A Long and Winding Road: Vermont Beer Makers Finds Its WaySep 30, 2021 01:49PM ● By Darian Kaulahoa
Craft beer is the lifeblood of Vermont, and Vermont Beer Makers in Springfield is a pillar of the industry. There have been some changes in name, location, and ownership over the years, but the brewery was founded a quarter of a century ago and has been pursuing the innovation of one-of-a-kind beers ever since.
Originally called Trout River Brewing and based in Lyndonville, the company was purchased and re-envisioned by a group of young Springfield entrepreneurs in 2014 in the hopes of creating something truly unique.
Kelen Beardsley and Gabe Streeter wanted to add their own creative spin and innovative ideas to the established brand and produce high-quality craft beer from the heart of their hometown. The town was an important part of their lives, and they wanted to contribute to the community they had grown up in by providing a space for people to gather and unwind.
It was a long road for the team, but any patron of their tasting room will tell you that their passion for craft beer has helped them to maintain the legacy of the original Vermont craft brewery. According to Kelen, the idea began back in 2011. “[Gabe and I] sat on the porch of his family’s log cabin home at Tree Farm Campground and contemplated creating a brewery,” he says.
They finally bought Trout River Brewing after a few years of planning, and they owned and operated the company until last year. Then they were approached by Paul Belogour, Borden James, and Norman Connell, who wanted to purchase the brewery and help with rebranding. This new team’s vision for the place was perfectly in line with the original dream, so Gabe and Kelen jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with them.
And so Vermont Beer Makers was founded, as Kelen puts it, “On the idea of creating our versions of traditional style ales, while also testing the limitations of innovative and creative brews.”
We know you were wondering when we’d get to the real stars of the show (sorry, Kelen and Gabe), so without further delay, let’s talk about the beers that make this brewery so special. Everyone at the brewery is passionate about creating new and amazing craft beer, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
“I think our biggest challenge is navigating the ever-changing landscape of craft beer, trying to stay ahead on trends, and constant research and trying to understand what people are looking for in a craft beer experience,” says Kelen. “Beer drinkers are constantly seeking out new things and trying different beer styles. We, as brewers, are constantly trying to create unique and innovative beer to pique the interest of craft beer fans. It is an exciting—and challenging—time to be a part of the industry both as a consumer and as a brewer.”
There are currently ten original Vermont Beer Makers creations that call the tasting room (and a few dozen stores throughout the state) home. Among these are Change with the Leaves, Shadows, and Ascend, three seasonal beers to help us find our way out of summer and into autumn.
If you’re a warm-weather type who’s dreading the change of the leaves, you might prefer to indulge in their Innovation 2, a refreshing and fruity Gose-style beer that just might turn the calendar back a month or two (for your taste buds, at least). And their flagship beers—Pebble, Verd, Feather, and Scarlet—offer something for everyone year-round. Their carefully crafted flavor profiles are something you won’t find anywhere else. As they say at the brewery, “There is a beer for everyone, and if you do not believe it, you just have not found it yet.”