Brewery at Four Star Farms opens for to-go sales
The Recorder, January 2, 2021. By ZACK DeLUCA, Staff Writer
NORTHFIELD — Built on the land that once held the first hop field farmed by the L’Etoile family stands a new brewhouse and taproom for the newly opened The Brewery at Four Star Farms.
With a clean wood finish from floor to ceiling, and large windows that gaze into the seven-barrel brewing room and out to the hops fields, the taproom at 508 Pine Meadow Road was built to be a gathering place for community members, but opened only for to-go beer sales on Dec. 19. With the large room currently devoid of tables and chairs, Liz L’Etoile said it isn’t quite the opening the family had envisioned, but they feel it’s the responsible option for their employees, customers and surrounding community.
Construction for the taproom and brewhouse began roughly a year ago on top of the field where the farm grew its first batch of hops about 12 years ago. Lining the parking lot are the original anchors from the hop yard.
“We figured what better way to pay homage to the thing that really took off for the farm,” Liz L’Etoile said of the building’s location.
Liz L’Etoile is the coowner and director of sales and marketing for The Brewery at Four Star Farms. Her husband Nathan L’Etoile, his father Eugene L’Etoile, brother Jacob L’Etoile and Jacob’s wife Robin are also co-owners. Joining the family business as co-owner, general manager and brewer is Chris Sellers, who previously worked with The People’s Pint in Greenfield.
“It’s nice to be able to open this up and finally show the community what we’ve been working on,” Sellers said.
Current beer varieties include The Northfielder, a pilsner- style lager; the Bine Cutter, a New England-style IPA; Solstice, a double IPA; Bright Morning: a Britishstyle golden ale; Field Break: a saison-style ale; and Dark Oast, a robust porter. Each can features a list of ingredients that details what was grown at Four Star Farms. “All the hops we’re using in all of our beers are grown right here,” Sellers said, gesturing out the window. Sellers said the brewery has some of the closest sourced ingredients in the Pioneer Valley, and the state. For example, with the exception of Field Break’s Belgian farmhouse ale yeast, every ingredient in the saison-style ale comes from within 100 yards of the taproom. Even the water is taken from a well on the property.
“The idea that as a brewer you can stand in your taproom and say to a customer, ‘Behind those hop fields is where we grow barley, that’s where we grew the hops, here’s where we made the beer you’re drinking’ — that’s pretty exciting,” Sellers said.
Come warmer weather, The Brewery at Four Star Farms hopes to incorporate outdoor seating on a marblefloored porch and on the lawn next to the taproom. Customers will be allowed to walk among the tall stalks of hop varieties used in the beer. Liz L’Etoile and Sellers said they both enjoy spending time in the fields.
“None of us were brewers, we all just loved craft beer and we’re learning along the way,” Liz L’Etoile said of her family. “None of us necessarily want to be professional brewers, but there’s an excitement for helping to create these products that Chris is developing the recipes for. … There’s a real sense of ownership of the process and wanting to be a part of it.”
“To be that up close and personal with something that usually comes from very far away is a professionally exciting experience,” Sellers added.
He joked he feels like a kid in a candy store because he can walk into the fields, assess the ingredients and think of new combinations for different beer varieties.
Liz L’Etoile and Sellers said they are excited to welcome the community to spend time at the taproom, when it’s safe. They also look forward to teaching customers more about the farm, its crops and the brewing process.
In the meantime, they have been pleased with their first few weekends of business.
“From a brewer’s point of view, I have to say I’m really encouraged,” Sellers said. “We opened up with a taproom where you can’t taste the beer before you buy it. That’s not something we feel comfortable doing at this moment. But people came and said, ‘We’re excited you’re here and we’re excited you decided to build this in this community.’ They came out and bought the beer, had encouraging words and great feedback.”
In time, Liz L’Etoile said The Brewery at Four Star Farms will also open for customers to listen to live music and well as host weddings, business meetings and more. Sellers noted he and his wife even got married on the Four Star Farm property a few years ago. At the time, the L’Etoile family members attended as friends, and future business partners.
Zack DeLuca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-930-4579.