If you’re a fan of the farm-to-table movement, you’re going to love farm-to-bottle.
This concept is quite simple, really. It’s when craft breweries use only the freshest, most local ingredients to make their beer truly fantastic.
The movement is growing, as craft farm breweries continue popping up all over North America. Here are 10 of the best farm-to-bottle beers on the market. Most come from working farms, which is an awesome excuse for a road trip so you can put these brews to the test yourself.
1. Scratch Beer's Single Tree Hickory
Scratch Beer is considered a foraging brewery because it incorporates wild, local ingredients like nettle, lavender, dandelions, ginger and mushrooms. Nestled just next to the the Shawnee National Forest in Ava, Ill., the brewery — also a full-time farm — was named by Outside magazine as one of the most beautiful places to drink beer. The brand's Single Tree Hickory beer is a sour ale made from hickory leaves, nuts, hulls and bark from the farm instead of hops.
2. Persephone Brewing Company's Persophone Pale Ale
You can get an up-close look at Persephone Brewing Company’s hop yard when you stop in for a tasting at the brewery's 11-acre farm in Gibsons, British Columbia. Want to get a taste for yourself? Look for their Persephone Pale Ale, which has a citrusy and tropical fruit aroma.
3. Manor Hill Brewing's Manor Hill Pilsner
This 54-acre working farm in Ellicott City, Md., is truly a family operation. Randy and Mary Marriner bought the farm in 2011 after selling their house and making a move to the country. What started as a farm and restaurant quickly expanded to include a brewery, which makes beer from the more than 3,000 hops plants growing on-site. Another popular ingredient growing on the farm that’s part of the brewing process? Corn. It’s a key ingredient in the Manor Hill Pilsner, which is meant to be a classic take on a German pilsner.
4. Kent Falls Brewing Co.'s Shoots IPA
Kent Falls Brewing Co. strives to source ingredients for its beers as locally as possible to its location in Kent, Conn., using ingredients from area farms. If you stop by the farm in person, you’ll learn all about the importance of having good “malsters.” Shoots IPA is a great example of using local ingredients for the final product: The pale ale is made with a rotation of grains and local malts that give a twinge of clover and honey flavoring.
5. Wooly Pig Farm Brewery's Hoppy Pils
It’s impossible not to feel like you’re on the farm at Wooly Pig, as the Fresno, Ohio, brewery's location functioned as a working farm for more than 150 years. When the property went up for sale in 2014, a local couple knew they had a great opportunity to turn it into a craft brewery; which today is housed in a converted barn just a stone's throw from the original farmhouse. There are farm animals throughout the property, including the brewery's namesake wooly pigs.
Wooly Pig Farm Brewery is proud to make its beers with natural spring water, including its Hoppy Pils. From the company's website: "The farm’s prolific well is the source of our water, meaning that beer doesn’t get any more local than this." Wooly Pig mostly focuses on small batches, so you might have to plan a trip to central Ohio if you want to taste them for yourself.
6. High Hops Brewery's Habanero Hunny
Gardening is an important part of the culture at High Hops Brewery in Windsor, Colo.
That's because in 1991 Amanda and Pat Weakland started a small seasonal greenhouse call Plant-A-Scape, which would eventually lead to the creation of High Hops Brewery. Amanda and Pat both come from gardening families: Amanda’s dad, now 86, still farms to this day. Its his homegrown habanero pepper that's used in the brewery's popular Habanero Hunny beer. Stop by this working farm for a taste, and look for their distillery to open soon!
7. Hill Farmstead Brewery's Clara
This North Greensboro, Vt., family farm is steeped with tradition. Case in point: Hill Farmstead Brewery's logo comes from a sign that once hung in the owners' great-great-great-grandfather’s nearby tavern in the 1800s. The brewery's unique, ancestral line of beers is even named after some of the greats in the family. Particularly delicious is the Clara, which is aged for more than a year in gin barrels. It was named after the owners' great aunt, who died in 1969.
8. Milkhouse Brewery's Dollyhyde Farmhouse Ale
Tom Barse and Carolann McConaughy bought Stillpoint Farm in Mount Airy, Md., in 2008 as a way to combine their interests in beer brewing, sustainable agriculture, and animal husbandry. The beer arm of this operation, Milkhouse Brewery, produces a small number of beers each year featuring locally sourced ingredients. The Dollyhyde Farmhouse Ale is a favorite among locals, and proudly boasts 100-percent Maryland ingredients.
9. Big Thorn Farm's Riwaka Sour
Big Thorn Farm is a self-described "off-grid farmhouse brewery" in Georgetown, Ill. — and this place is DEFINITELY worth a stop if you’re in the area. Like many craft breweries, the story of Big Thorn began with someone doing home brewing as a hobby. Little by little, it grew into a solar-powered brewery that uses farm-grown ingredients in most of the beers. Riwaka Sour borrows some of its flavor from New Zealand hops, and is aged on toasted oak logs right from the farm.
10. Casey Brewing and Blending's Casey Saison
Troy and Amy Casey love to create barrel-aged beers mixed with local products. The pair's unfiltered beer is brewed in small batches in Glenwood Springs, Colo., so it’s best to check Casey Brewing and Blending's social media pages or website before you stop on by. If you do get lucky and are able to attend a tasting, you’ll likely get to see the oak-aged barrel process for yourself.
The Casey Saison is a farmhouse ale that's barrel aged between three and five months and comes highly recommended.
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