Mid Atlantic Brewing News February/March 2012 : Page 1
Pray , Work , Brew The Th e chapel ch h ap el l of o f th the e Monastery Mo na st M t er y of f Christ C h hr i is t in i the t h he Desert D es er t lies li es in i n remote re mo te t Abiquiu A bi qu i iu i in n northern nort no rt t he rn New N ew Mexico. The abbey grounds include a small brewhouse that the monks will use to make specialty and seasonal beers. (Below) Brother Josue Exequiel Esparza Hool harvests native, organic New Mexican hops at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in August 2011. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABBEY BEVERAGE CO. By The Brews Brothers (Steve Frank & Arnold Meltzer) eltzer) By Greg Kitsock resented, for your approval, a rogue’s gallery of microbes: Brettanomyces is a wild yeast that strikes fear into the hearts of conventional beermakers and vintners because of the distinctive “barnyard” and “wet saddle” flavors it imparts. Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria that gives sour milk its piercing aroma and flavor. Pediococcus produces acid as well as diacetyl, a chemical that can make beer taste like buttered popcorn. Craft brewers, in seeking new dimensions of flavor, are fermenting beer with all these bugs and more in tandem with old, familiar brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae . Not only are they imitating Old World styles (Starr Hill Brewing Co. released a Belgian-style oud P bruin last fall called Franklin’s Sour ), but they’re mapping out the boundaries of a new category called American wild ale. The once dreaded Brettanomyces is now being addressed by its nickname, Brett. “Enemy at the Gates” Jason Oliver, head brewer for the Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. in Roseland, Va., for almost two years has been fermenting an India pale ale with 100% Brettanomyces in a 65-gallon tank. As of press time, no one has tasted the beer except for Oliver and his staff and a few guest brewers, says Jason’s assistant brewer, Aaron Reilly. “The hops have subsided a lot,” comments Reilly. “It’s definitely got that musty, horse-blanket aroma, but the sourness is not pronounced.” Oliver plans to release the See Wild p. 4 biquiu -Far removed from civilization and power lines, the Monastery of Christ in the Desert sits in a remote canyon in northern New Mexico, a collection of adobe e and straw buildings powered by the largest privately owned photovoltaic array in the state. The Benedictine monastery y is home to 40 brothers, aged from om their 20s to 90s, who hail from five continents. They live by the ancient i Benedictine motto of “ora et labora,” pray and work. “We don’t receive a paycheck from the Vatican; we’re completely on our Hop Ed ........................................... 8 Book Review................................10 Fairy Hopmother ........................11 Matters of Import .......................12 Homebrew ...................................18 Maps ...................................... 20-23 Brewhaha ....................................37 Event Calendar ............................41 A own, sink or swim,” said Brother Christian Leisy, the Brot Monastery’s cellarer and Mon business manager. bus In addition to candles, soap, lotions, can religious wood re carvings, weavings and ca pottery, the monks are p now making beer. n The Monastery of Christ in the Desert is the only brewing monastery b in the United States and the first in over a century, since St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pa. ceased making beer in 1899. See Monastery p. 6 INSIDE State by State News Virginia ...........14 C. Penn ............24 Philadelphia ...26 E. Penn ............28 Maryland ........30 Baltimore ........32 New Jersey .....36 W. Virginia ......38 Delaware ........40 D.C. ..................42
Where The Wild Beers Are: Fun With Funky Fermentations
Presented, for your approval, a rogue’s gallery of microbes: Brettanomyces is a wild yeast that strikes fear into the hearts of conventional beermakers and vintners because of the distinctive “barnyard” and “wet saddle” flavors it imparts.
Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria that gives sour milk its piercing aroma and flavor.
Pediococcus produces acid as well as diacetyl, a chemical that can make beer taste like buttered popcorn.
Craft brewers, in seeking new dimensions of flavor, are fermenting beer with all these bugs and more in tandem with old, familiar brewer’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Not only are they imitating Old World styles (Starr Hill Brewing Co. Released a Belgian-style oud Bruin last fall called Franklin’s Sour), but they’re mapping out the boundaries of a new category called American wild ale.
The once dreaded Brettanomyces is now being addressed by its nickname, Brett.
