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Maple; The Official Flavor of Vermont

We can’t be a Vermont brewery without maple beer!

The First Lawson’s Finest Maple Beer

The first maple beer in the Lawson’s Finest portfolio was our Fayston Maple Imperial Stout. At the time, Sean and his wife Karen were living in the small town of Fayston, Vermont. A town so small that it doesn’t even have its own postoffice! There was, however, a neighbor with a sugaring operation. Sean would often spend time in the sugar house with his neighbor sharing stories and making maple syrup. Naturally, that was the syrup that was featured in the first Fayston Maple Imperial Stout. In 1995, Sean entered Fayston Maple in the Green Mountain Mashers Homebrew Competition in the Specialty Beer category and it came in third place!

Over the years, the recipe has evolved using ingredients that were not available at the time of the first brew. Now the recipe incorporates malts that make the beer more smooth with less smokey and burnt characters.

Fun Fact: Just over two gallons of maple syrup per barrel of beer are used to brew Fasyton Maple Imperial Stout. That means the 34 barrels that we brew at the Waitsfield brewery uses roughly 70 gallons of maple syrup!

Pairings and Tasting Notes

According to Sean, “this beer is a winter favorite.” He recommends pairing it with anything sweet, especially chocolate. If you are pairing it with a meal, he suggests that it should be a rich hearty dish like a beef stew. It’s also great to cook with! Try adding Fasyton Maple next time you make chili, it will warm your heart.

Fayston Maple is rich, complex, and full bodied. When you sip this beer, you will notice that it has a nice roasty character like a coffee, notes of chocolate from the dark malts, and a modern amount of bitterness from the hops and the dark malts. Finally, it has a long, sweet, malty finish.

Barrel Aged Fayston Maple Imperial Stout

We recently released this years Fayston Maple Imperial Stout aged in Mad River Distiller rum barrels. To make this beer is a labor of love. First, the beer is brewed. Next, it goes into the Mad River Distiller rum barrels, which we receive from our friends and neighbors at Mad River Distillers, where we allow it to age for six months. Then, it’s time to bottle. It’s all hands on deck for the brewery team for this step. Since this beer is in special bottles, every bottle gets filled and packaged by hand. It is a long process, but the outcome is worth it.

Fun Fact: Sometimes, before the bottling process, we blend in fresh beer with what has been aged to get the right balance between the barrel aged characteristics and the base beer. The fresh beer will also carry over some yeast which cleans up the character of the beer and it holds up better once in the bottle.

In addition to the Fayston Maple tasting notes, this years batch has notes of coconut, vanilla, tannins from the contact with the wood, and rum. Unlike our other beers, our barrel aged beers do not have a strict freshness date. If you let it age longer, the flavors will mellow out and meld together making the beer more smooth.