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Otter Creek Brewery – Interview with New Brewmaster Mike Gerhart

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.

23 thoughts on “Otter Creek Brewery – Interview with New Brewmaster Mike Gerhart”

  1. The ABV limit in VT was actually 8% abv, not 7% as you state… prior to the new legislation that now allows 16%… =)

  2. Hey, good site here and I’m also excited to read about Otter Creek’s Imperial Series. The Imperial Stout is impressive!

  3. Thank you for your excellent site and interesting interviews. I sure hope the imperial series makes it to NC as I can occassionally find Wolavers here. I’m glad Morgan Wolaver landed Mike as his new brewmaster. I’ll have to check out your inn/pub the next time I visit family in Vermont. If it’s as good as your site, that surely bodes well.

  4. Thanks so much Bart – we hope that you do stop by if you are in VT – and that the Imperial series makes its way down there – the RIS is really good :) Thanks for the comment! Amy

  5. Michael,
    Your mom (works at Vermont Country Store) sent me this piece and she is justly proud. Janice and I want to stop by and see your operation after we get back to Vermont in May. What is your email?
    Lyman Orton

  6. Your video’s are awesome!!! Please bring your poor, beer-deprived sister some samples of all the yummy beers you are tasting when you come visit! Hope you guys are having as much fun making these videos as I am watching them!

  7. Thanks Becky! You rock and we would never dream of visiting NJ without bringing beer for you guys!

  8. I’m sorry but am I the only one that watches these because Becky has a rocking body ?

  9. Nope you’re not alone, at least the content is good too – btw her name is Amy

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  11. Hey Steve and everyone, I’ts me from CHINA. THE BEER HERE IS PRETTY BAD BUT THE REST IS SO WONDERFUL. I,m living like a king and the best part is I get to see Em,her friends and this amazing country. There is no one here that looks like me,or even close and people are always taking my picture. Some ask to have there picture taken with me. One man in Tienanmen Square wanted our picture with Mao as the backdrop.There are so many people here yet I feel safe and welcomed. I hope all is well with everyone. Hello to all my friends. Love,Kim

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  15. I opened a case of 20th Anniversary Ale today and while throwing out the box found this message in glue on the bottom flaps of the box. I have photos at my facebook page.

  16. yum! I just saw a riecpe in Better Homes and Gardens for Raspberry Beer Punch, it also has tequila! I will have to try both now haha

  17. Review by James Hudson for Rating: I rceieved the brew kit in a timely a manner and love it. I’m new to brewing and this kit has really helped me start off on the right track. Thanks!

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