Podcast Episode 323: Vermont’s Wunderkammer Tells Mixed-Culture Stories Beyond the Barnyard

In a former dairy creamery in northern Vermont, Wunderkammer creator (and former Hill Farmstead head brewer) Vasili Gletsos has developed a decidedly manual, hands-on process using locally foraged ingredients, a wood-fired copper kettle, and no glycol.

Jamie Bogner Oct 1, 2023 - 7 min read

Podcast Episode 323: Vermont’s Wunderkammer Tells Mixed-Culture Stories Beyond the Barnyard Primary Image

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Over the course of his far-ranging brewing career of 15-plus years, Vasili Gletsos has brewed a wide range of styles on a variety of brewing systems. However, after first launching Wunderkammer as a personal brand while he was head brewer for Hill Farmstead, Gletsos ultimately decided to make it his focus. He then built out a simple brewery with an old dairy-tank mash tun and a wood-fired copper kettle, aiming to make mixed-culture beers that each tell a unique story.

By foraging and engaging with the landscape around him, he continues to brew beer that feels not just rooted and local, but also thoughtfully considered and artful. He’s particular about ingredients and fermentation, searching for mixed-culture expressions that don’t simply lean on clichés of the genre.

“Part of the power of mixed-culture beer is that I find it very transportive,” he says. “It brings you to a time and place—but I don’t always want that time and place to be a barnyard.”

In this episode, Gletsos discusses his mixed-culture brewing process, including:

  • differentiating Wunderkammer from Hill Farmstead’s mixed-culture program
  • choosing specific Brettanomyces strains for more favorable flavors
  • his simple wood-fired brewhouse
  • working in layers
  • blending stainless fermentation and wood-puncheon aging
  • using foraged ingredients such as yarrow
  • cold-side versus hot-side additions of foraged ingredients

And more.

This episode is brought to you by:

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This episode is sponsored by Yakima Chief Hops, the 100% grower-owned hop supplier whose mission is to connect hop growers and world class brewers. It’s more than a box of hops, it’s supporting family farms. Yakima Chief Hops is proud to have an established Return-To-Grower program, which redistributes an average of 75% of their business earnings back to the family farms who grow the hops in your beer. Where you buy your ingredients matters and with Yakima Chief Hops, it’s more than a box of hops. Learn more at yakimachief.com/return-growers

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].