Along Ridge Road in Worthington is a family farm nestled between open fields, deep woods, and rolling hills. A well loved location whose old buildings have seen countless visitors over the years, and whose purpose has shifted with the times. Perhaps you know it as the old ski lodge, and can remember sipping cocoa by the fire after hours of scenic trail blazing. Or perhaps you’ve seen it from above as you drifted past in a hot air balloon. These days it’s the home of Sena Farm Brewery.
Jared Sena’s brewery and bar is the product of local talent and true hilltowner ingenuity. Jared Sena earned his chops working for Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT. At the age of 22 he set his sights on brewing, enrolling in a training and educational program Harpoon offered at the time. It was a lot of experience and it came without the high costs of going to school to learn the trade, but they also weren’t paying a ton while you trained up.
That springboard eventually helped Jared land a job with Berkshire Brewing Co. Brewing is an interesting job, occasionally requiring baker’s hours. Jared would sometimes need to be on site as early as 4am to start his day – no easy goal as the commute to South Deerfield was no small jaunt. This sort of responsibility grew as he put in his time there, roughly six years, culminating when he took on the mantle of Head Brewer for the final portion of his tenure with them.
Around that time, Sena Farm was starting to look for what might be the farm’s next direction. Once known regionally for their world class cross-country ski trails as Hickory Hill, for over twenty years it was a ski lodge and touring company. They hosted the Bill Koch League during that time and the hall was always full of excited skiers, but as times shifted and the ski season grew shorter, it proved unsustainable for the family farm. Hickory Hill closed its trails in the early 2000s. Then, for a number of years, the farm operated as Sena’s Auction Service, providing estate sales and general auctions. By 2016 the farm was ready for its next big project.
Jared was looking into how to cut down on the long commute to B.B.C. in South Deerfield, while pursuing his own passion for his trade. He had even explored the idea of bringing in three outside business partners to start his own brewing project, an idea his brother wasn’t sure was the best way forward. As it happened, his family got to talking, and before Jared knew it his father was looking into used brewing equipment on his behalf.
Finding a company which was going out of business, suddenly the tools were being put into Jared’s hands, or more accurately into the family farm’s large barns. And, in 2017 Jared formed the LLC which started his journey to build his own Brewery.
With no small financial investiture, renovations on the farm began while brewing equipment was carefully moved into storage. After the remodeling was finally done, Jared’s real work began. Now with shiny tanks in place, the project was coming to life, but even at that point there were years before the brewery would manifest into what we find today.
Jared being the only brewer, he’s able to put up around a batch a week, which left him worried about manning the bar. His business started with only pickup service for cans of his new brews. He was happy to be able to share the product with other local businesses as well, and while he received great compliments on his beers, his own bar still needed his attention. Who could have predicted that 2020 would bring a plethora of time, time Jared was able to invest into his brewery. For the next two years the interior was polished, and in that time it finally opened up to resemble the place it is now.
As the place started to come together, Jared brought in a collection of art and oddities from local tag sales. All manner of things started finding their way to liven up the bar. Jared had a record collection which went well behind the bar, with a record player to pump tunes and act as a fantastic conversation piece. Soon his friends brought in their own to share, and as his collection grew more folks dropped off their own. Leading, eventually, to the installation of a hall of records which ushers folks down to the restrooms. The striking installation is a must see, as are so many of the interesting pieces he collected.
From wood cut blocks, to prints, and even a disco ball – the barroom feels simultaneously homey and inviting, while also being full of curiosities and oddities to explore. The bar and tables are topped with beautiful natural wood under a glossy finish, enhancing the atmosphere and elevating the bar into a great place for a date or meeting.
These days the brewery is host to regular events including music, food trucks, and even a corn hole tournament. The outside has come together with large tables to gather and enjoy the warm summer nights.
And to enjoy one of Sena’s complex and flavorful brews! Jared has full control of his offerings and his attention to detail and love of the craft shine through in each sip. Not only does he provide consistency within each beer, but throughout his collection you can expect a quality that other small brewers struggle to maintain.
Ask any home brewer, the process can be difficult to nail down, but Jared has tapped into something outstanding. The bar is helmed by Jared’s singular employee Julia, who even comes in to help with canning as necessary. The canning and labeling is all done in-house, as is the merch, with a silkscreen station set up in the back. When the labels aren’t designed by local artists Jared takes his own photos and modifies them to fit his needs.
With Julia helping him where she can, Jared takes on the bulk of the proverbial heavy lifting at the Brewery.
Moving forward he can see a future that includes projects such as a large deck, a remodeled slipstream stage, and even food service. But these are still just ideas, dreams for what’s to come. It takes a lot to offer food service regularly, but conversations have happened around this idea with Hunt Chase (who ran the Rabbit Hole and now works at the CDC) even floating the idea of a tapas night and other interesting culinary explorations.
For now, Jared works in concert with the other Ridge Road businesses and local enterprises to offer food and entertainment to his patrons. Cooperation helps everyone, and it’s clear all these folks want to see each other’s success. The group joins together for activities like pub crawls, they sell his beer on tap, and Goldenrod even occasionally offers delivery to the Brewery!
So check out Sena’s Farm Brewery. It represents the hard work of local folks, following their passion, collaborating with their neighbors, and making something truly remarkable. The trails out back are still open, under the Fox Den Wildlife Management area, and are great for non-motorized trail riding. Or pick up a round of disc golf on the course, which utilizes the 24 acres of the farm.
But most importantly head into the brewery and try a delicious locally brewed beer, listen to the records or to live music, and invite your friends to sing along for karaoke or pub-sing. You won’t be disappointed.
Sena Farm Brewery
151 Buffington Hill Rd
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