This month, during our annual Drink Green campaign, we’re sharing news from our Vermont breweries. Up this week is Weird Window Brewing, located in South Burlington. If you haven’t tried them yet, pick up a 4-pack at the Market for 15% through the end of March.
Thank you to co-owner Jack Droppa for taking the time to answer a few questions about how things are going at the brewery. He and his wife, Emily, own and operate the brewery together; he oversees the brewing operations, and Emily manages the taproom, merchandise, and events. This summer they’ll celebrate one year in business.
Q. Can you tell us the story behind your brewery’s name?
A. The name of the brewery comes from the crooked windows located throughout New England, including Vermont. The windows are commonly found on old farmhouses in rural Vermont. The windows are called “Crooked Windows,” “Vermont Windows,” “Witch Windows,” and even “Coffin Windows.” When we moved to Vermont, we started to call the windows “Weird Windows” and well, it just stuck. We like the story behind the windows and the connection to Vermont, so why not Weird Window Brewing?!
Q. Who is your brewmaster?
A. I am, but I do not consider myself a “brewmaster.” In my opinion, “brewmaster” is reserved for someone with formal brew training and a degree from a brewing school. I consider myself the “head brewer.”
Q. Do you have any type of formal training? If not, how did you learn the craft?
A. I do not have any formal training. I learned the craft from hands-on experience. I started home brewing in college, and I really enjoyed it. I continued homebrewing during my time as a ski patroller in Utah. When I left that job, I interned at a brewery in California with my friend who first taught me how to brew in college. When I moved to Vermont, I got a job on the packaging line at Otter Creek. I worked my way from the packaging line to the brewdeck in my time at Otter Creek, and I had the chance to learn from some really great brewers. I left Otter Creek to brew at Frost Beer Works before I decided to start my own brewery.
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. We are a brand new brewery. We started construction in August 2019, and we opened our doors on July 18, 2020.
Q. How large is the brewery (# of barrels annually)?
A. We have the capacity to brew about 3,000 bbls annually. As a new brewery, and with COVID-19, we decided to start small. We anticipate brewing about 1,000 bbls in 2021.
Q. How has Covid-19 affected your business and what have you done to adapt to the new conditions?
A. Covid has had a significant impact on our business. We were originally hoping to open in May of 2020. Construction wasn’t completed until April 2020 as a result of COVID-19, so we weren’t able to open our taproom until July 2020. We were able to remain open throughout the summer, but made the difficult decision to close the taproom to in-person service in November 2020. We have remained open two days a week for curbside pickup of cans, growlers, and merch, and we are optimistic that we will be able to re-open the taproom in the next few months.
Q. What is your favorite style of beer to drink?
A. It is hard to pick just one style. I really enjoy drinking all different styles of beer. It is very cool to see how each individual brewer and brewery puts their own spin on different styles of beer to make them their own.
Q. What is your “desert island beer”?
A. This is an impossible question. I don’t know if I could pick just one beer. If I were on a desert island, I would probably want something light and crisp. Bierstadt’s Slow Pour Pilsner is one of the best Pilsners I have ever drank, so I might pick that one.
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 would love the opportunity to sit down for a beer with JFK. I was a history major in college and I enjoy learning about the Cold War and post-45 US History. I would be very interested to be able to sit down and ask JFK about the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Space Race.