Three Penny Taproom
Taps: 24 / Bottles: 10
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 73 | Reviews: 47 | Show All Ratings:
3.13/5 rDev -31.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 1.5 | $$
Well, I guess I'm going to have to be the bad guy.
I see this place advertised in beer magazines and on beer sites everywhere, so I figured it either has to be really good, or profitable enough to be able to afford all the advertising. My first impression: the first statement is not true, and the second is seemingly and strangely probably not true either.
I like to visit VT about once a year, but on my last visit, I decided to really start getting out there, so to speak, going beyond the normal places I'm accustomed to, and stop limiting myself to Waterbury and Burlington--fine cities that I love, of course. But now that I've visited Montpelier, I really think I have to say, it has nothing to offer, and that includes the Three Penny Taproom.
The place is small, and that's fine, I like intimacy. The bar seats about 10-15 and there's a few seats along the wall. Decor is simple, layout is non-flashy, with general breweriana on the walls, and the bar itself nestled in a line of old rowhome-type shops, giving it an antique feel. Really I just get an overall cheap and generic vibe from the place, like it's the "little beer bar that couldn't." On the plus side, the tap list was decent. A good number of beers to choose from, with local favorites Lawson's and Hill Farmstead making appearances, and typical craft selections like Stone, etc. The bartender was definitely friendly, and prices were not bad. Maybe if the place had good kitchen capabilities, my opinion would change, but the food menu was tiny, overpriced, and pretty awful. Word to the wise: when it comes to having lots of craft beer on tap, the wary consumer/critic such as myself--if expected to stick around and give the establishment business--will require some alcohol-diluting nosh, or else he will take said business elsewhere. I did get a drink out of courtesy, but after a minute or so, my wife started giving me the "let's get the flying @#*& out of here now" look, and I knew it was time to chug the beer and go.
Again, maybe I'm not being totally fair; looking at it from a local viewpoint, you really can't beat the selection. But as a visitor / beer-bar-seeker-outer, I just have to say, I was not impressed. And for the amount this place is advertised, I can safely say, it is not worth going out of the way for. So essentially, in summation, this place may be good for a local joint, but a beer destination it is surely not. Once was more than enough: I'll never go back to this place.
04-24-2012 08:33:31 | More by Rifugium
4.03/5 rDev -12%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
After all of the high praise I was expecting something great. I was disappointed.
We stopped by early on a Saturday evening for a couple of pints and a bite. There were only half a dozen patrons sitting at the bar. It took the bartender about five minutes to ask what we would like and then there little or no personality involved.
As others had previously stated the beer menu is outstanding, but absolutely no welcoming atmosphere whatsoever. Even the other patrons were not very sociable.
I doubt we will return, we enjoy good beer in a freindly setting and this did not have it.
Edit: I have returned here a number of times, If Wes, Scott or Joel are around the service is usually outstanding. If Jason is working forget it, he was just as bad the last time as he was the first time I stopped here.
The food was definitely more to my liking as of late.
08-31-2009 10:58:25 | More by youbrewidrink
4.05/5 rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Stopped in shortly after they opened on a Saturday afternoon in early January. Doesn't look like much from the outside, as the the storefront just blends in with the other businesses on Main Street. Inside though, is a friendly local bar with not many frills but plenty of good beer.
Seating is bar stools only, both at the bar and around the outside of the one room. Breweriana (mostly new stuff) all around. Good music playing on the iPod; there is one TV. Taps listed on the large chalkboard included three from Hill Farmstead (Riwaka, Edward, Anna) and lots of others from VT. Beer list was a little too heavy on the Belgians/style for my taste, and aside from the HF I didn't really see anything that's hard to find elsewhere. Half-pints are available.
We'd planned to have lunch here so we were a little disappointed with the size of the menu, but actually the food was very good. There are just a few simple sandwiches along with cheese and/or charcuterie plates. We both really liked our sandwiches (ham&cheese, brie&apple) but you might be better off just snacking here and eating somewhere else before/after.
The sandwiches were just under $10; not bad but they don't come with fries or anything on the side. Our total was $45 for two sandwiches and four beers.
01-18-2011 15:55:34 | More by coachdonovan
4.13/5 rDev -9.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
I spent the last 2 weeks in VT and visited the Three Penny almost every day. It's not the biggest place so it only takes about 30 people or so to get really crowded. No tables, just a long bar. The beer selection is as good as I've ever seen, both tap and bottle. I can't even start to tell you all the selections, but it was outstanding. They had about 20 taps and another 40 bottles maybe. The high end beer though is pricey. Be prepared to spend $8 for the high end beer on tap. They have some pretty expensive bottles as well but some of the stuff was unique. My favorite was De Doulle Still Nacht ($9). They have a small sandwich type bar menu. It's rather eclectic and you'll need to ask about the types of meat in the sandwich. I had sandwiches 3 times though and was not disapppointed. Nothing fancy on the food, just sandwiches and some soup items. The bartenders were really knowledgable about the beer also. Overall, I like the place but watch your wallet.
11-14-2010 04:43:43 | More by chiefmick
4.16/5 rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Had a two day business trip to Burlington and stopped in to grab a beer and check this place out on the drive over from Maine. Located right in downtown Montpelier, the bar was small but not too small with a few small tables up front.
Overall selection was nice with about 25 taps and more in bottles. I was there to sample some Hill Farmstead offerings and they did not disappoint with three different Hill Farmstead beers on draft (best selection of HF I found that week in VT outside of the HF brewery). The rest of the draft selections were solid but didn't blow me away but then again I'm used to Lion's Pride, Novare and Ebenezer's in Maine so I'm pretty spoiled.
