By Brooke Geery
Dan Tilly has been home brewing cider, wine and beer for almost a decade. Though he dreamt of starting a beer company for years, he finally got down to business this year after the pandemic brought him back to Vermont from London. The Mt. Holly native teamed up with friend and fellow Vermonter David Mango and the duo has released their first batch of commercially produced beer, The Green Stand.
“Brewing recipes commercially has been a goal for about 6 years,” Tilly said, “but this year the dream finally became a reality.”
The Green Stand is named after the 19th Century roadside tavern in Mount Holly, started by a Civil War soldier who moved there after the war. It is a hoppy ale that is a blend between East and West Coast IPAs. Whetstone Craft Beers in Brattleboro is doing the actual brewing and bottling.
“We opted to partner with a local brewer in Vermont to produce our first batch based on Dan’s specifications that he designs at home in Mount Holly in small batch form,” Mango said. “We have a keen eye for quality in our ingredients. We chose to partner with [Whetstone] specifically because they have a great brewery themselves and lots of expertise and experience in scaling up half barrel recipes to 15 barrels, as they have recently expanded their fermenting and canning capacity.”
“We started this way because we wanted to first building a brand and focus on the ingredient side of things,” Tilly added. “Partnering with Champlain Valley Hops is something we are really excited about. Only 4% of U.S .grown hops are outside the Pacific Northwest which was not always the case. New York state was actually the leading U.S. hop producer in the 1800’s. A goal we have is to help drive appreciation for Vermont/Northeast grown hops.”
Next summer they are planning to start an expansion of the hop farm, which will take a few years to get fully up and running.
“Mount Holly is particularly suited to hop cultivation because our higher elevation helps with higher winds and lower humidity, both of which help reduce the risk of downy mildew, which is a particular concern in the Northeast because of the higher humidity levels,” Tilly said. “So far our test hop crops have been growing well! ”
In addition to the hop farm, the Tilly family has a very small vineyard in Mount Holly, which Tilly planted in 2011. It produces about 30 gallons annually.
“Unfortunately, Mount Holly is a terrible grape growing region as the short growing season lends itself to high acidity and low sugar levels in the grapes. I consider it more like a health tonic like kombucha so we keep at it,” Tilly said.
While commercially produced Mt. Holly wine may never materialize, they do have plans to expand. Mount Holly Beer Co.’s second release will be a dry hopped pilsner in collaboration with Beer Mountain. For now, they will only be brewing IPA and pilsner, but maybe a cider in the near future.
You can sample Mount Holly Beer Co.’s Green Stand in cans at Beer Mountain and Main + Mountain in Ludlow, the Belmont General Store and Hops on the Hill in Killington. It is available on tap at the Rustic Rooster in Shrewsbury, as well as Mr. Darcy’s and Main + Mountain in Ludlow.
For more information, visit mounthollybeer.com and find them on Instagram at @mounthollybeer.