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

Farmer Brewer Conference

Misty Bleu Farm - Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Last weekend, we attended the Farmer-Brewer Conference in Amherst put on by Valley Malt.  The program brought together brewers, maltsters, farmers, home-brewers and those just considering jumping into the fray. 

One of the speakers was Steve Miller, from Cornell Cooperative Extension and the leader of the movement to return hop growing to New York State.  The hop plants we purchased last year were through Mr. Miller's program at Cornell.  Hop production is expanding in New York State, although we have  a long way to go to meet the upcoming demand. 

Other speakers included brewers from Wormtown Brewery and High Horse Brewery in Massachussets.  Nano-breweries and nano-distilleries are popping up left and right, and most of those already engaged in the business say they cannot make their products fast enough.  This is encouraging to hear, as small-batch brewers and distillers form close relationships with local farmers growing their grain and hops and maltsters who process the grain for them.  The fact that all this is getting done on the local level, like it did over 100 years ago, benefits small local agrarian communities, many of which have struggled to retain jobs and residents in the last few decades.

The most encouraging sign from the Conference - the number of young people interested in the farming end of the business.  Yes, young people.  While the median age of farmers in the United States is currently increasing, these young people may turn the tide.  Many of them are interested in sustainable, organic farming with vertical integration into the local community via CSA shares, food co-ops and self-owned outlets for their products.  In New York State, with the passage of the Farm Brewery Bill, there will be a huge demand for these crops.

We met some local folks getting into brewing and distilling, as well.  It's becoming quite the community, and we hope everyone will work together to promote this fledgling industry.

This is Beer Week 2013 in Saratoga Springs! Other Beer News

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, February 18, 2013

We'll be attending the beer festival on Saturday in Saratoga Springs, NY.  We've got it all figured out.  We'll be staying at the Gideon Putnam hotel (special room rate thanks to my sister!) so there's no worries about driving home or even driving back to the hotel.  They have a shuttle that will pick us up - awesome!  We have dinner reservations at Boca Bistro on Broadway for after the beer tastings, and I'll be reviewing the Bistro in a later post. 

A few things about last year.  I believe they have done away with the tokens - yay!  Your entrance fee paid for a small tasting beer glass and five tokens last year, and those went pretty quickly, obviously.  We have heard that this year will be unlimited beer, so we'll see.  The only other peeve from last year was that some of the exhibitors were asking more than one token for a sampling of their beer (the brewery name starts with "O", hint hint).  Let's hope they've done away with that, too.

We're looking to place our order for hop rhizomes and/or plants by March 5th.  We will be putting in an experimental planting in the front field this spring.  We'll provide growth updates throughout the spring and summer and let you know which varieties we are growing and how well they do.  The farm is a Zone 5a, if I am not mistaken, so we have to be careful about cold hardiness. 

Rich attended the Farmer-Brewer Workshop at The Carey Center in Rensselaerville on Saturday.  Very informative.  For those of you not already aware, the second wave of the craft brew revolution is here.  Now comes the hard part of sourcing larger and larger shares of the farm-brewed beer ingredients from New York State farmers.  And we'll need more malt houses.  This thing is just gearing up, people.  The current environment here in New York State for brewing and distilling is akin to what was going on in the wine indurstry the Napa Valley of California in the late '60's and early '70's.  The only difference is that New York State government seems to be ready and willing to push this along.  Seems hard to believe.  It is an exciting time to be a beer and spirits drinker in New England now.  Lucky us.

Visiting Hillrock Estate

Misty Bleu Farm - Monday, January 21, 2013

 

Since the passage of the Farm Distillery Law in New York State several years ago, there has been a resurgence of small batch distillers in the state.  Tuthilltown Distillery, I believe, was the first in the state, and they have developed quite a name for themselves.  They are just starting to distribute widely outside of New York State and the east coast.  Obviously they have plans for larger scale production than many small batch distillers and more power to them.

Hillrock Estate Distillery in Ancram, NY  came to our attention mainly because they are trying NOT to attract attention.  They consider themselves a "farm to glass" distillery and have coined that phrase.  According to their assistant distiller, Jack Baker, their intention is for their product to not be available to a large audience.  They do not want to distribute outside of the general area of the distillery, which is the mid Hudson Valley.  It kind of flies in the face of all traditional business wisdom, but by keeping their production super-low, they can create an almost bespoke product, unique to them, unique to their region.  A product with terroir as those in the wine business would say.  And they have, indeed, done this.  By utilizing the Solera technique, which was developed for the aging of sherries, they can put out a wonderfully complex and aged whisky sooner than with traditional big batch aging techniques. 

They have a lovely tasting room, and they are willing to give tours of their Malt House and distillery by appointment.  We arrived on Sunday, December 30th - a fiercely bright and windy winter day.  Don't expect to see any signs by the road.  This is no tourist trap.  This place is hard to find.  You have to know where you are going, and I'm not going to tell you where it is. (Their website has directions, but even then, you will need GPS). They do not want large crowds of people wandering around the place, and I respect them for that.

 The architecture of the distillery and malt house is very traditional.  Great attention was paid to minute details like the doorhandles and lighting fixtures.  The buildings and their interiors are functional, simple and timeless.  They are growing their own grains right on the property and on other local properties they own.  This is the old-school way with modern technology.  They're going to produce some amazing whiskies from this place.  Scratch that - in fact they already are.  A bottle of their whisky will set you back about $80 or so.  They have a list of bars and restaurants in the Hudson Valley and New York City where it is now available.  They also have some limited regional retail distribution, as well.  It's not really too hard to find their product if you want it.  Is it worth it to see an operation like this in New York State?  You bet.