Blackback Pub

Not Rated.
Blackback PubBlackback Pub
BA SCORE
98
world-class

182 Ratings
Ratings: 182
Reviews: 69
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: n/a
Taps: 22
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

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

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: mariano42 on 05-20-2010

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 182 | Reviews: 69
Photo of slander
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Let’s see. Drove a few hundred miles on up, and then started with growler fills and bottles well out, and worked my way back in for necessary Heady procurement. That’ll see you to mid to late afternoon with no foreseeable plan. So then you Waterbury, ‘cause you’re there, and that’s what you do. Start by parking the corner. ‘The’ corner...

I parked just out front, shocker. Step down step down step down! If you didn’t step down, you fell down. If you fell down, then get up; seriously, you’re embarrassing yourself. Small room with a wide plank laminated topped ‘L’ shaped bar with a ‘step on it’ break, dark wide wood plank base, and brass foot rail; seating for a half dozen +. Shiny brass copper bar tower on the bar holds 8 taps (half of them on nondescript handles), a handpump on the end, unused, and a vintage cash register in between.

The outer wall is stone & brick, not surprisingly for this ground floor, and swirly, a shade of green painted pieces in white trim; the sills of which hold empty bottles of beer, bourbon, & wine. More green painted inners with a single flat on the back barback wall, over a shelf of bourbon and sinkage. The décor of plates, trays, fish prints, & mounted pieces. Worn plank floors and creeky rafter ceilings holding a pair of glassware racks full of Hill Farm stemware, and whiskey boxes & tubes, license plates, and keg collars on the beams above. Bottles clustered on both ends of the bar and riddled about. Some track spots, and good light through the panel door & windows over Main Street. Drafts printed on corner black board pieces.

And through to the side room with some more bar space; a ‘U’ seating nearly a dozen, mostly on hightop wooden chairs, but some on squared stools. The bar top here is old bowling lane action, I do dig it. Another tower of 8 back there and a pair of threesies. Plank back wall and blackboard end wall; the taps listed in alt colored chalk with pricing. Coasters plastered to the ceiling back there, and a gaggle of Cantillon bottles (hey, you want to hear a crazy story?) Another flat back here for the looking at, and seating on church pew bench and stadium seating attached.

Looks like space for 22 taps in all, but a few are off, only a dozen and a half up just now; nearly ½ are Vermont offerings (Lost Nation Gose, Hill Farmstead Edward & What Is Enlightenment?, Jacks Abby/Lawson’s Smoked Maple Lager, Lawson’s Spring Fever Session IPA & Paradise Pale Ale, Zero Gravity R. Prime IPA & Conehead), and the remainder a mix of craft beyond borders (Stoudts Kolsch, Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo Especial, Bear Republic Racer 5, Ten Barrel Apocalypse IPA), imports (Djaevlebryg Gudelos, Mikkeller Black Hole Stout, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Hofbrau Hefe), and a pair of ciders (Citizen Cider Unified Press & Witness). I drank the Lawson’s Spring Fever Session IPA (comes in at 3.8%, was really goddamn nice), Lawson’s Paradise Pale Ale (the goods), and Zero Gravity Conehead (solid wheat IPA). And as Mad Tacos happen here, I went with a pair of the Carnitas (onion, cilantro, dealt with mole sauce sided, tasty, with a bit of heat), they were mad excellent.

Revisited a few months later with Dev & Adisa on the heels of a day like every other one I do in Vermont. Started with the Lawson’s Big Hoppy Black IPA (awesomesauce), and followed up with Hill Farmstead Life Without Principle (a 2 hop blend with hibiscus, Did. Not. Suck). And there will be tacos, yo. I split my pair between the Chile Colorado (avocado, onion, & cilantro in a mole sauce), and the Al Pastor (onion & cilantro in a verdi sauce). Both very good but the latter of the two was champion, true. Adisa disrespected our local Brooklyn taco joint by stating that these were the best tacos he’s ever had. I have suggested doing more tacos here and bagging the work dinner, but there’ll surely be trouble for it.

They do have a small bottle list, notables including Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze Golden Blend, Rodenbach Vintage Oak Aged Ale 2009, Mikkeller It’s Alive). Tunes have been excellent (Stones, Pink Floyd, Kinks, Pearl Jam, Santana, Van Morrison, Talking Heads, Beatles); soundtrack of my life. Servicewise, both times out the Mattender started on and passed things off to Lauren, all good. A fine group of locals, here. We’re talking mead and Weihenstephaner, and all sorts of stuff. Great rotating tap list Vermont local goods heavy and mad, mad tacos.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%
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 Sammy
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Exceptional place to have a beer. Smallish in size, but big in quality, with top notch HF and Lawson Liquid offerings. People were friendly and relaxed, its a go-to place for knowledgeable beer drinkers from the region and from Montreal. Knowledgeable includes staff. Monday nights are the new arrivals. Prices reasonable, but not cheap for HF. Only high quality offerings here.Worth going out of your way for, i.e. if you re only planning to visit Burlington.Up there as a destination, so don't miss it.

