides a serene laidback atmosphere perfectly in line with the progressive Green Mountain State.

Co-founder Bob Grim performs head brewing duties, crafting enticingly rounded fare for local minions and delighted travelin’ ‘brewpies.’

A riveted aluminum-sided slate top bar with 20 tiled draught handles services the windowed round tables and large patio deck. Large steel cross bars, sturdy wood columns and the cement floor give Foam an Industrial rusticity while a small stage area welcomes local entertainers.

Left side brew tanks carry the beer load – a constantly changing variety of one-offs, seasonals, IPA’s and dark ales. Some of Foam’s most popular IPA’s borrow indie rock handles such as Built To Spill, Galaxy 500 and Pavement.

The pub menu includes delicious charcuterie, smoke fish and black bean salsa. Foam also recently opened a vineyard for wine making.

On a warm Saturday at noon in November ’22, my wife and I (plus dog) grab a table in the middle of the metal-furnished front deck to nip six delightful home brews. I also brought home a few reviewed in the Beer Index.

Muskily grain-hopped German-styled Share The Present Pilsner retained floral-daubed herbal lemon souring above its toasted biscuit base.

Hazily golden candy-glazed New England-styled pale ale, Electric Splash, scurried grapefruit-juiced lime zest and white grape esters thru lingered wood-dried bittering over gluey wheated oats.

Sea-salted cantaloupe gose, See You Better Now, let limey guava, watermelon rind and gooseberry souring receive cat-pissed acidity as its bittersweet cantaloupe adjunct descended.

Tropical Imperial IPA, Pavement, brought tangy mango, pineapple and peach zesting plus sour guava-passionfruit gumption to dank herbal hops atop dry pale malting.

Creamy medium roast coffee, dark chocolate syruping and silken cappuccino milkiness picked up mild bourbon influence for luxurious Bourbon Stout, leaving bruised cherry tartness and tingly sherry wining on its oats sugared spine.

Sweet milk chocolatey oak-aged Imperial Stout, Day For Night, conditioned on artisanal coffee, cocoa nibs, Madagascar vanilla beans and toasted coconut in Buffalo Trace whiskey barrels, retained toffee-spiced creme brulee sweetness and maple oats sugaring for its cream-sugared coffee finish, picking up latent black cherry, buttered pecan, almond, rye and cumin illusions. A perfect nightcap!


Legacy Brewery Magic Hat Leaves Vermont - American Craft Beer

Unfortunately, Magic Hat got bought out ’round 2020, but its legacy lives on. Now brewed in Rochester, many of its offbeat recipes have disappeared while some, like #9 Not Quite Pale Ale, remain – for now as of 2023.

For a cool ghoulishly bewitched tour, check out South Burlington’s renowned MAGIC HAT BREWERY, where Halloween and Mardis Gras are celebrated daily. February ’04, bought limited edition Braggot Honey Ale and newly introduced Mother Lager. November ’06, caught up with marketing director Shawn Rice and brought home seven growlers of familiar bottled fare for High Times crew.

On tap at site, sampled Magic Hat Blind Nine Ale. Blending #9 Not Quite Pale Ale with Blind Faith IPA, its candied peach-berry frontage, tropical pineapple-kiwi-papaya backup, and lacquered paste-like viscosity secured phenol-medicinal quilt harboring bread-y yeast thicket to extremely bitter hop-roasted finish.

Though not a brewpub per se, this proudly successful, overly generous South Burlington microbrewery added a permanent right side bar some time before my fourth visit, January ’09. It served at least six of Magic Hat’s brews – a few that are not bottled and quite original. Worth the trip, especially considering stiff Burlington competition by Three Needs, American Flatbread, and Vermont Pub. Check out Beer Index for full Magic Hat reviews.



Three Needs Taproom & Brewery — Love Burlington

Opened 1995, grungy stoner-biker dive, THREE NEEDS BREWERY, was located just off Burlington’s Church Street promenade -within walking distance of American Flatbread and Vermont Pub. The above picture is from its new (since 2012) Pearl Street location.

Old wood floors match oaken bar covered with Simpsons paraphernalia, sundry books, and liquor bottles. Rear billiards table leads to low ceiling basement where rustic Grundy serving tanks offered respectable ever-changing selection of brewer Glenn Walter’s fare.

Before noon, I popped in with wife and kids to sample a few, November ’06.

Quaffed dry corn-husked, Saaz-hopped, earthen-grained, lemon-bitter Czech Pilsner, peat-malted, tingly-hopped, date-dried, tea-sugared ESB, spicy brown-sugared, alcohol-burnt, prune-fig-date-secured Bock Beer, and frothy espresso-wafted, coffee-burnt, hazelnut-fringed, cellar-musty Chocolate Thunder Porter.

