Anthony Edwards / Staff Photo
The former home of Ladabouche Furniture on Center Street in downtown Rutland will be the site of the Hop’n Moose Brewing Co.
RUTLAND — The city’s first brewpub is planning to open April 1.
Suspicious as the date sounds, that’s not a joke. Proprietor Dale Patterson, who is busily renovating the former Ladabouche Furniture space on Center Street, said he thinks it’s high time Rutland had its own beer. The business, Hop’n Moose Brewing Co., already has a Facebook page, and Patterson expects to have his first batch fermenting next month.
“Just about everywhere I travel, and I used to travel a lot, I would find the local brew pub — or brewpubs,” Patterson said Monday. “I think it’s been a hole in Rutland for years. Cities Rutland’s size or bigger tend to have them.”
Patterson, who was a University of Vermont hockey star in the 1990s, has been living in Rutland since 1999, selling industrial woodworking equipment.
“That market has gone overseas for the most part,” he said. “I’ve been a home brewer for a number of years. I have some reasonably sophisticated equipment at home. For the last three or four years I’ve been brewing pretty seriously.”
Patterson said he expects the pub’s signature brew to be a “West Coast” India pale ale, with other featured beers including a red ale, an Irish blond and a chocolate milk stout.
“My intention is, every Friday, to have a new beer on tap,” he said. “It’ll be a small batch. It won’t be the same thing over and over. It’ll be something new every Friday.”
Along with the beer, Patterson plans to serve pizza from a wood-fired brick oven.
“It should be a real nice interior — sort of a cross between a camp, let’s say, and a more traditional brewpub,” he said. “We’ll have a moose head over the bar, a lot of pine, exposed pipes — sort of a cross between a rustic feel and a traditional brewpub kind of feel. We’re not really looking at classy, we’re looking at comfortable.”
Patterson said he was still sorting out his permits, which have taken him to every level of government, including federal.
“You’re making alcohol,” he said. “It’s a little different from just selling alcohol.”
However, Patterson said he has spoken to other Vermont brewers and is confident he can open April 1 and begin serving beer brewed on-site June 1.
Downtown Rutland Partnership Executive Director Michael Coppinger said the building had been empty for at least three years — with the exception of a temporary ski shop that operated there last month.
“It’s great to fill one of the last remaining vacancies downtown,” he said. “(A brewpub) is something we’ve talked about at our board level for a long time. It’s a long process to put together a business plan for the brewery as well as the pub side. We hope he’s successful.”
James Davidson of the Rutland Historical Society said there was a distiller in Rutland in the early 1800s, producing liquor for the local taverns, but he was not aware of any commercial brewers ever operating in the city — at least not legally.
“For so long, even before Prohibition, a lot of what was going on was either illegal or undercover,” he said. “That’s the way it was.”
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