In this episode Tim and I head up to Middlebury, Vermont to Otter Creek Brewery and meet with their new Brewmaster, Mike Gerhart. Mike just recently accepted this position in January of 2009. Previously Mike was brewing for Dogfish Head Brewery with Sam Calagione. His move to Otter Creek Brewery came from a love for Vermont. Charmed by the state and ready to spread his wings as a brewer, he headed to Vermont. His experience and passion make him a great fit for Otter Creek Brewery. Welcome to Vermont Mike!
Tim and I are fans of both Otter Creek Brewery and their organic line of beers, Wolaver’s Organic Ales. We carry many of their beers in our own pub, the Putney Road Pub at Forty Putney Road Bed and Breakfast and often use them in our beer tastings as they are flavorful, consistent and true to style. On a personal level we found ourselves wondering if we would ever see anything perhaps more adventurous coming out of this brewery so we set out to find some answers. Luckily, we found them (you’ll have to watch the video for the full details!).
In the video Mike Gerhart tells us about the All American series for the Wolaver’s Organic Ales. This series is not only organic, but also includes only US grown ingredients. Impressive goal and of course, quite ecologically conscious. Even better, the Pat Leavy’s All American Ale that we sampled was great. We went out and purchased a case the next day.
Then Mike told us about their new Imperial Series for the Otter Creek line of beers. Now this is what I am talking about, something unique, exciting and chock full of flavor. I am so excited about this series! The first in the series is the Imperial Russian Stout. Soon to follow will be an Imperial IPA. If you have not already tried the Otter Creek Imperial Russian Stout, then seriously, you should go out and pick one up TODAY!
One reason I am so excited about the Imperial Series at Otter Creek is that it represents a big step in Vermont brewing because of a change in state laws. Prior to July of 2008 Vermont Brewers could not produce a beer over 7% 8% (thanks Shaun!) ABV, limiting brewers creativity. With new legislation recently passed we are beginning to see a new side of Vermont Beers. We are looking forward to seeing more of these creative beers from Otter Creek and of course, other Vermont Breweries.
Overall this interview gave us a new energy about Otter Creek and Wolavers for 2009 and we really do look forward to trying out their new creations.