Idletyme Brewing Co. is a long time favorite of mine. I’ve been coming here back when it was just a little bistro/brewery called ‘The Crop’. They always made their own beer on site, but when they switched names to Idletyme, that was when they really started to impress me. The breadth & varieties of beer they had, made them the perfect meeting ground for stout & IPA drinkers alike. Not to mention, every time I would eat here, I was floored. The food was impeccable, never was there a 'meh' dish for me. If I was doing scorecards for each item off their menu...I’d never put down the 10 card. And their location? Just off of Stowe’s bustling Mountain Road, and with plenty of parking. To make your stop just a little more Vermonty, you can even ride up to Idletyme on your bicycle as they’re right off the Stowe Recreational Bike Path! You can stop in for a quick bite to fuel up in the middle of your ride through the beautiful Vermont countryside.
We were welcomed with open arms & open taps to their warm & whimsical outdoor courtyard. As soon as I stepped out of our bus, I heard the sounds of Destiny's Child's 'Survivor' in the background, instantly I had a pep in my step—ah, my childhood. I felt like I was at family cookout in that courtyard. Picnic tables aplenty, filled with good food & laughter, the perimeter lined with fathers & daughters playing corn hole. There was even a fire pit where people gathered with their drinks next to Idletyme’s amazing garden. In the center of it all stood a large tree shading the glorious outdoor bar. An all wood rectangular bar top surrounded the tree, with enough seating for 28-30. Inside the theme continues. Birch trees lined the inside horseshoe-shaped bar, almost like they were growing out of it. The LED light-wrapped branches matched well with the high-back cowhide chairs in the main dining room, designing a truly unique space. They even have a small brewpub built right into the main building, providing a warm relaxed casual space. And no matter where you sit, the same great menu is offered to you whether you’re having dinner with the family in their Biergarten or grabbing some beers with friends in the pub.
When I came back out from taking pictures of the different dining spaces inside, Chris had been sampling the huge beer tasting laid out in front of him. Idletyme offers their Brewski Sampler (served on a little ski!), with their Helles Brook Lager, Munich-styled Pilsner, Bavarian Wheat Danube, The Brewer's Choice (which was the Dunkel this time around, yum), Zog's Pale Ale and their Idletyme DIPA. A great sampling all around...but we can do better. For $10 more (and with another buddy, it must be split) you can get a full sampling of everything they have on tap, served on a beautiful tasting board made by Schwa Custom Woodworking (@schwacustomwoodworking). So now with their brew board you add their Doubletyme dry-hopped DIPA, Vanilla Porter, Hefeweizen, and their Pink n' Pale. Now we’re cooking with alcohol! My pick for first sip was the Pink n' Pale, fermented with pink grapefruit; delicious & unique. I‘ve had some grapefruit beers before, and unlike a lot of them, the Pink n’ Pale didn’t have an overly tart & dry bite, very refreshing. Their Hefeweizen? Light-bodied, low bitters, and incredibly drinkable wheat beer. When in doubt, I’ll always go with a Hefeweizen. I'm also a sucker for a porter, especially in the cooler months, and their Vanilla Porter was the perfect addition for a cool September evening in their courtyard. The smell of vanilla bean & dark toasted malts filled my lungs. I felt like I was reenacting an old coffee commercial ( 🎶 The best part of waking up, is a porter in your cup! 🎶) I even cupped my glass as if it was a coffee mug and sat by the blazing fire pit to really sell it. All of Idletyme’s beers were equally fantastic, we seriously had a hard time picking favorites. I even loved Idletyme's DIPA's (who am I?)! They were smooth, crisp, and had a juicy bitterness that didn't linger. But seriously, me liking IPA, let alone a DOUBLE IPA!? If that doesn't tell you how special their beer is, I don't know what will.
Besides in pints, Idletyme is also making magic happen on their plates. Judging from the beer alone, we just knew the same level of care & excellence awaited us. So we asked the bartenders what was a good dish to get to share. Without hesitation, both bartenders (each asked on separate occasions) recommended the Cabot Cheddar Cheese Fritters. When you work in a restaurant, when there’s a mix up and something gets made that shouldn’t have, it tends to be fair game for the staff. And there’s always that one item on the menu that when it’s a mistake, all bets are off. Like a flock of seagulls swarming on an open bag of chips at the beach. The Cabot Cheddar Fritters is that item. When the bartenders (Jay & Nate?) told me that, I knew we had to get it; and I'm so happy we did. These fritters were so crispy & airy on the outside, with such a delightful crunch. Then once you bit into it, wonderful globs of melted cheese oozed out. I had to scoop the cheese into my mouth, using the crispy shell as my spoon. Luckily the batter was fried to perfection and maintained its rigid shape. Oh man, deep fried cheese & that Zog’s Pale Ale? There's seriously nothing better to go with beer than fried Cabot Vermont Cheese—nothing. That is, unless you add a roasted jalapeño aioli to go with it. Yeah they did. The roasted Jalapeños gave a sweet kick to the dish, elevating this 10/10 app to an 11. Great beer, fried cheese....I feel like I could really use a salad.
We got their Blackberry & Goat Cheese Salad (I just COULDN'T stay away from cheese—I'm in Vermont.) Served with pecans, goat cheese, cucumbers, dried cranberries, fresh blackberries, and dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. So crisp & summery I actually ate the whole thing myself. Eating outside with Idletyme's magnificent garden directly in view, It just made the salad ingredients taste so much fresher. While I was eating my salad, Chris went all in and ordered the Reuben Sandwich along with the Truffle Mac & Cheese (with bacon added of course). The Reuben Sandwich impressed the guy that always orders a reuben sandwich. All around great beef, but what made this reuben stand out from the rest, was the addition of cherry peppers on it. Such an interesting & spicy take on an old classic. The toasted rye bread coupled with the spicy peppers, a definite masterpiece (although Chris was sweating). The Truffle Mac & Cheese thankfully gave the relief Chris needed. Cavatappi corkscrew pasta held all of this ooey-gooey cheesey wonderment of a dish together. Not only that but the pork belly chunks of bacon coupled with the savory truffle flavor—downright unbelievable. It was the kind of thing I wanted to just keep eating because it was so incredible, but I also didn't want to my myself sick by eating too much. Somehow I found an ounce of self-control, and wrapped it up to go (and yes, I bring my own to-go containers, what up?).
Idletyme has something for everyone even if you're more of a wine drinker. They have 16 wines by the glass and 36 by the bottle! Or if you're more of a hard cider fan, they had my all-time favorite cider, Stowe Cider. Idletyme has an atmosphere & flavor for everyone. Next time you're riding your bike on the rec path, wanting an intimate meal with your loved ones, or even just hanging out with the guys from work while throwing back a couple of beers—whatever you’re looking for, this place is the place for you. Every time we're at Idletyme we end up talking to a couple of locals, tourists, and other lovers of Vermont. Surrounded by the beauty of Vermont as well as great beer & food? The conversations are endless.
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