High above Stowe, the mountains aren't just a scenic view, but a key ingredient in one of Vermont's newest breweries. "We're on spring water," beams brewmaster Allen Van Anda. "It's amazing!"
The low-mineral water at the Trapp Family Lodge is the first building block for Trapp Lager, the European-style beer the lodge started producing just this year. "It's a very satisfying beer," says Johannes von Trapp.
The von Trapp family gave popular culture yodeling, lederhosen, and a romanticized story of their flight from the Nazis when "The Sound of Music" debuted in 1965. The real von Trapps still operate the popular Stowe resort, and wanted to provide guests an authentic taste of Austria.
Pouring a dark variety of the new lager, Sam von Trapp says, "We're finding people who don't like dark beer like this."
The team is brewing three varieties of lagers. Lagers are made in colder environments than ales, with different varieties of yeasts. The results tend to be crisp, refreshing, drinkable beers that taste like beer, with few other fruity flavors.
Lagers ferment longer, too. "It takes a long time to make them," Sam von Trapp explains. "So there's a real expense there. But you taste the quality in the beer. And you taste the purity as well."
In just its first few months, Trapp Lager has signed up dozens of wholesale accounts at bars and restaurants statewide. The lodge also serves the brew.
Johannes von Trapp says, "My long-term goal would be to have a beer that's brewed from Vermont-grown barley and hops."
For now, Trapp Lager sees itself as the new kid on the block, looking up to Vermont's many well-regarded microbrews that have made the state an icon to beer-lovers.
"And I hope we continue that," says Allen Van Anda. "I think the more breweries we have and the higher the quality that's coming out of Vermont, the more people will look at Vermont and say, 'They know what they're doing up there!'"
The microbrewery hopes to offer limited runs of bottled lager this summer, but now it's just available on-tap. The list of servers includes:
- The Tavern - Brattleboro
- Nesbitt's Portside Tavern - Vernon
- Frida's Taqueria - Stowe
- The Skinny Pancake - Montpelier and Burlington
- Back To Vermont - Poultney
- Town and Country - Stowe
- Pickwicks Pub - Stowe
- Perfect Pear - Bradford
- Daily Planet - Burlington
- Reservoir - Waterbury
- Halvorson's Upstreet Cafe - Burlington
- Three Penny Taproom - Montpelier
- The Bee's Knees - Morrisville
- The Black Door - Montpelier
- American Flatbread - Burlington
- Table 24 - Rutland
- Rimrocks Tavern - Stowe
- Chef's Table/Main Street Grill & Bar - Montpelier
- Parker Pie - West Glover
- Windsor Station - Windsor
- Bluebird Tavern - Burlington