Farm to Brewery: Literally.

qiuxiaHeadshot“Farm to table” to most of us means the relationship between farmers and food we consume at home or in restaurants. People want to know where their food comes from and the faces behind their food. They want it to be local and personal. For those of us working in breweries, “farm to table” has a new meaning. It means, “farms to bottles”, “farm to pints”, “farm to brewery”. In fact that relationship has been cultivated for centuries. In Europe, farmhouse breweries have deep roots in Belgium and France. Farmers use whatever grains and ingredients they have on hand to make beer. “Eating Local” is gaining in popularity in this age of processed everything, but back in the day it was the only way. Most of the beer they made was consumed within the household and shared with family and friends in the village. During harvest time, they would make large batches of beer using grains, including malts and wheat, spices like coriander, along with yeast and water that were all sourced from the farms.   The migrant farm workers were the beneficiaries of the beer which was simply called ”farmhouse” beer.  Today, this special style of beer is popular. The guideline is wide and flavors and ingredients are diverse.

True farmhouse breweries are becoming increasingly rare. Most breweries have moved on to using modern equipment and commercially sourced ingredients to meet their demands. But the relationship between farm and brewery is extremely close. At Boom Island Brewing we cultivate that relationship with Chad Douglass and his family at Douglass Farm in Mora, MN.

cropped-suzie

For the past two years, Chad has picked up all of our spent grain to provide a nutrient rich food source for his animals.  The grain is saved from the landfills on our end, and Chad says his animal’s ears perk up when they hear the truck pull in with the grain.  The cows run beside his truck to get into the proper position for feeding time. Happy cows, happy everyone!

Chad and his wife Brenda and son Cooper have worked their 80-acre farm for two years.  They grow and bail their own hay, as well as some neighboring farms and end up bailing 250 acres each year.  A friend told him about the benefits of using spent grain, so he decided it was worth the hour trip from Mora.  The grain is high in protein, contains good starch and helps the cows maintain a grass-fed diet. In the heat of the summer some of the grain is used as compost for their garden.  They have a list of animals to feed, including Belted Galloway cows, dogs and exotic short hair cats, Brahma chickens, Serama chickens, ducks and geese. We look forward to Chad’s weekly visits. Many times he comes with chicken eggs, rabbit and beef fresh from the farm and we bond our friendship with a couple of pints.

Farm-to-brewery-to-farm-to-table. This is truly local, environmental and sustainable.

Every spring, we release our version of Farmhouse ale, called Saison (meaning “Season” in French). Each year our Saison would be unique, incorporating orange peel, barley, oats, wheat and perhaps a touch of rye. However, just calling it “Farmhouse” isn’t enough this year:  we are bringing the farm to our north Minneapolis brewery. Boom Island parking lot will host baby Rex rabbits, miniature Serama chickens, a Galloway calf or two and some new hatchling baby ducks.  Maybe even a pony or two, and possibly a goat.  Chad Douglass will be on hand to answer questions and sell a few of his wares. Dog treats using spent grain will be made available for dog owners and their pets.

Come during the day to pet the animals and stay for live Jazz at 7pm. The MN Hard Bop Collective will be playing music of Bobby Watson.

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Saison,  Farmhouse Ale

Saison – 6% ABV

Appearance – Light copper in color with a fluffy white head

Aroma – Soft and subtle citrus.

Flavor – Smooth mouth feel, light spice bitterness with its trademark dry and delicate finish.

Eat local, drink local!

Cheers!

 

Congratulations on the MRAC Grant!

 

From-JimMNHBC

MN Hard Bop Collective (MNHBC) drummer extraordinaire and friend Jesse Simon applied for and received a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council.  This is great news for fans of local jazz.  The grant, which will last from now until early summer, will add focus to our Boom Room Jazz initiative.  Starting February 10, we will be hosting live jazz every other week, with the MNHBC playing each gig.

