The Bobcat Café & Brewery

The Bobcat Café & BreweryThe Bobcat Café & Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

5 Main St
Bristol, Vermont, 05443-1317
United States

(802) 453-3311 | map

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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 38
Photo of WRinMaine
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Had the pleasure of visiting the Bobcat during a bike trip through Vermont. It was a highlight of the trip.

Every beer I tried (IPA, brown, lager) was great. I gave selection only a 3.75 because they were out of a few beers (its stout and red ale). The beers are in such high demand the brewpub has a hard time keeping all the taps running, according to Dan the bartender. The brewer only works a few days a week at this point and just can't keep up with demand.

I was lucky enough to order the brewpub's LAST bottle of bourbon-barrel aged sour. It was a dark sour, reminiscent of an oude bruin. It was delicious. Unfortunately, the brewer wasn't there that day to tell me more about this beer.

Definitely worth a visit if you're ever in northern Vermont.

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Photo of KingdomBobcat
5/5  rDev +20.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Went here for my 21st birthday with family and friends. Absolutely love this place. Had their IPA, Scottish 90, and a Stout float for desert. Each beer was phenomenal, food was phenomenal, service was great, atmosphere is amazing but good luck making a reservation. Well worth the trip from any direction. Want to go back soon.

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Photo of laurastradford
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

We arrived at 7:00 on a Thursday and the place was packed. I am unfmiliar with Vermont so I had not realized that we would need a reservation. We found some seats at the bar after about 20 min. We ordered a delicious sampler of beer that included the Saison, Saison de cassis, huit huit, Zesammenavheit, Baltic Porter, Dennis Hop'rd. The three of us agreed our favorite was the huit huit. We ordered the meat and cheese platter. It hit the spot and had a nice variety. The bartender was extremely sweet and helpful helping us put together a great beer sampler. I would go back if I had a reservation.

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Photo of MsRif
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This was our first stop on our wedding/honeymoon road trip. We stopped in EARLY...and yet the place was extremely packed. No bar spots, so we opted for a table that was actually reserved for an hour after we arrived, so we had to make it a quick visit. Atmosphere was pretty nice...we were tucked away in a corner by a window where we could enjoy the very nice view which was great. Service was unfortunately slow which was understandable but unfortunate since we were there with a limited amount of time. Not really the server's fault, but it did make the experience less enjoyable since I felt I was in a rush to eat my food. Selection of beers was okay...a little sub-par, but still worth trying. Overall this place was very nice, just not my favorite experience and I think I'll probably skip it in favor of another venue next time.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Was passing through Bristol on our way to Middlebury and stopped in just after it had opened at 4pm during the week. In fact, the bar was already packed when we walked in around 4:15!

The cafe is quite beautiful inside and reminds me of an old-fashioned general store with lots of old wood, brick, and ornamental details. As we sat at the bar, the service was very attentive and very pleasant from the sole bartender working at that time. She was able to answer any beer-related questions we had, and recommended a couple things from the pub menu for us.

Ended up having the Dennis Hop'rd, Easy Rider, and Saison on-tap - All of which were incredibly good and exceeded our expectations.

As we were there before 5pm and thus restricted to the pub menu we had the Misty Knoll chicken wings and Grilled Flatbread which were both quite good and satisfied us.

Will be stopping in again after our experience of great ambience, beer, and food.

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Photo of tyamhydrogen
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

The bobcat has stellar local food at reasonable prices, especially compared to similar places in Burlington like the farmhouse. The menu changes with what's in season, and the farms the food comes from are listed, so you know everything is fresh as can be. The beer is quite good, but nothing extraordinary in my experience. Atmosphere is great and Bristol is a great little Vermont town. If you visit in the warmer months be sure to stop by Bartlett Falls up the road for some great swimming and cliff jumping! Would definitely recommend to almost anyone, more so for the food than the beer.

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Photo of brewprof
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Mark has found his niche.... superbly crafted beers that exemplify the style. The food coming out of the kitchen is well made and beautifully represents locally sourced ingredients prepared in interesting ways. Comfort food yes but expertly presented. Service is good. Bartender however is a character, who will serve his friends first, and give you plenty of attitude when you arrive at the bar. I've known expert "character" bartenders before, over 35 years of experience on two continents, and the best make their locals happy and puts strangers at ease. This guy misses the mark.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The main street of Bristol looks like a New England version of an old west prospectors' town, but within it, I discovered this nice little café. They make and serve their own microbrews, and their food is very good. Book in advance...people don't have much else to do if they live in this town! Anyhow, the atmosphere was very nice, quasi-English pub-like. The service was a bit slow considering how few people were there when we ate there. The beer on average was very good, and the food was extremely tasty and well-made.

