Three Needs Brewery & Taproom

Not Rated.
Three Needs Brewery & TaproomThree Needs Brewery & Taproom
BEER AVG
3.88/5
Based on:
5 Beers
14 Reviews
Place Score: 84
Reviews: 45
Visits: 68
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

185 Pearl St
Burlington, Vermont, 05401-8306
United States
phone: (802) 658-0889

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Reviews: 45 | Visits: 68
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.73/5  rDev -25.2%
vibe: 2.25 | quality: 2.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.75

They have moved to a new location and they are not currently brewing their own beer, which was a surprise to me. They don't expect to be brewing again for another year or so.

For what it is, a beer bar, this place is not worth visiting. The selection is pretty basic and boring. The most interesting beer I could find to drink was Allagash White. Nothing against that beer (it is great) but you can find that at basically every bar in VT.

The place is dark and very unfriendly feeling. Service was good enough but I had my quick pint and left. Prices weren't all that reasonable for what this place is. (606 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.76/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

We had a little trouble finding this place, I guess they have just recently moved so don't go to the College st location go to the Pearl St address next door to Fu Da Chinese restaurant. This place doesn't look like much from the outside, it looks like a house sandwiched between two bigger buildings. Its a nice open space inside with high ceilings and exposed wood adorned with breweriana. A small loft up above and a large area towards the back with 2 pool tables and a Foosball table. Small L shaped bar sits against the right had wall. Decent tap selection of maybe 12 with a focus on VT brews. The night we went they only had one house brew on tap, a Munich Lager that was decent. I'm not sure if they are done brewing or if they are behind from the move? No food served and a college bar type feel to it. Prices seemed good. (831 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

My fiancee and I really enjoyed Three Needs. After coming from the Vermont Pub and Brewery, which had a very family/touristy vibe, this place was the perfect antidote. Can't say what it's like in here on a weekend evening...probably pretty nuts...but on a quiet fall Sunday it was perfect. 2 TVs over the bar were showing 2 NFL games at key moments which I enjoyed but the sound was off and it's definitely NOT a sports bar..more of a dive if nothing else, with a pool table and darts in the back. About 10 total customers while we were here.

The bartender was very cool and friendly, chatty enough but not too much, and gave us a few free tasters to boot. The beer was really top notch and, not to pile on but, much better overall than the things we had at VPB. Prices were nice too...I think 4 or 5 bucks a pint. We had Super Chocolate Thunder Porter, Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse, and Scottish Kilt (I think) and they were all extremely well made and tasty. They also had maybe 6-10 guest taps of things like Stone and Long Trail.

Don't miss this one. It's well within walking distance - a few blocks - from VPB and American Flatbread. (1,139 characters)

Photo of Delraypete
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Can't add much to the previous reviews, but I wanted to contribute because I did like the place. It's a dive with nice house brews. Went on a Sunday evening while visiting town with a small group and there was maybe 3 other people there and 10 when we left. Bartender Troy was a nice guy and paid attention when we had an empty glass, but unfortunately he didn't know much about the beers when asked. He did give us his 3 needs notebook to contribute to, which was fun. We had beers I can't find on here, but which were pretty good - a Vienna style and the Sorachi IPA, which had an interesting dill aftertaste. We enjoyed a few and moved on to our next stop. (659 characters)

Photo of koopa
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Been here a few times now and could have sworn that I've written a review previously but I was mistaken. This place screams dive bar....lots of local college kids....lots of straight up drunks....cheap pints....a pay ppol table you can use for free because the glass panel is removed....loud (but good) music, etc.

Had the pleasure of meeting Dan this time who was a great bartender...perhaps the hardest working bartender in the state!

Selection is limited but enjoyable. The chocolate thunder porter is a must and the Ich Bin Ein Berliner was enjoyable.

Pints were less than $4 which is decent for the area.f (614 characters)

Photo of albern
3.43/5  rDev -6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 5 | selection: 3

This place is a bit rough. There is a pool table and pretty much a drunk crowd. I was in a foul mood because of my experience at Flatbread (read that review) and went to 3 needs. I had the extra stout, which I really enjoyed. The atmosphere was a real turn off, although it was pretty harmless. I'm just not into the drunken early thirties crowd. The $3.50 pints were as cheap as any I can remember. The samples were very generous and didn't cost anything. That's my kind of place. High marks on service. They had only 3 of their house beers on tap when I was there. (566 characters)

Photo of TheRowan
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Ya good spot for a beer if in Burlington! Don't go out of your way to hit it on a weekend. Way to packed with college phish kidss and girls who like girls (not that thats is a bad thing at all!). They do have good in house beers on the regular! No food and not a lot of room to move around! Not good for big parties but a good place for two or three!
Great place for early in a night! good locals at certain times! The pool table is always packed But duff hour on week days is not to be missed! cheep 1$ drafts for the hour! big simpsons fans (543 characters)

Photo of soccerman7
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Stopped by with friends on a thursday late afternoon. The brewpub is attractive when you first walk in. Walls are adorned with great Vermont beer signs and musical acts, and a little Simpson's shrine next to the bar.

