Fetish on the Farm
Every year, at the end of “harvest season,” Fetish Brewing Company has a party. On Sunday, the CSA (community supported agriculture) brewery and their devoted following gathered at Hopeland Farm in Elizabeth Township. Approximately 100 people showed up to drink Fetish beer, enjoy a late summer grilling session, and take in the picturesque surroundings.
“It’s a way for our community to spend a little more time together and an opportunity for us to drink some of our own beer,” said Fetish co-founder Mike Simpson.
Simpson joined up with friends Aaron Risser and Brandon Stetser to create Fetish approximately two years ago. The idea was born to create beer and maintain creative control of the process without going into immediate debt. For the past year Fetish has been brewing on Ice Avenue in Lancaster City. (There is no tasting room.)
“We’re just three guys who want to make handcrafted beer,” said Simpson.
The CSA is topped out at 60 shareholders, a number Simpson said will likely increase as the brewery grows. For now, their brewing process allows them to provide for their members and a new foray into commercial sales. Fetish brews became available for public consumption last week when they went on sale at The Fridge. The beers immediately sold out. This is great news for the fledgling brewery; Simpson said he hopes to start selling at other venues soon.
How it works: The lucky 60 members receive a variety of four beers each month, everything from standard brews to some crazy concoctions (ghost pepper ale). Once a month, shares are distributed to members congregating at a local restaurant or bar. The Fetish beer is not consumed at the location; shareholders are encouraged to partake in whatever the restaurant or bar is offering.
“It gives us an opportunity to support bars and restaurants who are like minded,” explained Simpson. “That way the bar and restaurant get supported and our community gets built in a pretty personal way.”
For Fetish on the Farm, the brewery poured five beers: pumpkin, kolsch, saison, honey wheat, and a new special brew called Stunt 001.
“This is the first in what we hope is a line of one-off beers. We designed this beer specifically for Fetish on the Farm,” said Simpson.
The 4.5 percent ABV session beer is crisp and refreshing. It is a beer welcome to the palates of all craft beer drinkers and was meant to be uncomplicated. The last thing Fetish wanted to make was something heavy, high in alcohol, and loaded with obscure flavorings.
“It’s a great beer to drink a couple of while you’re outside hanging out with your friends,” added Simpson. “Down the road we have plans for some really interesting Stunt beers that involve fresh ingredients from Central Market.”
The pumpkin beer is really good. Colored a cloudy, deep orange-brown from the starch in the pumpkin, the ale is not overpowering. It does not have the artificial flavor of some other harvest beers on the market. It pours with a big, thick head helping to deliver the aromas.
“I use all real pumpkin. I roast them before they go in,” explained Risser, who acts as Fetish’s brewmaster.
Fetish on the Farm was a last hurrah for summer. Now it’s officially time for fall brews.
Michael C. Upton works as a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure covering subjects ranging from funk punk to fine wine. He invites your comments and suggestions at 354-0609.