Have you ever set foot in Wrightsville?
What was supposed to be a leisurely road trip to the States quickly took a spontaneous, funny, and even somewhat illegal turn. A real Vagabond kind of day.
With three acolytes on the road, the initial plan was rather simple: get to Vermont to take photos of the Groenland in the great outdoors, discover new microbreweries, and spend some quality time between colleagues. First stop: Wrightsville, where we would stop at its small beach and take our photos. The road was smooth, the music good, and the conversations flowing.
“Hey guys, no need to use the GPS, right?”
“No, no, I looked it up earlier, and since I don’t have data, I know where we’re going.”
OK, perfect. We enjoy the moment, admiring the views as we drive along.
We realize that we have in fact overshot our destination by about 45 minutes, and that we’re closer to our starting point than anything else. Starving but still in good spirits, we decide to stop at the BBQ Grill & Smokehouse. Located literally two seconds from The Alchemist, this pleasant pub doesn’t disappoint. Rustic, positively cliché and unassuming, the food goes down fast, leaving us with greasy fingers and full bellies. There are even a couple of vegetarian options! The beer menu is varied enough to be interesting without being too much. It’s nice to just sit at the bar and nod at the local bearded men in checkered shirts.
Our second stop is a brewery with an almost mythical reputation. With its nicely hopped Heady Topper, The Alchemist conquered Vermont well before its products were tasted by Quebec fans. Inside the brewery, tourists hurry to taste the beers, buy them, and observe the comings and goings happening all around. For our part, we have the chance to taste the Focal Banger, the Crusher and the Heady Topper. All delicious.
The day is pleasant, the beer is delightful, and… The hours go by, the daylight starts fading, and we still haven’t found a place to take our photos. Because we think better while eating ice cream, we decide to stop at another important regional landmark that needs no introduction. Be it a miracle, a sign of the beer god, or pure coincidence, close by there is a forest that’s just begging to be witness to our photo session. Because it’s illegal, we hesitate, look around us, and finally decide that it’s now or never! We walk a couple of minutes away from prying eyes, and there, smack in the middle of a modest wood, the Vagabond team starts a small fire to heat up its beer bacon (recipe here) and strum the guitar. Cheeks reddened by the cold, eyes watering in the smoke, noses dripping, the moment is perfect. The Groenland truly comes into its identity as an adventurer’s beer.
Proud of our victory, we stop at BBCO to celebrate. Located in the industrial quarter, this brewery has a familiar and festive ambiance without the overexcitement of a bar. People are enjoying their flights and talking quietly to the sound of the perfect rock playlist. BBCO’s beers are balanced, creative and tasty. Everyone falls in love with them.
Located in Winoosh, this beer convenience store is a true paradise. There are hundreds upon hundreds of beers. It’s the perfect solution for those who have to drive but who want to taste the beer or even collect it.
Our last stop is in the middle of nowhere. It’s super hipster, with the biggest names of ’90s rap blasting and a baby-foot table that we’re the only ones using. The beer is too sweet for our taste, and even though we’ve taken over the dance floor with our sick moves, the place lacks a little energy. Not unpleasant, but not mythical, either.
It’s time to head back to Montreal. The night has already fallen, and we roll on in the dark to the sound of François Pérusse, with McDonald’s, and two hysterical people in the front.
It was the perfect road trip.