Our Christmas edition this year takes a different track to prior years, as we are out ‘on location’ visiting with Penny and Nate Peterson who are owners/farmer/brewer at Wishful Acres Farm & Brewery in Lena IL. They established the farm in 2009 and then 5 years later opened the micro-brewery and haven’t looked back since.
We hear about how they came to obtain the property and the steps they took to set this old farm and house as a working produce farm and brewery. Both Nate and Penny decided that they needed to get away from the city life and head into the quieter pace of the country, and it has been proven to be hard work, but very satisfying and now they have a thriving business. As we have found, their taproom has become a center for community gathering, including their annual ‘May the Fourth’ celebration of Star Wars, of which Nate is a huge fan.
Nate talks about using their produce in their beers, including the hops he grows, and the honey they get from some hives on their property. He grows 5 varieties, but has problems with Fuggles due to the Asian beetle, but Penny thinks Nate has a ‘hop’ problem! We also hear about the cooperative program that they are part of for the produce. Their selection of brews on tap are varied and good, and we taste a few, just for quality control purposes! In our final segment, we join a great conversation that started ‘off-mic’ but had Nate interviewing Ken about pastry styles.
The Peterson’s have a welcoming location and great beers, so head west for a visit to this brewery and taproom…in the summer there is a wonderful patio to take advantage as well!
Tijuana Boots, Mexican Lager
Treacle Imperial Stout, Nitro,
Dubbel Dribble – Belgian Dubbel
Winter Spice – spiced ale
Play the show from the PodBean player, or our player below…
Mike Seaman over at Broken Brix in St. Charles (aka The Homebrew Shop), has dived into his cellar and come up with a number of old brews that need opening and trying. These range from Belgium and the UK, some of which are sought after by collectors. These have been stored in uncertain conditions, so have they stood the test of time, or have they gone south and need dumping?
Our tasting panel comprises podcast co-hosts Chuck Fort from Church Street, Ken McMullen from Hopvine Brewing, and Ed and Mike Seaman (father and son team) from Broken Brix. It was an honor to try some of these classics, even though a few of them really challenged our palates, and The Brit found out that his taste buds were OK (incorrectly) with oxidation, but that the best of the lot hailed from his home country!
Thanks to Ed and Mike for allowing us to take over their taproom, and with an average age of 20 years each brew, it was a night to remember!
Hanssens Artisanaal bvba, Dworp Belgium,Mead the Geuze, Geuze with mead from Lurgashall Meadery, Sussex UK, 7.9% ABV – Age 20+ years
Hanssens Artisanaal bvba, Dworp Belgium, Oudbeitje, Belgian Fruit Lambic, ABV 6% – Age 10+ years
De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot), Lochristi-Hijfte Belgium, Zoetzuur Flemish Ale, Flanders Red Ale, 7% ABV – Age 10 years
About 90 minutes west of the Brit and Yankee Pub studios is Freeport IL. At one time there were 15 breweries in Freeport, but alas Prohibition put an end to that, and now Generationsstands alone and has proven to be worth a visit. Steven Winter is the current ‘generation’ who is the brewmaster and co-owner here, and The Brit and Ken McMullen had the opportunity to sit and chat with him, plus try some of the well-crafted brews available at the tap room.
We hear from Steven about his background, how the brewery was ‘custom-built’, and the stories behind some of his seasonal beers, one of which is an annual brew using spruce tips from a special source. Freeport is known as the Pretzel City, and we get a short history lesson on why and Freeport’s origins. Our final tasting of Steven’s Berliner Weisse, Jelly Donut, which takes us to his exceptional Smelly Donut variant, and he tells us how they produced this marvelous and unique beer. There is even a discussion on if beer is vegan…how we got there we don’t know!
We think you should take a trip to Generations…you won’t be disappointed!
Mark Naski has been part of the podcast for several years, both as co-host and as ‘technical’ consultant to several breweries in the Midwest. He moved out to Boise Idaho a couple of years ago, but frequently returns to the Chicago suburbs, each time bringing samples of the great brews from some of the growing population of craft breweries in Boise (24 as of this recording). In this edition, we have brews from a couple of the breweries that were at GABF this year, Barbarian Brewing and Mad Swede.
This show was recorded during a bottle share session when Mark came back to Illinois recently, so we had already sampled 6 other brews. The panel joining The Brit was Chuck Fort, Ken McMullen, Tom Ryan, and John Karwoski, and they had begun to show a little ‘wear and tear’ after that first session (show 334). That said, we enjoyed the brews and think you need to know about them!
One of these has a pucker factor of 10 according to The Brit, one is from a GABF-medal brewery, and the last one is a pastry stout from a brewery that does a lot of experimental brewing as Mark tells us.