BURLINGTON — Five friends, one passion. If you enjoy craft beer and haven’t visited Foam Brewers, you’re failing your palate.
“I have a lot of faith in the team we have built and in the community we have here,” said founding partner and head brewer Bob Grim. “It’s so important to provide a good experience — a place where people want to come to — and maintaining that home base. We’ve had that mindset from day one. With Foam and Deep City (an affiliated restaurant), we constantly have that standard to share the best experience possible.”
Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, with a quaint, courtyard canopy, beer enthusiasts and artists alike flock beneath the wiry and whimsical sign welcoming patrons to Foam Brewers.
The brewery itself has the feel of an underground club or a speakeasy — chic lighting, a pseudo-underground ambiance and stage area where artists and musical acts are invited to perform.
But all of the ambiance aside, Foam is best known for constantly rotating selections of beer, creating and bringing new and unique flavor profiles to the table and broadening the definition of quality craft beer.
Digital marketing and social media content coordinator Adam Karas, who joined the team in college when Foam was first founded in 2016, said that from the very beginning, the philosophy of Foam was public good, creativism, and consistent gustatory enlightenment.
“For the team, art is life,” Karas said. “Being creative and creating something new is something we strive to do as a brewery, and we’re inspired by art and the artists around us. Foam is all about not just making a good beer — it’s making you feel something. A memorable experience.”
Local ingredients, creative flavors
Grim, who manages operations at their Burlington brewing facility, says the ingredients and recipes that produce their juicy, creamy IPAs and bright sours are predominantly based on local, high-quality ingredients.
“We use locally grown and processed hops and almost exclusively Vermont-produced malt,” Grim said. “We pretty much use a lot of local fruit and herbs — upwards of 90% of our ingredients are locally sourced. Our goal as brewers here, is always to make better beer. We’re constantly trying to innovate and create better flavors in the beer we are brewing.”
Their partnerships include with Peterson Quality Malt in Charlotte, Whitefield Hop Yard, Champlain Valley Hops, Fisher Brother Farm, Free Verse Farm and Foster Botanical Herb Farm and many others who contribute various berries, herbs and even whole loaves of bread to add to their ferments.
And the secret to FOAM’s characteristic layering of flavors, from nose and bouquet to the thirst quenching finish? Grim says balance, quality, and freedom to fail.
“We haven’t had to dump many beers down the drain — we’ve only had to say goodbye to two or three beers that didn’t work out. Just a lot of trial and error,” he said.
Brought together by beer, the team at Foam hail from interconnected backgrounds. Brewmaster Todd Haire, formerly the head brewer at Magic Hat Brewing and then later Switchback Brewing, hired Grim and Sam Keane to his team, Grim said.
John Farmer, Foam’s creative director, worked front of the house at Switchback, and Dani Casey was general manager at the Artifactory at Magic Hat, and was front of the house manager at Switchback.
The friends and colleagues, inspired by their environments and desires to experiment and explore the realms of fermentation, and backed by a local bank, decided to create FOAM Brewing and, almost one year ago, added their new sit-down restaurant in the same building called Deep City serving sandwiches, poutine, salads and soups alongside Foam’s selection of brews.
The enduring mission of Foam is to support community art, community wellness, and ethical priorities practiced through servant leadership and a collective shoulder at the ecological wheel.
“From day one, massive emphasis on the team and making sure everyone is having a good experience and that everyone is taken care of,” Karas said.