When you think world-class breweries in America, the first places that comes to mind might be California or Oregon or Colorado. But tiny Vermont can do battle with any of the big boys. The Green Mountain State is home to breweries such as Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist and Lawson's Finest Liquids, just to name a few. But in addition to bearing a batch of near-legends, this region has also seen a crop of fantastic new outfits. Most lack distribution, but their taprooms are already local cult favorites. Among them is Four Quarters Brewing of Winooski, which features a stellar selection of beers such as Janus—a farmhouse ale brewed with Vermont-grown white wine grapes and chamomile—and Fleur de Lis—a tart 3.5 percent ABV saison fermented in red wine barrels. I spoke with owner/brewmaster Brian Eckert about the past, present and future of a brewery that should definitely be on your radar.
So how did Four Quarters get started?
[Brewing] started as a hobby, probably 14 years ago. I always said I would never open a brewery, and then over the last few years, I've seen this new model pop up of small-brewery-plus-taprooms. So I could get started small and see if it works.