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Three Penny Taproom

Not Rated.
Three Penny TaproomThree Penny Taproom
BA SCORE
100
world-class

116 Ratings
Ratings: 116
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 4.63
pDev: 6.05%
Taps: 24
Bottles: 10
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

108 Main St
Montpelier, Vermont, 05602-2906
United States
phone: (802) 223-8277

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @threepennytap

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: threepenny on 05-18-2009)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 116 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rifugium
3.13/5  rDev -32.4%

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.

Rifugium, Apr 24, 2012
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -13.6%

acurtis, Oct 22, 2013
Photo of youbrewidrink
4.03/5  rDev -13%

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.

youbrewidrink, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of coachdonovan
4.05/5  rDev -12.5%

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.

coachdonovan, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of chiefmick
4.13/5  rDev -10.8%

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.

chiefmick, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of Chowdahead
4.16/5  rDev -10.2%

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.

Chowdahead, May 02, 2011
Photo of dragonWhale
4.2/5  rDev -9.3%

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.

dragonWhale, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of duchessedubourg
4.22/5  rDev -8.9%

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.

duchessedubourg, May 27, 2009
Photo of ElGallo
4.24/5  rDev -8.4%

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.

ElGallo, Oct 12, 2009
Photo of jason3125
4.25/5  rDev -8.2%

jason3125, Yesterday at 11:08 PM
Photo of BierBliss
4.25/5  rDev -8.2%

BierBliss, Apr 04, 2014
Photo of Digimaika2
4.3/5  rDev -7.1%

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.

Digimaika2, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of SFLpunk
4.3/5  rDev -7.1%

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.

SFLpunk, May 07, 2010
Photo of kctobin72
4.31/5  rDev -6.9%

Have been to tpt a few times now while staying in the montpelier area for work. nice, balanced draught selection with limited bottles (mostly 22oz and up costing more money). usually a couple of hill farmstead selections, including some harder to find collaboration brews. was surprised to see the bruery (hottenroth when I was there) available, it sounded like a connection between shaun hill and the folks at the bruery is making their beer available in vermont now.

very attentive bartenders with great knowledge of the beers including background and very good at making suggestions and offering tastings. great place to have a pint or 3 for lunch, after work or for dinner. have only tried the flatbreads which were tasty and the bacon burger looked like a generous offering with local bacon and cheese.

kctobin72, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of rfgetz
4.33/5  rDev -6.5%

Lunchtime on a Tuesday strolling around a relatively quiet capital city waiting for the bar to open. Around 1pm, we enter with only 2 other customers at the bar. The old storefront and interior make it feel like an old time lunch counter, but the beer decor and taps tell a different story.

Each of the 24 selections are written on a chalkboard and range from great locals like Hill Farmstead and the Shed, to more known American and European crafts. Bottle list is no more after they lost a bunch of stock in a basement flood.

Food menu is minimalist but features great local sourced meat, cheese and produce. We had their fancied up grilled cheese with fried cheddar and an awesome pork belly sandwich. Service was friendly and welcoming like no other place I have visited recently.

This place is a gem of an establishment on all fronts and should not be missed when visiting Vermont.

rfgetz, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of WanderingFool
4.36/5  rDev -5.8%

Went to Montpelier recently to visit some friends and grabbed a couple of beers at the Three Penny Taproom.

The night we were there wasn't too crowded and we found some stools on the back wall. The bar is a long rectangular room with the stools along the wall and bar. Plenty of standing room and no loud music or TV drowning out conversations.

Near the front of the bar is a large chalkboard with the various tap offerings. It took a couple minutes to read all they had and make a decision on one of the delicious beers. The night I was there they had some Hill Farmstead Edward and James, Stone 15th Anniversary and a Belgian Sour (forget which one) on tap. Three Penny also has an IPA specially brewed for the bar at the Shed in Stowe.

Prices were fair for what we got. We were buying rounds so it was hard to tell if some pints cost more than others. Overall though we felt prices were similar to other locations.

The service was great. The bartender knew his beer and offered us additional pints when our glass started to run low.

We didn't get any food, but our friends say Three Penny only has some snack items on the menu.

Overall, we had a great time at Three Penny. They have an incredible tap selection with clean lines and properly poured beers in the correct serving glass. Unfortunately their bottle collection was destroyed in hurricane Irene. I'm looking forward to my next visit to Montpelier and a stop at Three Penny.

WanderingFool, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of Billolick
4.36/5  rDev -5.8%

Finally made it to this Vermont "must visit" good beer hot spot, after what seems like about a half dozen recent visits to the Burlington general area. Simple set up, medium sized rectangular room. Bar to the right, a row of chairs along the wall to the left. That's pretty much it. Crunchy/friendly/down home/no frills Vermont feel/athmosphere

The draw is the beer. 24 taps and a mess of quality bottles. Hill Farmstead, Allagash, Shed, Trap, Omme, Sierra Nev. and a heap of other quality options. Loved the vibe, wish I could have stayed longer, wish I lived closer, I'm a regular here, no doubt, if a local...what higher praise is there?

