Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winds of Vicissitude - A New Year, Many New Beers.

Come visit the BrewFarm Tap Room this weekend (Jan. 2&3) from 3:00-7:00. Freshly-tapped Matacabras and the growing favorite, Cow Pie Stout are among beers that will be on draft. Brave the cold and start your New Year with some tasty wind-brewed beer! Drop a note if you need directions. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter Winds & Longer Days - A Celebration

The BrewFarm Tap Room will have Open Hours this weekend 12/26-27 from 3-7 p.m. Bring your snowshoes and hike the Kodiak trail, sample some Labrewatory creations, buy a glass of your favorite and escape all those post-holiday stresses. Drop us a note if you need directions - hope to see you all this weekend.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Homage to Kodi

How does one pay tribute to the Kodi Experience?
After 17 years, three months and change, my best friend and constant canine companion was freed from the physical and started onto his next journey. Kodi came into my life in 1992, a little fur ball with those puppy pin teeth and more energy than one could imagine. But then again, what does one expect from a Border Collie puppy?

I know there are many people who Kodi touched and made quite an impression upon - he wasn't an "ordinary" dog by any stretch. A look into those devilish eyes spoke of depth and intelligence - you knew someone was home.
It is somewhat odd to think he was a part of my life for a third of my existence on this planet. Next to my family, it is the longest relationship I've ever had. And I really feel the word "relationship" here is key, as that implies much more than the usual "man/dog" scenario - aka "just a pet" - Kodi was so much more. He taught me many life lessons: the importance of play, running 'til my tongue drags, belly rubs daily, staring at something long enough will eventually cause something to happen, looking cute will score treats and avoid punishment, and so many others.
My biggest failing with Kodi was never following through on my promise to get him a herd of sheep. I do feel bad about that. He did find, on occasion, other things to wrangle, such as horses and small children. At his prime, he was faster than the wind - I still remember him chasing a deer running through the pasture and being *right on* the deer's hocks as I was screaming at him to stop. Good sport for him!

As a pup, it was imperative for him to be exercised until his tongue was dragging, which usually entailed at least a couple of hours of frisbee tossing. On those days when time or weather didn't allow, he would attempt to recreate some version of fetch inside - no easy feat. And if he didn't get his exercise, he would be bouncing around and off the ceiling. An un-exercised Border Collie is not a pretty sight.
There is a preternatural silence now that he's physically gone. Hard to explain but it's like a solemn quiet that's a blanket covering our living space. Never knew quiet could be so silent!
He fought age to the very end and left us peacefully, eased into eternal slumber. He's buried up on the hill next to the wind generator, overlooking our house and valley below. You know how Border Collies have to keep their eye on things...
I miss him deeply.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Story of BrewFarm Select

Now that BrewFarm Select (aka BFS) is starting to make its way into the market, I thought I'd take a moment to "explain" BFS (no, not in the Harley-Davidson mantra of, "...if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand...") - it's become apparent that coming out with a full-flavored, all-malt craft-brewed golden lager in cans as a "premier" debut of all things BrewFarm was kind of a head-scratcher to many in the craft beer universe.

It's because I'm not targeting you.

The key word here is "targeting" - BFS was conceived and executed to appeal broadly without compromise or being generic. There's plenty of that out there already. But there's really not an easy-drinking, full-flavored lager beer you can bring to football parties or holiday gatherings where it will be accepted and enjoyed by both craft beer drinkers and non-geeks alike. I envision it as a staple in many refrigerators across the region. That go-to beer before or after those triple IPAs, Russian Imperial Stouts and other tastebud rearrangers. There's just not a lot of craft lagers out there that aren't "extreme" or watered down.

An interesting observation after a couple of tastings with people in the industry came from two different people who tried BFS and were professed non-beer drinkers: they were both quite effusive in their surprise at how good BFS tasted. High praise indeed. And I think that reaction and enjoyment will continue to play out as BFS gets out deeper into the marketplace.

Some early reviews:

Trust me, not everyone will embrace/enjoy BrewFarm Select - it's just not possible. I've heard comments like, "tastes like Bud/Miller/Coors..." to which I say, "Have you done a direct blind taste comparison, because if you did, you'd realize there's really not a lot in common other than they're all Pale American Lagers."

And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I've got some very interesting beers cooking in my "Labrewatory" and will begin to unleash them as they become ready. Our upcoming BrewFarm Pre-Solstice Preview Open House on December 13th (details to follow) will allow the public a peek into potential offerings and a chance to check out the Brewery. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Doing the Can-Can

Yesterday was the inaugural canning run of "BrewFarm Select" at the Point Brewery in Stevens Point, WI. Approximately 1300 cases of 2x12-packs were canned (about 31200 cans...).
It was semi-surreal.
In that, after months of hard work (Thanks DB!), supreme frustration and loving support from my wife Pam, actual cans of actual beer went into actual 12-packs. I was giggling like a little boy.
A couple of firsts for the day: it was the first time I had seen the 12-pack cartons - stunning! Everyone who saw them was really impressed at the execution and how "different" (in a good way - which will be HUGE among the clutter of the beer aisle) they looked.
And the liquid within - it was love at first sip! I envisioned BFS as an easy-drinkin' beer that would appeal to beer geeks and non-geeks alike - broad appeal without being generic. I went down into the beer cellar with Ken Carlson, the brewing director at Point. He pulled off a sample and wow! was I more than pleased with what I tasted. Full-flavored and full of character, yet smooth, crisp and easy to drink. Here's BrewFarm Select spec’s: six-row and Briess Caramel 20 malts, Cluster and Perle hops (’bout 25-30 ibu’s), 5.5% abv. Comes across as a “hoppy pils” - medium- to full-bodied, lingering bitterness, hint of malt sweetness but finishes dry. Easily sessionable.
We look forward to sharing a pint or two with you in the near future!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ranching Rainbows

