By JESSIE FORAND St. Albans brewery 14th Star has a new beer with a mission as great as its taste.  The Franklin County beer ma...

14th Star Brews for the Lake



St. Albans brewery 14th Star has a new beer with a mission as great as its taste. 

The Franklin County beer makers have collaborated with the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain (FNLC) for this American ESB.

The beer’s sales will help with efforts to clean up the lake and restore its natural beauty, bringing it back to the way it was when founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1609. To remind us of this goal, the beer itself is named the year he first found it.

During the beer’s release party and fundraising event held at the brewery Wednesday, FNLC Executive Director Denise Smith joined Governor Peter Shumlin and 14th Star owner Steve Gagner to address their views on the importance of keeping the lake healthy.

Shumlin and Smith will both be at ECHO later this week for the Leahy Environmental Summit, Shumlin as a guest and Smith as a representative of Franklin County in the weekend’s planning workshops.

Gagner, a native of the area, called the lake a precious resource and said of the work being done so far, “we’re on to something.”

From left: Steve Gagner of 14th Star, Denise Smith of the Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, Dave Rheaume of Messenger Print and Design and the creator of 1609's artwork, and Gov. Shumlin celebrate the brew. (Jessie Forand/ECHO)

Gagner remembered swimming in the lake as a child and expressed the importance of preserving it for this generation’s children and their children after them.

Governor Peter Shumlin takes a sip of 1609. (Jessie Forand/ECHO)
Shumlin, who called 14th Star’s creations “the best damn beer ever brewed,” credited the company for creating jobs and using their product to clean up the lake.

To prove a point about lake health, Shumlin asked those present to raise their hand if they enjoy going to the lake and sticking their toes in… blue-green algae. If not, he said, they should contact their legislators to talk about it.

Artist Jon Young paints a Champlain sunset piece during the 14th Star event. (Jessie Forand/ECHO)

The governor encouraged residents to say, “We messed up the lake, it’s our responsibility to clean up that lake.”

Grunts Move Junk support the new brew. (Jessie Forand/ECHO)

It is grassroots efforts like that of 14th Star that speak loudest to lawmakers, Shumlin said.

Stay tuned here for news from the Leahy Environmental Summit and be sure to visit our Flickr page for  more photos and continued photo coverage.

1609 is served! (Jessie Forand/ECHO)

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