MEREDITH — A new craft beer startup in the Lakes Region has hired the brewmaster from the company that makes the largest selling craft brew in Vermont.
Twin Barns Brewing Co., which is scheduled to open in the former home of the American Police Motorcycle Museum at the junctions of routes 3 and 104 this June, has announced that Sam Clemens, the head brewer at Long Trail Brewing Co., has joined its team.
Clemens comes to the Lakes Region after seven years at Long Trail, the last three as head brewer.
The new job, Clemens said, will allow him to flex his creative muscle in small-batch brews. He looks forward to producing a world-class porter as well as some stouts and said rigorous testing of Meredith’s municipal water shows it is going to make great beer.
“We’ll do some very minor acidification and some nerdy microbiological control, but for the most part it’s very high quality water, and we’re very excited to be brewing with it,” he said.
In 2010, Long Trail Brewing Co. acquired Otter Creek Brewing in Burlington, Vt., and it recently installed a 120-barrel brewing system, the largest in the state. Clemens said the acquisition of the sister brewery gave him the chance to operate the larger brew house, along with the 60-barrel system at Long Trail’s headquarters in Bridgewater Corners. He explained that an exciting part of his career has been working with many styles of ingredients and with different brewers and getting the chance to satisfy consumer demand.
“I’m really looking forward to be able to brew on this scale for a Lakes Region audience,” Clemens said of the chance to run Twin Barns’ 10-barrel system.
As a result of the popularity in craft-brewed beers, Clemens said, there has been a surge in the number of malting facilities and in farms growing hops. Twin Barns is still negotiating with several potential suppliers but has already finalized an agreement with a local farmer who will take the company’s spent grain and use it as animal feed.
“Our intent is to have some pretty solid offerings, generally something light for the summer time and casual beer drinkers and some top IPAs for more experienced palates,” he said. But beyond that, local tastes will determine what Twin Barns taps will pour.
Clemens, who now lives in Warren, Vt., said he will be doing some commuting as his girlfriend, Julie, works as the quality control manager for another Vermont brewer. But he notes his father lives in neighboring Moultonborough.
He said after meeting partners Dave Picarillo and Bruce Walton he was impressed with their plans to transform twin post and beam barns built in 1850 into a brewery and relaxed taproom. Their careful planning and enthusiasm was alluring, but the chance to spend time in the natural beauty of the Lakes Region and to be around family helped seal the deal.
Despite his years in the industry, Clemens, a New England native, remains “totally passionate” about brewing.
“I’m lucky for sure. Hard work will get you a long way in this industry. There is nothing like having tangible results,” he said.