Olvalde Farm & Brewing
Honoring historic brewing methods & native ingredients
This month’s Craft Beer Club feature is easily one of the most interesting breweries we have come to discover. Nestled in the rolling landscape of southern Minnesota, in the tiny town of Rollingstone (and we mean TINY with just about 650 residents), is the home of owner/ brewer Joe Pond and his Olvalde Farm and Brewing Company. This small, traditional brewery is located on Joe’s family farm, fitting perfectly into its rural surroundings. Joe’s goal with Olvalde is to take brewing back to a pre-industrialization, when brewing was a farmyard chore and the brewer had to take advantage of whatever ingredients were in season and on hand. He strives to craft fine ales that honor these ancient brewing traditions and culture.
One of the great distinctions that sets Joe’s Olvalde beers apart is that neither the brewery nor the fermenting tanks are temperature-controlled - this is a nod to the way brewing was done before artificial refrigeration. The seasonal temperature fluctuations naturally affect fermentation flavors, meaning there will be slight variations from batch to bath - much like true farmhouse brews.
Joe is also excited about the use of native herbs that he tends to in his brewer’s garden located on the family property. He grows a range of plants, including horehound, rose hips, spruce tips, rhubarb, elderberries, juniper berries, valerian root, and mugwort, and uses these in his Olvalde beers to balance the bitterness of hops, while adding a range of unexpected flavors. Joe also grows some of his own hops and barley, and has plans to start his own malt house and hop yard.
The ultimate goal is a completely estate-grown beer, made with grain, hops, adjuncts and yeast from the farmland around him. Joe initially got into the beer industry about twelve years ago, starting at Goose Island in Chicago. He is a University of Minnesota Chemical Engineering graduate and was always interested in brewing as an occupation because of it’s inspiring marriage of craft and artistry with science and engineering. It didn’t take him long to develop an interest in the agricultural aspects of brewing, which led to the development of Olvalde on his wife’s family’s old dairy farm in 2011. He has since developed a number of incredibly unique and tasty brews, two of which we have selected for this month’s Craft Beer Club feature. We are certain you will enjoy them.