Abbotsford’s Field House Brewing Grows ‘From the Field’

The GOODS from Field House Brewing

Abbotsford, BC | On April 27, a lively group in the Rail District Collective’s event space had Field House Brewing beers and lightly spiced popcorn in hand as they anticipated the start of the short film, From the Field. Josh Vanderheide, founder of the east-Abbotsford brewery, started Field House Farms as a side project born from the love for local food used in the brewery’s canteen kitchen. He put together the evening’s film screening to share the farm’s first season and the importance of agriculture.

“We want to be honest with people,” he says. “We don’t think we have it figured out, but we’re really passionate about it.”

Filming began at planting in spring 2018 and continued throughout the growing season on the three plots that included fruits, vegetables and five acres of barley. Vanderheide and brewmaster Parker Reid took a hands-on approach to the harvesting, cleaning, drying and malting of the barley.

“The beers that are here tonight are made from the grains that were grown last year,” he explains. “And we’re so pleased with how the beer turned out. We went into this going, ‘we don’t know what we’re doing but we’re going to have fun with it.’”

The pilsner and IPA sampled at the screening are part of the Farmland Series of Field House beers that are made from 100 per cent local ingredients including the barley. Others will be released later this year.

The farm project went so well that Vanderheide and his wife Gina sold their house and bought a five-acre farm on Matsqui Flats which he refers to as Field House Farms 2.0.

While farm breweries aren’t unheard of, they certainly aren’t common. Field House Brewing’s food program began by sourcing out the best local foods available so the move to farming and creating wholesome raw ingredients was a natural fit.

“The focus of the farm is to complement things that already grow here [in the Fraser Valley],” he says. “We’re growing rhubarb because our kitchen is excited about the flavour and acidity.”

Crops will be used in the kitchen, but will also make their way into the brewery for new and unique beer. Vanderheide credits a $25,000 grant from the Abbotsford Community Foundation for making the farm possible with a hope of eventually growing 100 per cent of the food used at Field House Brewing. Another supporter was Buy BC which provided a grant to make the film possible.

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