Three Penny Taproom
Taps: 24 / Bottles: 10
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 73 | Reviews: 47 | Show All Ratings:
4.58/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
You'll recall that all I wanted out of my '06 trip to Burlington was breakfast in Winooski, and wound up eating at the crappy attached hotel restaurant both mornings (under protest). Whatever. Up for a whim weekend now, Marvie's been called, Flatbread's had, the brewpubs three seen & sampled accordingly, and now Saturday morning, opting for the so easily accessible counter space at Sneakers. Had the Bird Special; blueberry goddamn pancakes, eggs scrambled, rye toast, hash browns, traded up the sausage for more bacon, I feel, I feel, well, sleepy, yes, but I'm a very happy kid, and out. Making's for a great day...
We know the Alchemist is selfishly closed for renovations (fuckers), and Ben wanted to go to the Shed, which we did, and was ass. Backtrack to Cabot to woof cheese, score some chocs for Bethy and licorice for me from the place across the parking lot, and then hit Ben & Jerry's house for a "Goodbye, yellow brickle road" cone (crazy good), and okay, can we get back on beer track? Montpelier (a town whose name I cannot pronounce no matter how I try), a bit down the highway, parked & walked and oh, there it is, mixed in with the sidewalk strip scene.
New smelling, wide plank laminate topped "L" shaped bar seating 13 on backless stools (somewhere, Randy is grimacing), with a lip and a place below for my feets. 10 taps on a copper tower aged & tarnished on the bar, plus 2 stand ups with 3 apiece down the way a bit; glassware stacked in between and past there. Shelving on the bar back, booze & wine along the top, glassware below. Adjacent bar counter with stool seating as such, and another in the front window, seating for a trio. Yellow painted walls and some brown trim around the front window, checkerboard black & white floorings, silver pressed tin ceiling with lighting on the spinny fans and strung cords running small spots. A pair of large framed logoed mirrors over the bar counter, some light brewery signage & mirrors riddled about, a large flatscreen above the barback and another over the door in the corner. A shotglass holds a flower of purple on the tap tower front center, more in a Bali mason jar on the bar back, and something pussy willowish on the bar counter. 3 Vertical blackboards, 2 of which lift drafts, the third listing wines (Red & White, 3 of each), plus a pretty impressive bottled list (PBR, Ballatine, Miller, Miller High Life), soon to change up to great imports & craft, Scott describing their intentions there. Another vertical board sits to the rear listing tapas items (local pickled eggs, chorizo, tamari roasted almonds, and a single cheese).
16 taps; about 1/3 of them Belgian or in style (Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor, Maredsous 8, McChouffe, Delirium Tremens, Unibroue Trois Pistoles), and the other 2/3 craft, in-state (Switchback Roasted Red Ale, Rock Art Belvidere Double IPA, Three Penny Revenge Black IPA, their house beer brewed by the Shed), regional (Pennichuck Pozharnik Espresso RIS, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence, DogFishHead 90 Minute IPA, Stoudts Gold), and beyond (Flying Dog Gonzo, North Coast Brother Thelonious, Stone Old Guardian). Started with the Three Penny Revenge Black IPA, which was excellent, much better than anything we had at the Shed just an hour before, that's for sure. Funny how the Shed's best beer wasn't at the Shed. And something else, tried a taste of the Penni', no, too much, the Rock Art, no, just no, and then the Switchback Roasted Red Ale, yes, that'll do, it was actually quite tasty.
We've been talking beer, good beer, with these owners three, they get it; Wes (the counter of beans, we dealt him difficult trigonometry questions), Scott (the brewer, used to deal at the Shed some, didn't seem badly offended by my talking of smack about the place), and Matt (the traveler, having just done some time in Brooklyn, played downtown and Williamsburg proper). They do a good thing here.
Cool chill place, works well in this town. We've been listening to The Who, Live at Leeds, it's awesome. The other patrons get the extreme pleasure of listening to me sing "Tattoo" and "A Quick One". For free. Ben says the place is similar in look/décor to the Toronado, San Diego (there's no such place as California, it's a well known fact). Beer is fresh and they've got a good mix of taps. Bottled list soon and cask a-coming. Very good house, long overdue in this state. Pretty much makes up for the Alchemist being closed.
06-27-2009 15:39:07 | More by slander
4.36/5 rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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?
01-22-2011 02:24:31 | More by Billolick
4.45/5 rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
This is our kind of place, and should be your kind of place too.
We stopped in here after a lovely visit to the Montpelier Farmers' Market (Lawson's beer and great artisan cheese; how can you go wrong there?). Had to kill an hour or so since opening time on Saturday is 1pm (my only complaint) but the wait was well worth it.
The place looks like a converted luncheonette, though I am pretty sure it was a retail store in its most recent life. A long L-shaped bar on the right with a line of stools and a bar rail on the left. Very appealing and warm (in the welcoming sense; the staff had forgotten to turn on the heat so it was about 60 degrees when we arrived), we loved this place from the start.
The tap list is incredible. Had we been staying in town, rather than heading off to Maine, this would have been a long, long visit. 24 taps, all high quality, no bottles but who needs them with this tap list. Shed, Hill Farmstead, Cisco, you get the idea.
Food menu was small but inspired, featuring Vermont cheeses and stuff like cured jowl. Fun.
The highlight was meeting two of the owners (Scott and Matt(?) who were hanging out watching soccer. they were great, entertaining hosts.
Can't wait to stop back. What are you waiting for?
