Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dave's Brewfarm

I [finally] had the opportunity to get out to Dave's Brewfarm last weekend. After hearing about it I've been dying to check it out. If the name doesn't give you an idea, it's a farmhouse brewery, Wisconsin style and it was fantastic. If you haven't heard of Dave's Brewfarm, it's probably due to the fact that they do not do any advertising or even internet or "street" marketing. Instead, just as you might hope, the farm-brewery happily maintains a low volume business and relies on word of mouth and locals for support. They have 2 beers available in bottles or cans which are contract brewed in a near by production facility. The brewery on the farm serves to brew pilot batches and supplies for the tasting room. As you can see below the eponymous brewmaster crafts beer on a small-brewpub sized rig as well as some homebrew-sized equipment. It's enough to make a Minnesota dwelling* homebrewer extremely jealous.

Dave's BrewFarm's farm house brew house

The brewfarm is a short hour-drive from the Twin Cities, and not a bad drive at that. I love Wisconsin. The weather and scenery at this time of year is almost Irish. As such, it was grey and drizzling when we left. After crossing the St Croix River, we quickly stopped for some fried cheese curds. Further along, near Baldwin, WI it was realized that the Brewfarm is almost certainly cash-only (it is - be forewarned if you plan to go) and so we stopped to get some cash. The woman behind the counter at the gas station informed me that all the ATMs in the whole town were down (still not sure exactly what that meant) but that she could give me some cash from the register. How nice! Cash in hand we were minutes from arriving.

Raindrops on the windshield

The tap room was surprisingly full. The St Paul Homebrew Club happened to be there on the same day, but even so, apparently 40 or so people during tasting hours is about the average. Despite the noise produced by a largely drunk homebrew club, it was fantastic. The tap room and the brewhouse share the same room and complementary Fleet Farm peanuts top the bar and folding tables. With 8 beers on tap (2 rotated in while we were there for 10 total) and flights available, it really feels more like a tiny beer festival than a bar or a tap room. Correction, it's more like what you would want a beer festival to be like: small, intimate, completely lacking loud douchebags, and the actual brewer is there and willing to talk for a bit.

Dave in the back and a beer he made

And just like that as we left, perfectly on cue, having had a wonderful time and moods being lifted as they do by good company and good beer, the sun came out. Sadly, they do close and so we had to leave but will surely be back.

*Minnesota laws prohibit selling on-premise alcohol from a home, brewpubs from distributing off-premise beer, wholesale breweries from serving beer in a tap room or holding a liquor license, and many breweries from selling growlers.

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