NOTod Hill Brewery has sold cans of its latest creation – a fruity and floral New England-style IPA produced on-site at the company’s Ridgefield solar-powered facility. And while the drink could certainly move units on its own, the cans were also in high demand due to the brilliant label art done by local artist Bobbi Eike Mullen and its name: Friends of Weir Farm. India Pale Ale.
The impetus for the collaboration came from the Friends of Weir Farm, a volunteer organization dedicated to protecting and promoting one of only two national historic parks in Connecticut.
“Friends of Weir Farm was created around 2015,” said Judy Wander, president of the group. “We were all volunteers for the park and recognized that there were many things the park was not able to do on its own. We loved the place, so we created a non-profit association.
“At the time,” she continued, “there had been a conversation about ‘wouldn’t it be fun to do a ‘Weir Beer?’ Obviously, rhyme is a good game on this. Unfortunately, at the time, no one really knew how to start such a project.
Although strictly created as a “friends drive” rather than a fundraiser, according to Wander, she was still pleased with the outcome.
“Nod Hill did the heavy lifting early on, which was to come up with a proper personalized brew, navigate the label, meet all the government requirements,” Wander said. “They actually picked up the cost of printing and canning, and then it’s up to us to promote and set the tone.”
David Kaye, founding partner and managing director of Nod Hill Brewery, said the partnership was an easy decision once approached.
“They showed us a kind of beer similar to what a brewery in Maine did with Friends of Acadia National Park, and we thought that was a really cool concept,” he said. “The farm is only a two minute drive from us and it’s a very beautiful place that is a little under the radar.”
According to Kaye, by the end of the June 12 event, all of the limited-edition cans had been sold out, although those who wanted to try the “hazier, floral, fruity, super aromatic beer” with an ABV of 6.2 % could taste it in the tap room. for a while afterwards. He said the event was a major hit on their books and that they were considering an annual Weir Beer event, and maybe finding other bands to collaborate with.
“We love brewing these kinds of beers,” Kaye said of the recipe they developed. “And when we’re making these beers in conjunction with another company or organization, we want something that’s going to have broad appeal because we often find our partners bringing people to these events who aren’t necessarily heavy beer drinkers. “
“I’m not a beer drinker,” admitted Wander. “But we were surprised when the information was passed on to the community, what a sense of excitement and buzz it created in conversations at the Wilton Library or other local venues. When people heard about it, they seemed really excited about the opportunity.
The event also featured a live bluegrass band and opportunities to meet the artist behind the label and get to know the members of Friends of Weir Farm. Emphasis was also placed on art and creativity. J. Alden Weir, the famous impressionist painter who once owned the farm, inspired Friends of Weir Farm to create coloring pages suitable for adults and children.
Friends of Weir Farm considered the event a resounding success.
“We exceeded all the numbers we would have anticipated,” Wander said. “It was a new audience of people we hadn’t seen before, people from our community of Ridgefield and Wilton and beyond who knew about the farm but hadn’t been there for many years. It seemed to bring out a crowd of people who love to come together and celebrate having this special place in our backyard.