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Photo of youbrewidrink
4.83/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I live only 15 minutes from here and have not even reveiwed one of my favorite places.

The minute you enter The Bobcat you can feel the intimate surroundings draw you in. It's not the largest place, but the space is well utilized and very comfortable.

Reservations seem to help as this place becomes very busy, especially on the weekends.

Mark the brewer really seems to brew beers in the tradition of the style, I absolutely love his Kolsch. That being said some of his departures are also outstanding.

Dining is always something we look forward to here. The creativity and focus on locally grown products just enhance the already tasty offerings.

This is one of those must do's if you are anywhere near Bristol.

Update: I had to move this place up to A+, we went last Saturady night and everything was just a step above awesome. Mark's beer was killer especially the Dennis Hop'rd.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

The scenic town of Bristol (Population 4000) is considered the "Gateway to the Green Mountains" and is home to the Independence Day Outhouse Races. It is also here where you can find Bobcat Café. Situated downtown, and across the street from its' Bedford Falls-like town square (You can almost hear George Bailey cry, "Merry Christmas Bobcat Café!"). Nevertheless it can be a very popular place. My first visit involved a 15-minute wait. My most recent one, we just grabbed a seat at the bar.

With that, the Bobcat is somewhat upscale and serves excellent food and several house beers. An intimate space, it is divided into a small, and sometimes cramped, bar area and a narrow dining room; in the back is Bobcat's small brewery; despite the limited size, I have had the opportunity to quaff their (very malty) porter and, most recently, a Scottish Wee Heavy that tasted like an amber ale with bacon. In any case, there is on hand a diverse selection of regional micros.

While great food, cozy ambience and superb service always make for an enjoyable night out at the Bobcat Café, great beer can always be had in Vermont. Rock Art Brewery, another superlative example, is a 90-minute drive away. There are daily tours and free samples.

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Photo of Hautacam
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

We stopped in for a beer after hearing some great things about this place. We had already eaten and so didn't try the food , but the menu had some really interesting entrees and appetizers...we wished that we had an appetite.
We tried several of their beers and they really were all very good. I settled for the Baltic Porter, which was excellent and my girlfriend had their brown ale. If I didn't have to drive I would have also had their Helles Bock, which was an extremely tasty malt bomb.
Atmosphere was nice. Pretty quiet even though the place was nearly full.
The bartender, Dana is a really nice guy and was very helpful and patient with the undecided duo before him.
Unfortunately we did have to pay for the 1 oz. samples; but they do warn you on the beer menu that they will charge a buck for each. That is the only negative thing I would say about this place and it will not stop us from returning.We need to try out some of their food...and more of their beer.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

I've been her a couple times now, and wow! I went because they are in the Vermont Brewers association, and are on the Vermont Beer Passport ( so I went on my way back from Otter Creek in Middlebury. I was expecting a little place with a couple of beers, but wow! They have about 10 different beers that they brew there (as well as 2 other taps), and a full bar. You can get $1 samples of anything, so between me and my friend we sampled them all and were very impressed. Quite a variety including a very good Wit, Stout and IPA.

If you go, I'd say try and stop of a Friday night as their bar tender is great. Very friendly, great service, and an awesome atmosphere. I don't know how old the bar is but it looks over 100 years old, but very well kept up.

I haven't had a chance to try their food but they have a pretty nice menu with all sorts of different types of food, It seems like a great date spot!

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Photo of Brad007
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5


I stopped in again today to check out this place. The bar service still needed some work as the bartender kept removing the beer list whenever I wanted to check it out and I had to ask him to bring it back so I could order my next beer. He also failed to heed my request for no onions on my burger, which I then offered to pick off but he just brought it back and they brought out another one. No worries.

But what really impressed me about the bartender (and there is ALWAYS an upside) is that he stopped me from going off the deep end on sampling beers. I have yet to find a bartender that knows when to stop serving people and I'm grateful for that. I was enjoying the beer so much and wanted to keep trying it and taking notes. Warrants a second visit in the near future though.

By the way, the burgers are still too expensive and the selection seems limited to me because for one thing, I'm not a foodie. There also seems to be some information missing on the menu, such as the fact that burgers come with fries and greens on the side and they have a grilled flatbread on the menu but the menu doesn't say what's on it. A bit more work on the menu and service and otherwise, they'd be perfect.

