Hermit Thrush Brewery is the brainchild of President and Brewmaster Christophe Gagné and his beer-loving friend and Vice President Avery Schwenk. Together, Christophe and Avery are dedicated to providing top quality Belgian inspired ales to the residents and visitors of Brattleboro, Vermont. Through the use of historical brewing processes, oak casks, and new green technologies, we make exciting, yet accessible, beer while keeping an eye on minimizing our environmental impact.
Christophe and Avery met over a decade ago as students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania where they cohosted a radio show featuring their rather eclectic music tastes. After school, they parted ways, but remained close friends. Christophe, a native of upstate New York, remained in the Philadelphia area and acquired the skills and tools of a master brewer, sous chef, cheesemonger and social worker. Avery, born and raised in southeast Minnesota, sated his wanderlust and thirst for excitement with a stint in Canada and training as a paramedic, meanwhile developing a taste for fine beer and food. After Avery relocated back to Philadelphia, they hatched a plan together to open a fine microbrewery and to migrate from the city to a place that fed their desire for community, nature and environmental awareness. Thus, Hermit Thrush Brewery was formed! With Christophe’s talent for brewing and industriousness and Avery’s persistence and esoteric knowledge, the two have embarked on an adventure that culminates, as all good adventures should, in world-class beer.
Christophe Gagné, President and Brewmaster
Christophe has been brewing for about 6 years, and has worked in or completed apprenticeships in three breweries. During Philadelphia’s 2011 and 2012 Beer Week festivals, Chris brewed two batches on Philadelphia brewpub Nodding Head’s system as a featured guest. In 2011, he produced a Tart Cherry Lambic fermented with his own strain of lambic yeast and aged in bourbon barrels. In 2012, he brewed a Farmhouse Amber Ale aged in barrels inoculated with three of his yeast strains. He has continued to refine his Belgian beers and now maintains quite an impressive library of international and wild yeasts he collected over the years.
Avery Schwenk, Vice President and Brewer
Avery has been a craft beer enthusiast for over a decade. He was most recently employed as a Paramedic in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. He has always had a passion for teaching and mentoring, even during his schooling in physics and music. For the past 12 years, Avery spent hundreds of volunteer hours annually in leadership, management and consultant roles for Destination Imagination, the international creative problem-solving organization. Along with his diverse experience and background, Avery is a specialist in lateral thinking, critical decision making, on-the-fly problem-solving, personnel training and hands-on management. He also really likes flying kites when the wind is right.