Blackback Pub


79 Reviews
Blackback PubBlackback Pub

Type: Bar, Eatery

1 Stowe St
Waterbury, Vermont, 05676-1820
United States

(802) 505-5115 | map

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Added by mariano42 on 05-20-2010

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Reviews: 79 | Ratings: 224
Photo of billfaulkner73
2.31/5  rDev -48.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5

My friend and I Stopped in and was surprised that the pub was dead on a Saturday night, the selection was horrible, very limited craft beers, nothing that could not be had at the corner bar, our beer was served in Brandy glasses the Barmaid was rude and very terse and we spent almost forty dollars for three beers. I had heard very good things about this pub but was very let down...the kicker was the rude comments about our accents as we were leaving, didn't think I would see that kind of small mindedness in Waterbury.

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Photo of Mikeluzzjr
2.78/5  rDev -38.1%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3.25 | service: 2 | selection: 3

First time visiting during the HF anniversary. Chose this place over the other 2 bars because their website and numerous other places said they open at 11am, and the other 2 bars were opening at 11:30. Turns out, they decided to open at 11:30 also. Off to a bad start. Wait in line about 2 hours, and I'm not very far back so I know I'll get a seat at the bar. Finally the doors open (last of the 3 bars to actually open the doors) and as we start moving in, they decide to throw open another door behind me so that a bunch of people I was in front of get in first. Needless to say, I did not get a seat at the bar. We are told they have 22 lines pouring, and I see 22 beers listed on the board. Can i have an Abner? Not on yet. Damon? Nope. Edward cask? Not yet. So of course, after hanging out and drinking everything else, I still never got these beers. The other really awesome thing was that none of the prices on the board were correct. I order 2 beers that should be $13... they charge me $18. 2 that should have been $15, they charge me $17. Or I was getting half pours for 50 cents less than the full pour that the menu said I would get. Overall just really unhappy with the experience at this place.

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Photo of Bueuze
2.83/5  rDev -37%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 2

For such a small place they certainly are expensive. I saw what looked like a good pizza special on the wall (apples, balsamic reduction, carmelized onions, cheddar cheese, and bacon). Didn't see a price until I looked at the menu on the other side of the restaurant where a price was listed there. $16?! Wow, it better be good. Pizza was maybe 10"-12" and served to me on a big awkward wooden pizza peel. WTF?! Not sure where they found the inspiration for that presentation. Toppings were sparse and pizza was overcooked so I'm not really sure what I was paying for.

Pours aren't cheap. The upside is that there are usually at least 5 Hill Farmstead taps on. Even though I don't mind having the selection, it seems like a slap in the face of all the other Vermont craft brewers. Downside is the good chance of getting it through a dirty tap line. I had an Ephraim that I'm pretty sure had about half a glass of Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale in it. I got to try another sample (given to me by the bartender after hearing it didn't taste right) after a bunch more glasses had been poured and the difference between what I got earlier and that was not even arguable, but it still didn't taste right. I just had that batch of Ephraim at the brewery the week before. Edward also seemed a little off. Earl and Abner tasted right.

Service otherwise was good. Atmosphere was the best thing about this place. Probably won't go here again.

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Photo of Cascade77
2.98/5  rDev -33.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

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.

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Photo of nopucophop
3.43/5  rDev -23.6%
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.

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Photo of beerbully
3.61/5  rDev -19.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.25

A-Visited on a Sunday afternoon for beers and a was fairly dead with a few people at the bar.

Q-beers were served in proper glassware

S-took a while to pour the beers as it seemed the bartender didn't have the taps set right. One beer that was served took at least 5 minutes to arrive from the time it was ordered. Beer was foaming into glass and bartender poured into another glass and finally serve an $8 dollar beer that was half beer and half foam. As she served it she said, "that's the best I could do"...she still charged full price despite recognizing the inferior pour. This was the first beer ordered and set the tone for the visit.

S-Beer selection was clearly written on a big chalkboard on the wall. Great selection of beers including Lawsons, Heady, and Hillstead.

F-ordered the Cuban sandwich tasted good but a bit slim. Not much meat in the sammy slice of pork and one slice of ham

V-considering the service, the poor pours, and the size of the sandwich, there are better places nearby...that offer the same beers

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Photo of CliffBrake
3.78/5  rDev -15.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A great selection of about 30 taps. Locals were featured prominently, including 3 from Lawson and 5 from Hill. However, the Hill Galaxy was last brewed 3 months ago, so I am not sure how (or if) they manage to keep the stock fresh. There were a lot of imports - many of which I was not familiar with. I would love to try a lot of them. I tried a few of the Lawson's selections, which were quite tasty but served very cold for the style of beer that they were.

Unfortunately the blackboards were situated where there were only a few seats in the house where you didn't have to get up to read all the choices. Beers were listed by name, style, abv and price. The brewery or state/country of origin was mostly not listed; nor was the pour size.

