Misty Bleu Farm Blog

About Misty Bleu Farm

Misty Bleu Farm is located in beautiful Washington County, New York at the head of the Black Creek ValleyMisty Bleu Farm produces hops for the R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.

Located on 50 acres in the heart of the Hebron Hills, Misty Bleu Farm is the home of R.S. Taylor & Sons Brewery.  The Brewery and Taproom are open to the public Wednesday through Friday from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 9:00 pm.  Come experience true field to glass farm-brewed beer at our farm, nestled among green hills and stunning natural beauty.  Our farm boasts over 600 feet of frontage on the West Branch of the Black Creek, with waterfalls and rushing cascades.  Tours of the brewery and grounds are available.  The Farm and Brewery are also available to be rented out for special events.  Please visit the brewery website, www.rstaylorbrewing.com for more details and directions.

Follow our journey as we create the Most Beautiful Farm Brewery in America!


Latest Project Updates

The Patron Poet of Misty Bleu Farm

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, September 14, 2015

 

To the lads and the lassies:

We have selected the Ploughman's Poet, the Scottish Robert Burns, as the Patron Poet of the farm and brewery.   And good ol' Robbie Burns is a perfect fit.   He's the author of Auld Lang Syne and Ode to a Mouse and A Red, Red, Rose - all classics.  He was a libertine, a louse, a drunkard and a womanizer of uncommon repute.  He was a chronicler of the mundane, the unsung, the unloved.  And he was brilliant.

Each year, his birthday is honored around the world at Burns' Night Dinners.  For the past three years, we have attended the dinner at Blantyre in Lenox, Mass.  And now we plan on having our own Burns' Night Dinner at the Brewery as a new tradition. This will be an invitation only event on the poet's birthday, right down to the cock-a-leekie soup, haggis and sticky toffee pudding.  Perhaps you'll make it on the guest list if you're very, very good or like Robbie very, very BAD!  Robbie's birthday is January 25th, so be on the lookout for this invitation only event at the Brewery.

And don't forget the Scotch ale!  There must always be Scotch ale on Burns' Night to keep the lads and lassies warm!

Thank You NY Ag and Markets

Misty Bleu Farm - Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rich met on Friday with the inspector for New York State Ag and Markets, the regulating body that will oversee our beer and food service operations.  It was a pleasant surprise.  The gentleman was extremely helpful, and for the first time in a long time, Rich walked away from the meeting feeling like these were people who wanted to help in the creation of our business, not hinder it.  What a wonderful turn of events! 

 

This initial meeting was a bit of a concern for us, but now our concerns are swept away.  We can concentrate on moving forward towards our grand opening!  We're still on track for an August 1st grand opening at the farm, and this moves our little operation one step closer to becoming The Most Beautiful Farm Brewery in America.  

 

Now our next big meeting is with the Regional Chamber of Commerce this Friday in Glens Falls to discuss joining the growing list of craft beverage producers on the Adirondack Beverage Trail.  There's already an impressive list of local breweries, wineries and distilleries on the Trail.  We feel honored to become a part of it. 

 

Stay tuned!  A lot of big things are going to be happening in the next couple of months as we ready the brewery and farm for opening.

Measuring the Brewery

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, February 16, 2015

The deposit to Portland Kettle Works in Oregon has been sent.  Now it's just a matter of taking stock of our space and providing measurements for the 3.5bbl system.

 

 

 

Upstairs in the taproom:

 

 

A Big Day for the Brewery

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, January 29, 2015

Well, it seemed like a normal Wednesday, but in the course of opening our brewery, IT WAS A BIG DAY.  And I mean A REALLY BIG DAY.

First, we received the final logo designs from our good friend and amazing sign artist, Frank Smith of Frank Smith Signs in Albany.  We have two versions.  One version is a square layout and another is horizontal.  Both versions have the old-timey and historic feel we wanted to convey.  With Frank's hand-painting, the logo will be unique and truly our own.

 

 

Then, to top it off, the deposit was sent via wire transfer to Portland Kettle Works to hold our place in the production schedule.  Rich has selected a 3.5bbl system with 7bbl fermenters.  It will be all crafted in the good ol' USA. 

We are moving that much closer to actually opening!

 

Brewery Equipment Update

Misty Bleu Farm - Saturday, January 17, 2015

Many folks following our progress have been asking about what kind of brewing system we are going to install.  Of course, that is a HUGE decision, and Rich agonized over the choices for months and months.  We decided we definitely did not want to buy a Chinese-manufactured system.  We certainly understand those who make the decision to do so, but it would break our hearts to put a Chinese-made brewing system in our American-built farmhouse and barn.  We just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. 

Having said that, it looks like Portland Kettle Works in Oregon is the winner!  Rich is looking to install a 3.5 BBL system.  We already have a quote from them, and it is now just a matter of sending off a deposit check to hold our place in their production schedule.  They are telling us they are about six weeks out to begin manufacturing new orders.  We have to order now, because by the time they manufacture the system, get it shipped to us, and we install it and start testing it out, it's going to be pretty far into the summer before everything is up and running and we have brewed enough good beer to even think about a grand opening.

 There is lots to do in the meantime.  Our construction crew is hard at work.  They are all local folks from either Washington County or just over the state line in Vermont.  They all want to see this place start brewing beer just as much as we do. 

So, thank you all for asking!  It's nice that so many people are following our progress and look forward to our opening.  Our brewery Facebook page will be up and running soon, and we hope you'll keep up to date on our progress there, too.

