Jasper Murdock Ales: The Vermont Beer Trail Starts in Norwich
There’s no denying that Vermont is home to some of North America’s richest craft beer history and finest brewing facilities. After all, the birthplace of the modern-day “hazy IPA” (often referred to as the New England-style IPA) is approximately 80 miles northwest of Norwich in the rolling hills of Stowe. Unbeknownst to many, Norwich’s historic, picturesque town is home to one of the longest-standing breweries on the Vermont beer trail: Jasper Murdock Ales, an Upper Valley staple that dates back to 1993.
A Unique Slice of Upper Valley History
According to the Brewers Association, Vermont boasts the most breweries per capita in America. We take craft beer seriously—and you should too. The self-guided Vermont beer trail, which we cover in more detail below, starts and finishes at The Norwich Inn. It’s not often that you stumble upon a 28-year-old brewery located inside of a 1797 inn that has hosted the likes of Dr. Seuss and President James Monroe.
Today, travelers can stroll into this classic Irish pub for a tall pint, a 22-ounce bottle to-go, or even a growler fill. The pub has retained its original charm, thanks to its rich mahogany bar, old-timey photography, and Irish-green accents.
Jasper Murdock Ales: The Legacy Continues
What began as a modest venture that only produced five-gallon jugs of English-style ales has blossomed into one of the proudest breweries in New England. The team now concocts 125-gallon batches covering nearly beer style, ranging from smile-inducing cream ales to trendy IPLs and classic Irish reds.
Jasper Murdock’s premier beer remains the Whistling Pig Red Ale, a multi-generational recipe that’s a delicious ode to the classic Irish reds that pre-date the new-age Vermont brewery scene. Recent hits include the genre-bending Schwarzpils, the aptly-named Mash Up, and the crowd-pleasing N2B Cream Ale, a proclaimed “lawnmower beer.”
A Self-Guided Journey on the Vermont Beer Trail
There’s no better reason to visit the Upper Valley this August than the annual Vermont NanoFest, the region’s premier dabbler. At the NanoFest, grinning beer enthusiasts can taste-test many of the state’s top-rated breweries, which is a welcomed alternative to a lengthy drive on the Vermont beer trail. Participants include Red Clover Ale Co., Green Empire Brewing, and Upper Pass Brewing Company. We also urge thirsty beer nerds to visit some of the area’s top-rated taprooms in White River Junction, Bridgewater Corners, and beyond. Use this Vermont brewery bucket list as your trail guide.