- Hannah Palmer Egan
- From left: Todd Haire, Dani Casey, Bobby Grim and Sam Keane of Foam Brewers
Last Thursday, April 28, Foam Brewers quietly opened on Lake Street in Burlington. The event was broadcast solely by word of mouth, but dozens of local brewheads found their way to the former San Sai Japanese Restaurant space, where partners Todd Haire, Sam Keane, Bobby Grim, Jon Farmer and Dani Casey were pouring pints of seven farmhouse-style brews.
All of the partners are Vermont beer veterans — collectively, they've worked for decades at Switchback Brewing and Magic Hat Brewing.
The opening draft list skewed light — in alcohol content and in color, flavor and body. The dry, multigrain Saison de Foam is a just-sour, hazy white brew with notes of citrus and pepper, while Easey Kesey is a bready wheat ale. Other drafts included a chewy German-style pilsner and the Froth, a big, round French-style saison. Two hoppier options were a bitter American pale ale, made with El Dorado and Chinook hops, and a big, juicy double IPA called Built to Spill — Foam's strongest beer by far, at 8 percent ABV.
"We want beers that'll work for the outdoors at this time of year," Haire says. "So we're kind of brightening them up." Come winter, the brewer says, customers can expect darker offerings.
The brewery also offers super-tart kombucha — brewed at Haire's forthcoming House of Fermentology on Pine Street — and nitro cold brew from Brio Coffeeworks.
For snacking, find boards spread with rotating local cheeses (current offerings come from von Trapp Farmstead, Blue Ledge Farm and Shelburne Farms) and aged meats, including salumi, coppa and chorizo. As summer wears on, Foam's owners plan to add lacto-fermented pickles and a more extensive morning menu. "We're hoping to do brunch," Casey says.
With brick walls, ample windows and soaring ceilings, the space (designed by builder Russ Bennett) feels open and primed for socializing.
Or dancing — Foam will feature live music. Burlington-based Smooth Antics and Billy Dean & the Honor Roll will play a May 13 grand-opening party. Later this month, the brewery will host several shows for the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival.
This summer, the brewers plan to make the most of their waterfront location, serving crowds during summer festivals, concerts and events. Haire says he hopes the brewery can join the Skinny Pancake, just down the block, in attracting visitors to the area year-round. "It's such a nice place to be," he says. "People come here, and it's this comfortable, relaxed setting. That's what Burlington is all about."
Foam Brewers is now open at 112 Lake Street, daily from noon to 9 p.m. or later.