Drink Green: Spotlight on Mount Holly Brewing

It’s time to Drink Green! And not just because it’s the season of shamrocks and leprechauns—although that’s what inspires this annual celebration of Vermont brews. In March we’re raising our glass to the long list of amazing breweries here in the Green Mountain State. And four in particular.

We’re excited to spotlight these local brewers—Vermont Beer Makers in Springfield, Ten Bends Beer in Hyde Park, Mount Holly Beer Co. in Mount Holly, and 14th Star Brewing Company in Saint Albans. Thank you to our brewers for taking the time to share their beer-making stories with us. .

Plus, get 15% off beers by these four brewers all month long.

Photo courtesy of Mount Holly Beer.

Q-and-A with Dan Tilly at Mount Holly Brewing

Q. Please tell us your name and your role at the brewery.

A. The name is Dan Till, and I’m the owner / creative guy at Mount Holly. I’m also the accountant, legal advisor, salesperson, PR person, delivery manager and raw material buyer to name a few roles!

Q. Can you tell us the story behind your brewery’s name?

A. If you haven’t been, Mount Holly is an incredible little town tucked up in the hills behind Okemo Mountain and about 30 minutes from Woodstock. When I was first thinking of names, I considered Belmont Brewery (Belmont is a smaller part of Mount Holly) but unfortunately the name was taken already. Good thing though because Mount Holly Beer captures the vibe perfectly in our little mountain top town.

Q. Who does your brewing?

A. We partner with the incredibly talented team at Rutland Beer Works on all our commercial production. Ian Harbage is the head brewer there. We love working with Rutland Beer for a bunch of reasons, but on the practical side, a shared facility lets us focus on self-distributing our beer to ensure it arrives at our accounts across Vermont in the best condition possible, aka, cold and fresh! We aim to have beer on the shelf that’s three weeks old or younger.

Q. Does the brewer have any type of formal training? If not, how did they learn the craft?

A. Ian is actually a Woodstock native and learned his craft at Long Trail brewing prior to Rutland Beer. A decade of commercial experience, plus a diploma in brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and a Craft Beer Business certificate from UVM leaves us in pretty good hands.

Q. Can you give us a brief history of your brewery? How did you get started and how long have you been in business?

A. In 2012 I found myself an unemployed college graduate. Desperate for a hobby, I started homebrewing beer, wine and cider and was instantly hooked to the art of fermentation. In 2015 the first ideas of a future Mount Holly Beer started to emerge, and in 2019 I finally decided to “get serious.” That meant figuring out the legal side of things which is arguably the most complicated part of running a beer business in the beginning. We packaged our first batch on December 18, 2021 and delivered 7 cases that night to our friends at Beer Mountain in Ludlow.

We now have around ~100 accounts across Vermont and do some occasional distribution in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Photo courtesy of Mount Holly Beer.

Q. How large is the brewery (# of barrels annually)?

A. We produce about 750 bbl a year. Or about 186,000 16 oz cans.

Q. How is your beer connected to the local area?

A. Vermont is on the beer map for its legendary IPA’s, so we naturally tried to carve our niche in that world by offering highly drinkable IPA’s—lower in alcohol but still full of flavor and with an emphasis on creative hop pairings. We’ve also celebrated locally grown ingredients from Champlain Valley Hops in the beers, such as the now semi-famous NUGGET NUGGET NUGGET we first released as part of the Vermont Hop Project.

Q. What is your favorite style of beer to drink?

A. Pilsner, Wheat Beer and IPA are my favorite styles depending on the occasion.

Q. What is your “desert island beer”?

A. Pilsner Urquell without a doubt. The Green Stand if I could pick a second.

Q. If you could sit down with anyone (living or dead) and have a beer, who would it be and why? What would be the first question you would ask them?

A. I’d love to have a beer with Josef Groll, the father of the pilsner beer in Bavaria. Imagine being able to taste one of those originals! I imagine we’d geek out on beer and enjoy a few while we were at it.

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