When they were brewing at Stowe's Trapp Family Lodge, head brewer Allen Van Anda and his assistant, Jamie Griffith, mastered the delicacies of producing Austrian-style lager, that brewery's specialty.
Van Anda left the brewery last spring, Griffith a few months later. Now, both are resurfacing a few miles north, in Morrisville, and will open their own venture, Lost Nation Brewing, later this spring.
For the last few months, Van Anda and Griffith have been transforming the former Rock Art Brewery space at 254 Wilkins St. into a nimble, 6000-barrel brewery and tasting room — though they're still awaiting some major equipment.
"Our tanks are on a train in the middle of Canada right now," says Van Anda. He has his fingers crossed that by the end of the month, he and his partner will be producing "honest, good-drinking, session beer."
Neither wants to pigeonhole Lost Nation in a particular style. "We've designed a brewery so we could do just about any beer and do it right," says Van Anda. Like the lager brewery from which they both came, Lost Nation will have cellar aging tanks "so we can let beer mature the way it should."
Still, the brewers can't resist talking styles. His voice echoing through the mostly empty brewery, Van Anda says Lost Nation's oeuvre will likely include a "hoppy amber." Griffith adds they'll also tackle a pilsner and a gose, a tart, German-style beer flavored with sea salt and coriander. "It's something very different and crosses all boundaries," he says.
Lost Nation's beers will only be available in kegs at first, as well as in growlers filled in the tasting room. With 18 taps and a few tables — as well as plates of local meat and cheese — it sounds like an inviting place to linger for a pint.