Blackback Pub & Flyshop

Not Rated.
Blackback Pub & FlyshopBlackback Pub & Flyshop
BA SCORE
97
world-class

150 Ratings
Ratings: 150
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: n/a
Taps: 9
Bottles: 10
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1 Stowe St
Waterbury, Vermont, 05676-1820
United States
phone: (802) 505-5115

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: mariano42 on 05-20-2010)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 150 | Reviews: 61 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nopucophop
3.43/5  rDev -22.2%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This place is a little different then your normal pub. Very very small. The decor is pretty bad in my opinion. They advertise what beers they had by ripping a piece of the box it came in an writing the price on it with a sharpie. Did I mention how small this place is? The beer selection is very small but very very good. If you don't mind a dingy small atmosphere and are just looking for great beer or scoth this is the place for you.

For the fisherman among us. There was some fishing stuff around but not a ton. The owner was not there and I understand he is the fisherman, but if your going to have a fishing themed pub the bartender should know something about fishing.

Overall I would go back if in the area just to see what they hvae to offer on the draft menu other then that really no reason to visit.

Photo of twelvsies
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

This place, in a word, awesome. Actually make that fucking awesome, so two words. If you like random bars, pubs, watering-holes and the like, this place is surely worth a visit in that it is one of the oddest establishments I have been to. On top of that, if you like great beer, this place is a must visit at some point in your life.

Upon entering down a couple steps, you see that the entire place is merely the bar (10 seats or so), a few benches just set back from the bar stools, a little corridor where the bathrooms are and a few walls. Pretty simple. I actually overheard the bartender mentioning to some other folks that they plan to knock out a wall and expand the place, and combine it with the sushi place next door, which sounds cool in theory, but honestly I like the charm of this little hole in the wall. The decor is of course fly-fishing themed, featuring river maps, pictures of fish and such, and handmade fly lures that are apparently available for purchase (?).

Anyway, I loved the quirkiness of this place, and would go there even to drink crappy beer. Luckily, though, they have delicious beer. About 8-10 draughts maybe, mostly VT locals. Plenty of Hill Farmstead on tap - when we were there I think they had the Edward, Galaxy, Abner, and the Everett. So, if you are in VT but can't quite make the haul up to Hill, try this place. They also had some other classic craft beers on tap such as Anchor Liberty, some Dogfish, and I think a random Allagash - the standbys. I do not remember if they had bottles - they might have a few, because I remember seeing an impressive array of rare and interesting empties lining the walls, but I only drank the draughts. Fine wines, scotch / whiskey, and meats / cheese / sandwiches also available, made right behind the bar (didn't try but looked good).

Bartender was friendly as were the rest of the patrons, pretty much all of whom we got to know due to the size of the place. There was an awesome old guy who was clearly there for the whiskey and fly-fishing aspect of the bar - gotta love it. This was all at like 4pm on a Wednesday or something. Would love to see this place on a hoppin' night.

Definitely well worth the visit - perhaps the coolest bar on our awesome trip through VT, NH, and ME, and we stopped at a lot of places. A true original, and plenty of great beer.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I went here for the first time with my wife this past Wednesday. Curious little hole in the wall this place is. We were staying in Waterbury and had a little time to kill before supper so since this place opens at 3pm we gave it a shot. You walk in a door take two step down and you are standing in front of a bar that has maybe 10 stools in front of it. There are a couple of long benches off to the left and that's really the extent of the place. It's tiny, but they are expanding into the storefront to their left which will more than double the size of the place. So the reason we were here, the beer. They have quite a tap list really. Three Hill Farmstead beers, two Sierra Nevada, two DFH, one Allagash. And probably something I'm forgetting. We had a cheese plate and that was really good and they have some sandwiches as well. We were the only ones in the bar and the guy behind the bar was knowledgeable and friendly. I'd definitely go back when in the area.

Photo of Cascade77
2.98/5  rDev -32.4%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

EDIT
Stopped in after the expansion with some friends. Prices for both beer and food have gone through the roof. Really dissappointing.
Paid $8 for a 8oz pour of Petrus Aged Pale. Mahrs Pils was $7 for a 10oz pour in a wine glass. Really?? A 10oz pilsner in a wine glass? Didn't see anything bigger than a 12oz pour.

