Brewery Visit: Plan Bee Farm Brewery
During our recent mini-beercation to the Hudson Valley area of New York, we finally had the chance to visit Plan Bee Farm Brewery in Poughkeepsie. I had been following Plan Bee Farm Brewery on Instagram for a couple of years and I knew, based on what I saw and read about their beers, that it would probably be something both Chelsie and I would enjoy. A few weeks prior to our trip, we had the opportunity to sample some Plan Bee beers that some friends had brought back from a recent trip to the farm. They shared bottles of Barn Beer American Wild Ale and Tiny Acorn Saison with us and that definitely sealed the deal on the NY farm brewery being a must stop destination for our trip!
Plan Bee Farm Brewery is owned by Evan and Emily Watson. Prior to opening the brewery, Evan was working as a successful folk/blues musician traveling around the country in support of his debut album ‘A Town Called Blue‘. Evan made an appearance on the talent show The Voice, opened for some national acts including Meatloaf, and played at smaller clubs in New York City with his band during his music career. His wife, Emily, explained to us that the pressures of the music biz plus touring lifestyle took a toll on them. That factor played a role in their decision to take on the new challenge of opening a brewery. They had both been homebrewers since college and came up with their “plan B” to open an agriculturally sourced brewery in order to have a better work/life balance.
The Farm Brewery
Plan Bee Farm Brewery is located on a 25-acre farm down a serene, wooded lane on the outskirts of Poughkeepsie, NY.
Many of the ingredients used in the beers Evan brews are grown on the farm including yeast which they harvest from honey combs taken from the on-premise bee hives. Plan Bee Farm Brewery is a true ‘farm brewery,’ with 100% of the ingredients used in the beers coming from New York State.
There is an orchard located on the farm which will be one of the features along a future walking trail planned for the property. The trail will allow you to get a firsthand look at some of the fruits and vegetables which will eventually end up in the brewery’s beers. You can also find goats and chickens on the property. It truly is a beautiful, secluded space where you can relax and sample some of Evan’s unique creations.
On the day we visited Plan Bee Farm Brewery, we were greeted by the sounds of Evan playing guitar and singing on a makeshift stage near the barn as we got out of the car. Evan and Emily’s daughter was entertaining everyone with her joyful and spunky dance moves as she flittered through the grass.
There isn’t currently an indoor “tasting room” at the brewery. But there is a large tent setup in a grassy area near the brewery which serves as the temporary retail space for the summer. Chairs are setup around the tent so you can sit and enjoy samples of whichever selections they have on draft that day. It made for a relaxing setting while we sipped on their beers.
PRO-TIP: Bring/wear your sunscreen as there is little shade to retreat to if you’re fair-skinned. We also brought bug spray since Chelsie is a mosquito magnet! There was also a basket of various bug repellents near the register in the tent in case you forget yours.
In addition to the seating in the tent, there are also rustic, wood tables with stool and chairs spread out in the area around the tent. Think ‘outdoor picnic.’ Feel free to bring blankets to sit on or your favorite snacks to enjoy during your visit.
Plan Bee describes their beers as being tart, but delicate with each beer showcasing seasonal ingredients sourced from NY State. Focusing on Saison/Farmhouse Ales and Wild Ales, Evan is coming up with complex flavor combinations that are approachable and lovely.
Over the next few years, Evan and Emily plan to reduce the radius of where they source their ingredients while also increasing the number of ingredients that are grown on the farm. They are definitely committed to supporting fellow farmers and merchants in their community which is something we applaud.
Here is just a sample of the unique ingredients you can find in Plan Bee beers: acorn squash, lemongrass, honey dew, cantaloupe, wild carrot seed, Shiitaki mushrooms, beets, plums….the list goes on and on. Are you thirsty yet?
There was a limited line up of beers for draught sales. Just 4 beers for now. But do expect more when Plan Bee Farm Brewery’s indoor taproom is up and running. We tried:
- Bartlett Wild Ale – a tart, farmhouse ale made with Bartlett pears. This was a draft only option during our visit.
- Wild Mountain Honey American Wild Ale – made with raw wheat and 60 lbs. of raw local honey. Very dry and juicy, with a light tang, tropical fruit, citrus and floral honey aromas and flavors.
- Dandeliaison Saison – made from dandelion flowers foraged on the Plan Bee Farm and 60 lbs. of local honey. Sharp aroma spice, sweet grass and rich fruit flowers.
You can also purchase Plan Bee Farm Brewery bottles and merchandise in the tent. We loved the large selection of bottles available when we visited. In fact, I think we set off some kind of alarm at Visa when we purchased our bottles topped with colorful waxes to take home!
The Brewery Cat
Meet Oskar! Many breweries have a dog or two wondering around, but at Plan Bee they have Oskar the brewery/farm cat. Oskar was lounging under a chair in the tent and seemed very used to mingling with visitors. Chelsie and I both have a special love for cats and it was a pleasure to meet this black beauty!
Future Brewery Plans
Future plans for Plan Bee Farm Brewery include the opening of a tasting room in the barn which houses the brewery. Evan and Emily are hoping the tasting room will be open by Fall 2017.
They also have plans to build an outdoor beer garden/patio where visitors will be able to enjoy samples of beer while making new friends. We’re looking forward to a return visit once the new space is approved and the doors officially open!
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