Thursday, June 26, 2014
Announcing the First-Ever Commercially Available Bear Flavored Ale, July 11
Hello, readers of bear-flavored.com and inhabitants of the internet. I'm happy to announce that if you are interested in trying a certified Bear Flavored Ale, you now have your first chance to do so (unless you know me in real life or have previously robbed my apartment.) I realize that most of you do not live in the Hudson Valley, but for those that aren't too far away, or enjoy traveling long distances for unfamiliar and untested beer: let's party.
On Friday, July 11th, Bacchus Restaurant in New Paltz, NY, will be tapping the first keg of a batch of Bear Flavored Brett IPA, based on my recipe in the May / June issue of BYO Magazine (the full article hasn't been posted online yet.) I brewed this beer with Mike and Jason back in May on their 3 bbl system, so there'll be a few kegs of it that will pop up probably in the following week or so, if you miss the initial release. But on the 11th, we will be tapping at least one 15 gallon keg, so I figured, why not invite everyone to join in? I'll probably bring a few other assorted Bear Flavored beers from my archives to share as well.
Stop by, say hello, call me a pretentious beer snob, ask about the brewing process, whatever. Spoiler alert, though: commercial brewing ain't nothing but hoses and tri-clamps. Brewing 22x the volume that I normally brew at home doesn't actually feel all that different for the most part, in that you're basically standing around in a humid room, adding ingredients at a few key points, and then cleaning a whole bunch of stuff up. Manually dumping in multiple sacks of grain, and then hauling the wet spent stuff out of the mash tun afterwards, certainly requires a bit more endurance than at home. And like switching to any new system, it's a bit daunting to navigate the unfamiliar maze of pumps and hoses and valves. Still, I maintain that the most important elements of brewing a great beer come before and after brew-day, so we'll see how well we managed to scale up this recipe, and transition the techniques I use at home for 100% Brett IPA into the larger (relatively-speaking) commercial setting.
The main difference I've noticed so far: we used a pitch of Brett Drei from East Coast Yeast for this batch, rather than White Labs Brett Trois, because all sources (that I've seen) claim the two are identical, and ECY happened to be easier to obtain at the time, for us. But I have my doubts: the early tastes of the beer in primary haven't had the same character as any of the 100% Brett Trois IPAs I've made previously. Not a bad thing; simply different from my memories of that particularly notable yeast flavor. We'll see how it tastes once it's all carbed up, though; often, that final stage of conditioning changes everything. The beer dropped down to 1.006, and with lots of juicy Brettyness and dank dry hop, this should be a great summer drinker for a Friday night.
Remember, if you haven't ever tasted any before: 100% Brett beers really aren't sour, and not even all that funky. And if you show up wearing one of my rad t-shirts, I'll give you a high five and a pour you one from my secret stash.