Olvalde Farm and Brewing Co
Of course, that isn’t exactly true – it takes cooperation by a number of people to keep the brand going. But at the heart of the operation is a farmer who loves brewing.
I first met Joe at the Pride Dabbler. He was impossible to miss, dressed in traditional garb of some variety I can’t place. Meeting him, I had no idea he was the owner/brewer. But while working at The Four Firkins I finally got to know him a bit. He is an incredibly unassuming guy – clearly an expert of obscure styles, unusual additions, and beers that make people raise their eyebrows.
Olvalde beers are pretty unforgettable. Most people would remember if they’ve tried them, if only for the history-evoking names. Beers like Ode to a Russian Shipwright, Brynhildr’s Gift, and Rise of the Burghers and the Fall of the Feudal Lords.
As if Pond’s year-round ales weren’t enough, the brewery strayed from it’s staunch support of ales to create a special lager for Autumn Brew Review, and also recently added another ale to their bomber line-up.
Also at ABR and now in bottles is Pond’s classic The Auroch’s Horn aged on rhubarb. This year the amount of rhubarb in the batch was higher than ever, yielding an incredible tartness that brightens up the glass. As anyone who has tasted fresh rhubarb knows, however, the amount of precise flavor in the plant falls somewhere between celery and blueberries. It’s main contribution is harmony and acidity. I recommend scooping up some bottles as the supply is often limited.
Finally, the newest addition to the Olvalde line is Rollingstoner, which is inspired by local ingredients as are many of Pond’s creations. Elder flowers, often found in liquers and some wines, are showcased here, offering a delicate floral note in the aroma and taste. The bottle I opened recently had quite a bit of mineral character that overwhelmed the flower, but I look forward to trying this one again in a future batch.