Four Quarters Brewing Makes A Move!Jan 29, 2021 09:42AM ● By Burt Breeson
Four Quarters Brewing Makes a Move
It was 2014, and Brian Eckert of Four Quarters Brewing had a decision to make. Not satisfied with his graphic design job, he had narrowed his career choices down to two of his passions: beekeeping and brewing. As luck would have it, the decision came down largely to a physical space. Says Brian, “A place in Winooski popped up and it was the perfect spot that just matched the vision I had for a tasting room.” And with that, Four Quarters was born.
Fast forward six years and Four Quarters has grown significantly and is expanding even more with the recent opening of their new brewery, retail space, and taproom on Winooski’s Main Street. Brian, a long-time homebrewer, got involved with the homebrew club The Green Mountain Mashers after moving to Vermont in 2007. Through the club he attended various competitions and quickly became obsessed. “It was such a cool, creative outlet and I wanted to do more of it,” he says.
After finding that initial location on Winooski’s Canal Street, he pitched the idea to the landlord and city officials, and before he knew it, he was opening the four-barrel brewery in March of 2014. As the sole employee, Brian says the first few years were a labor of love, which he got through with the help of many friends. He made the jump to full time in 2015, and then two years later he was joined by two partners. Together they started putting some money into the brewery, scaling it up to a size that would be more profitable, and expanding their space into the next-door suite.
IPA BY DEMAND
At first, Brian focused on Belgian beers, sours, and stouts. He says he wasn’t brewing IPAs, as he found that some of those he tried lacked a solid base, covered up by an overdose of hops. “For me, the foundation is brewing solid classic-based beers, because adding a bunch of stuff to them, none of that means anything unless the base is good and credible,” he says. But, as so many people came to the taproom asking if they had an IPA, after some experimentation, he came up with one he was proud of and they released their flagship IPA, Phaze, and now offer a variety of IPAs and double IPAs.
BUT EXPERIMENTAL IS WHERE IT'S AT
In addition to their IPAs, sours, and stouts, Four Quarters has become known for some of their experimental beers, which Brian says provides them with a great creative outlet. One example is Pickle Juice, a sour ale conditioned on honeydew, cucumber, and fresh dill. They also have their Tomato Basil Fleur de Lis, a tart saison for which Brian says the roasted tomatoes provide some sweetness, while the fresh basil adds great aromatics. Another successful experiment that’s proven popular with fans are their beer slushies. Brian relates that for the 2019 Vermont Brewers Festival they got a slushie machine, and as it turned out to be such a hot weekend, the beer slushies were a great way for people to cool off. They brought it out again this past summer and sold beer slushies to go, including a sour brewed with orange and mint, one with pineapple and coconut, and another with pureed watermelon mixed in.
The move to the new brewery on Winooski’s Main Street allows them to continue producing their creative beers, and the taproom provided Brian more freedom to design a space that he feels is more in line with their brand. “I’ve always said that our palate for the brand is black, stainless steel, and wood, and we were able to take that palate and apply that to the taproom,” he says.
The new space features a large outdoor beer garden, arcade games, and live edge tables made from locally harvested wood. Having a larger space and dedicated taproom allows them to brew every day of the week—due to space constraints in their previous location, they shut down production on the weekends to open the taproom. They’re also taking advantage of the fact that the new building has a flat roof, so they plan to use a milk-crate system to install a garden, growing fresh ingredients for their beer and food offerings and donating any surplus to the food bank across the street.
DON'T FORGET THE NOSHES
Along with their beers, Four Quarters will have a menu featuring a core list of sandwiches, as well as weekly specials. The larger 20-barrel facility (in addition to the 10-barrel facility they will retain at their original location) allows them to increase production of their staples, and still be able to fit in some experimental batches. And while the entire operation has grown substantially, Brian relates that the brewing is still what gives him the most enjoyment. “It’s a creative outlet coming up with flavors, as well as a name and concept, that all fit together to provide something that people enjoy.”
FOUR QUARTERS BREWING
Main Street Winooski
Check website or social for Main Street opening information.