Service was slow and pours were often foamy.

At lesat have one or two reasonably priced beers that come in a pint so locals can enjoy it. Might as well go to the wine bar upstairs.

---

Stopped in last week for a couple beers with friends.

Small, dark, underground bar with just a few bar stools. Lots of fishing paraphernalia and beer trays on the walls. There should be more to cover the ugly green paint.

Beer list is small but very good. All quality. A few Hill Farmstead and some Belgian imports. Service was good. Talkative owner.

Prices are steep with small pours. A 10oz pour of a double IPA came to I think $6.50. I don't think anything came in a pint, not even the Edward.

Not a bad place to hang out and a nice addition to the Waterbury beer scene. Will definitely stop in for a beer from time to time.

Photo of ElGallo
4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This has to be the coolest storefront/basement beer bar I've ever been to. Oh, right, it's the only storefront/basement beer bar I've ever been to.

Met a couple friends here for a few pours before walking over to The Alchemist for dinner. The place is tiny: you could easily bump someone's bar stool just by opening the door. Bar seats 8-10 people, maybe eight taps, but all high-quality. I thought there would be a fly shop in back, but there are just some random fly boxes in the window and other gear hung in the old ceiling timbers. A very nice selection of single malts, some bourbon, and wine also are available. Our bartender Jenny took good care of us.

But the beer is the clincher: two Hill Farmstead offerings on draft (Edward & Galaxy), which were excellent, Harviestoun Old Engine Oil and Bitter & Twisted, Allagash Curieux, Petrus Aged Pale, Old Rasputin, and Stout's Pils were the draft offerings that day. Not too shabby for such a small, nondiscript place, but maybe that's the point. All you need is a bar and some good kegs, and the beer lovers will come. Cool place and a very cool concept for a beer bar. A must see and a great place for a starter (or nightcap) when hitting up The Alchemist for dinner.

Photo of hoponit
4.64/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Good things truly do come in small packages.
With seating for approximately 10 and as many taps, this is about as concentrated a good-beer experience as one can find.

Prepping for a recent ski trip to Mad River Glen I discovered this bar, right across the street from The Alchemist brewpub. That's a lot of good beer in a very small town. What was particularly enticing about Blackback was the fact that they had 4 taps of Hill Farmstead, a brewery not normally seen at any of my local haunts. That alone made this a must visit, but what would make me return in a heartbeat was the atmosphere. Stepping through the front door was like entering a friend's lovingly decorated basement bar. And to reinforce the feeling of visiting a friend, the owner/bartender was extremely gracious with both the beer and his enthusiasm for it.

The only thing I missed trying was the food.
Next time....

Photo of mavbrew
4.5/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

We were in town yesterday on our VT beer trip and saw they had some DFH, Hill Farmstead and Allagash on tap, so we decided to stop in. This is my kind of place, there are 9 bar stools and about 10 beers on tap, a hidden gem by my standards. They offered nothing but great beer, and the owner was behind the bar chatting it up with all of us about beer and everything else. Hell, he showed me some Maine Beer Co. Peeper and said to stop by a local liquor store where I could pick it up cheaper, he said it was a must try but expensive in his bar.

I must say this is a must visit bar in Waterbury, the atmosphere is great, the beer selection is small but excellent and the owner seems like a great guy. If I lived in the area I would be certain this would be my regular bar. I will be stopping in whenever I'm even close to Waterbury, that's for sure.

Photo of sholland119
4.36/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Visited on 1/20/11.

9 bar stools, 9 beer taps. What could be more perfect?

We stopped in here for a couple of beers after dinner and beers across the street at the Alchemist. Blackback is located in the basement of the building at the corner of Stowe and Main. Bright paint (green!) and lots of flyfishing paraphernalia (and taxidermied fish) give the place a unique look among bars I have been to.

All taps were high quality stuff, with about 6 Hill Farmstead beers, Hoptimum and 2 old ales (Old Stock and Bigfoot, which were also being presented side by side in a mini-flight; nice touch). The bartender/owner was companionable and easy to hang out with. Like you were in a friend's basement, shooting the breeze and drinking good beer.

