My friends, my friends....so much to report! I'm going to try and organize my thoughts into topics (what a concept huh) so I don't leave anything out! Needless to say, I likely *will* leave something out...please pardon me in advance :-)
The Farm Report
Cucumbers are done for the summer...the piles and piles of them recovered before removing the vines are becoming pickles today. More seeds will go in shortly for the fall cukes. Tomatoes are in full swing...which means a whole day each week now needs to be set aside for processing what we don't sell! Juice (Micheladas and Beery Marys coming soon to Sunday Brunch?! I think yes), sauce, puree, frozen, sun dried....Green Beans are going bonkers, so those will have to become some dilly beans and frozen packs for the winter...Hatch chile is set to have another wave of harvest this coming weekend...so be sure to be here if you want your roasted chile fix! Okra is full speed ahead, we will fry, pickle, gumbo and sautee as long as we can stand it then put the rest up frozen or pickled for the winter. Sunflowers continue to perform daily...and serve as a habitat for what I believe to be nearly every little yellow finch in the neighborhood. Think I'll just keep planting them until they stop growing this year!
...late finish to the new high tunnel prep means winter squash seeds go in late...so fingers crossed there will be pumpkins for halloween! If not well....we will have a big ol Squash party in November! Black eyed pea wave #1 looks great, ready to seed #2 along with Lima beans, Edamame and some White Whipporwills and Razorback Reds....And the watermelon. Oh. My. Goodness the watermelon! If you haven't ever tried it, go get you some Orange Glo watermelon seeds from Baker Creek and GROW SOME!
Also going in are carrots, mustard greens, des vertus french turnips and Georgia Collards. And in another month, more cilantro and a few other cool weather beauties.
The Beer Report......
I really do brew every week. Multiple Times. I Swear! Running low or out of beer has become the norm at the end of the weekend around here lately.....I kept thinking I was behind, or missed brew dates, or some event put us low or i'm just too slow....But no, you guys just come drink it all! Some new equipment arrived a few weeks ago....30 more kegs and another 2 barrel (double batch) fermenter. Just brewed the first summer saison in that bad boy, infused fresh grated ginger and California orange peel into the mix....can't wait to try that one!! Here's hoping our additional equipment will calm the seas a bit....because quite honestly we are at capacity in our little "Brewette".....literally when you put all of our fermenters in their temp controlled room at once...you can't walk in. So that's it folks.....this is what we can do in the space we have!! Let's make the best of it!!
The gluten free experiment continues.....With the aid of a FANTASTIC new false bottom screen custom made by our brewery builder, Ruby Street Brewing, and some wonderful GF malt from Grouse Malt House in Colorado, GF3 was made in this last brewing cycle and it's been very well received! It isn't by any means certified gluten free since it is made in the same facility on the same equipment as the rest of our beers, but it is something that folks who are intolerant can enjoy. This one is a little roasted nutty, a little fruity and came in at about 4.7% ABV.
I finally got to dive into the beautiful bag of Antero Wheat given to us by our favorite Colorado maltsters, Troubadour Maltings, and made a big, fruity, 7.5% ABV Hefeweizen! I would say you should come try some.....but it's gone. Every drop, in one weekend. Guess that one goes in the double batch plan next time! Schooley also gave me a bag of an experimental roasted version of Antero Wheat....so we will see what madness I can stir up with that!
A new project I'm starting is Sunday Imperials....I'll make very small batch, very high gravity and super specialized brews about every other Sunday or so after we close....The first one will be an Imperial Stout...because there just aren't enough of those in the world :-) OK, I love them and I wanted one. But seriously, this little side project could prove to be kinda special....Thinking I need to bottle these rather than sell in pints....Only going to produce 2 or 3 kegs at a time....we shall see. Anyone have a counter pressure bottle filler?
Upcoming brews include the return (by almost threatening demand) of PB Toast, the aforementioned Summer Saison, West Coast IPA for you-know-who, A tasty Abbey, Coach's Cream Ale, Blue Eyed Susan Brown and of course Heritage, etc....Stay tuned! I try to keep you up to speed on social media posting the beer menu as regularly I can, so you can make the trek out to the farm on the day that's right for you!
I'll try and reserve this category for projects we are actually developing and working on-- rather than the ramblings of my wish-list style brain that has a million projects going on simultaneously!
The Beer Farm Bistro.....Update: Doors going on this week! Kendall over at BMR Builders is doing an absolutely stunning job artfully assembling the doors and soon tables and benches! Floors are in! Lights are on! Sinks installed, A/C works!!! We are a couple hours of silicone sealing and baseboard installation away from making the big move with the beer serving cooler over to the new space!
The first official gathering in the new building will be a Table at the Farm dinner (get it?! lol) complete with beer pairings for each course. We will announce as that date solidifies, and will likely have to do a few dates to take care of everyone who wants to attend....so stay tuned!
In addition to our special dinners and events, we will add a few small food/beverage items to our farm offerings, including espresso drinks, Beery Marys, brunch items, family style dinner options like lasagna, taco nite etc., and much more. You'll be able to select from a variety of cheeses and house cured meats to enjoy at the farm or take home, and we will offer items made fresh from the farm- like sauces, salsas, pickles, etc. So much to come!!!
We have been working for a while with our friends over at Viney Creek Farm in Dover, AR having them incorporate our beers into their line of dreamy soaps! We have had a few bars here and there and everyone loved them, so we are happy to announce a full line of beer soaps made by miss Delinda LaRue herself will be on sale at the Beer Farm Bistro as soon as the shelves are up!! Joining those wonderful soaps will be many items hand crafted right here in the Natural State...so stay tuned!!
