Category Archives: Field Trips

Field Trips

Field Trip: Dave’s Brew Farm

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation from my friend, The Musical Genius, to visit Dave’s Brew Farm. I don’t see a lot of TMG but certainly enjoy those occasions when we do manage to get together. When the spice of a field trip was added in, I was certain we’d have a terrific time.

I wasn’t disappointed. TMG drove us out and, knowing plenty about the place already, gave me the background. The brew farm is the dream, the ‘lifestyle business’ of Dave Anderson and his wife Pam. His vision is one of providing craft beers using sustainable growing and production methods. A large craftsman-style farmhouse-cum-brewery houses what Dave calls “the LaBrewatory”, the upper levels of which are the residence, and is towered over by a large wind turbine. The turbine is a Jacobs 31-20, a 20kW wind generator perched atop a 120-foot tower, which provides most of the power needed at the farm. The wind generator is only part of the ‘sustainability’ vision. The building also has solar panels and a geothermal heating/cooling system.

Who doesn’t like a field trip? As a kid, field trips were a sweet escape from school, a chance to buzz out of classes, board a bus, then drive hours to see something interesting. Since I grew up in the city, a field trip usually meant driving out to a field – somewhere out in the country. We’d see bee keepers gather honey. We once visited a cranberry bog. There was that time, too, where we saw a dairy farmer with a latex glove up to his shoulder checking to see if one of his heifers was pregnant.

Dave’s Brew Farm is in Wilson, Wisconsin which is about 50 miles east of St Paul and an easy drive on a Sunday afternoon. Though relatively close to the city, the final shot north of 94 to reach Wilson takes you through fields and forests and is enough to make you feel pleasantly distant.
The brew farm does feel a world away. Situated on a ridge at a ‘T’ in a country road, you’re greeted with a vista of cornfields, hills and woods.

The building sits on 35 acres, a few of which are used to produce some of the hops used in brewing with the excess sold off. The remaining acreage is rented out to neighboring farmers. “The BrewFarm is an innovative demonstration project showcasing the latest in renewable and sustainable business practices, and rural development,” Dave explains. “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.”

TMG parks the car and we head into the tap room – one section of the lower level where the kegs and vats are housed which is set up with a long bar.

Now we get to the point of the visit – tasting some of the beer. Dave employs Belgian-style brewing and we’re treated to an assortment of brews with interesting flavors and varying levels of alcohol.

After creating a number of experimental batches in the LaBrewatory, Dave has settled on a few that he thinks are worthy of sharing with the dedicated crowd that makes the pilgrimage to his farm.

The interesting names match the interesting flavors. On our visit, we sampled a Matacabras (which is Spanish for ‘the wind that kills goats’) a dark ale with a creamy texture and a dash of spice that gave the beer a distinct tanginess. Another that I can recommend is the Mocha Diablo – a pepper stout and a hybrid ale/lager with a healthy dollop of hops.

Having enjoyed our short, refreshing visit, we say farewell to our hosts and settle in for the return trip. We’ll be back.

Details:
Dave’s Brew Farm
2470 Wilson Street
Wilson, WI 54027
davesbrewfarm.blogspot.com

Tap room tastings are frequently held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Check the website (above) for details.

For those of you who can’t make the trek, you can get Dave’s Brew Farm Select – a full-flavored, all-malt craft-brewed golden lager – at major liquor stores throughout Minneapolis and St Paul.