Good Measure Pub and Brewery (Northfield, VT)

Back in 2019, I talked a bit about Northfield, Vermont, the small Vermont town nestled in a valley just west of I-89, and it’s growing food scene. Particularly, I had talked about the downtown trio of businesses all in a row: Carrier Coffee Roasting, Good Measure Brewing, and Cornerstone Burger Co, which was an offshoot of the larger Cornerstone Pub and Kitchen in nearby Barre. It made for some nice “one stop shopping”, especially knowing that there were good breakfast, lunch, and dinner options whenever we were going town.

But Cornerstone decided to close their Northfield pub in early 2022, and in this case, it happened to be a particularly good opportunity for Good Measure Brewing next door to expand. Good Measure (which also owns Carrier Coffee) was often fairly crowded in their small space, and when Cornerstone decided to close up shop, Good Measure bought the business from them. Knocking down the wall between the businesses, a bit of a refresh to the decor and the menu, changing the signages so the storefronts say “Coffee”, “Beer”, and “Food”, and in short order the pub reopened as Good Measure Pub and Brewery. This really was a winning situation: the former tap room for Good Measure is primarily direct beer sales and tasting, with the actual bar next door, and a menu not too different from Cornerstone’s, focusing on smash burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and similar pub fare.

Inside, it’s still a bar-centered space, with a large selection of taps, and a bunch of long high-top tables for those not seated at the bar. The tap list has changed a bit; Cornerstone had a selection of local craft brews, but Good Measure focuses on their own brews (there’s a regulatory reason for this, brewpubs have to jump through a few more hoops to serve beer from other breweries).

But it’s a good list, on most visits they’ve got around 16 different taps with a nice variety of styles ranging from Riser (their lighter cream ale) to heavier offerings like Grayscale (black IPA) and Snack Attack (pastry stout). One thing I’ve enjoyed is that unlike a lot of the Vermont Breweries that just seem to crank out IPAs, they mix it up a lot at Good Measure; one of my recent favorites has been the Such a Delight, a fruited sour with mango and citrus.

My review actually covers two different visits, one in late 2022 and one in May 2023, but they’ve had a pretty consistent menu since opening. Menu-wise, it’s your basic pub fare, and on our first visit, I started out with a nice pub classic: a pretzel. As an actual brewery, making a spent grain pretzel where you’ve mixed some of the grains into the dough is nice, low-hanging fruit and adds a nice little bit of flavor and texture to the pretzel, and the version here was quite good, generously-sized, nicely crisped, soft and fluffy inside, and served up with a nice bold mustard. Definitely a winner.

On our next visit, I was craving fried mushrooms, and Good Measure is one of the few places around here serving them up. Here I was really pleasantly surprised: at most places serving mushrooms, you get round button mushrooms, often frozen and from a distributor. That’s definitely not the case here: the order of fries mushrooms is actually a cluster of oyster mushrooms, breaded with a nice, light breading, and served up with a light dusting of herbs and shaved parmesan. This really elevated the dish: the delicate texture and more robust taste of the oyster mushrooms made for a nice, tender and flavorful interior, and the breading nicely complemented the mushroom with a light crunch without burying them in too much breading. These were so good I’m considering getting them as a sandwich on a future visit (they offer them as a sub for several of their sandwich dishes).

For my main course in December, I went with a burger: the All Day Smash Burger, served up as a double with a slide of Cabot chedder. Smash burgers are one of those polarizing styles, but I’ve always enjoyed the style going way back to my first encountering it back in the ’90s at Steak n’ Shake (which I won’t review here, since Roger Ebert covered them so eloquently). Done right, you get the best of all burger worlds: a good juicy patty (as long as the cook doesn’t press the juices out of it) and a perfect sear. The version at Good Measure is quite good: the beef flavorful, moist, and having just the right amount of salt and pepper to bring out the flavors. The edges of the smash were a nice crisp, with the cheese oozing into it. A decent, toasted brioche buns, and some well-above-average fries, and this was quite the good burger (and at the getting-to-be rare price point of being able to get a basic burger with fries for under $10 still).

On our May visit, while I was sorely tempted to get another smash burger, I decided to mix it up with a Memphis Hot Chicken. Having actually had a proper Memphis Hot Chicken several times in my past (Hattie B’s FTW!), part of me is excited to see these grow in popularity… and part of me gets frustrated that so many places just do a knockoff version by soaking an existing breaded chicken bread in hot sauce. That can be tasty, but a proper Memphis Hot Chicken has all the pepper and spices in the breading. Good Measure’s version does it the right way: the chicken (thigh meat) is nicely rubbed with spice, and then breaded with a peppery breading. The result is a very moist, flavorful, and very spicy sandwich, topped with a nice caraway slaw and some garlic pickles. I certainly enjoyed it.

In addition to the traditional pub grub offerings, Good Measure also has a rotating selection of tacos available as one. On our visit, Carol opted for a pair of pork tacos, which were a nicely-braised and then crisped park, some house-made kimchi, a Korean-style BBQ sauce, and cilantro, making for a good local take on the “Korean Taco”.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about Good Measure. They’ve got a good selection of beer and pub fare (including a few unexpected items, like Taylor Pork Roll being available as a topping), nicely-executed fries, and a few good non-burger options like rice bowls and tacos. And for us, it’s located in a nice halfway spot on the way to Burlington, so I’m sure we’ll get even a few more visits in.

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