Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Up in Morrisville VT, there's a little brewery in the middle of nowhere that has a great vibe, space, food and of course.. beer. That's why their very catchy slogan is, "Those who wander are not lost," and if you wander up near Lost Nation, you'll have found just what you were looking for. Now, this all happened two years ago-- we hadn't even thought of doing this blog yet, but since I took so many pictures here, and the fact that I'm still thinking about it years later- we had no choice but to do a post. The first time I ate at Lost Nation was towards the end of July, I went with my sister, my cousin, a friend and of course- Chris. We were all staying at the Trapp Family Lodge at the time and wanted to get off the mountain for a bit and discover what else Vermont had to offer. It was a very scenic drive from the Trapp Family Lodge to Lost Nation. When we pulled up to the brewery we could hear people talking and laughing at this local small-batch brewery, which is always a good sign that you're at the right place. Walking in, we noticed a good sized lake (Lake Lamoille) adjacent to the Lost Nation's building. Being curious, we peaked our heads back around and saw people walking around the lake using the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (an old railroad repurposed as a community walkway and bike path)- good to know if we ever took this rail trail, I could always stop by and grab a beer on the way!
Entering the brewery's outdoor area we saw about 6 green picnic tables lining the long space, gated in by a red wooden fence. The brewery felt very cozy and inviting like you were at a barbecue at a friend's house. There were definitely more than a few locals and regulars feeling the same. They had planted themselves for the next couple of hours and were not planning on leaving anytime soon. And with all the games to play and beers to drink, I couldn't blame them.
We took our seats and examined the chalkboard filled with specials and new rotating beers that hung overhead. The menu itself looked incredible, I immediately took note of all the local meats and cheeses they used. When you're in Vermont, you NEED to try the local meats and cheeses - it's just a rule, you gotta. When our server came over, she was super knowledgeable, explaining all the beers to us in full detail as well as told us her favorite beers and the best meats and cheeses on the menu. Now, being in the industry myself, I always go with what the server/bartender recommends. At a fine dining restaurant - don't- they'll just try to sell you the most expensive items on the menu (believe me, I did the same thing), but at a brewery, everything is more or less the same price, so they'll actually tell you what is good. And plus after a few weeks with end-of-shift drinks, servers/bartenders usually know which beers are best. As a server and bartender myself, wherever I work I always give an honest opinion of what beers and food are better.
We got our beers (flights of course), and one sip after another, they went down easily. I turned to my cousin Sarah and said, "These are so friggin good!! Why are these so friggin good?!" At the time I was still on the cusp of not being allergic to hops anymore- so I tested the waters with beers that were low in IBU's (International Bitterness Unit; a good way to judge how hoppy a beer is.) At most places, I usually had very few options, but at Lost Nation, they had many to pick from. I tried their GOSE, and holy CRAP it was delicious. A refreshing light beer brewed with coriander and sea salt, slightly tart, and just somewhat citrusy. I could taste every flavor- each one evenly balanced without one flavor overpowering another. Their pilsner had so much flavor too, much better than the typical pilsner, which to me just tastes flat. Even their heavier brews didn't make you feel like you were drinking a "heavier beer." Their Pitch Black Ale drank much lighter than most porters or stouts I've ever had. The brewers at Lost Nation have a very different style of brewing that I hope people will come to respect. It's so new and exciting that I still think about it two years later! If that doesn't tell you how impressive this beer is- I don't know what will...
As for the food, it's exactly what I want when I'm drinking delicious brews on a hot July evening- BBQ. Lost Nation serves up classic cookout fare like hot dogs and burgers- but they classed them up on a bit, making them stand out from the rest. They also had a local "Vermont cheese of the Day" with toasted bread, patchwork farm matzo and fruit butter- yes, please! I had a pork belly sandwich and a North Country Smokehouse hot dog with local cheese and meats- CHEESE AND MEATS! One of the coolest things about Lost Nation is that they're always changing the menu, so every time you go you can get something new. Right now they have a roasted lamb pita sandwich and a chorizo burger that is making my mouth water just thinking about it. This is the perfect place to get that laid-back atmosphere, but without any skimping on the quality of the food or the beer.
Now, I love von Trapp brews- and now I know why I love Lost Nation's too! The owners were brewers at Trapp Lager Brewery! " Van Anda joined as founding brewer [of Von Trapp Brewing] in 2009; he brought on Griffith as his assistant a year later." (Seven Days Vermont) I don't know if Jamie Griffith and Allen Van Anda realize it or not, but they definitely got influenced by the European stylings of von Trapp beer. Their own brews are still very different, but like any great artist- they drew inspiration from it and made it their own. "What sets Lost Nation's beers apart, perhaps, is that none wallops you in the face with its alcohol level; at 5.9 percent abv, the Saison Lamoille is Lost Nation's strongest offering. Yet none skimps on flavor either- and neither does the creative food in the brewery's tasting room, which is already drawing its own dedicated clientele."
"We wanted dry, clean brews," Van Anda says. "I want to taste everything. I want to taste malt. I want to taste water, I want to know you're using good water. I want to taste yeast." (Seven Days Vermont) We tasted it, and we realized that Lost Nation was something special. I mean, we loved it so much so, that when we got there it was around 4 pm- and by the time we left...? The sun had gone down and the place was closing up, we were hurrying to get beers to go before they threw us out. This place stuck in my mind so much, that it was one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place: To show what hardworking locals with a dream can accomplish and the result that's something we can all enjoy. I'm sure me and Chris will wander into Lost Nation again to eat some delicious chews and drink some fantastic brews.
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