Off. The. Charts.
What an amazing show Ma Nature provided. Insane winds (cha-ching!) and an amazing rainbow show. Often double and intensely vibrant - all we could do was stand back and jaw drop. Pics are just a glimmer of the real deal. Come visit soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kegs, Kegs, Kegs

Ah, kegs.
Acres and acres of kegs. A lovely sight to see.
The problem is, someone's gotta clean all those kegs, strip the former "brand" off them (much like cowboys marking their cattle, brewers have their own brand to visually differentiate their kegs so they don't wander off to some other cowboy's pasture...) and re-brand them in BrewFarm colors. Gonna be a couple days of hard work. And I couldn't be happier. It sets the mind loose thinking of all the different beers waiting to go into those kegs.
I believe these kegs carry good beer "ju-ju" as they were last in the stable of Sierra Nevada, one of my long-time favorite brewers. People often ask, "what's your favorite beer?" and the usual response is, "the one in front of me in my right hand...". But when push comes to shove, my desert island beer (that one-and-only beer you could have to drink all the time when stranded on said island) has always been Sierra's Celebration Ale.
I love it for what it represents: balance. Strong, crisp hop character. Full malt flavors. Light sweetness that finishes dry. I never get tired of that beer and am sad to see its season fade into the next.
So, does anyone wanna wash some kegs?!?

Monday, July 20, 2009

BrewFarm Test Batch #2

You'd think with a name like Dave's BrewFarm, there'd be some brewing happening every now-n-then. Yesterday, test batch #2 went into the fermenter and is bubbling away like mad - happy yeast make for a happy brewer!
I'm often asked, ", whatcha gonna brew?" and especially out here in the middle-of-nowhere, anything other than light colored lagers are viewed with furrowed brow suspicion. ("You're not gonna brew any of that dark stuff, are ya?")
People who know me and my beer/brewing philosophy know I really don't do "style" - I approach brewing much like I cook - and it really doesn't fit into an easily defined style category. That makes for a challenge when I'm trying to explain the beers I'll be brewing. I like to refer to it as "amorphous brewing" or just brewing for the "Beer Experience."
What went into the soup pot yesterday? Here's the laundry list: Dingeman Pale and Special B malts, Weyermann rye malt, brown sugar, molasses, Centennial, Perle and Amarillo hops and Westmalle yeast.

You tell me what it's going to be?!?

Hop Shots

Just a couple mid-season shots of the hopyard and Jake. Currently varieties we're growing this year (expansion is planned): Fuggles, Centennial, Santium, Horizon and a new hybrid from New Mexico (not sure of the lineage as of this posting - gotta get that info...). There's about 150+ plants growing at present. Most are first year rhizomes, and getting established is a 2-3 year journey to productivity. Some of the more "active" hops are starting to flower. Not gonna be a bumper crop but the should be some hops to make some fresh hop beers come harvest.

When Cows Attack

Yesterday morning started out as most mornings on the BrewFarm do - dogs out for their morning rounds, deep inhalation of sweet country air and a gander at Jake (nickname for the wind generator) to see what the winds are doing.
As I walked up the driveway, I saw a strange dark spot further up the driveway: it was a huge spray of cow pie! My first thought was, "damn kids" but the hoof prints pointed to a more likely bunch (or shall I say, herd...) of suspects. Living where we do, cows on the loose is a fairly common occurrence. What set this apart was the stealth and sheer carpet bombing of cow pie spray this pack of bovines was able to accomplish without making a sound. We're talking Ninja Cows! As I walked around the building, evidence of this assault was everywhere. On the bright side, once dry, the poo will go into the compost bin for this fall's soil augmentation.
Thankfully the marauders didn't wreak havoc on/in the hopyard, as I've heard happened to another hop grower in Idaho - cows trampled fencing and tore through the hopyard, destroying their entire field.
Bullet dodged.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wind Brewed Beer!


Wilson, WI

Please join us for the raising of what will be the start of Wisconsin's Wind-Brewed Beer on Dave's BrewFarm, a sustainably-based craft brewery in Wilson, WI. On February 3, 2009, at approximately 9:00 a.m., we'll be putting up a Jacobs 31-20, a 20kW wind generator on a 120-foot tower to harvest the bountiful winds on the northern ridge of Wilson. The generator is projected to provide up to 50% of the needed electricity for the brewery/residence.

The wind generator is but one component of the sustainable aspect of the BrewFarm project, with geothermal heating/cooling and solar thermal rounding out the renewable energy mix. Greywater recycling will handle the brewery's wastewater, which will be used in the hopyard and orchards of Little Wolf Farmstead, the agricultural component of the project.

The BrewFarm is an innovative demonstration project showcasing the latest in renewable and sustainable business practices, and rural development. Our hope is that through "leading by example" other businesses will adopt these (and other) sustainable strategies, realizing that every effort helps the planet - and the bottom line.

Be sure to dress warm, as this is an outdoor event - and may take some time given the variable conditions of the day. It "usually" takes about a half hour for the crane to lift the tower - the crane is scheduled to arrive at 8:30 a.m. and will take a half hour (+/-) to get set-up. If there's any questions be sure to call first.

Address: (click on link below)

2470 Wilson St.
Wilson, WI 54027

(takes about an hour from the Cities)

**Directions link:

For further information or directions contact:

"Farmer" Dave