Back in May, Knotty Shamrock owner Kevin Pecor began construction on a new brewery that would provide suds for his Northfield Irish pub and other area restaurants. By late summer, the brewing equipment was installed and ready to go. And by September, Pecor and his brewers-in-arms — who include Radley Herold and Vermont Pub & Brewery brewmaster Russ FitzPatrick — were running test batches through the system.
This coming Saturday, December 13, Pecor will host the grand opening of the Paine Mtn. Brewing tasting room. Currently, the brewery is separate from the adjoining pub, but Pecor says he plans to open a door between the two soon.
The weekend event will offer Paine Mtn.'s four "staple" beers on tap. These include a Bavarian-style wheat beer called the Knotty Blonde, a black double IPA, the lighter Common Man IPA, and RiRa, aka Russ' Irish Red Ale.
The last beer was named for FitzPatrick, whose assistance Pecor says he's welcomed; he credits the VPB brewer with helping to formulate the other flagship beers. "Russ actually lives in Northfield," Pecor says, "so it's been great to have him around." As for the abbreviation RiRa, he says, it's an old Irish term "for being a little mischievous and misguided" — no connection to Burlington's Rí Rá Irish Pub.
Once the brewery is up and running, Pecor says, he'll connect the two buildings and bring a new farm-to-table menu to the tasting room. While the Knotty Shamrock's pub fare will remain unaltered, chef Jeff Shapley is working on a separate, slightly more upscale spread for the tasting room. "I wouldn't call it pub food," the owner says. "It'll be all over the map."
Diners can look for the new menu's debut in January and, in the meantime, sip Paine Mtn. brews in the tasting room, at the Knotty Shamrock and around the state. Earlier this week, Pecor shipped his first wholesale kegs to a few accounts via Barre's Calmont Beverage Company.
"When I opened the Knotty Shamrock," he says, "I wanted to brew beer. That was always going to be part of the puzzle. The more I got into it, the more I realized I wanted to do a separate business altogether. I didn't want to isolate the beer to my own establishment." Indeed, Pecor's getting his beer out there: On Wednesday, December 10, diners at Farmhouse Tap & Grill can try Paine Mtn. at the Burlington restaurant's New Kids on the [Vermont brewing] Block tasting event.
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