House of Fermentology in Burlington, Vermont is an oak barrel aging brewery that uses mixed culture, wild yeast, and lactic acid bacteria fermentation. The process used to blend and brew House of Fermentology beers helps give it a unique identity and distinctive characteristic. Every bottle sold by this brewery is unfiltered, evolving, and bottle-conditioned.
The brewery was conceived by partners Todd Haire and Bill Mares when they set about to write the third edition of Bill’s acclaimed book – Making Beer. Both Todd and Bill had been passionate home-brewers with approximately 60 years of brewing experience between them. 20 out of these 60 years, of course, belongs to Todd’s professional career as a brewer. Todd realized that he’d always wanted to brew the kind of beer that was being written about in Bill’s book, and there has been no looking back for House of Fermentology since.
House of Fermentology beers are made available via monthly releases at Foam Brewer’s taproom. A limited capacity of 300-500 bottles is released for every brew in 500 milliliter quantities. Currently, you can taste the following on the House of Fermentology menu:
- Pink Dot: 6.7% ABV Golden Wild Ale, oak barrel-aged with raspberries, lemon zest, and ginger
- Orange Dot: 6.5% ABV American Wild Ale, blended mature and refermented using roasted Cara Cara oranges and honey
- Green Dot: 5% ABV Golden Wild Ale, dry-hopped with Mosaic and Equinox and aged in oak barrels
- Purple Dot: 5.8% ABV Golden Wild Ale, aged in oak barrels with the addition of black currants and blackberries
- Red Dot: 6.7% ABV Golden Wild Ale, aged in oak barrels using Montmorency tart cherries and Balaton
- Yellow Dot: 6.5% ABV Golden Wild Ale, aged in oak barrels after adding elderflower, chamomile, lavender, and Vermont wildflower honey.
Initially, two of HOF’s popular beer offerings were House Dot and Dot Dot Dot.
House Dot was a 5.8% ABV wild ale aged in oak barrels, which made a perfect summer drink. It provided a bright golden color and a farmhouse smell with lingering sweetness of bright, ripe pineapple.
Dot Dot Dot was an 8% ABV golden wild ale aged in oak barrels by adding plum and black pepper. You could enjoy winding up your day with a bottle of this bubbly, slightly sweet, and noticeably tart beverage.
At the brewery on Pine Street, Todd and Bill age their sours for ten to twelve months first, then put about two to three beers of different ages and cultures in a 200 gallon tank. The flavoring of the beer comes together here, in this grundy, for nearly four days before being transferred back to oak barrels. Some of the batches are fermented further in these barrels with the addition of more flowers or fruits. Todd and Bill determine whether the beer blend is ready by hammering a nail into the barrel, allowing the drink to pour out before tasting it. If they believe more barrel aging is necessary for the blend, they place this nail back into the barrel and allow the aging process to continue.
If the beer is deemed ready for bottling, it is poured out into bottles and then labeled with a colored dot. The colored dot is House of Fermentology’s preferred method of identification.
Besides bottled beer, you can also avail HOF beer on tap at Foam Brewers.
House of Fermentology is slated to move out of its Pine Street location and into the burgeoning Nordic Farms locality in Charlotte. The 2,500 square feet area at the Nordic Farms facility will allow House of Fermentology more space to age, blend, and condition their beers. Additionally, it will also enable them to expand further if it ever comes up on the cards. The Charlotte brewery provides for a 600 acre farm where HOF can practice on-site agriculture to support their brewing endeavors. The farm could be converted into an apiary, orchard, or even vineyard. Haire and Mares are playing around with several ideas. For now, they just want to take their own sweet time and brew beer that their customers will enjoy. Production from this Charlotte facility should begin in 2020.
Why You Have to Try House of Fermentology Beers
One of the more recent additions to the beers made available by House of Fermentology, which seems to have found a steady fan base, is the Seurat Dot. The Seurat Dot is one of HOF’s traditional golden sours with a 5.6% ABV content. It has been aged and fermented in Chardonnay wine barrels alongside lemon peel and passion fruit. The Seurat Dot has been named after the founder of Pointillism and French post-impressionist painter Georges Seurat. If you’re fond of the sour taste, you should most definitely sample the Seurat Dot beer from HOF. It enjoys an average BeerAdvocate rating of 4.4.
House of Fermentology beers are specifically tailored for sour beer enthusiasts. They will also catch your attention if you are fond of beers which undergo wild yeast fermentation and other natural methods of brewing. It wouldn’t be incorrect to describe the beers offered by House of Fermentology as “alive.” 100% unfiltered and allowed to age in barrels and condition in bottles, these beers pick up nuances and complexities of flavor and body until they are poured out for consumption.
If you nurture a taste for wild ales, House of Fermentation will not disappoint. The Pine Street facility of HOF brews its beers and makes them available at Foam Brewers. You can lounge about at the waterfront brewery at Foam Brewers and soak in the taste of House of Fermentation brews until they open up a taproom at their new Nordic Farms address.
You can visit House of Fermentology at 777 Pine Street, Burlington, VT 05401 if you want a taste of House of Fermentology’s fresh wild ales. Also, you could simply drop into their sister brewery, Foam Brewers, located at 112 Lake Street – about a 15 mile distance from the House of Fermentology. Todd happens to be the co-founder of Foam Brewers. To plan your visit or to have any other queries addressed, you can call them at 802-999-3020 or visit their official website.