“Waterbury was an institution town, but when The Alchemist opened [home of Heady Topper], it pushed everyone to a different level of beer as well as food. Despite that, the town is chill. There’s no pretense.”
Lynn Mason grew up in Waterbury, where she sold insurance for 27 years before she and her husband, Dave Juenker, bought the Blackback Pub in 2014. They added a kitchen and hired another Waterbury native, chef Jamie Nelson, to create a menu of locally accented bar classics including a topnotch burger made with beef from a nearby farm and killer pub nachos. Their frequently changing tap list is about 80 percent Vermont-brewed.
While craft beer has been a boon to Vermont overall, no town has benefited more from the rising tide of local world-class breweries than Waterbury. In recent years, the community of 5,000 has been named the best beer town in New England and even among the world’s best cities for craft beer.