Service was a little stand-offish. Questions about the offerings were referred to the blackboards. Further information or samples were not offered. It was difficult to get the barkeep's attention. Food choices were limited to calzones, sushi and a cheese plate. Other offerings were not delivered or had sold out (as I overheard from other patrons requesting food options). We showed up fairly hungry for a late lunch, which turned out to be a mistake!

Prices are a little steep, especially for the pour sizes. Overall, a pleasant and unusual pub (local craft brew and fishing - what could be more Vermont than that?). I would visit again, but I would probably prioritize on one of the other great craft pubs in northern Vermont if I had a choice.

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Photo of Jayli
3.8/5  rDev -15.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Hit this place up after the suggestion of bobv.

It took a little bit to find this place .. based on my GPS, they essentially have the same address as the wine bar that on the same corner but upstairs. Finally found it..what an odd little set up. Extended bar and almost nothing but bar that's square (though the back is against the wall). You can definitely tell where the extension was put in - it almost seems like two seperate places. All wooden bar, roughly three crammed tables that are underneath a blackboard at the far end listing their food and beer offerings. Nice selection of local beers - plenty of Lawson and Hill Farmstead which is exactly what I was looking for!
We went in hungry and ready to eat and drink... however, not a great food selection. Pizza, calzone and sushi. I don't like sushi, and the size of the bar..wasn't all that condusive to grabbing a pizza and such.
Bartender was pretty on top of things and seemed pleasant enough. We didn't spend much time interacting but our order was taken and served promptly.
The prices here are extremely high and based on the food selection, not worth it for the food. The beer is steep in price based on the pour size, however what they offering somewhat makes up for it.
My partner and I stayed for a drink, and then walked across the street to grab food. This is a place for sitting and drinking - so hit somewhere else first for food, but get there relatively early as there isn't much space and seems like it could fill up quickly.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.08/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

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Photo of easong
4.1/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Went here looking for what everybody is looking for: Alchemist, Hill-Farmstead, and Lawson's. Found all were recently here but gone. If I lived in town I'd be here every day checking for the latest. Good fresh-Mex food options, and plenty of decent VT taps. Of the 3 or 4 destination pubs in Waterbury this one is the diveiest in the best sense -- nice staff, good folks hanging around. A classic beer destination in one of America's best beer states.

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Photo of LostHighway
4.15/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Small but nice place! Please note that I'm apparently an atypically hard grader, most of my scores for both beers and places skew negative, but this is a very good pub and I'd happily return.
The tap list isn't exceptionally long but they did have more than half-a-dozen Hill Farmstead & Grassroots offerings along with a good selection of other beers. My only criticism, and this is far from unique to the Blackback, is that the tap list was too IPA and DIPA heavy. As much as I like these styles IMO they aren't great food beers and the Blackback has a very good kitchen. There were no saisons on the tap list when I was there and few lagers and true pale ales. Weihenstephaner Vitus was as close as they came to a hefeweizen. I know the public clamors for IPA, DIPAs and Imperial Stouts but great tap list diversity is good thing as far as I'm concerned.
The food I tasted was considerably above average for pub fare.
As noted Blackback is small so it can get both crowded and noisy but it has a good convivial feel.
I've had excellent service there - knowledgeable, attentive without being obtrusive and friendly without being smarmy or overly familiar.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of coachdonovan
4.22/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of Roguer
4.23/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Great tap list, with tons of local selections, including Hill Farmstead, Zero Gravity, and others. I had a ZG Conehead Wheat IPA, which was excellent. While they didn't have Heady Topper on tap, plenty of other local places did; that actually freed up a tap for something different, so I had no complaints. They also had two different years of SN Bigfoot - 2010 and 2009, if I recall correctly.

Food is mostly tacos and burritos. I enjoyed a Cuban sandwich that was enjoyable if not particularly remarkable. I hear the rest of the food is quite good, as well.

Pub itself has a nice enough look, with a couple of connected bar areas.

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Photo of Sammy
4.24/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of TheBungyo
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

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.

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Photo of hudsonheat
4.25/5  rDev -5.3%

Finally got into this place on my recent trip to Waterbury. Great beer selection, cool vibe. Want to check this place out on a cold winters night in February.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.28/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

I stopped here with my girlfriend before we hit The Alchemist. We got in and there was a bartender and 1 patron sitting at the bar wearing shades and looked like one of my friends. Off the bat i saw 5 Hill Farmstead brews on tap Abner, Double Galaxy, Earl are all i can remember along with DFH Burton Baton. Small selection but very nice. We watched some Mel Gibson movie and all laughed at the recent mishaps he has had. Excellent time talking to them about the HF Farmhouse Ale event along with other beer and random things. Beer was fresh and delicious along with the fun atmosphere. Great place with great beers, perfect beofre or after the Alchemist.

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Photo of koopa
4.28/5  rDev -4.7%
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!

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Photo of Chincino
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
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.


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Photo of youbrewidrink
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of mynie
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%

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.

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Photo of sholland119
4.36/5  rDev -2.9%
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.


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Photo of Goldorak
4.36/5  rDev -2.9%
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!!

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.4/5  rDev -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.

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Blackback Pub in Waterbury, VT
4.49 out of 5 based on 224 ratings.
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