Beer selection was pretty good. An all Vermont line up which was really cool. Had the Magic Hat Single Chair which was good, along with a few of their own brews. IPA was good along with their porter and really reasonable prices.

Only down side to the brewpub was the level of the music playing that was too loud and made conversation a bit hard. The pool table when in use made it difficult to get to the bathrooms.

The seating was ok, and was lucky enough to get a corner window booth (only 2 their), though an hour later it was packed. Service was very good and really didn't have to wait for a beer. The beers were served in standard pint glasses and I didn't really see any other style glasses there, though there may have been tulips.

A great quick after work place that makes good beer, but not an evening go to place. (1,048 characters)

Photo of jjboesen
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Somewhat away from the other beer destinations of Burlington, Three Needs (I know not what these are) is a small, raucous establishment that serves as a hangout for drunken students, local drunks and tattooed ne'er-do-wells.

And all the action takes place in a single, tightly-packed room; there is bar of moderate proportions on one side, a few tables on the other and a mandatory pool table near the restrooms in the rear. In fact, one must zig and zag through the Minnesota Fats wannabees to get to the bathroom.

There is a small selection of underwhelming house beers along with the mandatory regional crafts, so it won't be a complete waste of your valuable drinking time. My friend and I visited during the usual Saturday night rituals, so it was a bit of a crowd, but a well mannered one it was. Nothing was spilled, nobody was cursed at, and nobody went to the hospital. All in all, Three Needs is a quaint dive, but one unable to provide any reason to stay beyond a single pint. After all, this is Burlington where so much more awaits a thirsty Beer Advocate. (1,071 characters)

Photo of JimmyK77
4.8/5  rDev +31.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I was most excited about this place because they had a sour red ale on tap. I love this rarely-brewed style and this was a great sour red.

The location itself was fine for me - small crowded and loud - so probably not for everyone. But I was there for the beer, not the atmosphere. But if your looking for great beer and a good 'bar scene' you couldn't go wrong here. If you want a quieter place, I'd still go for the beer, but stick to non-peak hours.

Even with the crowd, the staff was friendly and attentive. The decor was very unusual. (541 characters)

Photo of Hautacam
3.19/5  rDev -12.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

OK, so we had to hit this place just to try it. Kind of knew it wouldn't really be my kind of place...being an old fart and all. I can see why some love this place...Duff, for example. Loud music and a divey cool atmosphere. But, I tried a few of their house beers and wasn't too impressed. The old ale was OK , but a bit too buttery and the porter was OK , but was super buttery. This is a really popular place and was pretty crowded at 5pm....Duff time still in gear.... but 3/4 of my beer consumed and it was....off to Flatbread ! (533 characters)

Photo of dasmith52
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I live in Burlington and this is one of the bars along with Vermont Pub and Brewery and American Flatbread that is worth going to. It is a relaxed atmosphere usually with classic rock (yes it can be loud, but its a bar in a college town) and there is always someone up for a game of pool.
There is a nice selection on tap of their own brews (try the chocolate thunder porter, the sour red, or any of their others) as well as a nice mix of other locals. There is also a good selection of different bottled beers.
A nice bar that has some really unique beers that is really cheap.
Avoid the other bro bars downtown and hit this or VPB up. (639 characters)

Photo of Yetiman420
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

My wife and I did a quick, one-day visit to Burlington in mid June which included visits to all three brewpubs in the downtown Burlington area - Vermont Pub, American Flatbread, and Three Needs (listed in rank order from best to very good). They're all within walking distance to each other and a block off the main pedestrian shopping area. These three visits put me at 195 breweries/brewpubs visited.

While Three Needs comes in third on my tour ranking, it is by no means a place to overlook. It's much more of a local type hangout and maybe not so much geared to beer geeks. I was even toying with the idea of skipping our final stop here until the bartender at American Flatbread mentioned they had a ~10 year old sour red ale on tap. Consider us in.

We hung out at the bar for about an hour and I put down two of the sour ales while my wife had one. It's not a beer for the masses and they made us sample some before pouring a full beer. Tons of respect for a brewpub willing to put this on tap.

