Fresh hops and friends

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Our Pale Red Wheat has been one of my favorite Papa Louie’s beers so far. Jay and I decided to use this recipe as a foundation for our newest venture, a Wet Hopped Imperial Red. These beautiful wet whole cone hops were donated by Josh and Kim, friends of Cindy and I, as well as Kansas City improv community mainstays. Their love of home-brewing has led them to plant an amazing hop garden, complete with Columbus, Nugget, Cascade, and some Sterling that were being difficult. Our harvest was of the Nugget variety, about two pounds in total.

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Harvesting hops on brew day was a special treat. Akin to making bread from scratch for the first time, this laborious process leads to unique finished product, in this case a fresh, grassy aroma. To maximize this special aroma, Jay and I infused these hops after the boil. Boiling hops creates bitterness, but will also drive off their pleasant aromatics.

The brew-house will be incrementally adding sugar during the fermentation process, raising the final alcohol, but also contributing to the flavor in subtle ways. Since yeast are osmotic creatures after all, an extremely high gravity in your wort can shock or even implode these helpful little fungi. Even if the high osmotic pressure does not kill your yeasties, the alcohol they produce may. Thus, there is a cap to how high your final alcohol content can be for most brewers. These caps can be discarded with various methods, giving us mana from the heavens, but some of us mere mortals must abide by the natural law.

Papa Louie’s fresh hopped imperial red will be ready next month! To quench our thirst until then, Civic Duty Mole and our Chocolouie’s will be tapped soon.

Be sure to make a trip up north to see Big Rip Brewing and Cinder Block Brewing, KC’s newest breweries. Both are producing excellent beers, and are run by friendly and determined owners. Do your civic duty, support your local brewery, and celebrate with a beer!

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