Photo of sholland119
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
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 Rifugium
4.08/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

Great bar in Waterbury, and part of an easy 3-part pub-crawl, also including the Reservoir and Prohibition Pig. The Blackback is in the basement of a building, rafters in plain sight, and gives off the vibe of, well, pretty much drinking in your best friend's basement, assuming your best friend keeps a bunch of great local VT beers on tap. The bar is on the smaller side, and split between two small rooms, with seats for about 15 people or so, and tables lining the walls. Not a lot of room, but that just means more intimacy. Decor includes breweriana, lots of beer trays, with somewhat of a hunter-fisher lodge feel going on.

Again, 9 beers on tap (this has increased lately), mostly good local selections (including Lawson's and Hill Farmstead), with a small but decent bottle selection as well, and you might find a viciously priced HF bottle on the list at any given time. The bartenders are typically friendly, attentive and knowledgeable; 3 for 3 there. Prices were quite reasonable...if you consider a 10-12oz. HF pour for $7-8 reasonable.

There is now a small food menu, with south-of-the-border type offerings supplied by Mad Taco. I've had three different things from them at this point, and so far...they've all been pretty lousy. Like really bad. Like Taco Bell is much better.

Definitely worth a stop-in if you find yourself in town. And if you're staying in Burlington or any nearby area, you should eventually make the 30-45 minute trip to Waterbury, for this little cluster of pubs. Highly recommended for the taplist, not so much for the food.

Photo of orangesol
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here after my dinner at the Pig. Atmosphere was nice, it is not the biggest place in the world but I easily got a seat at the bar and was greeted by a very nice bartender. She ran me through the tap list and offered a few thoughts on some of the ones I had not tried yet which was awesome. They had a bunch of Hill Farmsteads on as well as a few Lawson's so I stuck with those. I went with the HF Simcoe single hop and the Lawson's Hunger Mountain 40th and they were both excellent and sever in the correct glasses.

My food score is not indicative of how it tasted, rather how much they offer. Food was sparse upon my visit but I hear they are upgrading the kitchen very soon so I look forward to seeing what they come up with in the future. I got the cheese plate and it was very good and totally worth the money. Overall a really awesome beer bar that I will definitely return to when I am in the area.

Photo of jjboesen
4.44/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

As previous reviews have indicated, this place is WAY into flyfishing; however, it is also into providing patrons with a hearty supply of Vermont craft beer.

The Blackback Pub and Flyshop is one of several excellent venues along the Main Street of Waterbury – see my review for Prohibition Pig, which is across the street. The décor is that your grandfather’s country lodge: heather green walls and vey heavy on the fishing paraphernalia, which is scattered throughout this small bar. What I liked was the availability of several Farmstead beers; this in itself makes for a worthy trip. The service was friendly and efficient. No food is served, but then you’ll probably pig out at the aforementioned Prohibition Pig prior to your visit here.

A leisurely quaff at the Blackback Pub brings to mind an old, and appropriate, adage:

“Give a Man a fish and he’ll eat for the day; teach him to fish and he’ll sit in a boat and drink beer all day.” Wise.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.68/5  rDev +5.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

This quickly became my favourite beer spot in Waterbury after my first visit. Great low-key atmosphere, which is a big contrast to the other spots in Waterbury. The tap list wasn't huge but was full of great stuff, including a few from HF (Abner, Edward, Everett, George), Sip of Sunshine and Beer Geek Brunch Weasel. Service was excellent as well. Did not have any food here. The perfect place to go for pints after dinner at Pro Pig.

Photo of Goldorak
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
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 mynie
4.35/5  rDev -2%

My favorite places are the ones where when I first go in it seems like the people don't like me but then after a few minutes they figure out I'm cool and treat me real good. This was one of those places, but my enjoyment of it was very particular to me. If you are a not an abrasive, "love him or hate him"-style weirdo like myself, then this joint might not work for you. If you are, well, welcome to a real nice joint, friend.

The tap selection was limited, but everything was Capital-G good, and frankly I'd prefer that to 25 taps where everything is just lower-g good.

The vibe was an entrancing mix of the vibrant and the dingy. The walls were green. Lots of bottles and piping and old plastic buckets all covered in dust with basement cobwebs clumped in the uppermost corners of walls. The dude behind the bar had a conversation with us about god remembers what. It was a very nice place and I hope someday to go back there again.

Photo of TheBungyo
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Visiting Blackback was a great way to try a few different offerings from Hill Farmstead without driving all the way to the brewery and waiting in a ridiculous line. Very good service and tasty food. The selection of brews on tap was heavily geared toward local, which was nice to see. A must visit when in Waterbury.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
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 koopa
4.28/5  rDev -3.6%
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 GreesyFizeek
4.84/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

My favorite bar on my Vermont trip. Just, wow.

The bar is nestled a little bit below street level. Two rooms, with a very long bar. Not much table space. The combination of a fishing/tackle shop along with a premier craft beer bar always makes me smile. They've got all the Vermont goodies you could want on tap- Lawson's, Zero Gravity, and HF abound. They unfortunately had no Lawson's on when I went, seems like the stuff kicks pretty quickly whenever it's tapped. Like flies to a light.