Service was good, clientele seemed very laid back and every seat at the bar was taken despite the fact that it was a Monday afternoon.
Wish I had more time here but had to continue on my way to Burlington. Overall a very cool, VT beer bar that I would recommend to anyone in the area.
05-02-2011 00:59:35 | More by Chowdahead
4.2/5 rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Sauntered on down to the spot for tacos and delicious beers. Glad to see these guys essentially not breaking stride after getting the basement flooded earlier this year. The tacos were awesomely delicious. The bartenders were friendly with us as well as many of the other peoples. Not being very demanding on this trip, it was cool to just see how they interacting with their base. Bought a disc, a couple HF beers, some tacos, and just had a great mid-afternoon type of time with some good folks. The rest of the 20 or so taps besides the Hill Farmstead and the Shed/3P IPA was quite respectable. Big fan, looking forward to making it back there.
09-25-2011 06:40:34 | More by dragonWhale
4.22/5 rDev -7.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
Finally got to stop in on my way home from Memorial Day weekend in Maine. Have been avoiding it until the Legislature adjourned and the town had settled back down. I suspect this is the new place in town for our legislators who like good beer (aside from the Black Door) because wow, do they ever deliver selection-wise!
I was there on Memorial Day Monday at 4pm and the place was quiet, with a few locals hanging out. Up on the board were 12 of the nicest imports/domestic draughts I've seen since a trip to the Dirty Truth in MA. At least a dozen fine bottles too. All high-end, many high-gravity, and all desirable. Nothing locally-brewed was on - yet. Appropriate glassware to go with...kind of. I had an Ommegang Red (tap-only tart Flemish Red) served in a Piraat tulip. The barkeep is one of the partners and he was very pleasant and knowledgable in terms of local beers, people & events. I asked for a plate of the cheese of the day - it happened to be one of my faves - Ploughgate's "Hartwell," a nice local take on a camembert. It was too cold though - he pulled it right out of the cooler but it was an ample portion for $6 and I sliced it up to get it warmed up quicker. It came with some fresh, thinly-sliced baguette.
I ordered an Allagash Curieux for my next choice - it came in a Dogfish Head Snifter - and it was too cold, so I coddled it in my hands for a bit. Great with the cheese, once both were a little warmer! I asked if the Pennichuck Pozharnik was still on, but the barkeep said they were holding some back to age and serve later. Kudos for that and not serving everything ASAP just to get it out of the kegs to make room.
Although I'm closer geographically to Alchemist & Flatbread, this will be my taproom of choice for special trips beyond my usual commute. The room is long, narrow and plain, but nice bar, very high ceilings & comfy stools more than compensate. Isn't swanky, romantic, or hip - it pretty much gets the job done with little fanfare of showcasing some great beers, nice snacks, and a local feel. I appreciate that they post each beer's ABV on the board so you can plan your session accordingly. Most reminds me of the Moan & Dove in Amherst, MA. In other words - it's all about the beers, baby! I hope they stick around.
05-27-2009 18:24:53 | More by duchessedubourg
4.24/5 rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
I stopped in back in mid-September with fellow BA madrivervt. It was a brief visit, but I had Houblon Chouffe and Aventinus on tap (both exceptional), and he had a 90 Minute IPA and the Southern Tier Hoppe (also both on tap). I can agree with others that the decor is very simple, but this place is relatively new, still figuring things out, and personally I go to beer bars for beer, not ambience, but the point others have made is valid.
Scott, one of the owners, was tending bar the day we went, and he is very friendly and very knowledgable about all the beers they sell. I actually have to give this guy some props: I travel to Vermont a lot on business, and several years ago I met Scott when he was still tending bar at The Black Door (also a great Montpelier destination). He introduced me to Delirium Tremens, Allagash Black, and Ommegang Rare Vos at a time when I thought Redhook was the high end of the spectrum. He was among the few who set me down the right path to great beer.
Anyway, the bar has appropriate glassware for all of their beers (taps and bottles), and the food selection (while small) looked pretty good.
By the time we left the place was packed and had a good vibe going. Montpelier is a great town, and it's nice that it can now boast this type of establishment.
10-12-2009 19:33:52 | More by ElGallo
4.3/5 rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Made the trek for the first time tonight...and was not disappointed!
The tap list covers three chalk boards strung along the wall. Great offerings, mostly from US micros but also some imported brews (leaning Belgian). Didn't catch a look at the bottle list, though I suspect it's awesome too.
Tap examples: NC Old Rasputin (Nitro), Gouden Carolus Cuvee van de Kaizer Rood 2008, Stone Old Guardian 2007, Allagash Curiuex, Farnum Hill Farmhouse Cider, Hill Farmstead Edward IPA, Ommegang BPA, Maredsous 10...and on and on.
The space is small and I could see it getting cramped on a Fri/Sat night, but it's absolutely worth the trip. This place will be nationally famous soon, I'm sure of it.
05-07-2010 03:52:21 | More by SFLpunk
4.3/5 rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Was in Montpelier for a weekday afternoon back in mid-July 2011, and decided to stop in after hearing good things.
Long and narrow room with an equally long bar that reminded me of an old barbershop for whatever reason. Pretty packed for a weekday afternoon but we managed to find two free stools against the wall. Atmosphere gave out a pretty good vibe with a relaxed and laid back feel. Bartenders were pleasant and efficient from what I remember.
Impressive tap list with quality local VT selections, popular and more rarer american offerings, and great belgian selections. Definitely had more harder-to-find offerings, especially for the area, which really made this place stand out for me. Prices seemed in-line with a more rarer product line for the area.
If I lived in Montpelier I would be at this place frequently - Great little gem in central Vermont.
11-06-2011 20:27:34 | More by Digimaika2
Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, VT
100 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.