“Enemy at the Gates”
Jason Oliver, head brewer for the Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. In Roseland, Va., for almost two years has been fermenting an India pale ale with 100% Brettanomyces in a 65-gallon tank. As of press time, no one has tasted the beer except for Oliver and his staff and a few guest brewers, says Jason’s assistant brewer, Aaron Reilly. “The hops have subsided a lot,” comments Reilly. “It’s definitely got that musty, horseblanket aroma, but the sourness is not pronounced.” Oliver plans to release the Batch in small amounts during the course of the year. Its public debut was set to take place Jan. 18 at a tap takeover at Beer Run in Charlottesville.
Devils Backbone has also purchased three more 75-gallon tanks for additional experiments in wild fermentation. These vessels and their attachments have to be kept isolated from the rest of the brewhouse because of the danger of contamination.“Jason likes to call it ‘the enemy at the gates,’” says Reilly.
Meanwhile, brewer Mike Roy of Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery & General Store in Hyattsville, Md. Has about 400 bbl of beer percolating away in his “funk cellar.” Roy ferments them with what he calls his “Franklin’s funk medley,” including three strains of Brett along with lactobacillus and pediococcus.
He says of their impacts on the beers’ flavor. “Brettanomyces contributes to drying out the beer further via consumption of sugars (… sugars that most beer yeasts have a hard time consuming). Flavors it can produce, depending on the strain, are cherry, smokey, spice, barnyard, horse blanket.”
“Lactobacillus and Pediococcus both contribute acidity/sourness.”
Roy has nine wild ales in the works, including two types of saison, a 10%-abv Belgian-style amber ale called Cosmic Slop, an old ale called Good Ole Music, and a dark ale called Be What You Is.
Previous efforts include a sourmash rye saison that was inoculated with lactobacillus and underwent an anaerobic fermentation in a tank flooded with argon.“When we opened up the mash tun, it had an earthy, funky aroma, like black beans and pineapple juice,” he recalled.
Fully fermented, the beer resembled “a very young white wine with a touch of grapefruit.” Roy called the beer Ludicrous because “it was a ludicrous thing to try.”
One would expect the fastidious Germans to descend on their breweries with scouring pads and disinfectants to eliminate any last trace of foreign microorganisms.However, Berliner weisse and Leipziger gose are inoculated with lactic acidproducing bacteria that add a pleasant tartness to these low-alcohol, refreshing regional specialties.
You’ll probably find more examples of these styles in the mid-Atlantic than you will in their native Germany. Kevin Blodger of the Rockville, Md. Gordon Biersch won plaudits last summer (and a bronze medal at last fall’s Great American Beer Festival) for his gose, a wheat beer flavored with coriander and salt. That batch has kicked, but Blodger is considering a repeat next summer. Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Md. Has announced that it will do a gose next summer as part of its Brewhouse Rarities series of limited-release, mostly draft-only beers to hit the market in 2012.
Flying Dog also will release its version of a Berliner weisse, a tart, pale wheat ale that Germans often sip from a goblet glass. Flying Dog’s weisse might not need the customary shot of raspberry syrup as a sweeter: brewmaster Matt Brophy says half of the batch will undergo a second fermentation with cherries to balance the sourness.
Devil’s Backbone Brewing was offering its own Berliner Metro Weiss as of press time, joining the Nodding Head brewpub in Philadelphia (with its Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse) and Dogfish Head (with its summer seasonal Festina Peche). “We make it in a 75-gallon tank by diverting our house weizen wort, diluting the gravity (and IBUs) with water and inoculating with lactobacillus for several days before pitching ale yeast into it,” Oliver explains. “It's something fun to do and offer the guests because it's such a rare style.” The brewpub has been offering woodruff and blood orange syrups, and the kitchen staff is considering a few other more exotic mixers like lemongrass, peach cayenne and lime habanero.
Official State Yeast
Finally, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head brewed an ale at his Rehoboth Beach, Del. Brewpub using all locally grown or processed ingredients, including a yeast he cultured in petri dishes at a Delaware peach orchard with help from University of Delaware microbiologists. The yeast, Kloeckera apiculata, “would only ferment to 5.5% abv, but I liked the fruity, tropical notes,” commented Calagione. “I put it in a commercial yeast bank to share it with other commercial breweries in Delaware.” He added that he had given away 30 vials to area homebrewers to let them experiment further.
Calagione intends to brew two versions of the wild ale next summer, flavoring them with locally grown blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.
He even persuaded Delaware Governor Jack Markell to declare the strain the official state yeast. “Everyone has a state flower, but I’m pretty sure that’s a first,” he says.
Calagione has urged fellow brewers to culture and experiment with microflora in their own states. Bryan Bushmiller of Burley Oaks Brewing Co. In Berlin, Md.Said he was building a coolship to harvest yeast from Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Will other states follow Delaware’s lead?
Pray, Work, Brew America's Monastery Brewery
The Brews Brothers
Abiquiu- Far removed from civilization and power lines, the Monastery of Christ in the Desert sits in a remote canyon in northern New Mexico, a collection of adobe and straw buildings powered by the largest privately owned photovoltaic array in the state.
The Benedictine monastery is home to 40 brothers, aged from their 20s to 90s, who hail from continents. They live by the ancient Benedictine motto of “ora et labora,” pray and work. “We don’t receive a paycheck from the Vatican; we’re completely on our Own, sink or swim,” said Brother Christian Leisy, the Monastery’s cellarer and business manager.
In addition to candles, soap, lotions, religious wood carvings, weavings and pottery, the monks are now making beer.
The Monastery of Christ in the Desert is the only brewing monastery in the United States and the first in over a century, since St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pa. Ceased making beer in 1899.
The monastery’s two beers, Monk’s Ale and Monk’s Wit, are distributed in seven states, including eastern Pennsylvania.Agreement was recently reach to distribute the beers in western Pennsylvania through Vicenie Distributing, and Regal Wine and Beer Imports has signed on to handle the brands in Delaware and New Jersey, beginning in late February/early March.Negotiations also are underway to bring the beers to Maryland and Washington,DC. Internet sales are available in other states, where legal, by contacting info@ abbeybeveragecompany.com.
Monk’s Ale, a Belgian-style single or “enkel,” was their first release. Fermented with a yeast strain originally used by the Orval monastery in Belgium, this coppercolored ale (5.2% abv) is patterned after the table beers consumed by the Trappist brothers in Belgium and the Netherlands.
In October 2010 the monastery introduced Monk’s Wit, a cloudy, pale white ale (5.1% abv) spiced with Indian coriander and Spanish sweet orange peel, incorporating Belgian malt, unmalted wheat and oats.
These beers, the website states, are brewed “with care and prayer.”
The monastery, founded in 1964, started brewing in 2005 in partnership with another Benedictine abbey, Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Pecos, NM, but has since Acquired Our Lady of Guadalupe’s share.Brad Kraus, a professional brewer for Sierra Blanca Brewing Co. In Moriarty, helps the monks develop the recipes and serves as head brewer.
Most of the beer is brewed and packaged at Sierra Blanca under a special agreement with the monastery. But this isn’t a simple contractbrewing arrangement.Several brothers, brewers-in-training, venture to Sierra Blanca two or three times each month to help with the brewing and bottling, using ingredients supplied by the monastery and equipment owned by the monastery.
Monk’s beers are marketed under the auspices of Abbey Beverage Co., a forprofit created to preserve the monastery’s not-for-profit status and to insure that all taxes are paid. Berkeley Merchant, an oblate (lay member) of the monastic community, is general manager of Abbey Beverage, but Brother Christian Leisy has the final word on business decisions.
The monastery does have a half-barrel brewing system, which will be upgraded to 5-7 bbl as more of the brothers undergo training. The plan is to use that brewhouse for specialty and seasonal beers.
In December 2011 the monks produced their first limited-edition brew, a tripel using hybrid hops grown on the monastery grounds. The brothers began experimenting with hops in 2010, using five varieties that a local plant geneticist determined Would grow at the monastery’s 6,500-ft elevation. Six more varieties were sown in 2011. Enough cones were harvested to produce 40 bbl of the tripel. The first batch of 20 bbl will go exclusively to Bella Vista distributors for the Philadelphia area.
The Monastery of Christ in the Desert has slowly been increasing its output, from 127 bbl in 2005 to an estimated 1,000 bbl last year. It’s the monks’ wish to brew enough beer to help maintain the monastery And support its charitable works, but they don’t dream of becoming the next Sierra Nevada or New Belgium. Merchant relates, "We will only grow the brewery to a certain size, and once we achieve that goal we will not grow any further.”
Note: The monk’s Gregorian chants have been captured by Sony, with a CD scheduled for release on Feb. 28, 2012.