Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fusion

Remember the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercials? Where the serendipitous collision of chocolate and peanut butter resulted in a scrummy treat? Similar things are happening in the brewery right now, except that neither chocolate nor peanut butter are involved. Come to think of it, the serendipity has been found wanting as well. I guess there's not much similarity after all, but it makes for a smashing opening paragraph.


My point, though, is that we nano (femto? atto?) breweries can do what we want, eschewing tradition and style and habit. Sacks of remnant grains, baggies of stray hops, and jars of harvested yeast can be combined in a waste-not-want-not manner. As we've been without a session beer on the pumps for a while, and I'm not proud of this, I really needed to make something quaffable in the low ABV range. Except for the fact that I had a six month old cask of Rye Mild that had been languishing in the cellar for six months and is now being served, a nice best bitter was in order. The recipe for a previous one-off batch of "Good With Bacon" was to be the starting point. First of all, out with the Sorachi Ace and in with a pound of U.K. Challenger that I'd picked up at the local homebrew shop. I like the spiciness of this hop, and hope to use it more in the future for some of my bitters. Then the total grain bill was reduced a bit to try to target the 3.5% to 4% range.


And then the totally cunning plan was devised. Why not pitch in the half-gallon mason jar of Ardennes/Nottingham yeast blend that I'd harvested from the KLCC Collabrewation Brew batch? No reason I could think of. This is a second generation harvest, G0 coming from Oakshire and G1 off our "Because We Can". I was aware that this yeast likes a warmer fermentation temperature, so I did a heat transfer to target 24˚C. Fermentation started off within 24 hours, and it sprinted along at 23 to 24˚C for three days.


The problem now is that I have a bitter ale recipe with a blended Belgian/English yeast. What to call it? As I generally eschew style nerdiness and meticulous adherence to the BJCP, I am going to call it a Belgian Bitter. It will be named "Bob's Yer Uncle", not only because it came to me the other day out of the blue, but because the alliteration of "Bob's Yer Uncle Belgian Bitter" rolls off the tongue nicely and creates the anticipation of many days working behind the bar talking about it. Casking up day is tomorrow, and I hope to have it on the pumps a little over a week later. See you at the pub.

12 comments:

Christi said...

and Bob *IS* your uncle. Mine too.

Velky Al said...

How about having some Flemish words in there? Something like Bob's Your Nonkel?

Anonymous said...

Or maybe a Francophone Belgian title, duly americanized: "Walla!"

Jeff Alworth said...

I hope we do see you at the pub--later this month. I am finally scheming to make a pilgrimage after reading about the beer lo these past months. And, whether it's fermented with a yeast from north or south of the Strait of Dover, I hope you are pouring a mild. It'd be a damn shame to drive all that way and fail to find a cask mild awaiting me.

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Re: Naming. You're all too late. "Bob's Yer Uncle" it is. "Walla", by the way, reminds me of Native American tribal names of Eastern Oregon and Washington. Ever heard of Walla Walla, Washington and the Wallowa Mountains?

Re: Jeff A.: I fear the only cask of rye mild left will be spent by the end of this week. I had a couple pints of it myself tonight, and it only lasts so long on the pumps. Our resources are severely limited here regarding production, but nevertheless there are typically six handpulls of variety available to suit your fancy. If you were to show up this Wednesday, the last cask of Tanninbomb will be flowing (just vented it tonight), and by the beginning of next week will have the weirdo Belgian Bitter session beer on. I'm hoping to brew my first dark mild this Spring using the leftover grains from the KLCC Collabrewation Beer and a random Mason Jar of yeast from the cellar.

Dave A said...

Ack!! "Last cask of Tannibomb"

Must make motorcycle trip this weekend!!!

Stat

Boathouse said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog over the last several months. I've been wondering about a couple of things: is there a particular demographic of the people who drink your real ale? Also, as a big fan of session beer, do you find that your customers who drink the lower gravity ales (say under 5%) tend to drink multiple pints, as would be characteristic of a session?

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Re: Demographic - No. There are folks who one would think would not like the stuff, but drink it almost exclusively. There are other regulars and locals that only drink kegged IPA's and lagers. We still sell 2 to 5 times as much cask over the guest taps.

Re: Session beers - It's quite different from the cultural habits I observed and participated in in the UK. Some like to try a range of beers, and others stick with one thing. I've not seen a lot of round-buying of session beers here.

Heather Gerquest said...

Ted,
If you can figure out how to get me and our belongings to Oakridge so I can be with my husband, Chris, I might even try a beer!
Maybe fundraising in the form of a beer and spaghetti dinner? Old fashioned New England baked bean suppah with beer?

Can't wait to meet you and see the place... really I CAN'T wait!

Jeff Olson said...

I'm glad to see that the same tendencies that led you to add Crunchberries(tm) to one of our first batches of beer about 20 years ago is still alive and strong in your nano-brewery experimentation. Keep on truckin'!

Brewers Union Local 180 said...

Was that a full box of Crunchberries? I can't remember - it's likely in a logbook somewhere. If it was a full box, then I'd have to use 18 boxes to make a batch on the current system.

Jeff Olson said...

It was the crunchberries from about half a box of stale Captain Crunch With Crunchberries. The crunchberries themselves amounted to about 1 cup.

"Crunchberries in the Boil Make the Mind Recoil."(TM)