Homefield Brewing officially opened in August of 2016, but our story began with a book we wrote about a start up micro malt house in Hadley, Mass. Now the good folks at Valley Malt provide us with almost all of the malt we use. At times, we get malt from Blue Ox out of Maine
The Brewing began in collaboration with Rapscallion Brewery in Sturbridge and eventually included three other breweries in the region, Wormtown, KBC and IndieFerm. That spirit of mutual support in the mission of using world class ingredients grown and processed by local farmers and artisans tells you everything about why we are here today. Support for our mission continues from our much bigger friends so that we may bring you the flavors of the northeast in a workshop brewery where we never brew the same beer twice. Our goal is to develop a distinct Homefield style linked deeply with the landscape and community, revealing the flavors unique to our Homefield terrain.
And Homefield was born. 35 people gave us $50 each and we bought ingredients. Rapscallion was open minded enough to give us a chance. needless to say, people loved the beer.
Our second batch spawned endless debates in the Rapscallion taproom as to which brew was better, Homefield 1 or 2. For me, I'd say there's nothing like first love, but with batch 2, we got to use the New Zealand variety Rakau hops grown in Northfield by Four Star Farms. Without any doubt, these fruity lupulin monsters left an impression and opened many eyes to what's possible with locally grown hops. Of course, it was a pure honor to work with Rapscallion's great brewing team, Shaun Radzuik and Jonas Noble.
Our first Wormtown collaboration. Perhaps we overdid it on the hops here, using more than 5 pounds per barrel. (LOL)
Packing a bite, this brew just got hammered with locally grown hops until we used them all and managed to clog the heat exchanger (sorry guys). Created with Scott Drake, I also got to work with Ben Pratt, Wormtown's two mainstay production brewers and a treasure trove of brewing wisdom. One lesson learned was how to deal with the variability and inevitable surprises of local ingredients. We had no idea what our malt bill would be until brew day. One unusual ingredient we found on our pallet was toasted triticale. This beer was interesting and quite a learning opportunity, to say the least.
Propbably the most special brew to date due to the fact that I got to work with both Ben Roesch and Dave Richardson. Ben, of course is the mastermind behind Wormtown and Dave was the head brewer at the excellent Gardner Ale House for 10 years. Yes, I picked their brains and learned a lot. Here, for this 10bbl batch, we were able to combine 2 row pale, dark Munich, biscuit, wheat and Danko rye malts to make a really complex malt bill. This beer features Sterling hops from Four Star Farms and packs a flowery, up front hoppiness that is balanced by a dry, brown malt side. A truly complex and interesting beer.
Brewed with Brian Kretchman of KBC in Webster on his 45 gallon electric system, we used 2 row pale and dark Munich, combined with Magnum, Cascade and Centennial hops. This is a balanced, full-bodied session ale, weighing in at about 4% ABV.
Symmetry is a beautiful thing. With our license to brew pending, we went back to KBC Brewery to make our second batch there, sixth overall. We have now brewed two batches each with Rapscallion, Wormtown and KBC. We've made great friends along the way, learned a ton from some of the best brewers in the region, and we've created some delicous brews with 100% local malt and hops. We are proud of our beginning, humbled by the seasoned pros we shared these experiences with, excited to be venturing into our own place where we hope to make some magical concoctions that leave the the world a little bit better and tastier than we found it.
fresh and hoppy and good for local farmers. Damn straight.