Eclectic mix of music from heavy metal to modern alternative and a couple of small TV's with baseball on. (1,111 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
3.54/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

This place has some really interesting beers that you probably won't be able to find at most bars or brewpubs. That being said though, it really has more of a club atmosphere than a brewpub feel. I've only been there at night (after 10pm) and the music is very loud, it can be packed, and at times kind of a long wait to get a drink. However some of their unique beers (Such as their Sour Red & Scottish Wee) are worth dealing with it one in a while.

They usually have 4-6 of their own beers, some are standards (such as Kolsch in the summer) but they do consistently have beers that have been aging on tap. They also usually have quite a few other craft beers such as Sierra Nevada, Otter Creek and other Vermont craft beers. (727 characters)

Photo of dirkchivers
2.63/5  rDev -27.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3

I feel as though every single time i've been in this place its ridiculously packed with people who just got out of a very loud concert, thusly they are constantly yelling. I found the cost of things and the inattentiveness of the understaffed bar workers to be off-putting as well. It certainly was amazing that one person was handling the rush of Duff Hour, but it took way too long to get a drink and then find some place to huddle. Its a pretty typical bar if that's what you are in to, but its not for me. (509 characters)

Photo of FrankLloydMike
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

This was my first Burlington brewpub experience, and in some ways my best. Sure, the beer at American Flatbread came in more interesting styles with a crisper, fuller body, but Three Needs is different. I like a brewpub--and a bar for that matter--with a certain level of easily achieved sophistication, with dark lighting and good music. Three Needs is no such place, and I loved it all the more. It's loud with a pool table in the middle of the small space and a rowdy crowd, and the beer is cheap, and pretty good just the same. It's something different, and though it's not my usual kind of place, I'll always remember my first. (632 characters)

Photo of gdfan47
4/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

the place is really cool

everyday at 4 or 5 ( i forget which ) they put the simpsons on and they tap a keg of saranac lager and beers are a dollar till they run out.
The place gets crowded, (I have never seen more than one bartender working .. so you have to scramble sometimes to get a beer)

They have about 12 taps, half of which are their in house beers, other half are other micros

always an ecclectic list, like most BOP's their beer varies, I have just go with my gut. I have had a good dubbel there. The last time I was there they have SN Celebration, which I really like

.. oh and there is usually cute girls there....and not stuck up bitchy girls, usually nice girls (680 characters)

Photo of morebeergood
3.44/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

This was our first stop on the Burlington brewpub tour this past weekend. Managed to grab a nice seat in the window as we walked in. Atmosphere is kinda grubby, and I think that's what the are going for. The seats were a bit beat up, the staff was dressed kinda slouchy, and the decor was most jam band album covers etc. This is the most laid back brewpub I have ever been in, and I'll give them points for that. Service at the bar was quick and with a smile. There were about half a dozen Three Needs beers on tap, and about roughly the same number guest taps. We went with two Three Needs beers (I had the Abbey Single). While neither beer I tasted blew me away, this was the only bar that was kinda chill and we could relax in. So, it was a good visit. (755 characters)

Photo of Deuane
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A raucous, somewhat skeevy, local, college, granola, hippie, Rasta type hangout. A place to kick back, grab a pint and hang out with friends listening to (usually loud) music. Everything seems to have a patina of grime on it here.

Bartender was quick and attentive, no complaints here. Around a dozen of so taps with 4 or 5 being their own making. Decent selection of area micros with one being designated as the $1 pint!
House beers were like $3 ish a pint.

A fun place for sure...it is not in the same "class" as VT P&B or Am. Flatbread....but then again they aren't trying to be. A cool, hip, local hang-out is what they are trying to be and they do that well.

A good memory of a cold winter night sitting in 3 Needs watching Strange Brew....does it get much better than that? (782 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3/5  rDev -17.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5

Very loud but good music system. Some guest taps, which is lacking at other Burlington taps. Very safe area.Beer is OK, single guys take note there were 80% women drinking beer here on a Tuesday, higher than the already noticeable Burlington average. Certainly influenced by Quebec, certainly lonely.Good pint prices, as per all the pubs around. Worth a stop, but the other brewpubs about have improved their own brews more.Service was lacking, maybe because of the sudden crush that left some clubs with people lining up outside. (530 characters)

