The snow started falling right as we crossed the state line and only added to the slipperiness of the already iced-over roads. We popped it in 4WD and kicked the wipers into frantic.
The plan was to take the Chevy Colorado ZR2 up to Vermont for an off-road expedition hosted and organized by the Chevy team, an idea that was quickly scrapped when the weather turned treacherous. We were presented with another option, however: take the midsize pickup ourselves and, you know… be careful. Since our fridge was barren, we decided to do use the opportunity for a picturesque run up to Hill Farmstead and to put the Colorado ZR2 through the paces on the way.
If you’ve never been to Hill Farmstead, the world’s best brewery, it needs to be noted that it’s sincerely tucked away. We’re not talking the frequently plowed roads of Burlington; Hill Farmstead is located on a swath of land where cell service is spotty at best and roads give your GPS trouble. So while the off-roading was axed, we kinda, sorta did it anyway.
The first highlight of the Colorado ZR2, and the one that’s probably the most meaningful to the greatest number of people reading this, is the fact that it rides far smoother on the highway than other vehicles designed to be encrusted with mud. You don’t see potholes and bumps as well when there aren’t tire tracks on the road, but in the Colorado ZR2 that’s not going to cause added stress. We can easily say that the most interesting aspect of this pickup is the fact that it’s also kind of an undercover luxury sedan when on paved roads. And, let’s be honest, for as much off-roading as you’ll do in it, you’ll easily spend quadruple that time on standard roadways.
With Apple CarPlay allowing us to keep our eyes on whatever semblance of a road was in front of us, we hit Manchester, Vermont, for a breather before continuing about three hours north to the brewery. One thing to get used to if you make the transition from a sedan built for good gas mileage to a beast of a truck like this is, you’re going to have to stop a few more times than you’re used to. The ZR2 gets about 16 mpg in the city and 18 on the highway. So while fueling and resting in Manchester, we snapped a few shots of the truck, grabbed breakfast at the Kimpton Taconic Hotel, and thawed out. The black vinyl floor eased our worries that we’d be sending this thing back with stains galore.
We arrived at Hill Farmstead about 20 minutes before opening and found a small crowd already in line. Beer fans are like postal workers—nothing keeps them from making their rounds. While getting out of the truck, a small Civic slid past the entrance. We stood in the snow with dense flakes falling until they opened the doors, which they did a bit early so the small gathering could warm up.
It’s been years since we were up at Hill Farmstead, and since our last trip they expanded, outfitted the tasting room with a stunning wood bar, and now have a standalone bottle shop. We had quite a few hours ahead of us and some awful roads to boot, so we loaded up on bottles of Flora with Blueberries, Black Currants, and Raspberries; Arthur; and more liquid gold before heading back to the truck. The Colorado ZR2 had enough space in the back seat for all our boxes, though we did travel with a tarp in case we needed to utilize the bed.
There was one more stop to make, however, and it’s a pro tip for anyone who makes the trek to the world’s best—and, seemingly, most remote—brewery. That stop is Parker Pie. We will say this, we would not have made the drive if we weren’t in the Colorado ZR2. The roads wind through quite quiet stretches of Northern Vermont and the deep snow would have been impossible to navigate in a ride that didn’t offer the kind of clearance the Chevy does. On the ZR2, Chevy jacked the suspension up 2″. They also added functional rock sliders and modified the bumpers for uneven terrain, meaning anything hidden beneath the untouched snow didn’t worry us. The front bumper with its tapered ends makes approaching tough terrain a little less worrisome. All that’s a long-winded way of saying the ZR2 is up for this kind of ride.
We made the 20 minute drive to Vermont’s best pizza joint and—we kid you not— saw more snowmobiles on the road than cars. If there’s a greater testament to the brawn of the Colorado ZR2, we can’t think of it. One Green Mountain Special later and we were ready for the hours ahead of us after this little cannonball run.
So we didn’t get to take this thing on scary inclines and we didn’t grab any air, but we will say that our winter wonderland adventure was demanding in its own right. Do we recommend a 12+ hour cannonball run to the world’s best brewery in a snowstorm if you’re driving a 1994 Toyota Camry? No. No we don’t. But it ain’t too bad in the Colorado ZR2.