Peter Treiber Jr., an artist and farmer at Treiber Farms in Peconic, has just released his first beer in collaboration with the South Fork’s Springs Brewery.
The Treiber Pilsner, which was released in late April, was developed from barley planted at the farm.
“I planted the barley with the intention of just using it as a cover crop, like you would for winter rye, peas, oats, things like that,” said Treiber, who planted it in the fall of 2020. “But I planted it knowing that it had the potential to be harvested if we had enough and malted for use in making beer.”
The beer became a passion project for Treiber.
He went through the long process of testing the barley for viability at Hartwick College in Oneonta, then harvested the entire half-acre crop himself, with a sickle.
“That was out of necessity,” he said. “I don’t have a combine or machinery for that. It was the most economical way to do it.”
“There’s so many opportunities in agriculture, and on this farm in particular, to work in nontraditional spaces,” said Treiber, who runs Treiber Farms with his father, Peter Sr. “This was another opportunity to do that. So I cut everything, let it dry in my barn, loaded it into my truck, drove it to Amber Waves Farm [in Amagansett] and hand-fed all of the grain into the combine.”
Treiber then worked with Valley Malt in Hadley, Mass. to have it malted for a pilsner. Lindsay Reichart and Gunnar Burke, the young South Fork couple that owns Springs Brewery, then brewed the malt at übergeek Brewing in Riverhead.
While the beer brewed, Treiber created the artwork for the can over the course of several weeks.
Reichart was born and raised in Springs and is a Bonacker, a descendent of the earliest settlers of East Hampton. She and Burke, who are architects by trade, first started learning to brew 10 years ago after exploring the Brooklyn beer scene in college. They started commercially brewing last year and hope to make a brick-and-mortar brewery out of Hampton Auto Collision, which is owned by her father, Richard Reichart, when he retires.
“We were going back home to Springs and there was nothing to do besides hanging out at people’s houses or going to the beach,” said Reichart, “so we want to create a space that could bring people together.”
Burke, who is originally from Buffalo, wanted Springs Brewery to be a collaborative process.
“We’re craftspeople,” he said. “We love making things, designing and doing art.”
Reichart and Burke have enjoyed working with Treiber.
“I think what Peter’s doing with farming is very similar to what we’re trying to do with beer,” said Reichart, “with the land, the community, and we also have background in the arts and creative [space].”
So, how does it taste?
Treiber describes it as “crispy, very drinkable, very crushable. I like regular, traditional lager beers. It’s got a golden color, a light, fresh taste to it. That’s what I really wanted. And they made it happen!”
Springs Brewery has been selling beer out of the Springs General Store, as well as the Springs Farmers Market, where it was a hit.