We did not eat, though there was a rumor that paninis were available. Loved this place.

HV

Photo of coachdonovan
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped in here around 6 or 7 after eating early at the Alchemist. As others have mentioned, this place is very small but that gives it a very friendly vibe. I counted exactly eight barstools as the only places to sit. There is one large TV behind the bar. Lots of fishing apparati mixed in with whiskey boxes attached to the ceiling beams.

We didn't eat, but there isn't much to choose from. I did notice a panini press behind the bar and the website says they have a cheese plate. Tap list included Earl, Edward and Anna from Hill Farmstead. Also Old Stock North Coast, SN 30th anniversary barleywine, DFH My Antonia (a rare find), Rogue Wet Hop and a lambic. I saw something on the whiteboard about a "flight of barleywines" that had recently been offered; never seen that before. Everything was served in proper glassware.

We had good conversation with the bartender and owner, who stopped in for a few minutes with his wife and son. (As an aside, I liked the fact that the owner of this place was having dinner at the Alchemist. Theoretically the two bars are competitors but it's nice to see they're not only friendly but patronize each other's places.) The size of Blackback is such that it's hard not to strike up conversation with any other customers, so don't go here if you're looking to drink alone. There was a rustic feel to the place despite being on Main Street, and I would definitely stop by again before and/or after the Alchemist.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Place is tiny, in a BA quality beer rich little town. Fishing stuff all over the ceiling and scattered around the place. When you go to the Alchemist, this spot is just about a block away and well worth stopping in for a visit.

We were treated to several quality tap selections from places like Trapp, Hill Farmstead, DFH and high quality others. Quality is the operative word here. Boutigue beers in a tiny bar setting. Toss in an outgoing and entertaining, bartender/owner and you have a highly enjoyable and worthy place for a beer or two, either before or after the Alchemist.

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

We stopped by this place after visiting the alchemist early on a Thursday night. The bar is quite small and there is really no other place to stand or sit. However, it is more intimate than it is small, and promoted a great atmosphere. I believe I talked to just about every person that was in the place while we were here. Very nice atmosphere. The atmosphere was also supported by the bartender, who owned the place with his wife. He was quite friendly and attentive, and was very knowledgeable.

The beer was served in appropriate glassware and was fresh. The selection was small, but well though out. I do wish they had more selection, though. A small complaint to a great place, but this place would be world class if their selection was a bit better.

Photo of skivtjerry
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

A great new addition to Waterbury, and only about 100 yards from the Alchemist, which is why I don't go here as often as I would otherwise. This bar is TINY and can be a bit cramped at times but the small size also means that it's always reasonably quiet. Rick is an entertaining bartender, always ready to BS about beer and a lot of other things. The small tap selection is nothing short of world class, and always includes at least 1 or 2 Hill Farmstead beers. The bottle list could be a little larger but is carefully chosen, nothing but worthy entries. Prices might seem a tad high at first glance, but look what you're getting... you won't find many of these beers cheaper anywhere else, and usually they are more costly elsewhere. Food is limited to picnic style snack plates, given the lack of a kitchen, but is tasty. The one thing I'd like to see is a cooler so the bottle selection could expand but there is no room for that. Some very good scotch here too.

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Thanks to some great BA's, my wife and I stopped in here on our travels through VT. Let me say, I love this place!!

Rick, bartender/owner is absolutely awesome. He enjoys great beer and loves talking about it, which I think is great because I love talking about beer. He was extremely knowledgable about beer and extremely friendly to my wife and I. He was more than willing to supply us with some samples.

Although there is only a small bar with several seats, I thoroughly enjoy this atmosphere. We were 2 of 8 in the place and we were the only tourists. The people inside were extremely friendly and fun to chat with.

The bar had some wonderful beers on tap. There were 3 Hill Farmstand Beers, a Trapp Family Oktoberfest, Spaten Oktoberfest, Stoudts Pils and a very rare Dogfish Sah'tea.

The price is quite reasonable in my opinion seeing how Rick is very willing to pour samples and I do not mean 1 ounce samples, they are 3-4 ounce samples.

Overall, this place is fantastic and a true highlight of our trip!

