By Kelsie Hoitomt
WILSON – Dave Anderson had a vision of beer and a sustainable micro brewery set in the country with hills and trees and fresh air.
He made that vision come true when he and his wife Pamela Dixon purchased land to the north of Wilson, Wisconsin on Rustic Road 3.
The couple moved to the area from the cities in 2008 and that is when they broke ground for their sustainable brew farm.
“It is just beautiful here,” said Anderson when asked why they chose the small Village of Wilson.
It was in February of 2009 that the next component to their sustainable brew farm was added, a Jacobs 31-20, a 20 kilowatt wind generator with a 120 foot tall tower.
“Jake” as it has been named, was projected to provide up to 50 percent of the needed electricity for the brewery and residence.
It was through Anderson’s travels to Europe that he became fascinated with wind and decided he wanted to create his own wind-powered brewery and be a “steward to the planet”.
Dave said that when Jake is really cranking, it pays out nicely as one of their electric bills was just 81 cents with everything powered by electricity except for their gas range that they like to cook on.
Along with Jake, the house and brewery are heated and cooled with a geothermal system. The farm uses a solar water heating system. The brewery itself lies within 10 inches of concrete and two inches of insulation to provide thermal stability. And the drains in the brewery collect gray water which is recycled and reused.
“The BrewFarm is an innovative demonstration project showcasing the latest in renewable and sustainable business practices and rural development. Our hope is that through leading by example, other businesses will adopt sustainable strategies since every effort helps the planet,” shared Anderson.
Anderson began his brewery journey in the 1990’s, home brewing beers in Minnesota. He then attended the Siebel Institute in Chicago for commercial brewing training during a three week course.
Anderson now spends his time in what he calls the “LaBrewatory” where he acts as the mad scientist, mixing together various hops, malts and home grown plants and fruits to create a wide variety of beers.
Some of the BrewFarm beers include Mocha Diablo, which is a darker beer made with a variety of peppers and is 9.2 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
The brews range from around 4 percent to 10 percent ABV. There is a long list of selections from light to dark beers and each has its own unique flavor.
Anderson has had one of his beers canned and cased. BrewFarm Select, a full-flavored, crisp golden malt lager that has an appealing taste to a broader audience, was canned at the Point Brewery in Stevens Point. It was available at Miller Park for a season as well.
Another brew is Matacabras, “goat killer” named for a Spanish wind strong enough that it is said to kill goats, which was bottled at Sand Creek Brewery in Black River Falls. This is a Belgian dark ale with a creamy body that is difficult to put into a familiar category and packs about 8 percent ABV.
Both beers are no longer sold from the contract breweries, but are available in bottles at the BrewFarm.
The Tap Room is typically open to the public two weekends a month, Saturday and Sunday from 3:00-7:00 p.m. as long as Anderson isn’t gone judging beers at the Great American Beer Fest and the World Cup or showcasing his own at events like the Great Taste of the Midwest and the Autumn Brew Review.
Each Tap Room weekend never features the same selection of beers as Anderson typically brews three to four batches of beer a week.
To find out when the Tap Room is open, people can go online to the Facebook page “Dave’s BrewFarm” or read his blog online at http://davesbrewfarm.blogspot.com/