Meet Andrew Leichthammer, Brewer for Good Measure Brewing
Drinking a lot of Vermont’s best craft beers over the years has allowed me to get to know some of Vermont’s brewers quite well. I find brewers fascinating. Sure, brewing might start with a love of beer itself (the taste, the aroma, the warming feeling you get from it)… But there’s so much more that goes into it: science, ingredient sourcing, cleanliness, recipes, creativity, innovation, finances. In an effort to share a more in-depth look into the brewers behind the brew kettle, I’m sharing interviews with some of my personal favorites brewers in Vermont (of which there are quite a few these days!).
First up in Andrew Leichthammer, one of the new kids on the block in the Vermont craft beer scene at Good Measure Brewing Co in Northfield, Vermont. You might recognize Andrew from Mule Bar or the Farmhouse previously… Have a read as to why he brews, what he loves to brew most, and his big beer dreams for the future.
The History: How Andrew Got Into Brewing
What was your first beer you ever made?
The first beer I ever made was on a Mr. Beer Kit back in 2006. It was based off of an American Wheat Ale. I thought I would try and liven it up by adding frozen blueberries. Ha. The blueberries boosted the alcohol and also caused a lot of off flavors. My now wife is the only one who got to try it. I am surprised that she stayed with me after who terrible that was…
How did you make the decision to leave your previous life and become a brewer?
I have always wanted to become a brewer. I love the idea of fermentation sciences and cooking and have always experimented with putting together things that you wouldn’t expect either in beer or food. So when the opportunity presented itself for me to make the leap to a professional brewer, I jumped at it.
Previously, I was the General Manager of Mule Bar in Winooski, Vermont, and previous to that, I was working at The Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington, Vermont. I came up here to Vermont from Massachusetts for school. Believe it or not, I actually have a degree in Graphic Design.
Brewing Craft Beer in Vermont
What’s your favorite brew you’ve made to date?
I really like brewing, blending, and tasting sour and wild ales. Once, I brewed a traditional saison/farmhouse style ale but with Asian-inspired ingredients that included nori sheets, sesame seeds, thai chilis, and candied ginger—that was pretty great.
What beer are you most proud of?
I am really proud of our ESB that we brew here at Good Measure. It’s a style that is not made that much in the US anymore, and it is one of my favorite styles of beer. It’s balanced yet slightly hoppy with a strong malt background and a lower alcohol of around 4.8%. ESBs are also perfect for crushing a few pints over some good conversation with friends.
Is there a beer that you make that’s popular but is a pain in the ass to make?
Really any of our citrus beers are a pain to make. We have a series called Life In Technicolor that explores the relationship of various hops and citrus in hop-forward beers such as pale ales and IPA’s. The brewing requires that you process anywhere from 5-25+ pounds of citrus for each batch. This means testing and juicing all of that by hand. We just brewed a beer with key limes, and I am not sure I will ever brew with something as small as key limes again!
What style of beer haven’t you attempted to make yet that you’re eager to try?
We have yet to brew any lagers. So, I am propagating up that yeast right now with plans to brew something in the spring.
Vermont, Dreams, Advice to Homebrewers
How does being in Vermont influence the beer you brew?
Being in Vermont changes how I brew beer since I tend to brew with a lot of seasonality and seasonal ingredients. I tend to lean towards older styles of beer that lend themselves to these ingredients and the surroundings.
Dream big. What is your biggest goal for your brewery?
Our biggest goal is to build out a larger production facility that could have the potential to can beer to get out to most of Vermont and the greater New England area.
What advice would you offer to someone just starting to homebrew?
Be patient. And do your research. You are not going to brew something equal to The Alchemist or Hill Farmstead the first time you brew or ever. Read lots of books and be prepared to dump lots of beer. Also brew what you want to drink. Don’t just brew what you think is popular.
What’s your deserted island beer?
Saison Dupont…hands down!
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not brewing or pouring beer?
I’m hanging out with my wife Lindsey and our two dogs Banjo and Salty.
Good Measure Brewing Co
17 East Street, Northfield, Vermont