When Tom Barse and Carolann McConaughy bought their farm in Mount Airy, Maryland in the Spring of 2008, they wanted to find a way to create a sustainable agricultural operation on a small scale. They knew that making a living using traditional farming practices was impossible on just 47 acres, so they searched for crops and farm products that would demonstrate that a small farm could be profitable in central Maryland.
The couple decided to combine their interests, Tom, an avid home brewer since 1972 and Carolann’s keen interest in animal husbandry. Soon, a hopyard was planted, an apiary was built and a small flock of Leicester Long Wool sheep was acquired. Business was good, but the farm was still not self-supporting. Tom wondered whether he could brew and sell beer as an agricultural product on the farm. Working with local farmers, brewers, and local elected officials, Tom helped get Maryland’s Farm Brewery law enacted in 2012. Shortly thereafter Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm was established, and the tasting room opened in June of 2013. We proudly say we are Maryland’s first farm brewery.
Cascade and Chinook hops make up most of Stillpoint’s one acre hopyard, but expansion plans are underway. Although the hops are not organic, natural practices to assist with pest and disease control are utilized, including allowing the sheep to graze in the hopyard for weed control and to strip the lower leaves to reduce disease pressure from downy and powdery mildew.
Milkhouse Brewery at Stillpoint Farm specializes in classic styles of beer “improved with Maryland hops”. The brewery produces 5 year round beers and rotates a couple of seasonal releases. In August of 2015 a new series, “Stillpoint Reserve” was launched. These beers focus on locally sourced ingredients, including grains, fruits, herbs, honey, and other Maryland agricultural products.
Tom and Carolann, and all of the folks at Milkhouse are excited to share their journey with you. Please come out and visit the tasting room and share a perfect pint or two.
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