The “estate” brewery concept stems from European origin, in which beer was brewed at individual farmhouses with ingredients grown onsite and fermented with naturally occurring, airborne yeast. Many modern-day breweries are making an effort to return to these roots—they’re growing their own hops, using fruit from the orchards on their properties, and fermenting their beers with wild yeast. Here are eight American farmhouse breweries to add to the itinerary on your next beercation.
Hill Farmstead Brewery (Greensboro Bend, Vermont)
This inspired brewery in Greensboro Bend, Vermont, represents 220 years of family history. Its logo is a nod to a sign at Aaron Hill’s tavern in the early 1800s. Hill’s great great great grandson Shaun is the current brewmaster at the Farmstead, where guests can taste beers named after his relatives who once lived and worked on the farm. One of these beers, Florence, is named after his grandfather’s sister and brewed with Vermont wheat and the brewery’s house yeast strain. Hill Farmstead recently released Flora, a wine barrel–aged version of Florence that was aged with plums from Elmore Roots Nursery in Elmore, Vermont.
The house yeast strain at this farmhouse brewery outside of Austin was cultivated from wild, airborne yeast that creates distinct rustic and barnyard flavors, says Co-owner and Brewer Ron Extract. “That’s a flavor very specific to this place.” Jester King distributes a large portion of their beer directly from the tasting room, much like a small winery.
Another brewery using airborne yeast for spontaneous fermentation is De Garde Brewing in Tillamook, Oregon. “We’re quite fond of the naturally occurring yeast on the Oregon coast,” says Trevor Rogers, the brewery’s cofounder and brewmaster.
Join Trevor Rogers at the Brewers Retreat: Astoria, Oregon, for brewing education seminars and brew with world-class master brewers for three days at one of the best hotels in the West, Cannery Pier Hotel, located on the scenic Oregon coast at the mouth of the Columbia River.
Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River, Oregon)
This farmhouse brewery was started by Wyeast Laboratories, Inc. Founder David Logsdon who has a special affinity for traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ales. When he launched the brewery, he planted an orchard on the property with Belgium-imported Schaerbeekse trees. These trees grow the sour cherries necessary to craft authentic Kriek beers.
Blackberry Farm (Walland, Tennessee)
The beers found at this brewery are often brewed with ingredients grown onsite at this hotel-restaurant-brewery on Blackberry Farm in eastern Tennessee.
The owners of Plan Bee have onsite beehives that yield raw honey from which yeast is extracted to ferment beer. Plan Bee’s yeast isn’t the only beer ingredient cultivated on the property, either. Owners Emily and Evan Watson use as many ingredients from their property as possible (including aromatic herbs, hops, fruit, and even dandelions), and every ingredient in Plan Bee’s beers is grown or produced in New York. Plan Bee will eventually grow and malt its own barley, too.
High Hops Brewery (Windsor, Colorado)
This greenhouse turned hops farm turned homebrew supply and craft brewery has an expansive hops garden and patio that overlooks a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains. The brewery offers Hop Shots, a beer filled French press with fresh steeped hops of your choosing.
This estate brewery in Southern, Illinois, makes a point to source as many of its ingredients from its own backyard as possible. Many of the hops, herb, fruit, and vegetable additions in these nontraditional beers are foraged on the brewery’s property.