Well well well…here we go again. The precipice of Spring….2019. Seriously? Come on, time….I mean…
Life that used to be measured by getting the most out of paid vacations, road maps leading to our favorite breweries on the way to visit family and friends, 40-hour work weeks, concerts and festivals on the other side of the country were even up for discussion…..is now measured around the beating heart of Prestonrose. Every month of the year there is a scheduled event we build everything else around. Crashing fermenting beer and kegging and carbonating the latest brews is the first topic of discussion in almost any plans made. All grocery shopping is connected to the bistro and/or a food centered event. Family meals are restaurant leftovers. Holiday family gatherings have grown exponentially to include our neighbors, community and friends. It is a race against the clock to get the seeds in the ground. It is a race against the clock to plan the next menu, to clean those fermenters, get those malt, yeast and hop orders in, pick crops, pick up the bread, file taxes, try somehow to keep the laundry caught up, dust the retail shelves, create the next beer recipe, think of something do with all those brussels sprouts, plan the beer festivals, can or freeze crops before they spoil, egg hunt, taco party, print menus before we open the gate, pint club, ship retail orders, charity events, donations……it’s a race for just about everything!
And we wouldn’t change a thing.
Of course we would love to be closer to our family….if only we could continue the Beer Farm while simultaneously living in California, Michigan, Nebraska, Colorado, Ohio, New Mexico, Texas, New York and many other spots in the world where little pieces of our hearts reside. But we figure since that’s not physically possible, the next best thing is to create a big, beautiful, welcoming, fun, delicious, fulfilling place where they can all come and be with us, create lifetime memories and escape the hustle and bustle of their lives,
just for a minute.
It’s a work in progress…but it’s slowly (in some cases quickly) becoming a reality!
The addition of B2, our second indoor seating bistro, has quickly become a popular spot…it adds a comfy extra 18-20 seats, and a really cozy 30 :-) We refinished the top of the beautiful 16 foot long cedar table we have had out on the deck for the last year, and brought it in with plans of adding an extension to it very soon. There’s a little hostess stand, and full service is available in B2 on weekends. On Thurs/Fri it is usually open to additional seating for larger crowds/bad weather, but we plan to utilize it largely for special events on days when the kitchen is not open. We held our first special event in there, From California With Love (all-California seafood dinner for Valentine’s Day) with much success and happy bellies! Our second event was just last week, Paints, Pints and Flights…a sip-n-paint evening where 11 lovely folks gathered and created some adorable treasures while enjoying snacks and beer. We hope to continue that class as well as several others we’ve got in mind for this year! If you’re interested in a special event in B2, please let us know! We have different rate schedules based on level of service, number of people etc.
Our THIRD Beerthday Weekend was a wonderful success, thanks to all of our supporters who came and celebrated with us! Many faithfuls came all 4 days so they didn’t miss anything! Perhaps the biggest spectacle was the Pig Roast…we roasted our Beer Pig caja china style and served up hundreds of pulled pork meals featuring our delectable pork raised up on spent grains from our own little brewery by the Varnell family on Tyton Family Farm. It was quite the full circle experience, and we cannot wait to create more!
We had a GREAT time with our maltster friends, new and old, at the Craft Maltsters Conference in Bozeman, MT! February in Montana was FUH-REEZING but so fun! Montana is producing some great beers and the folks we met are producing some beautiful malt to make em! Our own maltsters, Troubadour and Riverbend, were on hand and I was invited to speak on a round table called “inside a brewer’s mind”…and expound on our commitment to 100% craft malt here at Prestonrose. it was an honor to speak alongside Wayne Wambles, the head brewer at famed Cigar City Brewing Co., and Mark Gillette from one of the nation’s first homebrew suppliers, FH Steinbart. The Beervangelist himself, Fred Bueltmann of New Holland Brewing was our moderator….and later in the month, our musical guest on the beer farm! Fred plays in a band called the Strapping Owls, and as luck had it, the stars aligned and they came to play at the beer farm Feb 26 and a great time was had by all! They even wrote a song just for Prestonrose!! Watch our facebook page for video!
Beer, Beer, Beer……
I’ve been busily brewing away, despite a slight decrease in my social media posts to that effect (i can only do so much!!) making sure we (almost) always have our big 3 (Heritage, Blue Centennial and Hawk & Horse Porter) as well as 2-3 revolving brews. In December we served the last keg of 2018 Patience…and the first of 2019. Rather than a seasonal keg release this year, we opted to barrel the remainder of 2019 Patience in a Rocktown Distillery bourbon barrel! We will release that New Years Eve 2019. So exciting! We are also barrel aging one we affectionately call Fruitcake…that will be a special Christmas gift to you!!
Currently on tap is Heritage Pale, Blue Centennial, Moonless (a Black Saison), Cuppa Tea (green tea and chamomile saison), Farmer Brown, and Cailleach Ruadh, our seasonal Irish Red named for the Gaelic goddess of winter (we release it every year as we bid winter farewell on St Paddy’s Day). Coming up very quickly we will release our latest concoction with Ft Smith Coffee, Iced Mocha Stout. It’s a delicious milk stout with 5 gallons of Kaity’s amazing cold brew made just for us over in Fort Smith. It’s a tasty one!! After that we’ll see the return of Coach’s Cream Ale, a new brew called Cinnamon raisin toast, and a hard cider made with A&A orchards apple cider is on the horizon as well! Look out for a wave of Belgians, and a Hefeweizen coming soon too! And of course…Cinco de Mayo is coming up quicker than you know, and Mariachi Stout will make its long awaited return! We have lots of dried hot peppers from last summer and fall just waiting to jump in to that tasty stout!
