Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Are You Thankful For?

We just wanted to take a moment out of our admittedly busy schedule to tell all of you something we've been meaning to say for quite some time:

Thank you.

Thank You, those of you who have liked us on Facebook or followed us on Twitter, and those of you who have told your friends and families about what we have planned when we open our doors here in Saxapahaw in 2013.

Thank You, those of you who have come out to our pouring events over the past year or two to learn more about Haw River Farmhouse Ales and try samples of our beer, and to those of you who have come back for seconds and thirds.

A ridiculously big Thank You to our 42 Barn Raisers, who have put your money where your heart is and supported our idea financially, before we've even signed our lease or ordered our equipment. Your loyal enthusiasm for what we're doing means more than we can put into words.

Thank You to those of you in the midst of the North Carolina craft beer scene who have written online or in print about us, who have told other craft aficionados what we're working on, who have bragged online about getting a bottle or two of our beer and shared photos and descriptions of our libations with your friends.

Thank You to the farmers, vendors, landowners and local residents here in Alamance County who have made time in your own busy schedules to speak with us about growing some of our ingredients, about sourcing equipment and supplies, about pitching in next year when we get our doors open by cleaning kegs, filling growlers or working the booth at an event.

Thank You, bartenders, restauranteurs, shop owners and buyers who have already let us know they'd like to carry Haw River Farmhouse Ales' tap handles, our bottles, our growlers, once we get kegs & bottles filled next year and get beer out the door and into your glasses.

And finally, a big Thank You to the brewers and business owners who have entertained many of our dumb questions with straight faces, who have offered to let us peek behind their doors, and who have selflessly provided information that most other industries would consider taboo—the craft beer industry is the very definition of altruistic, and for that, we're so thankful.

So this Thanksgiving, we both just want to say THANK YOU to each and every one of you reading this right now. Without you, we wouldn't even be close to realizing our dreams or becoming what we hope will become a compelling, complementary addition to the thriving North Carolina beer family, and we want you to know we're ever so appreciative of everyone out there who's been a part of this journey so far.

—Ben & Dawnya

PS: Just so ya know, we're about to kick this baby into high gear, so all of you who have been waiting for news on where the brewery's going to be, what the timeline on our opening is, and just what the heck has been going on for the past six months or so are in for a real treat. For now, enjoy a nice meal with the extended family, and we'll fill you in within the next couple of weeks; from where we're standing, 2013's gonna be a big year for Haw River Farmhouse Ales filled with fun and awesomeness, and we hope you'll be along for the ride.

PPS: Don't forget that North Carolina beer pairs wonderfully with both green bean casserole and annoying in-laws! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Put that Spent Grain to Use!

A few weeks ago, Haw River Farmhouse Ales was lucky enough to have been invited to pour our beer alongside some of the most promising upstart breweries in the state, helping to raise funds to benefit the Triangle's oldest no-kill animal shelter, Second Chance Pet Adoptions. The awesome folks at Steel String Craft Brewery, Deep River Brewing Company, Four Saints Brewing Company and newcomers to the scene, Raleigh Brewing Company and Crank Arm Brewery, were all in attendance at Rockfish Seafood Grill in Durham for a night of great beer and great people.

As part of the effort, each of the breweries made dog biscuits from the spent grain left over from our batches of beer, and then made them available to attendees who made a $2 donation to the cause. Our treats went over like gangbusters, and we had a couple folks ask for the recipe, so here you go. Needless to say, you can easily double or triple the recipe (we needed a bunch for the event, but they keep pretty well):

• 2 cups spent grain (just make sure there are no hops included... hops are poisonous to dogs)
• 1 cup unbleached flour
• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (make sure you include any of the oil as well)

• 1 egg

Mix ingredients thoroughly (don't be afraid to use your hands, to help to make sure everything's distributed well). Press into a large baking sheet (or two, if you're doubling the recipe) in a dense, consistent layer about 1/4"-1/2" thick. Score into the shapes you want (or use a cookie cutter shaped like a dog bone or something fun; Martha Stewart, of all people, has some that come in a few sizes that you can get at PetSmart) and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. After a half hour, take the sheet(s) out and cut all the way through the score marks to completely separate the individual treats, then bake at 225F for an hour. Brush each with an egg wash on the tops & sides, then bake another 3-5 hours or so (depending on how thick they are, how hot your over is, etc) or until dry and completely firm when you press them with your finger (they should feel like, well, a dog biscuit). Turn off the oven and leave the pan(s) in there until they're cooled (this helps to make them as dry and solid as possible).

By the way, for those of you out there who would like to try this recipe, but you've not yet delved into brewing your own beer, you can usually email your local neighborhood brewery and they'll be happy to allow you to swing by to fill a small bucket or two (the raw spent grain freezes well) next time they're cleaning up after a brewday. Or heck, we can always save a little for you next time we brew, as well—feel free to drop a line and we'll set aside a few bags' worth when we next drum up a batch!