I stopped in at this place to enjoy a few beers and a meal.

The beer selection was awesome, 9 beers on tap of various styles.

The atmosphere was cozy and interesting. Kind of cramped but only in the dining area.

Service was not very good and I'll elaborate. Bartender served me a Lincoln Lager in a glass that was obviously dirty with some crud around the lip of the glass. I pointed this out and he replaced my Lincoln Lager. However, when it came time for me to get my check, he tried to charge me for TWO Lincoln Lagers. I had to point this out before he made his correction. Also, at least one other glass that I used was dirty (mainly smudges). They need to do a better job of washing their dishes because it's simply unacceptable in a professional setting.

Food was decent. I had a burger with Grafton Cheddar and Applewood-smoked bacon, medium. It was excellent. Fries were interesting and were spiced a bit. $12 was a bit much but the quality of the beer more than made up for the cost of the food.

Beer was off-the wall excellent. They have a talented brewer who knows what he's doing. I don't know how good the Ron Cotti era was but I think that Mark Magiera is decent and knows his stuff.

Overall, a very nice brewery and again, my only issue is with the dirty glasses. If you accidentally slip a customer a dirty glass, you need to replace their pint and not charge them double. It is out of their control.

Otherwise, a good place to check out.


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Photo of indiapaleale
4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Had a chance to stop in on a recent trip to Middlebury. Love the location, right on the main drag (if one can call it that) in can't miss it.

I'd say that the Bobcat Cafe serves a variety of clientele from those dropping in for a beer after work to those with dinner reservations. Its definitely a more "refined" brewpub if you ask me.

Food was great. I had a cornmeal encrusted haddock that was excellent.

Beer was very good as well. They had a doppelbock on tap that was delicious as well as a solid stout and IPA. They had Stone Smoked Porter on as there guest beer which was nice to see.

The service at the bar was very good and the bartender was extremely friendly (a la Vermont).

Great little place and worth the detour off Rte 7 to check out.

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Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

What a little gem this place is. I wasn't sure what to expect but our local host told us it was a nice place...and boy, was she right!

Nice location right on the main street in the idyllic mountain town of Bristol, VT, Heck, even the Bobcat sign hanging above the front door is cool!

Inside you get a great vibe with the 14 seat wooden bar, complete with a great, wooden, old-fashioned, English-style bar back, complete with carved gargoyle heads! off to the left. The main dining area takes up the front and right side of the building.

Interior decor is charming with lovely artwork along the walls, molded ceiling tiles, wooden flooring all melding into a quaint, warm inviting feeling.

Beers on tap consisted of 7 house beers and 6 guest taps. Also available were various domestic and imported bottles. I tried 4 of the house beers and all were done well. I especially enjoyed the Main St. Mild and App. Gap Simcoe IPA.

Our server, even though it was her FIRST night, did a fine job. She was pleasant and very professional. No complaints here.

Food was great with a focus on fresh,local produce. This is not a place that just does "pub grub". My meal was the Carnitas, which consisted of braised pork, hominy, green chile chutney, seasonal vegetables. It was absolutely wonderful,

Overall the Bobcat was one of the best surprises in a brew pub I have had in a while. Beers were good, food was great and the atmosphere was mountain charm cozy. I WILL certainly return next time our travels take us anywhere near Bristol, VT!

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Photo of scottg
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

After a long day of outdoor activity in the surrounding mountains, a stop by the Bobcat Cafe on Main St in Bristol is always rewarding. It is easy to find with a sculpture of a bobcat standing on a branch above the door. Once inside, you decide to sit at the beautiful antique bar on the left or some quaint tables to the right underneath unique tapestries hung from the ceilings. It is a comfortable setting.
The service at the bar has always been exceptional. The bar crowd is a mix of regulars and people "passing through". I've been waited on by 3 different bartenders, all of which were beer knowledgable and attentive.
The bar has 14 taps running with 8 house lines and 6 visitor lines including Ommegong & Sierra. The house beers have all been very solid. The bottle list has a number of high quality Belgians and a few macros. There is a full bar and the wine list is nice.
The menu is varied with pub food as well as more upscale options, so if you eat dinner your bill could get expensive. The food is worth the money, I've eaten here a number of times and never been dissapointed. The cheddar ale soup is made with house beer and is great. I had the braised pork carnitas on this trip and it was delicious. Sunday through Thursday, 4:30-6:00, they offer a beer and a bite which include a 12oz house beer with nachos, quesadillas, or mac & cheese for $7.50-$8.00.
The beer, food, and service make this a must stop if you're in the area.

