Lake Champlain’s “Left Bank” will get a little saucier this summer when a microbrewery opens in Peru, N.Y.
Valcour Brewing Company will have views of the lake and the island from which it takes its name, according to owners Mary T. Pearl and Terry Schmaltz, who drew inspiration from the region’s booming beer scene. “We went through the American Brewers Guild [classes] in Vermont and graduated from there last summer,” says Pearl, referring to the brewing school inside Middlebury’s Drop-In Brewing Company. “We decided, You know what, let’s take the hobby that we love doing and do it full time.”
Though the couple will not break ground until mid-April, they’ve been busy perfecting beer recipes alongside head brewer Brian Combs. They’re also honing plans for their post-and-beam tasting room and a deck with views of Mt. Mansfield across the lake.
Though they currently live in Virginia, Pearl and Schmaltz have deep ties in northern New York; Pearl grew up in the Plattsburgh area, where her family still owns a house.
Brewer Combs, who will also migrate to northern New York, seems charged by the prospect of turning out Valcour’s hop-driven brews. “I’ll brew a line of pale ales, a black IPA, and we’re going to do an amber ale as well,” he says. Some of the initial offerings will be “stepping-stone beers,” as Combs puts it, that appeal to diverse palates. Seasonal brews such as pumpkin beer and hefeweizen will round out the roster.
“I’m still trying to get a feel for what the community likes to drink, but we’ll have a nice lineup of beers,” Combs says.
The original print version of this article was headlined "Brews With a View"