Dave’s Brewfarm will craft Wind-brewed Beer

Posted on February 16, 2009. Filed under: Energy Efficiency, Geothermal, Solar, Wind |


A crew prepares a tower for the wind turbine at Dave’s Brewfarm™.

From an article by Joe Knight in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram:

WILSON – Dave Anderson, 44, didn’t set out to save the planet. He just wanted to brew beer and do it in a manner that would be cost-effective in the long haul.

If it happens that his small brewery, Dave’s BrewFarm, uses more renewable energy than similar operations, he’s OK with that.

Anderson said the first time he visited the land that now is his 35-acre farm near Wilson, he noticed it was a windy ridge. “I stepped out of the car and I was struck by how windy this site was. Then the light bulb went on,” he said.

He needed a wind generator.

During the first week of February, a 20-kilowatt wind generator was erected on a 120-foot tower on the ridge in eastern St. Croix County where he is building a new home and micro brewery.

He will live above the brewery. The aroma of brewing beer won’t bother him, he said.

“When you’re boiling it smells kind of like cooked Grape Nuts. It smells kind of like a bakery,” he said. . . .

Anderson has consulted on the constructions of breweries in Italy, Vietnam, Israel and a couple of sites in the western United States. He also has traveled to Belgium to study how beer is brewed there.

During those travels he noticed that energy was costly in much of the world. Paying $8 or $9 a gallon for gas was common in Europe, and people there were investing in wind generation in a big way. The $4 a gallon gas last summer in the U.S. was a reminder that America is not insulated from volatile fossil fuel prices, so Anderson decided to generate as much energy as possible from alternative sources.

Making beer requires a lot of hot water, and solar panels on the south side of the building will heat water to 120 degrees – at least when the sun shines – for the first part of the brewing process.

He also will use heat from groundwater to heat the building in winter and cool it in summer. He has buried four 800-foot loops of pipe 8 feet deep for a geothermal system, which will provide substantial energy savings over standard furnaces and air conditioners.

The building is insulated with sprayed foam, which expands as it dries and does a better job of filling cracks than fiberglass insulation, he said.

Wastewater or gray water from the brewery will be used to irrigate hop fields and an orchard. A brewer’s garden will have herbs, spices and fruits, which have been used since people began brewing beer 6,000 years ago, he said.


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