Farmer’s Berry Tan, a Farm-to-Bar Beer
today at 8:11 pm
Most of the time, I write about beers I’m actually drinking. Seems logical. But sometimes I get pitched on a story with a background that I just gotta look into. Like this one.
Farmheads Group is an operator of two restaurants in this area: Farm Bar in Lakeview and Farmhouse Tavern in Evanston. The establishments were started by T.J. Callahan as a farm-to-table outlet for his Brown Dog Farm in southeastern Wisconsin, between Elkhorn and Delavan.
“I’m growing apples, peaches, pears, plums, and three different varieties of raspberries,” Callahan told me, “plus horseradish, garlic, and honey from 39 beehives.” Much of his produce was going into food being served at the Farmheads properties, and the logical next step was to try out a house beer.
“The biggest crops I have are honey, apples and berries… plus garlic. I tried the honey and fruit in a small batch of beer made with Empirical Brewery earlier this year, and it came out great.” Callahan also collaborated with Piece Pizzeria and Brewery’s for their 20th anniversary Honey IPA.
Callahan’s latest effort is Farmer’s Berry Tan, a collaboration with Temperance Beer Co. in Evanston. It’s a belgian-style tripel, with honey and raspberry added. The total brew was six half barrels, split between the two venues, on tap for three weeks now. “It’s going over really well,” notes Callahan. “When I’m at the restaurants, I suggest it to customers who haven’t tried a beer like it before, and they ordered more.”
The collaboration beers are part of Farmheads’ charity promotion (“Giving Tuesday” at Farm Bar and “Giving Wednesday at Farmhouse), where 20% of patrons’ total tab is donated to a local charity, like a children’s hospital or animal shelter, usually designated from among four QR codes, or on the ordering website.
Callahan says the Farmer’s Berry Tan should still be available for the next few weeks. What will be brewed next? “I’m not sure yet, but Temperance is still sitting on a lot of our honey, ready for the next beer.”
Callahan started Brown Dog Farm in 2012, with 140 acres of apple trees, with beehives and other crops added as they went along. He co-founded Farmheads hospitality group as a way to provide a farm-to-table resource. Along with its collaborative beers, Farmheads curates a menu of ciders brewed from a large organic apple orchard next to the farm. Farmhouse (703 Church St, Evanston) opened in July 2013, followed by Farm Bar (1300 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago) in November 2015.