The Greater Burlington Partnership held its biannual Sip, Taste, and Stroll Friday, September 30th in the downtown area. The event could not have been held at a better time. Fall chill came into the air. Two brand new breweries put their roots down in the city, and Downtown was absolutely beautiful.
Of note during the event was the variety of beverages available. Parkside Brewing and Bent River Brewing, the two new breweries opening in town, certainly changed the landscape of the event. Previously, the event was known as the Wine Walk, and you could still hear the name falling off the lips of city natives even as they waited in line to sample beer. Sparkling beverages, mead, beer, cider, and wine awaited the downtown participants as they wandered the participating companies. This was not just a wine walk anymore.
The Stroll began at the Washington where participants received their maps and glasses for the event. Adventurous types could start their wine and beer tasting here, but I decided to return later in the walk for the offerings available at the Washington. The crowd that went straight from tickets to mead was simply too much for me, and coming back later made for a much faster sample. The Washington was both my first and last stop.
Mead is a honey based alcoholic beverage, and that set it apart from the other alcoholic beverages available downtown. The sweetness that combined with the fruit flavorings made for a delectable introduction to a beverage rarely produced in the modern era. East Grove Farms provided the mead for sampling, and I tried the Elderberry mead. I primarily tasted the honey used in the brewing, but the undercurrent of the berry was not to be missed.
My favorite wine was available at the Art Center, a moscato produced by Zukua. The wine comes from Sicily, and as a woman new to both wine and beer, I found it easy to drink. The sweetness carried through, and I found myself reminded of champagne. The occasionally sour note that I've tasted in other wines available at the Sip, Taste, and Stroll did not appear in the Moscato. I want another glass.
Spiked sparkling water settled in with hard cider at Gypsi. I am a cider aficionado, so I chose the sparkling pomegranate water over the Angry Orchard cider that was available. Alcoholic sparkling water remains a strange concept. I could taste the pomegranate, but it was not a particularly interesting beverage on its own. I imagine it would be better served as part of a mix. I missed my hard cider.
Fortunately for me, there was one more offering of hard cider available during the walk. Weird Harold's had a large variety available for tasting, and among them was the Ace Pineapple cider. I have avoided the pineapple cider out of a long held dislike for the fruit itself-- too sweet for me. But, when faced with a row of beer that didn't sound appealing to me, I decided to try the pineapple cider. I expected sweetness, and sweetness was delivered. It skirted the line of too sweet. I was ready to move on right away.
Downtown did have something to offer in the way of mixes during the event. Toward the end of the stroll, Original Cyns had a prepared Sangria available. My typical critique of wine-- being too sour- was also not at play here. The fruits added for the sangria overcame that, and I found myself taking a seat outside of the shop to savor the mix. It was a perfect way for me to end the walk.
Snacks were available at some of the shops, and several of the larger locations also had live music for those who waited in line. We were all pleasantly surprised by Bent River Brewing opening its doors for the Sip, Taste and Stroll, offering samples of appetizers and beers to those participating in the walk. I would highlight their participation further, but I was blessed with the opportunity to taste Bent River Brewing the next week.
Check in tomorrow to find out how Bent River Brewing treated me during their soft, invitation only, practice run on October 6th.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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