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A Brewday Visit with Averie Swanson

Recently, Averie Swanson joined us for a few days— to enjoy some well-earned rest at the peak of Vermont’s foliage season and collaborate on a unique beer, which will arrive when time, yeast, and oak complete its transformation.

Many of you know Averie, but if you aren’t familiar with her or her work, we recommend visiting keepingtogether.com and reading this interview from 2021 [https://uproxx.com/life/keeping-together-founder-and-brewer-averie-swanson/]. Averie is a genuinely wonderful human being, a gifted brewer, an exceptionally hard worker, inspiringly creative, and one of the brightest, most astute conversationalists with whom you’d be lucky to share a beer. We’re also grateful to call her a friend.

The beer? Consider it a combination of happenstance, intuition, experience, and a little bit of procrastination! Organic spelt, organic buckwheat, organic oats, and organic barley serve as the base, along with a gentle hopping of Perle and German-grown Cascade. A late-night forage in the surrounding forest—equipped with headlamps, a particularly sharp hatchet, and teamwork—yielded a sizable growth of medicinal chaga found growing on a beautiful white birch tree. We ground the chaga into a coarse powder, and some of the powder was then integrated into the wort, along with Vermont wildflower honey. The beer was open-fermented in a wooden foudre with our house yeast and will condition in wine barrels with both our yeast and Averie’s unique house culture as a fully incorporated collaboration. Both raw chaga—as well as a double extraction that we have made from the remaining chaga—will be added to the wine barrels during conditioning and prior to packaging.

We will keenly observe its journey, however long that may be, but more importantly, we look forward to our friend returning to undertake that journey with us—and you.

When ready for debut, we will release this beer under our charitable Works of Love moniker; all proceeds from its sale will be divided equally between a charity of Averie’s choosing and a charity selected by our team at Hill Farmstead.

Thank you, Averie, for sharing with us your time, spirit, and generosity.

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