Original Review: 4.15 Atmosphere-4.5 Quality-4 Service-4.5 Selection-4 Value-$$

*** EDIT 9/2/08 ***
There is a new chef/owner and some things have changed.
The atmosphere and front of the house staff remains the same which is great.
The bottle list has been dumbed down to Miller Lite, Corona, Heinekin and Labatt Blue. There are 9 house lines running with 3 visiting lines. I tried two house lines on this visit and was a little dissapointed. They weren't bad but didn't seem to reflect their style.
The biggest change comes in the menu, it is fantastic. Great food at affordable prices. I had the lamb sliders served with an eggplant dipping sauce and fries. Unfortunately, the beer and a bite special is gone. The wine list is another great deal, nothing over $35.
Overall, the food, which was very good, got better (moved from a 4 to 4.5). The beer was not as good but another trip is in the future (moved quality from 4 to 3.5). I dislike the dumbing down of the bottle list but with 12 running lines I couldn't reduce the selection points.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

This was the last of 4 places Alewife and I hit on a Saturday (19APR08) during a weekend visit to Vermont about 2 weeks ago. After spending most of the day in Burlington, we drove south then cut over to Bristol to hit the 'Cat. Ol' friend Artied2 recommended this place highly.

Found Bristol easy enough (don't blink) but had to double back on Main St to get to the Bobcat. It resides on the bottom floor of a brick building, with lots of windows and a drab blue-green exterior. A metallic sculpture of a bobcat perched on a tree-branch hangs above the front of the Cafe. The place is long from front to back, and as you enter there is a host/hostess stand right there to your left. There are 5 to 7 tables at the front near the window. Turning to the rear, the cafe is split by a short wall. On the left is the bar, to the right of the wall are some 2-seater booths along the wall, and tables for 4 to 6 along the short wall. The Cafe itself has low lighting, with brick walls throughout. Many light fixtures hang from the ceiling, with their incandescence giving the Bobcat a warm glow. The bar is dark wooded, with the back populated by glassware, wines, bier-taps and liquors. Pictures of this and that adorn the walls. The Bobcat has a really warm, comfy feel about it. Also, when visiting the WC, they have pics on the walls there of their own little stuffed Bobcat taken in various locales around the globe. Gotta love it!!

Alewife and I sat at the bar, and had the distinct pleasure of being served by a young gent named John. Very friendly and helpful, he was. On tap this eve were 10 of their own biers, plus guest bottles from near and far. I quaffed a great DBock, as well as short samples of their App Gap IPA, Maple Porter, and a belgian style Winter Warmer. All were tasty offerings, oh yeah! Now, though Alewife and I did have some apps, I don't feel qualified to comment on the food, this being the last stop on a long day of sun and suds. Next time then, eh?

I'd back up The Boy (Artied2) on his recommendation for the Bobcat. If you get to Bristol, please stop by. It's a super place.

Zum Wohl!!

vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 - $$


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Photo of coachdonovan
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4

A great little find in a great little town. Enjoyed the Bristol Pride ESB and a South Mountain Stout. Even my date, who isn't usually a big fan of dark beers, ordered a stout. Very friendly staff and clientele who made us feel at home. Menu options are somewhat limited but we both found something to make us happy and the food was tasty. Prices are a few dollars higher than they should be. Decor is combination of brewpub and small-town diner and library and family restaurant, but somehow it all works. They host live music on Thursdays, and it gets pretty crowded on the weekends, so we would make a reservation next time. It closes early but you can always head down the street to Reggie's (not at all craft beer bar but a great local place with friendly people)

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Photo of Longstaff
2.71/5  rDev -34.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2

Stopped in just after opening (opens around 4pm) on a Sat. evening for a few drinks and possibly some food. After reading the menu, a "few" drinks is all you can have here, since it is stated that they will only serve you a maximum of 4 drinks - I have never seen this kind of limit anywhere else.

Selection of house brews was quite poor - only two available at the moment - a diacetyl ridden esb and a passible porter - if it wasn't served on the nitro tap. Really unimpressed by the beer. Saving grace was SN IPA on tap, but that kicked after half a pint. Rest of the selection was average for the area except for the Ommegang 750ml bottles for $5.75.

Only snacked on some greasy onion rings, then decided not to stay for dinner since the beer selection was so poor and didn't see anything on the menu I really wanted. Service was poor considering we were the only patrons at the bar. The bartender seemed to be more interested in talking with the other employees than making sure our drinks were full and we had everything we needed to eat with.