They had some interesting other stuff too that I'd never heard of. About 15 taps, and all interesting. The one bartender deftly served everybody, and was able to talk beer with us at the same time. The beers were a bit expensive, but not unreasonable for the quality. Got some Hill Farmstead James, a S&S #1, and a Zero Gravity Narconaut.

The food is provided by a taco place called Mad Taco- I guess they have a full restaurant elsewhere, but operate out of this bar as well. Seriously killer tacos- they gave me a ton of sauces to put on it, with "heat ratings" on them. The #10 sauce was nuclear. Some of the best bar food I've ever eaten.

Simply one of the best.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.61/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

Awesome service. Had some 8 or so Hill Farrmstead beers on tap, as well as Lawsons and other local stuff. Neat small little place. Definitely worth a stop in. Had the maple bacon cheesecake and it was delish.

Photo of FrankLloydMike
4.66/5  rDev +5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

My friend and I stopped in here after having dinner and a couple beers at the Prohibition Pig this past weekend. It's a place I've been meaning to visit for a long time.

Years ago when I was living on Mission Hill in Boston and doing my laundry in the creaky basement laundromat of a nearby triple-decker, I had a dream of a laid-back, basement bar. It was a literal dream I had in my sleep, but the idea of a hidden, dark, but welcoming bar in the basement of one of the sleepy buildings in the neighborhood was very appealing. I'm not sure what they had on-tap in the bar of that dream, but since I was 19 or so, it was probably Pilsner Urquell or something of considerably lesser quality.

Well, the Blackback seems to have been that dream come true, except that instead of pouring yellow beer, the Blackback offered six Hill Farmstead taps, a couple (I believe) Lawson's and a handful of other wonderful beers.

The prices were reasonable, the service friendly and attentive, the beers fresh and delicious, and the atmosphere was, dare I say it, dreamlike.

Photo of tbeckett
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Stopped in at Blackback twice (one day, one night) during a weekend in Waterbury.

The atmosphere in this place is great. Really small and welcoming. Their website gives you the impression that this is more of a fishing spot than a bar, which seems incorrect. One long bar split into two rooms with two tvs showing hockey in the day and odd movies at night. There was a bit of a fight when we went at night, apparently about ice cream, but the ones involved seemed like the type to start that sort of thing. Blackback can definitely be described as cozy.

Lot's of the heavy hitters from Vermont on tap and pouring nice. Nothing was off.

Nice enough bartenders that were chatty when it was welcomed and left us alone when we were talking. They seemed to know enough about the beers they were serving, but we pretty much knew what we were getting before ordering. Glassware had lipstick on it and the problem was fixed quickly. Put on the hockey games we wanted to see.

Hill Farmstead, Lawson's, etc. Gooood stuff. Some of the more interesting brews from these guys were available and quite a few interesting taps alongside those. My only complaint is that they could have more taps, but they seem to be going for quality instead of quantity.

The food is pretty awesome here. I had two tacos which were amazing. One was kimchi and pork which blew my mind. Probably the best tacos I've ever had, and quite cheap if I remember correctly. There is also a selection of about 6-8 home made hot sauces which were all cleverly named and tasted great.

Just go to Blackback.

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.8/5  rDev +8.1%
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 sirsteve42
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Another one of the must do's when in the waterbury area. I've been to blackback a dozen times or so and the draft selection never lets you down. All the best Vt craft at this small watering hole. I went with an hf abner followed by a lawsons chinookered and double dose....need I say more!
Its a small bar and tough to get a spot at the bar on a weekend but worth the wait once you do. Once you do get that spot you can order some mad taco which is simply awesome stuff.
Blackback is an absolute must when in the area. Cheers

Photo of Chincino
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This place was a great spot for us to visit on a rainy evening in Waterbury. The atmosphere was great, very homey and relaxing.

We sat at the bar and the bartender provided good service and was knowledgable about the beers. I tried a couple of Hill Farmstead beers including my favorite of the night which was the Everett Porter.

The beer selection was great and the food was good as well. We split an all root pizza which had beets, squash, etc on it which was good. It was a rare place that offers both sushi and pizza in the same spot. They had cards to play so we had a relaxing time playing cards and drinking great Hill Farmstead beers.

I would definitely check this place out if you're in the Waterbury area.

Cheers!

Photo of youbrewidrink
4.35/5  rDev -2%
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 Macsimus
4.95/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Loved this place. Went several times while enjoying a two night stay in town.

GREAT draft selection and loved the atmosphere : ) Great patrons too!!

Photo of woodchip
4.54/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Killer small place with an awesome vibe. I didn't eat any of the food because I already ate at the Reservoir. The taplist is not huge but the beers are! Dig this place, and is another must if in the area.

Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
4.71/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

By far my favorite bar in Waterbury. Always putting on the best of the best as far as VT beers and the staff is always a joy to hang out with. Everyone in this place is super friendly and they know what they are talking about. Love this place.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.8/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Blackback Pub in Waterbury, VT
98 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.