Photo of scottg
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

3 Needs is a brew pub for the college student. The beers are cheap, the walls are covered with Phish, Simpson, and VT brewery memorabilia, there is a pool table & video games in the back, & the two bathrooms are unisex and therefore dirty and dingy. Great music is a bonus, Bob Marley is a staple.
There are 12 taps, no cask, including 5 house taps at $3.50 a pint. The other taps include assorted VT taps and Saranac or "duff" which sells for $1.00 until it runs out. The bottle list consists of 3 Magic Hat offerings. There is a full bar for cocktails and shots. No food or bar snacks are offered.
The beers tend to be hit or miss. When you can find a Belgian style on tap, get it, they are all delicious!
The staff is knowledgable but tempermental. No real complaints but have never been really impressed either. I guess that happens when your regulars consist of college kids who don't tip well.
Overall, this is a college bar: the beers are cheap & the selection is limited. In another town, the selection might be impressive, but almost every bar in Burlington has the multiple local brews carried here. The good house beers are real good but the consistency is lacking. (1,177 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
3.64/5  rDev -0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Well, a busy afternoon in Burlington (on 19APR08) culminated in a stop at Three Needs for Alewife and me. With lunch at the Vermont Pub under our belts, and a couple mid-afternoon American Flatbread brews as chasers, we opted for this place for our Burlington dessert.

Situated on the lower floor (near the right corner) of a large brick building on College St, this brewpub is fronted by a couple of large bay windows, with the Three Needs triangular logo situated above the doorway. Once in, the bar is in the middle-right of the small, long (front-to-back) brewpub. Some small, cushioned booths are located at the front at each bay window. Along the left side are a few small tables, and a well-worn pool table takes its position in the rear of the place, on the way to the dingy restrooms. Behind the bar is a brick wall adorned with photos, pennants, bier bric-a-brac, liquor bottles and a TV. The opposite side is lower-half dark wood paneling, with painted wallboard above, with more pictures hanging here and there. A number of blah-looking light-fixtures illuminate the place, with some fans (and a disco-ball??) also hanging from the ceiling. With the TV and chit-chat of the clientele, I could not tell you what genre of music was playing. NBD...
The feel here was a bit divey, with a regularish type crowd of friendly granola-munchers. Not that there's anything wrong with that!! ;-)

We sat on the perimeter, and scored some bier from the bartender, who was efficient and on-the-spot, though not overly outgoing. Brief encounter, so benefit of the doubt applies. Had about 6 biers on tap, from what I could tell. Unsure of bottles, though they did have an extensive array of liquor behind the bar. The IPA I had was middle of the road; drinkable, but not a must-have. No food served here at all, too. Not a bad place, but after the VPB and AFB, it was a distant third, imho.

Zum Wohl!!

3.64
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 - $$

167 (1,974 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
3.74/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Located on College St. in downtown Burlington. Stopped in for a few pints after dinner at Flatbread on a Saturday night. Three Needs is a small establishment that attracts the local college kids. As you walk in the bar is off to the right with approximately four tables along the wall on the left. There are also two corner booths along the windows in the front. As you walk past the bar and tables is a pool table in the back before the restrooms. Although it was somewhat slow on a Saturday night, this place might get uncomfortable due to its size on a busy night. Five house brews on tap including the Ardennes Strong Ale and Coffee Stout, in addition to approximately five other regional offerings including Magic Hat, Trout River, Long Trail, etc. The Ardennes Strong was actually quite tasty and true to the Tripel style. The bartender was pleasant and prompt. Decent beer, good service, average selection, in a strange atmosphere. This place is perfect for grabbing a beer while killing time before a show and after dinner. (1,031 characters)

Photo of plaid75
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Small bar located on College Street. Strangelt didn't open until 4 PM on a Saturday.

The interior featured some nice old breweriana. Plenty of table seating and about 12 stools at the bar. There was a pool table in the back as well.

The draft list included Switchback (of course), Long Trail, Magic Hat, SNPA, Trout River, and sadly only 3 house beers, including the stout, which was pretty good. I still don't know where they brew their beers as there was no indication of brewing on premises.

At 3 beers for 10 bucks, the price was right. (550 characters)

Photo of mymrnngjckt
3.86/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Stopped here during my weekend at the Vermont Beer Festival. The place is small with a 15 seat bar on the right when you walk in and a couple of tables on the left. Also a pool table or two in the back. I had sampled a few of their own brews prior to going there. This place was a local hang out. A lot of "townies." Every one there was pleasant and the bartenders were polite and attentive. Other than not being able to sit down I enjoyed the place. I will have to go back when it is less crowded.

Updated: I stopped back here to give this place another try during my most recent visit to VT. Sitting at the bar provided me with better service and an overall better time so i am giving this place a better review. (715 characters)

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Three Needs Brewery & Taproom in Burlington, VT
84 out of 100 based on 45 ratings.