In the News...
We have had quite the guest list these last few weeks!
We had a beer farm first....Our friends Thomas Kiefer and his lovely bride Julia decided to announce their pregnancy to Thomas' Dad here at the beer farm! They ordered a custom growler ahead of time imprinted with "Grandpa's Brew" and had us fill it up with beer and bring the special delivery to their table while they were here! Grandpa's reaction was precious, and we were honored to be a part of that beautiful day!
You may have heard that small, independent craft breweries are registering as certified independent through our national Brewer's Association....Our independence and our craft are very important to us, and the association has devised a way to indicate to consumers that we maintain our independence. We are proud to announce that we are Certified Independent Craft! Read more about it here, and look for this label on ours and your other favorite craft brews!
As we continue to weave local partnerships into the fabric of the Beer Farm, we are super excited to announce our new partners, Fox and Fork of Clarksville, AR will be providing their amazing sourdough bread (and more varieties to come) both for meals served here at the farm and their monster 3-lb loaves to purchase and take home! The obvious relationship between bread and beer is a beautiful thing, and it's materializing deliciously over here!!
We are also excited to announce our additional partnerships with Fort Smith Coffee Company, who already provides the coffee for our delicious Fort Smith Porter....they now feature Prestonrose Beer ON TAP in Fort Smith! Currently they have the porter on tap, and will have Heritage back on later this week! Spreading the beer farm love all over!! Once we start espresso service in the bistro, we will use their fresh roasted fair trade beans to rev up your day!
We finally got the Beer Snob to the farm! John the Beer Snob, a Little Rock writer of all things beer, made the journey with his wife out to the Beer Farm this last week, and visited, tasted and shopped....then wrote a lovely little piece that we are honored to be featured in for his weekly newsletter. You can read it here
The Evolving shape of Farmers Market in Paris.....This season, I made a decision. I stepped back from the Saturday morning Paris farmers market. It was not easy....I spent 4 years serving my new community as the organizer for that market, and I believe we did some good. We had a wonderful time, made new friends and learned a LOT. The time has come to accept the fact that Prestonrose has grown to the extent that I am needed here on the farm 7 days a week (until we get that 8th day on the books anyway)....and to accept the fact that the majority of the vendors at the Paris market are very independent and prefer to lead themselves in their own way, on their own terms. I am forever grateful to Paris and our regular customers for letting me get my feet wet as a new member of the community, a new farmer and a brief leader. We will continue with our annual Farm and Craft Market on the square the Sunday before Thanksgiving...but our market efforts will be shifted to the online market www.parisarkansas.locallygrown.net and On-farm sales. We will bring the ability for community members to use their EBT cards for fresh produce here at the farm and several other community improvement projects are in the works...Additionally the pop-up market here at the farm was such a success, we can't wait to do it again! We are also still working toward a commercial incubator kitchen for our area....more to come on that.
The Farm Shop Online
The stainless growlers are back in stock! You can order them here http://prestonrose.squarespace.com/new-products/ as well as purchase them when you visit the Beer Farm. Shipping is available!
T-shirts, on the other hand, are another story! We proudly print on American Apparel tri-blend t-shirts and folks have come to know that brown paper bag colored, super comfy version of our shirt. Alas, as is common in business these days, American Apparel has been sold to another company...unfortunately one who did not see that "tri-coffee" shirt as a big seller, and discontinued it! We are currently in search of the perfect replacement.....And we will let you know when we find it! At present I believe all we have left is XXL and small!
Beer Farm Yoga continues Monday nights at 7pm....it has shaped up to be a very peaceful, positive way to begin our week here on the farm....and we are so grateful the lovely miss Anne Canada continues to grace us with her patient, loving instruction. If you have not given it a try....come on by! And share some conversation and a pint when you're through!
Table at the Farm Dinner....Date TBA, but know that it will be a Tuesday or Wednesday evening. We want to be able to put all of our focus into presenting the best quality meal in the most enjoyable setting for these dinners....so we will hold them on nights the brewery tap room is not normally open, and we will limit seating to 18 people. You'll be able to purchase tickets online and at the brewery once we announce. We will feature 5 to 6 courses of exclusively local/regional cuisine (mainly sourced right off the farm) paired thoughtfully by the brewer/chef (lol that's me--it still feels weird to say it) with our unique farm crafted beers. We hope these dinners grow into a tradition and a destination for our regular customers and new visitors alike. So exciting!!!
Classes.....You've all been asking long enough! We will add short, small sized classes to the beer farm very soon. Included (not in this order) will be homebrew classes, cheese making, baking, cooking etc. Also we are in talks with a local Arts and Crafts shop who would like to come and do a Paints and Pints (or the like) event here on the farm. Schedules coming soon!
You guys....honestly. I cannot begin to thank everyone enough, and I cannot explain what an absolute dream come true this adventure is turning out to be. I think I really just let it sink in the other day that this is really working! It only took a year and a half, lol, but I'm finally accepting that this business is succeeding and the dreams we had are becoming reality! I'm writing schedules. I'm documenting SOPs. I'm making binders. It's real. Not one single second of it has been easy. Not one single aspect of it has been simple. Or cheap. But it worked. It's a no-days-off, sleep-when-you-can, always-in-business-mode, hot, sweaty, tear-filled, joyous, satisfying, exhausting ride.....and it's worth it. Thanks for coming along with us!!!