Otter Creek Brewing Co.
Copper Ale, A Winter's Ale
The Otter Creek Brewing Co. was conceived by founder/brewmaster Lawrence Miller in 1989. Miller had become an enthusiastic homebrewer while attending Reed College in Portland, Oregon, a location recognized as one of the centers for craft-brewing in this country.
Inspired by both his homebrewing hobby and his academic studies, Miller traveled to Europe after graduation to learn more about the science of brewing. There he researched German and Belgium beer styles and studied old world brewing techniques. Completing his research in Europe in early 1989 Miller settled in Middlebury, Vermont where he devoted himself full-time to the planning of a new brewery.
Middlebury was chosen for the brewery site as much for its quality of life as for its excellent water. Coincidentally in 1989, a local businessman was in the process of building an industrial start-up space for small businesses. One unit was custom fitted with the necessary floor drains and utilities and the new brewery found its first home (the brewery would eventually grow to consume the entire building).
Mr. Miller purchased Widmer Brewing co.'s brewing equipment when the Portland, Oregon based brewery carried out a major expansion in the summer of 1990. Test brewing began at Otter Creek shortly after Thanksgiving 1990 and the first batch of unfiltered draught Copper Ale was rolled out on March 12, 1991. Response to their flagship ale was strong, and by year-end, Otter Creek was ready for its first expansion.
The brewery's production capacity doubled with the installation of a new fermenter and a filtered ale was introduced with the purchase of a new filter. Seasonal Ales were introduced during the summer of 1991 with the first batch of Summer Wheat Ale. This was followed by Hickory Smoked Amber Ale in the fall, Stovepipe Porter in the winter, and Mud Bock Spring Ale in the spring, all of which were enthusiastically received. Helles Alt Beer, their second year-round brew, was added in May of 1994.
In September 1995 construction was completed on a new brewery. The 15,000 square foot facility is located on ten acres just down the street from Otter Creek's original location. The new brewery, which includes a custom designed, 40-barrel brewhouse and state-of-the-art packaging equipment, will allow Otter Creek to satisfy ever-increasing demands for their beers outside of Vermont.
This month we bring you Otter creek's year 'round flagship brew, Copper Ale, and their holiday brew, A Winter's Ale. First introduced in March of 1991, Copper Ale is a medium bodied, amber ale brewed with six malts, three hops and a special house yeast. This rich beer is characterized by a well-balanced blend of malty notes and mild bitterness, and is inspired by the Altbiers of Northern Germany.
The newest addition to Otter Creek's seasonal lineup, A Winter's Ale is craft brewed with Bavarian yeast in the tradition of a mild scotch ale. The rich flavor blends a pleasantly sweet caramel maltiness with mild hops. Refreshing yet warming, it is a perfect accompaniment to a brisk winter day. Available only from November through February!
A Winter's Ale
Serving Temperature: 38ø F
Original Gravity: 1.046ø Plato
Int'l Bittering Units: 16
Alcohol by Volume: 4.5%
Odell Brewing Co.
The Odell Brewing Co. of Fort Collins, Colorado was founded by Doug Odell in 1989 with his sister, Corkie, and wife, Wynne. Odell Brewing was the second microbrewery to open in Colorado (there were also three brewpubs in operation at the time) versus the thirty-five or so micros that are currently operating in the state.
The Odell trio undertook the creation of a microbrewery for several reasons. First, Doug and Wynne were living in Seattle at the time and were intrigued by the burgeoning microbrewing scene. Second, they were bored with their respective landscaping and banking jobs. And third, Wynne was tired of Doug routinely emptying out their single closet to ferment his hombrews.
The brewery's first five years were spent in an old, converted grain elevator where about 2,900 square feet on four different levels was leased. The facility's design enabled them to use gravity for grain handling and beer transfers, thus reducing the need for physical labor and pumps. Doug brought ten years of homebrewing experience to the company along with knowledge gained from a stint at the Anchor Brewing Company. He chose an all draft format for the new brewery both to simplify operations and to guarantee the freshness of the beers. During the brewery's first six months of operation, Doug was the only full-time employee. He did everything from brewing, to kegging, to delivery, to paying bills. Corkie and Wynne helped out with cleaning tanks and handling the books, but Doug worked largely alone. Space was tight and as demand for Odell Ales increased, the original three story grain silo was converted into additional fermentation space.
First year sales topped out at about 900 barrels. By the end of 1993, they were brewing 12 times a week and had maxed out their physical space. The Odell's decided to go all out and build their own facility. In late 1994, Odell Brewing moved into its newly built 8,000 square foot facility. However, within months of moving into the new digs, they realized the facility was undersized. Not only were the cooler and warehouse spaces too small, but they had made the enormous, expensive, agonizing and life-changing decision to start bottling their beers. Ten months after receiving their certificate of occupancy, they broke ground on a 10,500 square foot addition.
Today, the trio is happily settled into their new space. In 1996 the brewery sold 15,600 barrels and employed 22 people. The ales currently offered by the brewery include Easy Street Wheat, Levity, Cutthroat Porter, and this month's Isolation Ale.
Isolation Ale is Odell's first winter warmer since the highly spiced Holiday Shilling of 1990. A break with microbrew tradition, Isolation Ale does not have the customary spices and herbs beers of its genre are known for. This blend is, however, a style of holiday brew prevalent in the English tradition, most notably due its malty, strong accents and coppery color. The Christmas card inspired label, featuring a single snow-covered cabin in the mountains at dusk, evokes thoughts of an intimate, cozy winter evening. Enjoy!
Serving Temperature: 40-45ø F
Original Gravity: 1.062ø Plato
Int'l Bittering Units: 27
Alcohol by Volume: 6.0%