The Lard Epiphany

Misty Bleu Farm - Friday, January 02, 2015

 

Yes, that's right, lard.  In between all the other details in the construction process, I have been working on formulating a menu of foods that we can legally sell at the Taproom.  We are applying for a 20-C license from the NYS Department of Ag and Markets so that we may be able to offer a nice selection of foods to our beer drinking customers.  Going the route of actual food service is JUST.  TOO.  DAMN.  HARD.  Hear that, health department.  Don't even get me started on all the crazy health department rules.

And that brings us back to lard.  Yep, lard.  I have been trying to perfect pie crust for 20 years.  (True, I have no life.)  I have tried everything to get a delicious and flaky pastry dough - vinegar, vodka, yogurt, you name it.  Never tried lard, though.  While I was shopping for holiday food at the Honest Weight Co-Op, I picked up a small tub of baking lard from The Piggery in Ithaca, NY.  What the hey, I say.  I had a recipe at home, just plucked from the pages of the New York Times food section, that was calling for it. 

Well, that lard was nothing short of a revelation.  The sausage roll recipe, based on similar rolls sold at pubs all across Britain, was a success.  The pastry was light, flaky and shatteringly crisp.  It even had flavor!  It held up and remained flaky and crisp even the next day.  Wow!

Next I used the same dough recipe and made an apple galette.  Bingo!  Now, you'd think that lard would impart some sort of off flavor in the dough, but it does not.  It does smell a little weird right out of the tub.  It's not exactly a pleasant smell, but once the pastry is baked, the smell is no longer there.  Even with the sweet version, the crust was flaky and delicious.  Of course, we can't say how it would have held up the next day as my family ate the entire thing for dessert with our New Years' Day dinner. 

Here's my version of that flaky crust recipe to use for a galette:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup water

1 stick butter, cubed

4 tablespoons baking lard, in small chunks

Put the cubed butter, baking lard, and water, each individually in the freezer for 15-20 mins.  Measure out the flour and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, mix the flours and salt for a few seconds.  With the paddle attachment going at low speed, add the chilled butter cubes and baking lard.  Continue to mix until butter is the size of peas.  Add the 1/2 cup of chilled water slowly and continue mixing until the dough just begins to hold together.

Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead slightly to get a cohesive ball.  Flatten the ball into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. 

Place the chilled dough disc on a floured board or countertop.  Flour your rolling pin and begin rolling out the dough just as you would any pie crust.  I found this recipe made enough dough for about a 12 inch diameter galette, after the edges had been folded over.  If you roll it thinner and divide the disc in two, you might get enough dough to make an 8 inch double crust pie.

BTW - This rolls out beautifully straight from the fridge, yes it does!  No cracking. 

Fill your galette or pie crust as you normally would, brush with egg wash or cream and bake in a 375 degree oven on a parchment lined cookie sheet for about an hour or so for the galette or until nicely browned and crispy.

Lard is my new best friend.  Make it yours, too.

 

 

Shout Out To The Nano Brewing Community

Misty Bleu Farm - Thursday, October 23, 2014

I received an email from a gentleman in the local brewing community recently that made me stop and think that perhaps some "thank yous" were in order for those who have been rooting for us while we develop the brewery.

The nano-brewing community is unique.  The rules of competitive business don't really seem to apply here.  Helping out your fellow brewer or featuring another brewer's beer as a guest tap is not only the friendly thing to do, but it remarkably helps everyone's business.  Promoting the local nano-brewing scene in general, seems to be the genuine goal of everyone we have met since we decided to pursue opening our brewery.

Now, on to some thank-yous!  Many, many thanks to Chris and Matt for all their advice on opening a farm brewery in Washington County.  They are true gentlemen and have a bona fide success on their hands.  Argyle Brewing is very popular locally.

Thank you to all of the local Washington County contractors and craftsmen involved in the building of our home and brewery. 

Thank you to Valley Malt in Hadley, Mass, and others involved in bringing back the art and craft of local brewing.  They are genuinely interested in bringing together farmers, maltsters, brewers and drinkers.  Just like it used to be.  They will be a huge resource for us as we seek locally produced ingredients.

And thanks to all our friends and family members who are actively supporting this project and continue to drink Rich's experimental brews. 

Drilling for Water

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, September 29, 2014

Well, apparently Clarence's dowsing rod was right.  Good news - the farm now has two wells.  Bad news - both of them feature sulphur water.  Our well came in at 480 feet and had to be hydrofracked to get 15 gallons a minute - impressive flow, from what we were told.  That's enough to run a dairy farm.  Nancy's well is overflowing as we speak - all artesian-like.  Hers came in at 460 feet and 10 gallons a minute.  The flow from her well seems to be slightly less sulfurous. 

As you can see from the photos, the water is milky right now due to the drilling.  That will subside as the water is allowed to flow out for about a week or so.  It is a messy and loud business, this well drilling thing.  That is for sure. 

Here's Clarence's well drilling rig in action:  Notice how the front wheels of the rig are off the ground!

 

 

 

Dowsing 101

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dowsing, or the art/science/magic of locating underground water with a willow switch or other type of branch, is an ancient practice.  In today's modern world, it seems like a mystical and strange thing.  Surely, there must be some scientific basis for it, just as there is for every natural phenomenon. 

Is it all an act?  I'm not sure, but Clarence Gould & Co. would beg to differ.  Clarence and his son, Clarence, from Vermont, bet their livelihood every day on the results of that dowsing rod.  Otherwise, how would they know where to drill for water?  Clarence is the best at finding water in two states, or so everyone in these parts says. 

So, load of crap, old folk wisdom, or downright magic - you decide:

 

Only Clarence & Co. knows for sure.

The Construction Chronicles Part 3

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Things are moving along at a furious pace at the farm:

Nancy's radiant heat flooring system was laid down:

 

 

Then the concrete slab:

 

The house arrived yesterday morning on two tractor trailers.  Construction began immediately.