The Dinner On The Farm event at Featherstone was yesterday, the first day of Autumn. It was an amazingly gorgeous day. Cool, clear, and crisp, perfect for an outdoor gathering filled with some of our area’s finest local fare. I’d say it was a success! I had a ton of fun serving folks, and got some wonderful feedback and encouragement. What a fantastic way to usher in fall!
I spent two months brewing up 12 kegs worth of beer. Not really knowing who would be coming, I decided to just do what I normally do and brew a couple of straight up hoppy beers. Equinox was a no-brainer, since it’s a pretty wild IPA, and the event itself was on the Equinox. SESH was also a natural choice, since it’s just a fun beer to make and drink. The Dust Devil was intended for those that were a little less adventurous in their beer drinking, though some may argue that brewing a commercially extinct style is a bit adventurous in its own right.
I probably was set to go at that point, but I thought I’d add one more just for good measure. “The Dark” is a 5.1% ABV Black Ale, somewhat a slimmed down version of “Duskadelic”, this year’s black IPA. Something about the onset of cooler weather makes me just crazy about black beers with tons of hops in them. Brewed it up, and I was set for quantity (hopefully?!) and variety.
The fine folks at Featherstone were kind enough to let me store the finished kegs in their giant cooler. I had a pallet in the corner where I set up the kegs and my large co2 tank with the homemade gas distribution system. They even wrapped the pallet and brought it out to the dinner site for me, which saved much stress and back strain.
Here’s what sat in the corner of their cooler sharing space with some lovely veggies:
Once everything was made, conditioned, and carbonated, I worked up some info sheets for each beer. I assumed that some folks were beer-savvy, so this would work as sort of a menu as well as a more detailed description of what each beer was. Here’s what I made for that (click to enlarge):
I wanted this to all look good, as well as taste good. My thought being, if it’s just one person doing all this, I didn’t want to come off like it was just some backyard swill I hacked together. I printed out some stickers advertising our local homebrew club, filled some jars with ingredients for people to play around with, and I was set up with an extra table, tablecloths, and even a canopy! I loaded in and set up!
In all the excitement, the first few pours of each were predictably foamy and cloudy, though this quickly settled down. Here’s a cloudy Equinox. Once guests started filling in, the beer flowed free and clear. Monica had these sweet jars set up with their logo on them for people to use and keep as a souvenir. Loved this!
Thankfully, there were no major problems. I spent a lot of time thinking this out, and how I would make it work with just one person. I even had a helper for pouring, which made serving a piece of cake. People really seemed to like the beer I made! For every person that just wanted “whatever tastes least like beer”, there was someone who came up and wanted more Equinox, or wondered what was in The Dark to give it that citrusy finish (it was Centennial hops, swimming in their bag in each keg). I got tons of great comments, and it was pretty fun to try and explain to people that I’m just one person that does this in my home. I even had someone offer to buy a keg on the spot (I graciously declined). Folks were really into it, and I was pleased with that.
The most popular beer of the night? Dust Devil. It’s low alcohol and low hopping made it very approachable for non-beer geek crowd. It was followed closely by Equinox. People love their 7% dank IPAs. I know I do! The Dark was the one that people stayed away from the most, but those that tried it loved it. It had its own small cult following, which I thought was great. I didn’t even use half the beer I brought, mostly due to the fact that people started clearing out quickly once the sun set and started bringing in a truly beautiful evening. But I still felt great, knowing that folks enjoyed their beer and that I got to serve them. It’s a very humbling and empowering thing for me.
I’d like to thank Monica and her amazing crew for giving me the opportunity to do this, and for keeping everything running smoothly throughout the night. Check our her website and Facebook page to keep up with all of the great events they put on. Highly recommended!
Thanks also to Greta for recommending me to work this event, and to her and everyone else at Featherstone for allowing me to use your space for keeping the goods ready. If you need a CSA, you’d be hard pressed to find better veggies. Thanks also to my friends at Boat House for a lovely meal. You guys do great work. And thanks to the Beet Root Stew gang for the great tunes. And importantly, thanks to my wife and babies for allowing me to take the time needed to get this done right! Fun!