Food! We Love Food!!
Our food program, I think it is now safe to say, has been received with loving arms and happy bellies and is moving full steam ahead! With the warm weather, new bistro and the kitchen open…weekends are BUSY BUSY BUSY! I try and have a constantly rotating menu based on what’s seasonal & available that week, and every item is sourced from our own farm, neighboring ranches and New South Cooperative (an Arkansas produce and meat cooperative that distributes Arkansas and neighboring states small farm products exclusively).
St Paddy’s Day saw record crowds, and we filled a couple hundred bellies with house cured, slow cooked Arkansas grass-fed Rabbit Ridge Farms corned beef brisket, Colcannon, Arkansas cabbage and brussels, and scratch made dill and anise spiked soda bread. There were happy vegetarians too—we served Corned Lion’s Mane…locally grown Fat Top Farms Lion’s Mane mushrooms marinated in Texas olive oil and ground corning spices then salted and roasted in the oven and sliced alongside traditional Irish Fare.
We work hard to make sure there is always a full scale vegetarian and vegan option (not just side dishes—I’ve lived the majority of my adult life shopping the “sides” on menus, so I make it my mission to provide not only options, but full scale menu items that include vegetarian creations, and honor the beautiful ingredients we are so blessed to grow and have access to!)
From our Valentine’s Dinner (above) Flourless almond cake over olallieberry coulis, topped with meyer lemon gelee and creme fraiche…Charred miso sous vide calamari on delta rice stack with olive tapenade, avocado and roasted asparagus…..Amuse Bouche of citrus cured fresh caught California Halibut, California orange, avocado, grape and almond dusted with seaweed sea salt….Grilled wild caught swordfish over rustic house made pasta with saison “beer blanc” caper sauce, and braised kale salad with blood orange fig vinaigrette.
A “quick” rundown of events coming this season!!
Easter Beer and Egg Hunt! Easter Sunday facebook event page here—> https://www.facebook.com/events/379085419351593/
Cinco De Mayo on the Beer Farm fb event page here —-> https://www.facebook.com/events/372558610186265/
Brews and Blues on 22! We are bringing a music and beer festival back to Logan County! North Logan County Fairgrounds is the new home to our annual fest! Arkansas’ finest breweries, some incredibly talented musicians and some of the best food trucks our state has to offer will be on hand! Delta Biscuit Co food truck will be on hand the next morning for campers to get some tasty breakfast before breaking camp and heading out. Camp sites available, lodging nearby. Come and celebrate summer with us!! Event page here, with link to tickets. —> https://www.facebook.com/events/626592084457799/
In July, we will hold our annual Pint Club appreciation BBQ, and since it’s grown so much, we will split it into two sections, details TBA
August will bring the first Arkansas Brewer’s Guild Tap Takeover to the farm! We will host breweries from all over the state who bring their brews and schmooze to benefit our local guild. It’s a great chance to try all kinds of beer not usually available in our neck of the woods! https://www.facebook.com/events/465525867185724/
September and October will be chock full of festivals, harvests, and great beer and food. Of course September sees Jenny’s El Hefe Jalapeno Hefeweizen and October brings Blue Eyed Susan Brown…and many more farm fresh unique brews. Along with our annual Hatch Harvest Fest (late sept-early oct) we have a few new surprises in store!! Stay tuned!!!
On November 24 we will bring you the SIXTH annual Farm and Craft Market & Beer Garden at the North Logan County Fairgrounds! Despite the last minute move from the downtown square last year, our market relocation to the fairgrounds was a huge success, and we can’t wait to grow this event at this fantastic, spacious new venue!! Keep your eyes open for details!
December (gosh I don’t even like TYPING something that seems so far away….but really, it’s tomorrow) will bring our local shopping events, hopefully some crafty events to help you create some great gifts, and best of all…..tamales! Christmas Eve time is tamale time! We will release our very limited number of Fruitcake beer in cans, and we will bottle our Bourbon Barrel Aged Patience for a New Year’s release.
WHEW! all that and I didn’t even talk about expansion yet….it is about to get real folks…a sneak preview of our plans includes a few improvements to the existing bistro area like a covered outdoor seating area, real bathrooms, flower gardens outside B2, and a larger, well lit parking area and walking paths. Expansion will enable us to brew enough to send our beer to several carefully selected spots around Arkansas so we can spread the Beer Farm Love! Plans include a brand new 10-15bbl brewing system housed in the renovated barn (steel 10k sq foot bldg with our old barn on the outside), a large 3-season deck/patio/greenhousey kind of space alongside the hopyard, a few overnight accommodations for special events/airbnb, and expanded hours (someday, 7 days a week)! We hope to be able to offer Prestonrose as a wedding/event venue for a very limited number of occasions in 2020, and growing that branch of the beer farm tree in future years. An on-farm commercial processing kitchen is in the works (further down the road when the brewery expansion is complete) where we will process the crops we grow and produce items for retail as well as offer space for entrepreneurs to explore value added food production…and a space for culinary students and agriculture students to come together and learn about their interconnected professions in a real time farm to table setting. So many plans! So much to do!! Who wants a job?!?!
We will keep you all updated as developments continue….they may come a little slowly, and/or they may not happen in the order we plan…but rest assured—we are on a mission!!! Prestonrose’s mission is and always will be to create a space where sustainable organic agriculture, craft beer, hands-on education, real food and community intersect to form a third place…one you can’t wait to get back to, always feel welcome at and always feel like the proud family member all of our beer farm friends inevitably become!
Cheers everyone…keep on keepin on!