Photo of naproxen
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

BeerTruth and I hung out here, twice, last Sunday afternoon. Important to note the afternoon part, as had we stopped in like we wanted to Saturday night my impression would have been completely different.

The bar is tiny, there are maybe 8 or so bar seats. This was really cool for our visits, both times we were the only patrons for a short amount of time with not more than 3 others as well at its most full. However, we walked by Saturday night with the intention of popping in except it was elbow to elbow, so we kept walking to The Alchemist.

On tap 9/26/10
Hill Farmstead Edith
Hill Farmstead Nelson Sauvin IPA
Hill Farmstead Earl
DFH Burton Baton
Trapp Family Octoberfest
Stoudt's Pils
....and my memory gets fuzzy about there.

Three Hill Farmstead beers, must be good to be friends with awesome brewers. Good for all of Waterbury as well. The prices were a bit high to me, but to be honest I did not find that anyone else pouring Hill's beers charged anything less. There is a small bar bites menu with some sandwiches, which I can only imagine the bartender would have to make right infront of you. We did not go for the food, having eaten already down the road.

The service was fantastic, as was the company of the other patrons. One being the bartenders mother, who stopped in to bring her lucky son a homemade meatball sub. Possibly the best I've tasted (generosity run wild in VT), they should look into getting this wonderful lady into a kitchen. There was a problem with the keg of Earl, it was an extreme foam bomb coming out of the taps, but the bartender kept pouring it in increments for us which was nice.

Anyways, this place is really a little gem. Be mindful of when you visit, I couldn't see spending a night there if it was really busy but would have no qualms about enjoying an afternoon there when its quiet. I would love to give this one a higher mark for atmosphere but the atmosphere is too conditional on the day/time of the visit.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I've been hearing about this place for quite a while, last time I was in town I actually couldn't find it when looking for it. It's literally right across the street and up one or two buildings from The Alchemist.

Came in, this place is very cozy as others have said it's fairly small, maybe 12 seats. But he's got about 10 taps of awesome stuff as well, when I was there on 9/9/10 he had:
Aged Petrus
Cisco Darkwoods
Burton Baton
Youngs Chocolate Stout
Hill farmstead Earl, Edward, Florence, and the Nelson single hop IPA.
Allagash Dubbel

Basically he's got a somewhat small selection but everything he's got is fantastic. He had some sandwiches and knockwust, also a cheese plate. All pretty reasonably priced. His beers were all in the $6-8 range for decent pours in the proper glassware. I think that's a bit pricey however everything is really good so it's worth it.

Next time you're in the area check this place out, the owner is an awesome guy. Very personable and nice and right as I can in he told me about all the beers and gave me a sample before I bought it.

Photo of sapvt
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I heard a lot of positive things about this place and none of them did it justice.

Great beer selection. Rick is a big fan of Hill Farmstead (with very good reason) and it shows. He was pouring Edward, Florence, Earl, and Nelson Sauvin last night and had a couple kegs (including Edith) lined up next. Also a Trapp Dunkel, Cisco Darkwoods, Petrus Pale and one or two more I'm forgetting. Outstanding. There are some great bottles available too (Orval, Westmalle, etc.) but I can't stray from the amazing local taps.

Rick is very accommodating and a great guy to talk to. I could sit for hours at this bar and talk fishing and beer.

We need more places like this, totally intimate settings run by good folks who have a real passion for beer. Thanks Rick!

Photo of koopa
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I headed over hear after a day at the Alchemist upon the recommendation of several Alchemist patrons. Small bar...maybe 8 seats total, solid tap lines, and Rick the bartender/owner was a very nice guy to talk to as well as being quite generous with samples. He just kept pouring samples and bringing them over to me randomly throughout the visit! I recall seeing the following on tap: At least 3 Hill Farmestead brews like Edward IPA, Citra, Harlan IPA, plus other goodies like Old Rasputin, Bavik Pils, Mikkeller Warrior Single Hop, Cisco Dark Woods, etc. Super nice locals and a great place for a nightcap before stumbling back to my room at the Stagecoach Inn!