Walter then brought out similarly styled sour ales. Dry green grape-soured, horseblanket-leathered, hay-grassed, soft-watered, gueuze-puckered Lambic and oaken white grape-dried, limestone-chalked, cherry-cranberry-tart Flanders Sour Red. Best bet: warmly perfume-spiced, cherry-banana-bruised, piney-hopped, 10% alcohol-fumed Belgian Triple.

Along with Magic Hat party starter, Ross Thompson, checked out new brewer Jon Mc Cracken’s latest offerings, January ‘09. Honey-creamed citric-backed Blonde and molasses-sweetened, black cherry-soured, cola-nutty Scottish Ale sufficed. Unconventional deviance, California Lager, had brimstone-spiced stone-fruited herbal-tinged aridity.



American Flatbread, Burlington Hearth – Tri Tip Steak, Pablano Pepper  Special | Whats4lunch (Nick's Guide to Grub)

November ’06, revisited Burlington for a few nights. First stop, loud and crowded AMERICAN FLATBREAD (opened around ‘04) made awesome organic wood-fired pizzas in a brick cauldron to go with 30-plus quality bottled beers and several finely handcrafted ‘Zero Gravity’ tap brews. Its right side wood bar had a beautiful oak mantle, exposed ductwork lined the ceilings, and brew tanks were located in the rear.

Alongside delicious Punctuated Equilibrium (wheat-based pizza with olives, red peppers, goat cheese, onions), quaffed mild yellow-fruited hop-spiced white breaded Munich Helles, dry-fruited hop-tingled Villiers ESB, dry spice-hopped fig-date-tinged Dwayne’s Dunkel, wispy dry-fruited raw-honeyed Liquid K’nish Schwarzbier, and middling rye-dried malt-toasted fig-dabbed Black Cat Porter.

More rewarding were sticky anise-laden cinnamon-spiced vanilla-backed squash-aided Stick Season Ale, boisterous grapefruit rind-embittered orange-peeled pineapple-tart piney-hopped TLA India Pale Ale, and baked bread-y prune-dried pumpernickel-finishing Bakers Little Helper.

January ’09, tried fig-date-sugared black cherry-dried chocolate-powdered Mr. Black’s Scwarzbier, creamy cappuccino-fronted coffee-roasted cocoa-backed nut-smoked licorice-tinged Extra Stout, and phenol perfume-hopped red-orange-fruited Old Ale.



Vermont Pub and Brewery - Burlington Brew Tours - All-Inclusive, Guided  Brewery Tours & Craft Beer Events in Burlington, Vermont

Traveling West on Route 89 during snowy February ’04 New England excursion, stayed two nights in renowned bohemian haunt, Burlington. First stop was VERMONT PUB AND BREWERY, a large edifice with redeeming values I appreciated more the second time around five years hence.

As the second oldest brewpub on the East Coast (opened 1988), Vermont Pub spreads a large dining space behind windowed porch bar area. Spacious downtown eatery served good American cuisine. Ate hearty Angus Brewburger while tapping into now-deceased seasoned brewer Greg Noonan’s smooth libations.

Tried dry wheat-husked Ethan Allen Lager, sour malt-serenaded Burly Irish Ale, nut-soft Dogbite Bitter ESB, bitterly spice-hopped Bombay Grab IPA, hickory-smoked coffee-roasted Vermont Smoked Porter, silken cappuccino-sweet coffee-dried maple-sapped wood-smoked cola-nutty Handsome Mick’s Irish Stout, and mocha serenity Black Sea Imperial Stout.

In January ’09, discovered several lighter-bodied experimental brews such as chipotle-jalapenos-smoked sandalwood-burnt sage-oiled black-peppered Ambergris No. 1 Weiss and peculiar herbaceous honey-suckled Absinthe (gathering peppermint, absinthium, lemon balm, chamomile, licorice, and ginger illusions). Soft oak-aged raspberry-parched cranberry-soured watermelon-tinged Forbidden Fruit Framboise topped diacetyl chocolate malt-lagered fig-date-soured washout Brewmasters Cup Munich Dunkel, weirdly raw-grained lemon-tart bark-dried green tea-embittered Canadian-styled Cream Ale, and lemony green apple-soured banana-blanched limestone-grouted Beetlejuice (Bavarian Weizen).


Within walking distance, Pearl Street Beverage had excellent bottled selection where I purchased Trout River, Rock Art, and Berkshire brews.

The Pub at Ken’s Pizza had local fave, Switchback Ale, flaunting spritzy hop spice, sweet malt bed, dry orange rind midst, and strawberry-peach trace. Switchback has since gained Northeast notoriety with many out of state pubs.