KILLINGTON — Vermont was just named the craft brew epicenter of the nation by C+R research, and one man in Rutland is making it his mission to spread the good brews.
Just before Christmas, Rutland Beer Works, the business behind Rutland’s Hop ‘n Moose brewery and restaurant, opened its newest location — Rutland Beer Works at Killington, inside the Mountain Green Condominiums resort on the mountain.
Opening a restaurant like Hop’n Moose in Killington was something Patterson contemplated for some time. Another property on the Killington access road, formerly home to Burgrs on the Rocs and the Phat Italian, was eyed but Patterson said the deal fell through.
So when Mountain Green Condominiums called, they jumped for it.
“It’s a nice market, there are tourists, easy commute, it just makes sense,” Patterson said in an interview last week. “It took us three weeks to open. In the first week on Killington there were a lot of people in the building coming in, but we weren’t seeing many outsiders ... by the third weekend it was quite busy and this week was hell week, so I guess we’ll find out this coming week.”
The restaurant boasts 15 seats at the bar and roughly 20 tables around it, he said.
They wanted to keep the food simple: pub fare, with lots of sandwiches and giant pretzels, with more alterations and additions to come. He said diners will notice a significant difference.
The restaurant has a gas oven, which means none of the wood-fired pies found at Hop’n Moose will be available, at least for now.
“Depending on how the season goes, we could consider adding a wood-fired oven,” Patterson said. “We’re trying to mimic the Moose ... mostly homemade food.”
When they originally opened Hop’n Moose in 2013, they brewed the beer on-site, but Patterson said that’s something he’s unlikely to try again.
Instead, all of the beer for Hop’n Moose and Rutland Beer Works at Killington will be brewed at the brewhaus and tasting room on Granger Street in Rutland, which they purchased one year ago.
“It makes more sense to make the beer here,” he said, gesturing around the brewhaus. “We initially thought about brewing up there next fall, but we eliminated that thought.”
Going forward, Patterson said he’d consider a spot on Lake Bomoseen as a summer location for Rutland Beer Works, and the team has considered a rooftop beer café or an outdoor addition to the Hop’n Moose — a name that Patterson said may not be around much longer.
“Everyone loves the name Hop’n Moose,” Patterson said. “But Moosehead breweries did not. ... We agreed to open a second brewery and keep the Rutland Beer Works name. ... Eventually, in the not-too-distant future, we will consolidate and re-brand it Rutland Beer Works.”
Formerly a woodworking materials salesman, Patterson said he began with a 5-gallon setup in his garage that expanded into a brewery no one thought would ever take root.
“I think this has been really good for Rutland,” Patterson said. “Everywhere else in the state has a brewery or brewpub, and we didn’t have anything. As Rutland Red builds steam, with local restaurants carrying it, it’s a really good thing for the area.”
After several floor treatments when water found its way into places it shouldn’t, the installation and then removal of a glycol chiller — when it overheated the basement — and the come and go of employees and flavors, Rutland Beer Works boasts 16 beers on tap with two experimental India pale ales in the tanks, and Unconcluded “6” and “8” IPA available at the bar.
“We have one coming out this week called ‘Devil’s Fiddle,’” Patterson said. “It’s a hoppy, juicy, double New England IPA.”
He said the team is hoping to expand distribution into upstate New York, then south to Boston and Connecticut.