Wolaver’s Organic Ales Will Brew No More
A 20-year-old Vermont microbrewery has announced it has shipped the final cases of its beer. As Boston Restaurant Talk reported, Wolaver’s Organic Ales is ceasing production of its products due to rising costs of organic ingredients, the company shared in a blog post today.
Wolaver’s became the country’s first certified organic beer brand in 1997, and in 1998, it joined forced with Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury, Vt. and has been brewed and bottled there ever since. It was known for a smooth Oatmeal Stout, a Brown Ale, and a balanced India Pale Ale, as well as seasonals including a collaboration with Vermont Coffee Company, Alta Gracia Coffee Porter. The recent release of that winter beer was the brewery’s final batch.
“This decision wistfully closes one door for us, but opens many more for the Otter Creek Brewing Company,” the company wrote.
Otter Creek, which is owned by Long Trail Brewing, broke ground in October on an expansion of its Middlebury production facility. Adding 8,000 square feet, the brewery will be Vermont’s largest when work is complete. Additionally, Otter Creek’s brewpub is currently closed, likely through mid-December, for a complete remodel.
Otter Creek was founded in 1991, but brewmaster Mike Gerhart has led an identity shift since taking over in 2009. The alum of Magic Hat Brewing, Coors, and Dogfish Head, Gerhart has infused a whimsical, hop-forward, hippie vibe into Otter Creek’s beers, like Kind Ryed, a rye IPA; Citra Mantra, an India pale lager; Fresh Slice, a white IPA; and Overgrown, an American pale ale. This fall, the company introduced a new oatmeal stout, Backseat Berner. All of its new offerings also stand out with tie-dyed labels featuring cartoons of Gerhart and his Bernese mountain dog, Oslo, and not-so-subtle references to the hop’s cousin, cannabis.
Gerhart and Otter Creek have collaborated with renowned Vermont brewer Sean Lawson of Lawson’s Finest Liquids on Double Dose IPA and a maplewood-aged barleywine, Double Or Nothing, and this summer, it released an inaugural collaboration with Framingham’s Jack’s Abby. Joint Custody is a “nouveau pilsner:” A traditional style amped up with new varieties of German hops.
Today’s announcement indicates the brewery is working with the Non-GMO Project to verify all ingredients comprising Otter Creek and the Shed brands. The organization certified all Wolaver’s products are free of genetically modified organisms in 2013.
Otter Creek Brewing Company, 793 Exchange St., Middlebury, Vt.; 802-388-0727 or ottercreekbrewing.com.