Friendship, big ideas, and just a pinch of brewing skills (okay, more like a barrelful) all lead to the sour-specific brainchild of Christophe Gagné and Avery Schwenk. Here at Hermit Thrush Brewery, we’re dedicated to concocting the best New American Sours we can dream up — and we aren’t afraid to go old-school with our style. We combine environmentally sustainable practices (like wood pellet boilers) with age-old brewing processes and a harvest of locally grown ingredients. The end result? A pucker-inducing punch to the tastebuds, and barely a dent on the planet.
Christophe and Avery met as students of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania — not as brewing buddies, but as co-hosts of a (rather eclectic) college radio show. They remained close friends after college and eventually hatched a plan to open a microbrewery. Brattleboro, VT matched their desire for a location that combined community, nature, and environmental awareness — and thus, Hermit Thrush Brewery began.
Today, we’re lucky enough to share the beer brewing magic with a handful of folks. It tends to be all-hands-on-deck around here, and roles range from brewing and production to inventory management and transportation. Our entire team is passionate about creating the best beer possible, and we’re not opposed to having a little fun while we're at it.
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.