14th Star Brewing Company
By: Beer Baron PA
Sometimes life is more than the journey. Sometimes, it’s about the brewery at the end of the road. So there we were setting out from Burlington Vermont to St. Albans City which gave us 45 minutes of lush landscape patterned with farm land and those beautiful nearby green mountains. Awesome, yes, but there was still that brewery at the end of the road. No flowers were too beautiful to stop and smell. We wanted beer. So we traveled watching green license plates slide along I-89. It was almost as if everyone’s destination was 14th Star Brewing Co. Maybe that’s because we wanted to share our adventure with all the fellow drivers and passengers.
Owing to our luck, 14th was open when we got there. I say luck because as it turns out, they are open for only 3 days a week for a total of about 11 hours. Perhaps it’s a bit strange, but ask the owner Steve Gagner who will tell you they’ve reached their fourth year of sales projections in just one year. That’s substantial growth in a town of 8,000. They operate from a small space where the beer pours as fresh as water from a natural spring.
The small brewery has been open now for a little over a year. Steve Gagner runs the show and his extensive background of service in the Army is evident in his muscular bulk. In fact, much of the inspiration for the fruit of his labor is in honor and appreciation for those that serve and have served. For 14th Star, it’s simple. As Steve says, “We pledge that every day we’re in business is a day to remember, honor, and show our appreciation for [soldiers] who ask so little, yet give so much.” Even Memorial Day is more than a day to Steve; in fact, it is the essence of the brewery. For example, some of the proceeds for their hoppy ‘Valor’ ale go to supporting the ‘Purple hearts Reunited Foundation’ which is a non-profit that returns lost or stolen purple hearts to men and women who earned them, or to their families.
You can see Steve’s background strongly influence his passion for beer. Even the name 14th Star goes back to when Vermont first joined the Union. In 1791, Ethan Allen (also a beer enthusiast) made the effort to add the 14th star to the American flag. We are glad to have you on this side of the border Vermont!
14th made their debut at Vermont’s Brewers festival, July 2012. They obtained their brewing license only a month before the festival and doubted they could turn out enough beer for the event. They did.
Now 14th Star brews approximately 900 gallons of beer a month with just 3 brew tanks. See for yourself and ask for a tour. They will be more than happy to show you. Expect to taste all their beers on draft. You’ll never know what’s on tap and what sold out. It could be their hoppy nutty Valor, their citrusy 1493, their malty Harvest Brown Ale with notes of caramel, the nectar-like Honey IPA with locally sourced honey, or their Porter brewed with local maple sap donated from friends and family. It could even be their Winter Warmer or American Pale Ale. Just ask to drink good beer. You’ll be in good hands.