DALTON, Minn.-While they are still cleaning-up on Steamer Hill after a big Labor Day weekend crowd in Rollag, the steam show is just about to begin in rural Otter Tail County.
The 65th Annual "Lake Region Pioneer Steam Threshers Reunion" runs this weekend in Dalton, Minnesota.
And now, those steam engines can even help make beer.
After more than a half-century showing off steam engines in Dalton, a lot of grain threshed and lumber cut, but now they have a new product: beer.
"This is different. When I got asked to do this, it is sure different from threshing or sawing," steam engine operator Mike Harstad said.
Harstad is helping run this steam engine, which is getting all stoked up to cook some suds and make homemade beer.
"Just adding fuel to the fire to heat the water, which makes steam, which powers the engine. The steam is cooking the brew," Harstad said.
Greg Smedsrud of Ashby came up with this plan.
"It is a lot of fun," Ashby resident Greg Smedsrud said.
"All these light bulbs are going off. These guys who have been around here for years, they are like, 'this could have worked.' 'This is what could have been done in the day,'" Smedsrud said.
He used his rare 1911 Harrison Steam Engine and this boiler to craft some beer.
"Steam engines are pretty versatile. If you take steam off the engine, run a line to the boiler, and have that boiler boil what is called beer wort. Malt and barley, and once it brews a few hours, it gets pumped over to a keg, where you add yeast and let it ferment for a week. After that, cool it down and you have beer," Smedsrud said.
Before all this happened, a lot of work went into it.
Volunteers used muscle to harvest the barley locally, the old-fashioned way, before finally getting it here to the Dalton festival where the magic is made.
"Breweries use steam to brew beer. Those big copper vats," Smedsrud said.
In nearby Ashby, Minn., Ashby Brewing has turned an old lumber yard building on Main Street into a brewhouse.
The beer from here will be on display at the Thresher's Reunion in Dalton.
"The beer coming out is ready to go," Smedsrud said.
Seems like a lot of work. From that barley seed in the ground to the harvest, and finally the boiler. In the end, it's worth the wait.
That "Lake Region Pioneer Threshers Reunion" kicks off Friday in Dalton, and runs through Sunday.
Dalton is just south of Fergus Falls, off Interstate 94.
For a link to event times and schedules, click here.