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Bullock, partners explore on-farm brewing

AFP Correspondent

Cream Ridge — In the center of the Bullock family farm surrounded by fields of Christmas trees, heirloom tomatoes, rye straw and soybeans, a ring of posts hewn from black locust trees rises out of the ground nearly 20 feet.
Studying the natural simplicity of this man-made towering creation one is reminded of a time when self-reliant pioneers survived off the land.
“I cut the trees for these posts from the woods on the back of the farm to serve as a hops trellis,” Brett Bullock said. ”We’re in the process of creating what I believe is New Jersey’s only on-farm brewery.”
On-farm brewing is by no means a new concept. The farmhouse brewing culture dates back centuries to when the scarcity of potable water made brewing on the farm a necessity.
Beer brewed on the farm historically served the dual purpose of creating a safe drinking source as well as providing work for farm laborers during the quieter periods of autumn and winter.
For Bullock, on-farm brewing is a way to combine his passion for home brewing with this age-old artform and convert them into an opportunity to diversify the families farming operation.
“The idea of putting a brewery on the farm was very appealing to me on several levels.” Bullock said “We all started on farms at some point just like brewing.
“Today most of us are disconnected from the land. This brewery will be a way for people to re-connect with our roots in a way that has become popular and very beneficial to our farm and New Jersey agriculture.”
Over the past decade, “agritourism” has become sort of a buzzword for many New Jersey farmers.
Making a living on the traditional farming methods such gas rowing grain, hay or vegetables has become increasingly difficult.
The Bullock family has diversified their own operation by growing “cut your own” Christmas trees and pumpkins.
Many other farms depend on fall hayrides and corn mazes to supplement their farms.
By creating an on-farm brewery, Bullock said he hopes to translate the current interest in craft beers and people’s desire to reconnect with farms into a reason for the public to regard the Bullock Farm as a rustic destination point.
Bullock and partners Ryan Cole and Patrick Jones have converted a small barn that dates back to the 1860s into a quaint 1,100-square-foot tasting room.
It will be finished with old barn boards, tractor seats as bar stools and a bar made from an old piece of walnut.
They are already using items grown on the farm such as pumpkins, wheat and heirloom tomatoes to create unique beers.
Bullock said he believes brewing with the farm’s pure well water rather than city water is one of the key components to making theirs a better tasting beer.
“Our goal is to produce a high quality fresh beer that is not meant to be shipped long distances or stored,” Bullock said. “Our beer won’t have the shelf life of corporate breweries, but its not meant to.
“We want people to come out to the farm and experience the great taste of a good old fashioned farmhouse brew.”
The beer will not be bottled.
Rather, it will be sold in growlers and kegs to maintain freshness.
Bullock recommends that the beer is consumed within 48 hours in order to enjoy the full flavor.
The brewers expect to be open by this December initially operating for about four hours on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year.