Unless they put more focus on providing a better selection of house beers and making sure they are fresh, I won't be back.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

A very small place that was surprisingly very crowded on a Tuesday night in Bristol. The atmosphere was quaint and cozy with their own Bobcat memorabilia adorning the walls. Quality of both food and beer was quite good. Menu selections were limited but what they did offer was sure to appeal to just about all tastes. The waitress was attentive and prompt with service. Food was very tasty, arrived quickly, and was piping hot. Beer selection offered many of there own brews (about 5) some New England Locals (Smuttlynose, Otter Creek, Magic Hat) and some big name Euro's (Guinness, Bass, Harp, Stella). Also noteworthy: Hennipen and Rare Vos from Ommegang were in the bottle. Perhaps a little expensive, but the quality of the food made the price very reasonable. This a a good little spot, and one I'll frequent when in the area.

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Photo of slander
4/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

And then out of nowhere, (Evil) Davo says, "Okay dude, you're driving this next stretch". I'm thinking, "No big deal", as I had the whole thing mapped out and it seemed relatively straight forward. South on 100 and then west on 17. See, what Mapquest doesn't offer up is the part about 17 traversing over a large goddamn mountain, with not a lot of guard rail action and absolutely zero indication of the hairpin and "S" turns, back and forth and back again. You know, that kind of "heads up" will keep me from driving off the side of a mountain. That whole Kathy Bates "Misery" thing kept coming to mind...
Bristol is a little one strip Northern Exposure looking town at the foot of a mountain (Think Cicely, Alaska). Scored a brilliant spot just around a corner, and we're here for a beer, or two. It's a long narrow room, with a marble top bar counter seperating the "L" shaped wood bar to the left and a seating area running to the rear of the room on the right. The bar seats a dozen, with a large dark wood bar back, mirrored panels, booze, glassware and bottled beers. Books, trophies, toy trucks and bob cats pieces adorn the shelves of, and the area above, the bar back and there are just pez dispensers everywhere. Rows and rows and rows of 'em. The seating area and a small grouping along the front panelled glass windows hold about 2 dozen tables and booths collectively. Pressed tin ceiling, spot lighting over the bar and seating areas, tapestries overhead, and a long brick wall along the seating with paintings from the Accra, Ghana, Junior Art Club (some of it was pretty good). To the rear of the seating area lies a small glass room with brewing equipment, supposedly there's more downstairs.
14 taps in all. Of the 5 house taps, the Porter had kicked leaving us with 4 (Hefe, ESB, Kolsch, Bock) and then 9 guest taps, local (Trout River Red, Magic Hat Hocus Pocus, Wolavers Brown), regional (Smutty Lager, Allagash White), and blah blah imports ( Stella, Boddingtons, Guinness, Harp). Additionally, bottled Hennepin & Rare Vos, and 9 macros. Sampled 2 of the house beers. The Hefe was unfiltered, not overly bananananana, and the ESB, although not seemingly true to style was very nice. Unfortunately, they wouldn't be bringing their goods to VT Brewers Festival the next day so I only got to try these 2 beers there, which were solid overall. Service was pleasant, no 'plaints there. The place itself was a little tight. We were constantly moving and moving to get out of the way of the waitstaff running back and forth along the bar. If you don't have a seat at the bar or a table, you're in the way.

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Photo of celfan
4.95/5  rDev +19.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I absolutely love this place. Their own beer is great and if that wasn't enough, they have McNeills on tap. A really nice atmosphere made up mostly of Bristol locals (read yuppies, artists, farmers, and a few people who look they may kill you but won't). The food is really good and the staff is great. I'd reccommend going every other wednesday night when they have live music of all kinds.So far, these beers and McNeills are the best in Vermont. If you're in the Burlington area this is definitely worth the trip.

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Photo of scottum
4.95/5  rDev +19.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I'm glad I found this place. Same ridetime from my house as Burlington, except south instead of north. Nice and cosy. Pez despencers are everywhere! They brew a stout, a bitter, a kolsch, and an octoberfest, and now a lager, and now an old ale. Good solid beer. They also have a bunch of other Vermont brews on tap (including McNeill's) if you are looking for a different style. Their tap selection is awesome! Right on route 116 in Bristol. (Just take 116 all the way down from route 2 in Burlington, or come from another non-Burlington direction)

Food is out of this world! Make a reservation!!!

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The Bobcat Café & Brewery in Bristol, VT
3.84 out of 5 based on 158 ratings.
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