Two Brothers Tavern (Middlebury, VT)

After a splendid four day weekend in Lake George, we ended up taking a slightly roundabout route home in order to do a bit of tourism. Normally we’d head back east on Route 4 through Rutland, but this time we ended up going north to the very north end of Lake George to check out Fort Ticonderoga, and then meander our way back home by crossing the scenic Lake Champlain Bridge and heading home through mid-Vermont, stopping off in Middlebury for dinner. Middlebury has always been a pretty good food town, with options like a location of American Flatbread, or even one of the few remaining A&W Root Beer drive-ins (with Lake George being one of the others), but while we smelled some rather splendid smells coming from Taste of India, we were in a bit of a burger mood, and decided to check out Two Brothers Tavern.

Two Brothers is located right on Main Street in Middlebury, with one of those two-storefront setups where half is a bar (complete with dollar bills tacked to the ceiling) and half is the dining room. Especially since we wanted to stop for a beer, we opted for the bar seating. These days, it’s almost impossible for anything above “dive bar” to not have at least one decent Vermont beer on tap (and heck, some of the dives have that as well), and Two Brothers is no slouch, having a particularly good list of local Vermont beers including Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, a handful of selections from Burlington Beer Company, Long Trail, and several other NY and VT breweries, and we were quickly enjoying fresh Sip of Sunshine.

The menu at Two Brothers is your basic upscale pub menu, with a variety of burgers, salads, and sandwiches. We both ended up going for variations on a theme, but there was a notable surprise appetizer here: a sweet pea Vichysoisse. I like a good Vichysoisse, and this rendition of it was quite good: a smooth soup, with a pea instead of a potato base, and some really nice onion and leek notes. Indeed, I’d call this a cousin to a good split pea soup. In any case, we both agreed we’d love to get this again.

For the main course, I ended going going with the “Pub Burger”, which is Your basic cheeseburger, but with special sauce and a pretzel bun. But, like any place that actually knows how to procure good beef and cook it well, the beauty was in that very simplicity: this was a great burger: a nice, juicy and flavorful patty, a good crisp on the outside, while still pink inside. A nice toasted bun, and some simple condiments that don’t overpower the burger itself. They’ve got their burger dialed in nicely. The onion rings were nicely done as well, neither over- nor under-breaded.

Carol opted for the near-identical “Tavern Burger”, which was basically the same good burger on a brioche bun instead of the pretzel bun, and with pickled onions instead of the special sauce, and it was otherwise a similarly well-executed burger. Overall, we liked Two Brothers: it’s a pleasant and friendly neighborhood bar, with a great beer list, and some pleasing variations on pub fare. It’s certainly one of the better spots around Middlebury.

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