Billolick, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of djoucy
4.38/5  rDev -5.4%

I've been there with a few friends when passing through Vermont. We've stopped towards the end of the afternoon and there was already a fair amount of people in there.

I got one of their sandwich (pork) which was quite good. Their draft selection was respectable with many beers from outside of Vermont. They also hold a good local selection, including Hill Farmstead.

Service was great, the bartender was very chatty and it was interesting to discuss with him.

We sadly had to leave early but I would go back to this place anytime.

djoucy, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of Bierman9
4.44/5  rDev -4.1%

Alewife and I stopped in here on 12APR10, just as they were opening. Easily found on Main St, Three Penny is situated on the ground level of a red, multistoried wooden building. A large Three Penny facade is located above an awning shading a large pubfront window. Entering the pub (formerly a womens clothing store), there are a few stools at the front window, then the pub runs long front to rear, about 15' x 65'. More stools line the length of the left wall, and the bar starts about 10' in from the front, elling out from the right wall and heading to the rear, where the WC and kitchen are located. The place is fairly bright, with a tin ceiling and some track lighting overhead. The walls are all yellowish/light yellowish, and the bar wood is a light, polished hue. The barback also holds bottles of various liquors, as well as many different styles and sizes of glassware, which is nice to see. Numerous bier placards, flags, logo signs and mirrors adorn the walls, along with selected TPT clothing for sale. Also on the walls, near the front of the bar, are three large blackboards listing the current draft offerings (including their ABV, place of origin and cost). Soft music filled the air, shifting between current rock offerings to classic stuff like The Beatles and Stones. The place had a rather comfy vibe, altogether. They had 22 biers on tap, from German Helles Lagers to US DIPAs to Belgian Strong Ales to... you get it. A nice lineup, and prices were fair, considering the types of biers offered, ranging from $5 to $8 per serving (12 to 16oz, varying). I had a Trapp Helles and a Three Penny IPA, while Alewife had 2 of the Brooklyn Dark Matter. Tasty stuff, it was. Chatted with one of the owners, and our bartender, Matt. Very knowledgable and pleasant. A former Shed brewer, his recipe was used for their eponymous IPA. Matt says he is looking into a second location, possibly Hanover, NH. Sounds good to us; otherwise, we'll be back to Montpelier when we can. Prosit!!

4.44
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 - $$

200

Bierman9, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of spixley
4.45/5  rDev -3.9%

Three Penny is small, but their beer list is not. I'm always impressed with the number of beers on draft and the quality of the selection! A great place to grab a pint with friends, ask questions of the knowledgeable bartenders, or warm up on a cold winter day. A very small kitchen (note *very*) in the back puts out some small plates, so don't go if you're really hungry, but they do have some delicious cheeses and salumi that change fairly often. While there isn't much room in the bar itself (which can be a drag if you show up on a busy night and can't seem to find space at the bar or on the stools in the back and you have to do that awkward, lets stand in the middle of the room thing) I think this lends to the character of the joint. It feels very intimate and cozy, and I don't have to shout to my friend sitting next to me to be heard!

spixley, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of sholland119
4.45/5  rDev -3.9%

This is our kind of place, and should be your kind of place too.

We stopped in here after a lovely visit to the Montpelier Farmers' Market (Lawson's beer and great artisan cheese; how can you go wrong there?). Had to kill an hour or so since opening time on Saturday is 1pm (my only complaint) but the wait was well worth it.

The place looks like a converted luncheonette, though I am pretty sure it was a retail store in its most recent life. A long L-shaped bar on the right with a line of stools and a bar rail on the left. Very appealing and warm (in the welcoming sense; the staff had forgotten to turn on the heat so it was about 60 degrees when we arrived), we loved this place from the start.

The tap list is incredible. Had we been staying in town, rather than heading off to Maine, this would have been a long, long visit. 24 taps, all high quality, no bottles but who needs them with this tap list. Shed, Hill Farmstead, Cisco, you get the idea.

Food menu was small but inspired, featuring Vermont cheeses and stuff like cured jowl. Fun.

The highlight was meeting two of the owners (Scott and Matt(?) who were hanging out watching soccer. they were great, entertaining hosts.

Can't wait to stop back. What are you waiting for?

HV

sholland119, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev -2.8%

oriolesfan4, Apr 04, 2014
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.5/5  rDev -2.8%

DrunkinYogi, Sep 06, 2014
Photo of TheAnk
4.5/5  rDev -2.8%

TheAnk, Nov 08, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
4.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Knapp85, Dec 06, 2013
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Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, VT
100 out of 100 based on 116 ratings.