My name is John C. Henneberg and we received our Farm Brewery License from New York State in August of 2013. We are part of the Cazenovia Beverage Trail along with Critz Farms Hard Cider: Harvest Moon Cidery and Owera Vineyard Wines. Here is my beer story:
I started brewing beer in 2007. My first brew was a pale ale kit I bought online. From that moment I was hooked! I fell in love with everything about brewing. I read more about beer and brewing than I ever read in college. Sorry Professor Harris...
But let's take a step back. When I was in college, a friend turned me on to the world of better beer. I had no idea there was such flavor to beer. My young, stupid mind thought that Busch Lite and Keystone were the best tasting beers ever....boy was I wrong!! Good flavored beers were hard to get into at first. But every time I went out (I lived in Boston at the time) I would buy a different beer style: wheat, pale ale, IPA, stout, red ale, etc. This opened my mind and my heart to flavor and hops. A few years later I lived in Portland Maine and I fell in love with Gritty McDuff's! It will always be one of my favorite Microbreweries in the world. At this same time, a friend of mine had an extra ticket to a beer dinner at a local pub near his house in Templeton, Massachusetts. The guest speaker was Sam Calagione and the beers were from the DogfishHead Brewery. I had no clue who he was or where his brewery was. There was about 50 people packed into this little establishment and the first beer poured with my salad was in a snifter. I was so confused, mostly because the snifter was only filled 1/3 of the way. Considering how that little snifter was probably about 11% ABV it was enough for me. By the end of the night (we had 5 or 6 beer tastings) I was lit up. I bought Sam's book and talked to him for a bit, he signed it, then we headed home for the night. I don't remember how any of the beers tasted or what Sam and I talked about but I do remember trying Midus Touch and a 90 Minute IPA.
After these events, I moved back to my hometown of Cazenovia, NY. It wasn't until I was having a drink with a friend one night when he said to me, "Why don't you make your own beer, ya know, kinda like moonshine?" I started researching and learning about beer. I didn't know there was so much to the world of beer. Water, Hops, Barley, and Yeast can be used in an endless amount of combinations.
Where do I stand now? My goal is to grow everything right here on the farm. We grow barley, hops, and I malt the barley. One thing I'm passionate about is buying local and being local. I try and get all my stuff from local people. I just bought hops from a local farmer in Cazenovia (The Bineyard). I also love doing things on my own so growing my own was the next step. This way I can use the land in a productive manner. It is good for us and it is good for the environment. The other thing I'm big about is doing things organically. It frustrates me about all the chemicals and harmful ingredients added to food. Cows, chickens, corn... you name it they are full of bad chemicals. But you can learn more about this from my good friend Mike over at FitSyracuse. I also raise my own chickens for fresh, free range, and artificial growth hormone free eggs.
Alcohol is a wonderful thing; don’t ruin it for everyone else. Please don’t drink and drive.