NEWPORT CENTER - Brian and Jennifer Cook decided to upgrade a home brewing operation to commercial status after years of Brian honing his craft since he was in high school. Kingdom Brewing held an open house this past weekend and participated in the Bean and Brew Fest at Jay Peak Resort.
Jennifer explained how beer is made, from taking a couple of hundred pounds of grain and turning into mash. After an hour, the liquid is pumped into a brew kettle and the unwanted by-product is fed to the beef herd.
Once the brew kettle is full, the liquid is boiled for an hour, depending on the beer they are making. The more you boil it the greater the degree of bitterness.
They then add hops. For flavor, they can include pumpkin, spruce tips (cut in the spring), molasses and other ingredients. The liquid is pumped into a fermenter, which chills the “mash” to 68 degrees.
Yeast is added and the “brew” (It's not beer yet.) ferments for several days depending on whether they are making ale or lager beer.
“The residual settles to the bottom and looks like lava peanut butter,” said Jennifer Cook. “We can recycle it and use it to make more beer. The key to making a light beer is to use less grain, which means less alcohol is created and the beer has less calories.”
Kingdom Brewing has two beers they offer year round called “Skinny Bitch” and “Out of Bounds,” the former being a “session” ale, and the latter an “India Pale Ale.” They also offer an unlimited variety of other flavors, depending on the season and demand.
The Cooks have the capacity to make “beer to taste” for special events. A “growler,” which is four pints of beer, is sold both wholesale and retail and the company distributes the product to specialty bars that focus on micro breweries, natural food co-ops, and other sources.
They also sell beer in kegs and can cater to special events with advance notice. For a sample of their beer, visit their operation off VT RT 5 on Colburn Hill Road.
The Bean and Brew Festival held the same weekend at Jay was an excellent opportunity to introduce Brian's and Jennifer's beer to hundreds of participants. Jennifer estimated that, at the festival, they gave out 500 samples of different varieties of the beer they make.