Ramble On

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Grown Here - Brewed Here" @hawksbillbrew

My last post outlined some of our core values as we are setting out to develop Hawksbill Brewing Company in Luray, Virginia.  This is a follow-up to that one - I'd like to say a little bit more about how we plan to use local agriculture products.
Khimaira Farm in Luray VA
Hawksbill Brewing Company will be a member of Page County Grown - which features the local food shed in the area.

We'll start with the hops offerings from Hawksbill Hop Yards - that's a no brainer!  At the farm, we had a successful first crop of Cascades, Chinooks, and Columbus hops, which will work easily into some of the recipes.  We hope to see production scale up this year from the Fuggles, and maybe even the Goldings, which will give us even more flexibility and variety.

There is wide spread interest in trying to put together a local source for brewing barley.  At least one farmer has done an experiment, growing an acre, and neighbor Dan took it on as a project to seek out malting support down in Nelson County.  We could see the brewery as a key economic development engine for this crop and hope to be part of that!

As for other ingredients - the basic four "Rheinheitsgebot" ingredients, that is - everybody knows that Page County has some of the best water in the state!  Plus, our friends at Wisteria have long experimented with local yeast with their "Merlot Wild" vintages, so we know we could work towards that goal (over at Pen Druid Brewing in Sperryville, they are hard at work on this research too). 

Since we won't be restricted by the German beer purity law, we see even more opportunity to brew using local ingredients from the farm.  I've used local honey and local herbs in my home brewing experiments, and we plan to develop recipes that can feature these - honey porters and ales, lavender kolsch, and even basil saison.

Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are great ingredients to feature in wheat beers, and even stouts.  We'll look for opportunities to use them seasonally.

Pumpkin ales and porters are all the rage, and since David keeps a pumpkin patch there right next to the hops, we'll have a great source for them.  This one in particular is a fall brewing exercise I'm looking forward to - we'll roast the pumpkins (a lot of them!) in order to hit our ingredient requirements for these beers.

A last one that I'll mention today - some fruits that don't immediately come to mind for most people:  watermelon, cantaloupe, and even cucumber will make their way in Hawksbill brews.  Probably a wheat beer for the watermelons, which would be a mid- to late summer seasonal, and saisons for the cantaloupes and cucumbers.  

While we're waiting for a couple of things to come together, we're working on recipes like these during the spring and summer.  Still hoping for a late summer or early fall opening - there are a lot of ducks to get in a row for this, but we're working on it!

No comments: