Mid Atlantic Brewing News October/November 2013 : Page 1
By The Brews Brothers (Steve Frank & Arnold Meltzer) Eric Salazar, brewer and master cellarman at New Belgium Brewing Co., draws a sample from one of the foeders in the brewery's sour beer cellar. PHOTO COURTESY OF NEW BELGIUM n the bar before me are four glasses filled with beers that normally never leave the cellars of New Belgium Brewing Co. in unadulterated form. They’re numbered 5, 15, 17 and 28 after the foeders – large (up to 220 hectoliters) French oak vessels -in which they’ve been fermenting. b Number 28 is nicknamed “Grape Ape” because mber 17 1 has of its jammy. red-grape flavor; number hers ar are been dubbed “Pixie Dust.” The others merely numerals. our Reveling in its bone-dry flavor, I po pour n add four ounces of foeder 5 as a base, then eristi tic two ounces of number 15 (which has the characteristic barnyard funk of Brettanomyces), and one ounce each of the sweeter 17 and 28. My partner Arnold mixes in just a half-ounce of 5, but adds a fifth beer to the blend: La Folie, New Belgium’s renowned Flemish-style sour brown ale. O See Blending p.4 Lauren Salazar, master blender for New Belgium Brewing Co. See Pink p.6 The all-female brew crew behind Pretty in Pink: Awareness Ferments Hope poses at Lost Rhino Brewing Co. in Ashburn, Va. PHOTO: LOST RHINO By Steve Marler INSIDE Teaching Your Boss to Brew ......... 7 BookReview .................................. 8 Brewing Up a Sitcom .................... 9 Fairy Hopmother ........................10 Homebrew ...................................12 Hop Ed .........................................13 Maps ...................................... 18-21 Event Calendar ............................39 Virginia ...........14 C. Penn ............22 Philadelphia ...24 E. Penn ............26 State by State News Maryland ........27 Baltimore ........30 W. Virginia ......32 D.C. ..................33 New Jersey .....34 Delaware ........36
Steve Frank & Arnold Meltzer
Eric Salazar, brewer and master cellarman at New Belgium Brewing Co., draws a sample from one of the foeders in the brewery's sour beer cellar.
On the bar before me are four glasses filled with beers that normally never leave the cellars of New Belgium Brewing Co. In unadulterated form.
They’re numbered 5, 15, 17 and 28 after the foeders – large (up to 220 hectoliters) French oak vessels - in which they’ve been fermenting. Number 28 is nicknamed “Grape of its jammy. Red-grape flavor; number been dubbed “Pixie Dust.” The others merely numerals.
Reveling in its bone-dry flavor, four ounces of foeder 5 as a base, two ounces of number 15 (which has the characteristic barnyard funk of Brettanomyces), and one ounce each of the sweeter 17 and 28. My partner Arnold mixes in just a half-ounce of 5, but adds a fifth beer to the blend: La Folie, New Belgium’s renowned Flemish-style sour brown ale.
Each of the 58 people in attendance thinks his or her blend is outstanding, perhaps the best in the room. With such great base beers, it’s hard not to succeed.
The Sour Beer Symposium and Blending Workshop, which took place on Aug. 15 at the Black Squirrel in Washington, DC, was one of only five such events scheduled by New Belgium this year. The Fort Collins, Colo.-based brewery does invite a few restaurateurs into its cellars, allowing them to custom-craft their own brands. (You can sample their efforts at Seattle’s Brouwers Café, the Twisted Spoke in Chicago, and the Falling Rock and Star Bar in Denver.)
But it’s a rare privilege for nonprofessionals like ourselves.
Our master of ceremonies Lauren Salazar – lucky devil! – does this all year around. New Belgium’s master blender learned blending over a decade of trial and error, including tossing the contents of many early barrels that developed acetic acid. (Think vinegar.) “We got really good at describing terrible things,” she said. An early version of La Folie, she recalled, was nicknamed “Flaming Goat.”
Lauren and her ex-husband, brewer/ cellarmaster Eric Salazar, gave us the lowdown on New Belgium’s sour beer cellar, affectionately called Castle Le Foeder. The Castle started in 1997 with only seven foeders, which were inoculated with Brettanomyces and bacteria obtained from the University of Berlin - the only place where you could get such a culture at the time.
Ever since the original inoculations, successive barrels have been started with sour beer from the previous barrels
Castle Le Foeder currently has 32 full foeders, holding a volume of over 3,600 barrels. They’re used French wine barrels, some forty years old. “To the wine industry, it’s the end of their life,” says Eric. “The staves have shrunk, they can’t hold liquid, they need to be rehydrated. They were on the chopping block; they would have been firewood.”
But they’re precious to New Belgium. “We use jersey barriers to protect them against errant forklift operators,” mentions Eric.
Felix and Oscar
New Belgium fills its foeders with two base beers, a light lager called “Felix” and a dark lager called “Oscar.” Their personalities reminded the brewers of the habits of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison of The Odd Couple. Oscar is dark and murky, Felix is “clean, crisp with softer citrus notes.” La Folie uses Oscar exclusively.
The beers in the foeders age at different rates and change dramatically over time, depending on the resident critters in the individual vessels and other factors. Lauren and her colleagues sample each foeder regularly, characterizing them as “users,” “blenders” and “waiters.” La Folie is a blend of beers aged 1-3 years. Because each barrel is unique, no two vintages will ever be identical. Each sour beer is pasteurized prior to bottling to maintain its integrity.
Lauren advises against cellaring the beer, as aging might oxidize it and change it not for the better. “I want people to buy our beer and drink it. I think 2014 is the longest you should hold our 2013 beer.” Lauren looks upon blending as if she is creating a flower. A base beer is selected to anchor the taste profile, similar to the middle of the flower. She then adds a few “petals” to the core to supplement the flavor and complexity, but advises against adding too much.
New Belgium’s sour beers have a definite house character. To increase the complexity, New Belgium sometimes blends its beers with sour brews from other breweries and brewpubs. A collaboration with Upland Brewing Co. In Bloomington, Ind., whose lambic took a gold medal at the last Great American Beer Festival, will be available at the 11th annual Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers in Chicago in November.
New Belgium has 33 additional foeders, many of which will be installed at the New Belgium branch plant currently under construction in Asheville, NC. Once all are filled, they’ll total almost 7,700 bbl. And that added volume will enable New Belgium to do more collaborations, more private blends, and – we hope – more sour symposiums like the Black Squirrel event.
Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Sourpusses%21/1527196/178168/article.html.
Battling Breast Cancer With Beer
The all-female brew crew behind Pretty in Pink: Awareness Ferments Hope poses at Lost Rhino Brewing Co. In Ashburn, Va.
This year the project has expanded to include five regional breweries and a second brew: a citrusy hop bomb called Hoperation Pink.
Jordan spearheaded last year’s original collaboration, enlisting brewers Megan Parisi of Bluejacket in Washington, DC, Rachael Cardwell of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., and Kristi Mathews Griner, then of Vintage 50 in Leesburg, Va. And now head brewer for Capitol City Brewing Co.
They considered prickly pear fruit (too expensive), pink grapefruit and guava before hitting on a recipe that called for five pounds of hibiscus and 65 gallons of pomegranate, giving the saison what Jordan calls “a nice tartness.”
Griner is also one of this year’s collaborators, but she’s working with a new group that includes Kelsie Cole of Front Street Brewery in Wilmington, NC, Beth Madden from Mad Fox Brewing Co. In Falls Church, Va., and eight women from the DC beer bars Meridian Pint and Smoke and Barrel. “That was kind of fun to have some different people involved,” commented Jordan.
The project has expanded beyond Lost Rhino and picked up additional collaborators. Griner was preparing to brew a “daughter batch” of Pretty in Pink at Capitol City on Sept. 20, varying the amount of ingredients and fermenting with Westmalle yeast instead of the Ardennes yeast previously used. Ready to assist her were longtime Brewers United for Real Potables member Janet Crowe, a breast cancer survivor, and Allison Lang from Port City Brewing Co. In Alexandria, Va.
Cole is brewing her own version at Front Street. For the last five years the brewpub has sponsored “Mugs for Jugs,” a breast cancer awareness fundraiser held each January. Proceeds benefit the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation's Pink Ribbon Project. According to Jordan, when she approached Front Street, they were “super-excited” to be brewing a beer specifically for their cause.
Hardywood Park’s Cardwell, meanwhile, has formulated Hoperation Pink in conjunction with Griner (again!), Lisa Pumphrey of Linkinghole Creek Craft Brewery in Goochland County, Va. And Lee John of Apocalypse Ale Works in Forest, Va.
“The Hardywood project is on the same theme and same purpose, but it is going to be a different beer entirely and a different tribe of women doing it,” said Griner. Measuring 6. 8% abv and 65 IBUs, this India pale ale is hopped with Cascade, Apollo and Columbus for bittering and dry-hopped with Simcoe and Citra.
In test batches hibisucs leaves were used to provide a pink hue. However, the hibiscus didn’t play well with the other flavors, so Cardwell substituted zest of pink grapfruit. "This means that the beer will not be pink, but will be brewed with pink fruit as a different twist for brewing a pink beer," she noted.
Hardywood and Lickinghole have each brewed 40 bbl, which were both bottled and kegged. Griner brewed 30 bbl to be tapped at Capitol City. Look for a mid-October debut.
A portion of the sales of Pretty in Pink will go to Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and a portion will benefit charities chosen by the individual breweries and bars serving the beer. (You’ll be able to find it at Mad Fox, Meridian Pint and Smoke and Barrel.) “I told them all to pick something local to you,” explained Jordan. “For me, being from Richmond and having family members with breast cancer - that was sort of near and dear to my heart.”
Jordan expects even more participation in the future. “I’ve had some other brewers approach me, so hopefully we can get some more people involved over the next few years.”
Read the full article at http://mabnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Battling+Breast+Cancer+With+Beer/1527197/178168/article.html.