Known for their hard to categorize yet deliciously full-bodied brews, the fellas at Agrarian Ales invited us down to Eugene to share what it takes to transform a family farm into a traditional farmhouse style brewery in Hopstory #2.
Spend one day at Agrarian Ales and you’ll realize, it’s all about family. Beer’s a priority too. Don’t get me wrong, these guys know how to brew. Their hard to categorize but flavor packed rotating lineup of seasonal ales is garnering attention from craft beer lovers far and wide. But when you get down to it, family is the driving force for brothers Ben and Nate Tilley.
“Not just the brothers either,” fellow Agrarian brewer Tobias Schock told us. “There’s the mother and the father and the uncles and sometimes the aunts and the grandkids. It’s a pretty big family operation. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Tobias joined the family in 2010, following “the new Oregon trail dream of coming out here and being part of the land of plenty, of beer, and organic food, and all the good things the west coast has to offer.” It’s that desire to connect with the land that lead him to the Tilley brothers.
Located just north of Eugene, the 20 acre family farm supplies 100% of Agrarian’s organic hops as well as many of the other elements that make their beers so unique. “We feel that growing our ingredients really connects us directly to the whole process of brewing,” Nate explains. “From the ground up, we’re creating beer.”
In time, the Tilley boys hope to create even more than that, growing their brewing family beyond the farm’s boarders. Agrarian plans to increase their processing facilities, opening the doors “so that local farmers interested in growing hops and grains can come here, a small distance, get it processed, and get it right back out to the community,” Ben explained.
And for those of us who don’t grow high quality organic ingredients, I have a feeling we’ll still be welcome. Agrarian just announced they’re expanding their tasting hours to include Sundays so that folks can bring their own families out for a day on the farm. “We want to bring people together, bring them out here, let them experience what it is to live an agrarian lifestyle and to also have a great time doing so,” Nate explained.
At Agrarian ales, it’s about the land, the ingredients, the community, the beer. But most of all, it’s about family. I think perhaps Tobias summed it up best. “Yes its production, yes it’s a farm, but it can also be the place where people can come and gather and drink and have fun in the sun.” And in the end, isn’t that what family is all about?