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.