MEREDITH — It will still be months before Twin Barns Brewing Company serves its first pint of beer, but it managed to make a splash this weekend with the announcement of its brewer, who is currently in charge of brewing for craft beer giant Long Trail.
Sam Clemens is leaving Long Trail after seven years at the Bridgwater Corners, Vermont, brewery, the last three as head brewer. Long Trail’s offerings became more creative during Clemens’ tenure, including the release of the VT IPA and the Limbo series of beers.
Clemens said the move to a smaller brewery will offer the chance for yet more creativity.
“It’s really about the opportunity in Meredith. I have family in that area, I’m really excited about working down there, making beer around my family, (and) the opportunity to work on a smaller is
Appealing to me at this point in my career,” he said.
Clemens, 30, is a lifelong New Englander. He spend his childhood in the Boston area and his family moved to Vermont while he was in high school. He went to Unity College, in Maine, where he studied environmental education and psychology. His brewing career started as an assistant brewer at Long Trail, a company that distributes its beers into 14 states. But, thanks to Hurricane Irene, it was a while before he got near any grains or hops.
“I spent my first few weeks of my career there shoveling mud out of every inch of that building,” he said.
For his first few years at Long Trail, the brewery was focused on its tried and true recipes – Long Trail Ale, Double Bag, Blackberry Wheat, Hefeweizen. More recently, especially as the craft beer world has been overtaken by the so-called New England IPAs, Long Trail has stepped up its creativity and added several new varieties.
“It was really fun to watch that whole arc and be a part of a bunch of exciting and progressive developments there, I hope to continue that momentum down at Twin Barns for a different audience and at a difference scale.”
He said the plan for Twin Barns – which is located on Daniel Webster Highway across from McDonald’s, in a building most recently used as a police motorcycle museum – is to offer a variety of beers. There will be blonde ales and lighter beers for the casual beer drinker, and experimental and heavy-hitting brews to interest expert palates.
“For me, the really important part of the whole brewing profession is the opportunity to be more creative, and to get the chance to explore and work with as many different styles and ingredients, and as many brewers, to explore as many different opportunities as possible. That is more practicable on a smaller scale,” he said.
It’s highly likely that Twin Barns will bring at least one New England-style IPA to market, as the hazy, juicy-hopped, high-gravity beers are dominating the craft beer scene. But beyond that, Clemens said, local tastes will determine what kind of beers the brewery will serve.
“We’re going to really focus on being attentive to the people of Meredith and what people are into down there. What people want, and being sure that that’s what we’re providing them,” he said.
Twin Barns Brewing is owned by Dave Picarillo and Bruce Walton, and will utilize a 10-barrel brew system with room for expansion. Picarillo, Walton and Clemens hope to be open by June.