It doesn’t take long to feel comfortable in Waterbury. At Prohibition Pig, local pickled vegetables and a pulled pork sandwich make for a satisfying lunch. The bar is the only place besides cannery tastings where you can drink Heady Topper — a citrusy, aromatic beer loaded with hops — on tap. Across the street, Blackback Pub functions like something of a beer geek’s rec room. There are about 30 seats, and owner Ricky Binet writes each customer’s tab down on the back of a coaster. When a friend calls on the phone, Binet puts him on the bar’s speaker system so everyone can say hello. On tap are rare creations from Vermont breweries such as Hill Farmstead Brewery of Greensboro Bend and Lawson’s Finest Liquids of Warren. The establishments The Reservoir and Arvad’s also have extensive beer lists. “With these brewers, you’re splitting degrees of whose Jedi power is greater,” says Binet.
One brewer whose powers are unquestioned is Shaun Hill of Hill Farmstead. Twice Prohibition Pig’s Rich uses the word “savant” to describe Hill. Binet compares Hill to Mozart and calls him a genius. Hill has about a dozen accounts; four are in Waterbury. Six of his beers make RateBeer.com’s top 25 double IPAs. “He’s the best brewer in America,” says Binet.
Dzen considers it the best beer town in the country. Full stop. As an outtake from the main travel article, he reviews four IPAs from the region, including the venerable Heady Topper.
See Also: The Geography of Craft Beer