REVIEW: Thirsty Farmer Brew Works

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Craft beer and agriculture are intrinsically linked.

The raw ingredients of hops and malts are farm products — and in recent years, we’re seeing trends toward the farm brewery.

Pennsylvania is unique as an agriculture-forward state; hop farming is growing as an industry, and we boast two craft maltsters. (See also: Pa. Dept. of Agriculture PA Preferred Brews Program.)

In Adams County — the fruit belt — where apples and grapes reign (and cider and wine), craft beer is slowly getting its due.

thirsty farmer brew works

Thirsty Farmer Brew Works opened this spring in Biglerville across from the Historic Round Barn Farmers Market, both operated by the Knouse family.

From their tasting room, you can admire Knouse farms, including an acre of hops used in some of their beers.

READ: A Visit To Three Springs Fruit Farm + Ploughman Cider

Beer on the Farm

Thirsty Farmer’s tap list and beers are all about balance. You’ll find a good representation of most traditional beer styles.

Milton Knouse II, Thirsty Farmer’s head brewer, started homebrewing more than two decades ago. He said his approach to brewing is to make really approachable and drinkable beers.

thirsty farmer brew works

Knouse also likes to keep the ABV low, and most hover around 6% so you can enjoy more than one.

Purists will be happy to see a classic Amercian-style Pale Ale that was a team favorite of the trip. (We took home a growler of it.) This Citra-hopped pale ale has a strong hop aroma with a zing of citrus notes followed by a bit of sweet malt.

For the dark beer drinkers, the Chocolate Porter is the way to go. Each sip gives you notes of caramel, toffee, coffee, and, yes, chocolate. It’s not too sweet and is light enough to be enjoyable on hotter days.

Farmers need something refreshing after a long day in the fields, and Thirsty Farmer’s Vienna Lager should hit the spot. It has a touch of sweetness with notes of caramel and honey, plus just a hint of bitterness for a refreshing pint.

The Apple Graff is a marriage of Thirsty Farmer’s farming tradition and their new passion for brewing. Fresh apple cider is fermented with a wheat beer base to create a “real” apple ale that is semi-sweet with a heavy apple aroma.

Other current offerings include their Brown Ale, Hazelnut Brown Ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, and Wheat.

thirsty farmer brew works

Home-grown Cider

In addition to craft beer, it only makes sense that Thirsty Farmer would also press and offer their own cider. All of the ciders are pressed using a triple blend of their own grown Knouse Fruitlands apples and each treated or fermented differently.

  • Test Block 1 is a traditional apple cider that balances the sweet and tart notes with a lot of pure apple flavor.
  • In Test Block 2 they blend their own grown hops with fresh pressed cider for a slight bitterness and a ton of hop aroma.
  • Test Block 3, probably our favorite cider of the trip, is very aromatic and has a dry champagne-like finish.

Inviting Space + Food

Thirsty Farmer’s taproom is located in the heart of Adams County and directly across the street from the historic Round Barn and Farm Market.

It’s a quaint tasting room that offers ample bar and table seating. If it’s a beautiful day, they also offer patio seating and a lawn area to take in the views.

thirsty farmer brew works

Beyond the seated lawn area, gaze upon a portion of Knouse Fruitland’s several-hundred-acre farm, with one acre dedicated solely to growing hops.

They currently grow nine different varieties including popular varieties like Centennial, Chinook, and Nugget, which are pelletized at Sunny Brae Hops in Carlisle.

For food, Thirsty Farmer offers a variety of sandwiches, which are completely customizable. You can get a variety of meats, spreads, and other toppings to make your perfect beer pairing sandwich.

In addition to the sandwiches, Thirsty Farmer also offers snacking options like apple cider donuts, fry pies, and pretzels.

Thirsty Farm is open Thursday 4-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday 12-6 p.m.

Sara Bozich
Author: Sara Bozich

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