Photo of Goldorak
4.36/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Even though I've had a stellar time during my weekend in Vermont, I can't help but be a little pissed that a town as small as Waterbury not only has a world-class brewpub, but now they have a killer Beer bar as well.

So after an incredible meal and Beers at the Alchemist, where I got to meet YouBrewIDrink, we hopped across the street at the Blackback. Tiny place, as in less than a dozen seats, all bellied up to the Bar. What makes this place out of the ordinary is the fact that they also sell fly fishing equipment. Kick ass.

Selection was small, but very well picked. Bavik Pils, a single hop IPA from Mikkeler, three (!) from Hill Farmstead, something from Belgium, etc. I think the only thing missing to make it the perfect Beer bar tap list would have been a sour ale.

Service was great, both Dana and Ricky were super nice, were really knowlegable about Beer, never hesitated to hand over tasters, and made you feel right at home the moment you walked in.

This place is the perfect compliment to the Alchemist, and I liked it a lot. Damn you Waterbury!!

Photo of youbrewidrink
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Our visit to the Blackback Pub was an unexpected and pleasant suprise.

We had been at the Alchemist for dinner with friends from Canada and were jonesing for a saison. We heard that Blackback had Shaun Hill's new Saison, so off we went.

This has got to be the smallest (I mean most intimate) pub I has ever been to. This is not a knock, it's is just small. I think there were 9 seats at the bar, that's it.

The beer selection was stellar, 3 different taps from Hill's Farmstead and some great imports. The ladies all switched to wine and the white he poured was great (an a generous pour I might add).

We did not eat, but the cappicola & brie panni was $4, how can you beat that.

There was a television over the bar playing a soccer match of local interest and most of the patrons were watching.

The Blackback in a great place to sit and enjoy a beverage. I highly recomend a visit.

Photo of monkeybutler
4.71/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I live about a mile's walk from the Blackback Pub and Flyshop, which - if you don't know - is directly across the street from both The Alchemist (a world-class brewpub, as far as I'm concerned) and the Reservoir (a great sports bar/restaurant with a solid beer selection).

You could spend a week in these three places and never run out of different types of beer to try.

If the Alchemist is the crown of Waterbury, VT (it is) then Blackback is the jewels in that crown.

I'll concern myself chiefly with the selection of beer - because that's the point, isn't it.

I've been to Monk's, and I've been to Toronado, and many places in between, and I have to say that Blackback punches above its weight. I mean, we're at least 200 miles from anything resembling a city, but Blackback manages to draw in some really great stuff, week in and month out.

Vermont itself punches above its weight when it comes to beer, but Rick (the proprietor) gets stuff from all over. I've had some very hard-to-find belgians both in bottle and on tap. I've had some obscure west coast beers. I've had stuff that you wouldn't think would make it to the east coast let alone some ski-resort cross roads in Vermont.

You'll just have to trust me that there's always something special on tap.

But the most surprising part of the Blackback is how small it is. There's room for no more than 10 people sitting, maybe 20 standing. That's it. 20 people packs this place. It's basically a down-under closet with a bar in it.

It's super-cozy by default. You might consider the cramped quarters a downside, but it lets Rick really excel at customer service...

Rick is a great guy - very generous with the sample pours, very beer-knowledgeable, and very engaging as a bartender. He knows how to pour a beer, and he knows what to pour it in, and he knows how to describe it to you.

He's also super-accommodating to women - and if the ladies don't like the beer he has, there's a really stellar wine selection. I could go on about the wine, but suffice to say that it would disappoint no oenophiles.

Full disclosure: I went into the Blackback on my birthday, and - not advertising it or anything, he saw my birthday when he carded me, and before I left he gave me a really nice long-stemmed Petrus glass as a gift (yeah, he had it on tap that day).

Any other downsides?

None that you wouldn't expect. Rick gets some very good beer on tap, so it's a bit pricey. But it's exactly as pricey as you'd expect.

Rick will serve food- I think he has some meat and cheese plates and maybe a panini sandwich press - but it's not a food destination by any means.

It's all about the beer.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention, he does sell fishing tackle there, and he does dispense fishing advice. Still, that's a side-gig from the main attraction.

Blackback Pub & Flyshop in Waterbury, VT
97 out of 100 based on 150 ratings.