In a little more than a year, Farm Shed has grown from a farm to a wine-tasting room to an estate brewery.
“We’re completely estate-grown hops right now, which is really cool to say,” said co-owner Madeline VanLierop-Anderson.
Half that last name is going to sound familiar to local gardeners and flower enthusiasts. Madeline is the daughter of Brian Anderson and Cindi VanLierop-Anderson, who is the daughter of the locally famous bulb-farm family (the farm closed in 2013).
This particular VanLierop farm isn’t in the Puyallup valley. It’s up on the plateau in Buckley. The 40-acre farm is home to Farm Shed wines, a tasting room for adults 21 and older that the family opened in 2016.
As they worked on building their wine-tasting room — where they feature pours by small wineries producing fewer than 5,000 cases a year — they hatched another plan: Opening a brewery.
Farm Shed Brew is different because it grows its own hops at the farm. Yes, that makes it an estate brewery, which is pretty rare in the Northwest. Most breweries buy their hops, they don’t grow them.
“In the wine industry, we talk about the terroir of wine. It’s great to bring that into the brew making process,” said Madeline, who formerly had a career working in the wine industry on the central coast of California. “With my hop selection, I tried smaller, less-known hops. In talking with brewers, there are so many hop varietals coming out every year. I wanted to experiment.”
She and Brian built a hop trellis that resembles a giant tent, which Madeline said many mistake for grape trellising.
“I have to explain that we’re hop farmers,” said Madeline.
The family harvested 35 pounds of hops this season which Madeline and Brian will use in their small-batch brewery that Madeline described as a pilot set-up.
This year, she dabbled in German hops and the Japanese varietal, a smaller hop called Sorachi Ace.
“It’s really aromatic. It’s a smaller hop. It’s super citrusy,” she said.
Those hops will go into a few beers she and her father are working on for the launch of the brewery.
The first is an amber ale, which she expects to tap sometime in November.
After the ale, she’ll debut a stout, which she said will take the brewery through the winter.
After that, she has big plans for lagers.
“I just ordered the fermenters to do that,” said Madeline. Until they get the equipment and that slightly more laborious brewing method conquered, they’ll stick with easier ales.
What’s it been like running a business as a family?
A lot of quality mom-dad-daughter time.
“It’s been the three of us going to Portland to research. It’s been the three of us harvesting hops and talking about what we want to do and grow. It’s been really fun. My dad comes from a dairy farm. My mom is from the bulb industry. We love carrying on the legacy of farming and continuing to do that with our hops,” Madeline said.
And speaking of the area’s legacy with hops, Madeline took a clipping and root stock of vintage hops from nearby Kelley Farm, which has had hops growing on its property since early 20th century. After she identifies the type of vintage hops (she’s currently talking to professors at Oregon State University to do just that), she’s thinking about growing them and using them in her beers.
Farm Shed Wines and Farm Shed Brew
Where: 22808 Sumner Buckley Hwy E., Buckley
Hours: 4-8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Visitors must be 21 years or older
Brewery: Launching in November
Contact: 253-750-0895; farmshedwines.com