Admittedly this writer and the website have fallen short when it comes to promoting the American Homebrewers Association Conference in Bellevue. In fact when it comes to promoting the homebrew lifestyle, I have fallen short in discussing it.

This won’t stop me from reporting that in a couple of days the Conference will be here. So what better reason to celebrate the conference than repeating an announcement from Elysian Brewing and their Grange Farmhouse Ale.

Begun in the 1860s, the Grange bound farm families and communities together in a world beset by the depredations of weather, politics and isolation. In addition to advocating for the interests of the family farm and farm communities it served in many cases as a social center, its meeting halls host to events such as dinners, bees and gatherings for community activism. Washington Grange Farmhouse Ale was brewed with the cooperation of Elysian Brewing and dozens of local home brewers to produce a beer for the 2012 national Homebrewers Conference using ingredients entirely from the state of Washington. It is made available to attendees at this year's American Homebrewers Association-sponsored conference in Bellevue, Washington.

Curious what composes a homegrown, Grange Farmhouse Ale?

The recipe for the Grange Farmhouse Ale was a collaboration between Dick Cantwell, Head Brewer at Elysian, and Seattle-area homebrewing luminaries Brandon Horn and Mark Emiley. It combines Great Western Washington Select malt, Northern Brewer hops from the Yakima Valley, Washington-produced Golden Delicious apples, blackberry and wildflower honey and mint in a heavily locally-interpreted version of a Belgian-style Farmhouse ale. 

image sourced from Elysian Brewery with their permission

But don’t assume that the brewery was alone in brewing this beer. For starters, each home brewer was given a five pound bag of Washington Select malt with one condition … roast to a degree of personal taste and fragrance. Doing this creates a variance in the overall flavor of the beer while still maintaining that all important all-Washington commitment.

Not to be outdone by head brewer Dick Cantwell, cellar Manager Dan-o Beyer hosted a cider-pressing party, the day before the beer was to be made. The result from the chaotic mess of pulp, juice, and rind; was 70 gallons of cider that was added during fermentation.

Finally, local brewers were invited to stop by to participate in the brew, as the brewing water was steeped with mint, the honeys added to the boil, and the yeast pitched. Additional mint was added in conditioning, resulting in a fragrant and complex beer of all-Washington origin. Never again to be exactly duplicated owing to the many distinct variables going into its production …

Look for Grange Farmhouse Ale to be featured at this year’s American Homebrewers Conference and at all three Elysian Brewery & Pubs.