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Fiddlehead Brewing — IPA Mastermind of Vermont

The minute I started brewing, for me, it was the perfect marriage of craftsmanship, creativity and science. To this day, it really keeps me going. — Matt Cohen, Owner & Brewmaster, Fiddlehead Brewing

Fiddlehead Brewing begins with an IPA

Years ago, Matt reached out to us to let us know that he had started Fiddlehead Brewing — following his departure as longtime employee with the position as Head Brewer for Magic Hat. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get up to Vermont to put together a Brewery Show episode at the time, but years later I managed to check out the brewery while on vacation. During that visit I recorded an episode for my side project Brewfiles. We discussed a bunch of things about his new brewery, including what he had planned for the future.

You can take a look at that episode here:

While it’s not the same as the Brewery Show, I think it does a pretty great job of capturing his intentions for Fiddlehead, how he got into brewing and what being a Vermonter is all about, including: keeping things green and brewing sap beer.

THE FOLLOW-UP

Since filming the above video, there have been obvious changes for Fiddlehead, such as growth and a huge surge in popularity. Not unexpected at all, as Fiddlehead is now canning some very popular and highly rated beers through Iron Heart mobile canning. Most if not all of these special release beers are available at the brewery on release days.

Mastermind IPASecond Fiddle and Hodad Porter are all canned and quite highly regarded — and have some pretty awesome artwork, too. It looks like Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist and Lawson’s Finest Liquids have a true contender in the Vermont IPA category, which is great, because competition only makes beer better.

 

GROWTH, SUCCESS AND THE FUTURE

In 2012 Fiddlehead was brewing 30 barrels a week, and according to Matt, the business plan projection was to brew 500 barrels in the first year — except after only 6 months he had already surpassed 1000 barrels. That was while brewing primarily Fiddlehead IPA — the flagship beer, with just a few brewery-only specialty offerings.

I’m saying it right now — we’re staying at 5,000 — I’m on the record, so it’s out there… but we’ll see!

It’s clear from the success Fiddlehead is having, 5000 barrels isn’t the ceiling, and that’s great news. It’s a powerful reminder that great beer will float you beyond your capacity, and in the case of Vermont breweries, this seems to become a trend. Maybe there’s something in the water, or maybe it’s just great skill amplified by regional interest. No matter what the cause, they are brewing some solid beer.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Beyond world domination, what’s next for Fiddlehead Brewing? Only time will tell, but it sure seems that the answer is already obvious. Also! This seems like a good reminder — we should head up to Vermont for a formal episode and an update on all things green.

Matthew MattyO Cohen

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