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The grant will not only help finance the series, but will also allow Jesse to focus each program on education of the hard bop style, and challenge his players and the audience with music rarely heard on the scene.  Are you familiar with the likes of jazz greats Hank Mobley and Elmo Hope?  I hadn’t either, until we started Boom Room Jazz.  And I’ve been listening to jazz for a long time.

My dad introduced me to Jazz when I was 13.  He played Dave Brubeck’s “Take 5” to me and I had to admit that he was right, that tune is amazing.  From that point on I’ve been buying jazz records.  I had great mentors to help along the way. That said, 2017 was the year that put my appreciation of Jazz into overdrive. My knowledge and appreciation, as well as my collection, has easily doubled from what I have learned from Boom Room Jazz.

For those who haven’t had guidance like I received, the genre of Jazz can be daunting.  It’s huge, ranging from 1930’s big band music, to 60’s heroin-fueled mind trips, and everything in between.  All I can say to anyone who was hasn’t been properly introduced to jazz, stop by on a Boom Room Jazz Saturday at 7pm and give it a shot.  Live jazz is amazing and the music of the MNHBC will always swing with sophistication. The vibe in the room is electric.  The music being played is rarely, if ever, heard in this town.  To top it all off, the beers you will be drinking will always be complex and delicious as well.  Write down the following dates:

700 Jazz (2)

Saturday, February 10 – “Soul Station” Quartet, The music of Hank Mobley part 3

Dave Hagedorn on Vibraphone, Aaron Hedenstrom sax, Ted Olsen bass

Saturday, February 24 – Elmo’s World! A return to the music of Elmo Hope

Jake Baldwin Trumpet, Clay Puhfal sax, Jeff Rinear trombone, Javier Santiago piano, Ted Olsen bass

Saturday, March 10 – Modern Hard Bop, NYC Hard Bop from the 1980s to the present

Pete Whitman Sax, Jeff Rinear trombone, Ted Godbout piano, Graydon Peterson bass

Saturday, March 24 – TBD

More great music to come!

 

DRINK COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF BEER TO SUPPORT THE ARTS IN JUNE

Beer in glass long

Boom Island Brewing Company’s connection to the Arts dates back to when owners Kevin and Qiuxia Welch were active French horn player in the Twin Cities. It makes sense that as the brewery becomes more established and looks for a place to “pay it forward,” the Arts has become the main focus of our charitable endeavors.

Join us in the taproom for trivia nights in June with proceeds going to local charities! On Thursday, June 9th and Wednesday, June 15th Boom Island is opening its door for local charities Sparkle Theatricals and Brewing a Better Forest for great beer and trivia at 7pm both nights. In addition to the trivia, on Saturday June 18th the Boom Room will host a kickoff event for Make Music Day, a nationwide celebration of music.

Sparkle Theatricals’ mission is to engage artists and audiences of all ages with compelling and humorous productions that celebrate youthful curiosity, highlight the educative value of play, and inspire laughter. Led by artistic director Alejandra Emilia Iannone and technical director, (and accomplished DJ) Rick Ausland, the Sparkles team will conduct Boom Box Trivia, music trivia using sound clips among the clues. They will also give all comers a chance to leave with booty via door prizes. A $10 donation for a trivia sheet goes to Sparkle, who is trying to match a grant in time for their Halloween event.
Brewing A Better Forest is a non-profit group of arborists and tree lovers who are passionate about trees and craft beer in the Twin Cities. The crew at Brewing a Better Forest strives to engage and encourage residents to notice, appreciate, and help water newly planted city trees.  Learn how to “adopt” a tree, play trivia and drink some beer on the 15th.

Not into trivia? Stop by anyway; the room will be alive with great beer and the active support of quality causes. All donations to these events are tax deductible.

On June 18th Boom Island will host a kickoff for Make Music Day, which is held annually on June 21. Make Music Day is part of the international Fête de la Musique, taking place in 700 cities across 120 countries. The daylong, musical free-for- all celebrates music in all its forms, encouraging people to band together and play in free public concerts.

