Words by Tom Foster, Head Brewer
Photos by Zack Kaiser, Marketing Manager
There is nothing better than a crisp, cold lager after a long day on the production floor. The perfect subtle malt sweetness. The hint of bitterness that flashes across your tongue and disappears just as quickly. The crisp carbonic bite that rounds it all together. Nothing else compares.
The past two years have seen us produce over 60 different beers. 59 of those were brewed with some form of ale yeast. Countless hoppy ales. A full spectrum of Belgians-style Ales. We recently even brought in a unique yeast strain passed down between generations in Norway, specifically the Kveik yeast strain originating from the town of Vestbygda. All of these beers have propelled us to the level we stand today. They have taught us how to produce our highest quality product, push our brewing skills, and make a meaningful impact on the beer world. We have absolutely no intention to stop producing these fantastic beers. However, the draw of lager beers has created a shift within our brewery.
A passion for slow meticulous beer production melds perfectly with lager brewing. Our first pilsner was released two weeks ago after undergoing nine weeks in the conditioning tank. Shortly after we brewed it in May, the flavors were still young. The malt sweetness billowed out of the glass. The hop character was still green.
Week after week, the conditioning beer is sampled. Each week, the flavors become more intertwined. One month into lagering, the malt sweetness mellows. The hop character becomes subtle yet present. At this point, most brewers would deem the pilsner ready for packaging. In our opinion, the flavors continue to mature creating crisp minerality.
Another month in the conditioning tank propels the beer to another level. The malt flavors shed any astringent sweetness, and retain beautifully complex aromatics. The hop flavors, having steeped for over 8 weeks, become entrenched in the overall character of the lager. The residual yeast has been busy scrubbing away any sulfur compounds, and leaves behind a crisp minerality. This slow, cold aging process has become a standard procedure for us.
This procedure is common in the most traditional Czech and German practices of lager brewing and creates exceptional results.
In the coming months, we hope to present a myriad of lagers for our consumers to try. These beers will provide a profound change of pace to the rest of our draft list. In addition to the pilsner, we have an immensely crisp Helles currently cold aging. We will also be producing a Marzen in the coming weeks that will condition until our Lager Festival in late September. A few months back we debuted a Kolsch, Atmospheric Changes, that will return under an even longer lagering period. These offerings will serve as a taste of things to come, as our lager plans continue to evolve and grow. We hope you all will fall in love with these beautifully complex, creatively subtle beers.
Tom Foster // Head Brewer