Cheese City Beer Co is proud to announce that not only will it be helping to sponsor Farm Aid 2019, but you will also be able to get Cheese City Beer at the Festival! We will be debuting our fall seasonal brew Agriculture Ale at the Farm Aid Festival on Saturday, September 21st at Alpine Valley. Keep an eye out for this Farm Fresh Estate Cream Ale which is made entirely of ingredients that came directly from our 5th generation family farm in Monroe “Cheese City” Wisconsin! Come out and support this great cause helping family farmers and remember – No Farmers, No Beer!
Debuting at the Bacon & Brews Festival in Madison, WI on June 29th is our N1671 Estate Ale. This blonde ale was brewed with oats and watermelon. 100% of the water, barley, oats, hops, and watermelon in this Estate Ale came directly from our 5th generation family farm located in Monroe “Cheese City” Wisconsin! Cans will be available in stores starting in early July.
Blackberry & Vine farmhouse fruit ale
Fresh from the farm, a light fruit ale with juice from blackberries and four varieties of wine grapes producing a fruity floral aroma, crisp and dry fruit flavor, and a light refreshing finish. 100% of the hops, barley, wheat, grapes, and blackberries were planted, grown, and harvested on our 5th generation family farm just outside of Monroe “Cheese City” Wisconsin.
It’s been an incredibly busy year so far, filled with plenty of one-step forward and two-steps back type of moments, but at least that’s kept things interesting! While the hops and grapes continue to mature, I’ve already gotten loads of blackberries and am starting to get some early pickings of aronia berries. On the small grain side of things, we ended up getting abundant crops of two varieties of barley, wheat, rye, and hulless oats. All of them also passed the tests and are toxin-free so they can be malted and used to make different styles of beer in the future. Stay tuned for an update about the release of our first beer, a pale ale called AgriculturAle, in a couple weeks!
It’s the end of another growing season at the Cheese City Beer farm and while this year proved very successful (33,000 lbs of barley, 600 lbs of oats, 400 lbs of hops, 200 lbs of grapes, and 50 lbs of blackberries), the first batch of beer is unfortunately not ready to release yet. In order to work out some of the kinks in the brewing process, I am planning on spending some time on R&D this winter in order to be ready to launch the first batch of AgriculturAle in the spring. In the meantime, I’ve reinforced the south end of the hopyard, mulched all of the crops with straw from this year’s barley, and planted some winter wheat and rye. I’d also like to take the time to thank everyone for all of the help I received this year in starting this endeavor, and am looking forward to releasing a quality product and the future success of Cheese City Beer Company!
A big thank you to MotorCity Malthouse for malting the first batch of Cheese City barley! Malting the barley is necessary in order to develop the enzymes that modify the starches in the barley into fermentable sugars that can be converted into alcohol by the yeast that is added during brewing. The malting process is achieved by steeping the grain in water (through a sequence of submerging and draining the grains), allowing the grains to germinate (essentially tricking the grains into growing, as pictured above), and kilning the grains (drying the grain in order to reduce the moisture content and to halt the germination process).
It’s been an extremely busy past few weeks harvesting about 75% of my hop crop this year. Luckily, my parents graciously agreed to help me hand pick the hop cones off of the bines since my harvester is still not working as efficiently as I’d like it to. Since I now need to start harvesting my grapes, and start working on other beer-related tasks, I plan to have the majority of the remaining bines custom-harvested by another hop grower that has invested in a much more effective machine.
All of the little hop burrs have now formed into hop cones on my early-maturing varieties of hops, especially the Centennial pictured above. The hop cones look like smaller versions of pine cones with papery-textured green leaflets that vary by variety with regard to their size (some varieties are twice the size of others), shape (circular, oblong, teardrop, etc.), and color (lighter and darker shades of green).
Yesterday my dad and I combined about 8 acres of my barley since it was mature and the moisture content was at about 16.5%. After unloading the combine into a gravity box wagon, as seen in the picture above, we unloaded the wagon into an auger that sent it up and into one of our false-floor grain bins. The grain bin has a fan that allows air to be run from underneath and up through the grain so that it will dry down to a little less than 13.5% moisture. This moisture content percentage is necessary to be able to malt the grain.