Smile Politely

An escape to Big Thorn Farm & Brewery

Three beers in plastic cups on a wood table. The left beer is a golden yellow; the middle beer is a pale yelllow; the right beer is a dark brown-black stout or porter.
Yubo (Arthur) Zou

On weekends, I always try to find a somewhere remote with good food and drinks to enjoy a bit of wild field time. Big Thorn Farm & Brewery is such a place I discovered recently. It is an off-the-grid farmhouse brewery in Vermillion County owned by the lovely couple Anna Schweig and Aaron Young.

On this 15-acre farm, there is one greenhouse bar and one tree bar. The greenhouse bar is open between October and April when the weather is chilly outside. In rest of the days in a year, the tree bar will be the operative dining place.

Photo by Xiaohui Zhang.

The indoor greenhouse bar is actually quite spacious with heat provided during winter. You can get draft beer on tap and order food from the food truck parked next to the bar. It was a casual and relaxing place to group of friends to enjoy a drink and some nice food, and casual chatting.

Photo by Xiaohui Zhang.

The menu items are limited but change over different seasons, so we can always get something different the next time we come back. The food preparation was pretty fast and you can wait for your food while spending some time looking around the farm.

Photo by Yubo (Arthur) Zou.

All draft beer on tap can be chosen to serve in seven ounces ($3), 16 ounces ($6), and to-go ($7/$14). The one I loved most was the lavender sour. I’m a lavender fan and never miss any food and drink with lavender flavor. The light lavender aroma I got from the beer was just at an appropriate level. I liked the bit of sourness from the drink as it brought up my appetite for some nice plates of food. The drink menu changes with availability. You can also bring a growler of your favorite drink back home.

We ordered three dishes from the brewery’s food truck. There were options of rice bowls and sandwiches on the menu.

Photo by Yubo (Arthur) Zou.

The one I liked most was the teriyaki wasabi salmon rice bowl ($16). In the bowl, it had a large piece of seared salmon, cilantro lime jasmine rice, and sweet pickle peppers. The best part was the wasabi sauce which just lightened up the whole plate. The spice was not overwhelming at all, and I think even people who are not in favor of spiciness can enjoy the rice bowl. The bowl also came with charred cheese tortilla triangles. That was amazingly good. It was crispy, and the thin cheese layer between the chips was fried just right and nice.

Photo by Yubo (Arthur) Zou.

The second dish we tried was the grilled chicken rice bowl ($15). It had the pickle peppers, cilantro, and some sour cream on top. Big Thorn’s rice and sauce just never disappoint us. However, the chicken was a little bit dry to me, and I would have liked it to be juicier.

Photo by Yubo (Arthur) Zou.

For the sandwich option, we went with the chicken blue cheese ($13). The soft sandwich bread had grilled chicken and a little bit blue cheese. The cheese did give a nice taste to it. The sandwich also came with kettle chips.

Every individual plate provided has definitely enough portion for a proper meal. It was overall an interesting escape to enjoy lunch on the farm field.

There is a brunch menu with different items available on Sundays. The tree bar is right across from the food truck, and I can tell lots of time and effort was spent on building up the bar.

Big Thorn Farm & Brewery
Th+F 3 to 9 p.m.
Sa noon to 9 p.m.
Su noon to 8 p.m.

Top image by Yobu (Arthur) Zou.

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