02-26-2011 01:06:47 | More by sholland119
3.13/5 rDev -31.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 1.5 | $$
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
4.44/5 rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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!!
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 - $$
04-19-2010 19:34:10 | More by Bierman9
4.65/5 rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
This stop was one of my best missteps ever. After doing the very touristy but interesting tour of Ben and Jerry's down the road in Waterbury, we tried to hit the Alchemist in town--not open until 3 or 4 pm. Without daylight burning we continued down the road and I used BA to find the next closest pub or bar for lunch--Three Penny Taproom sounded familiar (could be the monthly ad in BA mag, I guess), so we stopped.
Started with a DFH Burton Baton, and then went local with Hill Farmstead's Everett and Double Galaxy. Not bad for a lunch stop (thanks to my wife driving instead of drinking). Really would've been nice had our hotel been here overnight instead of the next stop. Oh well. Next time.
For lunch, we had a simple but amazing cheddar cheese sandwich, which may be the best cheese sandwich I've ever had. Just a spectacular fresh taste and done perfectly. Spent the rest of the trip lusting over local cheddar and never matched it.
If near (or not so near), stop. Next time I'm in Vermont, this is home base. And, all of this goodness is in spite of suffering a recent flood and rebuilding their bottle stock and business. Good luck to a truly great place in recovering from this set back.
07-08-2011 15:27:14 | More by FightingEntropy
4.5/5 rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
**Recent visits have proven better than in the past. The food menu has greatly improved with more options yet remains high quality. Bumping it up .25**
Decided to stop in here for lunch before heading up to Hill Farmstead for the night. Atmosphere was very laid back, a few people at the bar watching TV and talking amongst themselves about all things beer. Quality seemed to be pretty high across the board. My beers were all served in the correct glasses and my burger was made with top notch ingredients. My bartender was awesome. We talked about beer and my impending trip to Hill Farmstead and he even gave me some stickers when I was getting ready to leave.
The selection was great. All kinds of local beers to go along with a few national offerings. Plenty of Hill Farmstead and Lawson's on which is always welcome in my book. Since I went here for lunch I decided to go with the single burger, which I added bacon to. While my burger tasted great and was cooked to perfection I was a little dissapointed in its size. For $9 + $3! for bacon I was expecting to get my moneys worth. I can get a half pound bacon cheese burger that tastes just as good for $7 around here, a capital city just like Montpelier...Overall a really awesome beer bar that I will definitely return to when I am in the area.
10-24-2012 18:00:02 | More by orangesol
4.78/5 rDev +4.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | $$
Vermont is the prettiest place I've ever seen, and its prettiest is marked by the absence of the ugliness that spots the rest of this once-gorgeous continent. Vermont is the mountainous south only with with hard-left tolerance replacing the inveterate racism, and it's even geener, flowery-er, more mountains and a bigger sun and bluer skies. And the people are genuinely friendly, like in Wisconsin or Minnesota. Again, unlike the south, where the friendliness is just a thin rhetorical veneer they put up so as to mask their astounding hatred of outsiders. This was a place where Weirdness was welcome, meaning my companion and I felt supremely at home wherever we went, and that feeling wasn't so ersatz Disney bullshit meant to disarm you into pouring your money into worthless plasticine trinkets, worthless plasticine memories. It was the real deal.
All the towns are small and bricky. All the stores have old-timey, hand-laid facades--there's none of that blighted truckstop scenery that pockmarks all of the rest of this country's roadways. Here there were no drooping power lines, no towering Citgo signs. Even Montpellier, the capital, looked like a weird northeastern instantiation of Mayberry. The downtown reminded me of what the cities of the upper Mississippi looks like in sepia-tone pictures and rose-tinted memoirs, back before the factories closed down and hope melted into a despondency and despondency gave way to placid existential futility based on racism and spite.
The downtown pub was Threepenny. At night it was happening, all full of attractive youngsters who engaged in nice conversation and welcomed us into their community. The bar was woody and old and the beer selection was the tops.
Next morning, we stopped by again (because, hey, it ain't like we were coming back again soon). Nothing too extreme, you know. Just have one before hitting the road back to Boston. Well one became like, I dunno, six, because the bartender told us they were about to pop on a keg of HF Citra and advised us to stay on. I mentioned wanting to live there and everyone around us said yeah, you should do that, and they said that without even the slightest hint of irony or sarcasm.
10-24-2013 16:26:30 | More by mynie
4.55/5 rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Finally got a chance to visit the Three Penny Taproom and now understand the hype. They are located in the middle of Montpelier. I went for lunch and the atmosphere was relaxed. There is a lot of beer memorabilia on the wall but it is a simplistic old time bar that stretches down the wall one side. Then there are stools and another flat table along the other wall. Very pleasant space. The service is amazing. Very friendly bar keep and kitchen staff. I had my two year old with me and they were super helpful to her which I appreciate. The food here is amazing and the salad was scrumptious. Why you come here though is the huge selection of beer. Something like 30 premium taps. There is a sign on the wall that states that they proudly do not serve and Budweiser products. They have three Hill Farmstead taps, so if you are in Vermont on a day when Hill is not open, stop here. Lots of Belgian offerings on tap too…and the prices are reasonable. I would stop here again in a heartbeat. I would live here if I was in the area. One of the nation’s best bars.
08-12-2011 13:37:35 | More by tigg924
4.33/5 rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
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.
10-10-2011 02:52:02 | More by rfgetz
Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, VT
100 out of 100 based on 73 ratings.