Event Schedule

5PM Chinese American Association of MN Dance Theater

6PM The Average Tuba Quartet

7PM Brad Bellows Quintet

We are booking music for this event, send request to info@boomislandbrewing.com

Now mark your calendar! Not only are you gathering with friends for great beer, you are supporting the Arts or fostering a local tree. It’s a simple and delicious way to make the world a better place. Cheers to you!

Boom Room Jazz Expanded to Every Summer Saturday

 

700 Jazz (2)

From-Jim

You ask and we will deliver! Due to the rousing success of our Boom Room Jazz events the past few months, we have expanded our Boom Room Jazz nights to every Saturday at 7pm throughout the summer starting May 28.  Brad Bellows and his “Cats” will return weekly, affixing the Boom Island Brewing Company taproom to an all-too-short list of go-to destinations for high quality live jazz in the Twin cities.

If you haven’t heard Brad Bellows and his group play, picture swinging late 1960’s Prestige label era classic jazz. They have decades of experience in the local and national jazz scene, and it shows. This is not fluffy, hotel lobby jazz.  As always, there is no cover and music will begin promptly at 7pm.  The taproom will stay open until 10pm during Boom Room Jazz events.

To use the jazz vernacular, come to our crib every Saturday to wig out to our wailing cats of cool. Now you’re on the trolley.

Musicians for Saturday,  May 28

Brad Belows – Valve Trombone
Larry Hillman – Tenor Sax
Steve Kimmel – Vibraphone
Tom Lewis – Bass
Peter Hennig – Drums

Famous Belgians – Django Reinhardt

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From-JimAnd we’re back with another popular figure in my “Famous Belgians” series. In announcing the name of our recently released Django Hop Bier to customers in the taproom, a number of people have replied “Like Django Unchained?”  In fact, what we are getting at is Django Reinhardt, the highly influential Belgian born gypsy jazz guitarist.

Jean “Django” Reinhardt (1910-1953) is known as one of the greatest guitarists of all time and a contributor to the evolution of the genre.  He was the son of a travelling entertainer and grew up in a gypsy settlement near Paris.

In 1928, Reinhardt badly burned and paralyzed his ring finger and fifth finger in a fire, which forced him to learn how to solo on his guitar with only his index and middle finger.  The technique later became dubbed the “hot” jazz guitar method and has become tradition with French gypsy culture.  He worked in Paris cafés with the singer Jean Sablon, and in 1934, he was a founding member, with Stephane Grappelli, of the ensemble that became known as the Quintette du Hot Club de France.

The years prior to World War II the group gained in popularity and reputation and released numerous recordings of great originality, including such standards as “Djangology”, Minor Swing“, “Swing ’42”, “Nuages,” among others.  He travelled the world as a celebrity and plugged in his guitar for the first time soloing with Duke Ellington’s band in New York.  Reinhardt seamlessly adapted to the electric guitar, and his style continued to flourish.

Django Reinhardt was a gifted composer and played with a flair, sensitivity and variety that have forever cemented his place as one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. Fittingly, it’s the name of our newest beer as well, so you can get a bit of swing in your step right out of the glass.  

And our passion for music and beer doesn’t stop with our Django Hop Bier. In an effort to bring music into our corner of the world, we’re beginning a new music series at the taproom, called Boom Room Jazz. Every last Saturday of the month, we’ll host a free jazz concert right in the taproom, with music beginning at 7pm. There is no need to wear a striped shirt or don a beret to enjoy these concerts; they are a celebration of great jazz music and Belgian-style beer. All concerts will be free; there is no cover to enjoy the Boom Room Jazz series. Local jazz musicians will rotate for each performance and will be announced by the brewery prior to each concert. To top it off, each concert will feature an exclusive taproom-only Boom Island beer during the performance.

Original Jazz Fbook

At Boom Island, you’re guaranteed to find a bit of jazz somewhere, whether it’s in your glass or perhaps floating through the air. We hope you’ll join us as we bring music & beer together with the Boom Room Jazz series!