Whetstone Station (Brattleboro, VT)

(Update: Whetstone Station closed in late 2023 for a refurbishment after sale to the owner of Maple Valley Ski area. Currently, nothing has been announced about a reopening)

As mentioned in the previous post, a few weekends ago I was hiking with my friend Alex on Wantastiquet Mountain, located in Hinsdale across the river from Brattleboro. After a pleasant hike, we went back across the river to revisit a SE Vermont favorite of mine, Whetstone Station.

Whetstone Station is the restaurant part of Whetstone Beer Co’s site on Bridge Street, right next to the bridge to Vermont. Indeed, while legally in VT in its entirety (due to its location relative to the high water mark), it actually straddles the older USGS survey line resulting from the 1934 Supreme Court Case Vermont v. New Hampshire which passes right by the bar. You can read the full story here.

One of the major attractions of Whetstone is that both the top level beer garden and the back terrace have an outstanding view of the Connecticut River, so it’s a great place to kick back on a reasonably nice day and enjoy the weather.

In the world of Vermont Breweries, most of the breweries aside from the old school places like Harpoon and Long Trail, lean towards the younger side, Whetstone Beer Co has been around enough to really be treated as one of the more established breweries, having opened back in 2007. They’ve got a good established list of beers, and have expanded the brewery enough they even have a second brewing location across town in Brattleboro. It’s actually good to see them flourish over the years. While I decided what burger I wanted, I got their house IPA, Off the Rails. In a time when the double and Imperial IPAs seem to rule, it’s nice to enjoy a slightly more mild “normal” IPA, and this was a good, crisp, West Coast-style IPA.

Alex and I also decided to split an appetizer, the potato pierogi. Described as fried pierogi tossed in a “Whetstone Station sauce” (a chive-infused oil), and served up with a maple and chive sour cream. My surprise here is that the “fried” in “fried pierogi” wasn’t pan-fried, but deep-fried. The purist in me was almost expecting to sit back and wait for an angry mob of chastising Polish grandmothers that might result if I tried this sort of thing in, say, Hamtramck, but in Vermont, apparently this sort of thing is okay. Actually, to be honest, these were actually quite good, with a very nice crisp and a nice interior (although lacking the butter note I often get with good pan-fried pierogi). Good enough, in fact, that I’ll actually give them a bit of a pass here.

Menu-wise, Whetstone Station is refreshingly honest in calling their restaurant a “burger bar”, since that’s the bulk of their menu. And they put some effort into it, with locally sourced beef (and chicken, if you go that way) and fresh baked buns. They’ve also got a nice selection of sides include the “enormous pickle” (a decent deli-style pickle, which I actually got and enjoyed), mac and cheese, cheddar ale soup, or a handful of variations on their hand-cut fries. They have some interesting house burgers as well, including the “Spicy Mac” with mac-and-cheese and chipotle aioli. But I went for the Magical Animal: a burger topped with cheddar cheese, pulled pork, bacon, and BBQ sauce. I rather enjoyed this: the burger itself was nicely done with a juicy, medium-rare interior and a good sear. The pulled pork was smoky and tender, and reasonably-well executed, and the bacon crispy. I’d probably order this with lighter BBQ sauce if I get it again, but it was a decent sauce complementing both the pulled pork and bacon. Overall, a solid burger.

Really, I like Whetstone Station. The beer has gotten to be quite good, the burgers tasty, and the view? Second to none in the area if you can score a good outside seat. It’s probably my best overall option for that general area for a good place to hang out after a hike.

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