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Farmstead in Summer

A very long over due update – as always!
Over the weekend we (which is I) brewed a new wheat saison – made with organic raw wheat from the first certified organic farm in Vermont.  This will become a summer release and will morph into another being when the winter months arrive.  Speaking of arriving – I will soon be joined by four extra hands at the brewery: A Danish traveler that will be here for 6 weeks and, on a more long term basis (I hope), Owen – who has been traveling around Europe, himself, for the last year.  You will soon learn more about Owen – in the meantime, let’s wait until he arrives.  Maybe he’ll write a few words about his experience here on his own blog…?

The grand opening has come and gone – and I’m looking ahead to our first anniversary celebration.  I suspect that somewhere between 300 and 350 people made the trek to Hill Road for the first celebration – and next year’s celebration will be even larger.  The highlight for me was having Will Meyers (Cambridge Brewing Company and one of the reasons that I ended up at Nørrebro Bryghus) pouring beer and *working* behind the faucets – while other friends (Tod Mott, John Kimmich, Dave Brodrick) made the journey and enjoyed themselves (well, except poor Dave…who couldn’t drink beer that day!) for the duration of the afternoon.  We are already planning our next event…

Fresh Hop and Barrel Aged Beer Release
Tentatively October 2nd, 2010 – we’ll release two fresh/wet hopped ipas – all made with Vermont grown hops.  It appears that Centennial and Nugget are on the horizon.  We’ll also release 3 version of the smoked porter that we brewed with Anders back in April.  Bottles of our other beers will be available, too – most for the first time. More to come…

We’ll be participating in a beer dinner at the Round Barn in in Waitsfield on July 9th.  Check out the new section of my website titled “upcoming special events” for…well… information on upcoming special events!

Philly Beer Week was a whirlwind weekend.  We spent most of our time (Mike and I) in Kennet – with a special event at the Kennett Flash and then serving beers at the Beers on Broad Festival the following day.  Personally, I spent 12 continuous hours “on the town” (as I like to call it, innocently) on Saturday evening – culminating in a 7am departure from Monks Cafe.  Hoping Tom Peters will soon visit the Farmstead and hang around so that I can return the favor.  We’ll likely participate, somehow, in the Kennett Square Beer Festival this fall, as well.  However, as it is the same day as our Fresh Hop Festival – we’ll have to send beer to Philadelphia in order that it be served by our close friends…  and, fittingly, we’ll be sending some beer to Philadelphia (Bella Vista Distribution) in the coming weeks. Likely to be kegs of Edward with a few samples of our Saison Wit, Porter, Harlan, and Sorachi Ace.

Summer is often known as the season of beer festivals.  However, this summer we won’t be participating in a single festival.  We’re focusing on preparing the brewery for continued efficiency and production – most notably, winterization.  7 day work weeks (in the now absence of extra hands… anxiously awaiting those helpful apprentices!), paper work, taxation, production, is exhausting.  We had to cancel our attendance in BeerAdvocate’s American Craft Beer Festival due to the unannounced departure of my brother for San Diego (where he is likely drinking some fine hoppy ale, as I write this) and because our kettle was down for repairs.  Someday soon, I hope to find the time to participate in a small beer gathering – one of knowledge and excitement – at which the beer is savored and pondered rather than gluttonized and forgotten.  I suppose this is largely my motivation for organizing our own beer events….

The retail shop at the brewery is doing exceptionally well.  We’re nearly sold out of 2L growlers and are hoping that the next shipment will arrive soon.  As soon as the the time allows for my freedom, I’ll continue working on plans for expanding the retail shop as well as the availability of guest beers and broadening the draft selection.  Note that we have changed our hours – we’re no longer open Monday and Tuesday (only by appointment) but will remain open Wednesday through Saturday, 12pm to 5pm.

In brewing news… Great friend Christian Skovdal Andersen (Ølfabrikken, Beer Here, BierWerk) was here last week and managed to spend 5 very relaxing days in Greensboro.  Together, we crafted a yet to be named beer that will likely become our house porter.  Christian is soon to launch his next project, Bierwerk, in his new home of South Africa.  I wish him the best and you can be sure to find some of his bottled beer, when it’s available, for sale at our retail shop.

In collaboration news – Ryan will be visiting from DK during the early part of September.  Together, we’ll brew the Hill Farmstead Holiday Ale (a strong stout or porter) and travel to Tampa, Florida for a few brew days at Cigar City Brewing.  The idea is to craft two different black ipas – both of similar backbone but with slightly different touches… it appears that the two beers will be packaged and sold together.  Definitely more to come on this… as it is still young.

In early October, Menno Olivier of Brouwerij de Molen is planning a journey in our direction.  We shall see what is brought forth…

Lastly, and most sought after – I have two new trips planned away from the Farmstead (other than the trip to Tampa with Ryan).  Yes, count them *two* trips!  First, flying into Chicago the last weekend of July to catch Wilco in South Bend, Indiana.  Coincidentally, Three Floyds is located close by… Secondly, I intend to visit Denmark during the last week of October.  Perhaps not the greatest time to visit Denmark – and almost exactly one year since having left! – but it will afford me a chance to say hello to old friends and to reflect upon the journey of the last 12 months.  Perhaps Mikkel will arrange for a beer tasting at his new beer bar, and perhaps Ryan and I can craft a new Grassroots beer. Or, better yet, maybe I’ll just relax and avoid “beer” for a week.  Imagine…