Photo credit: Michael Bidwell
Many changes to our humble little brewery! First of all, our brewer for the better part of the last year, Chris Flenker, has moved on to Toppling Goliath. We are very happy for him, but sad to see him go. Known for brewing some of the best beers in the country, this Iowa staple will give Chris new challenges and a chance to be closer to his hometown. Left behind are some excellent recipes. Our house flavor has developed to feature spicy, peppery phenols from our yeast, toasty and roasted grains, and modest alcohol contents.
In addition, our fermentation capacity has now been doubled, thanks to some new tanks installed recently. This will allow us to make more beer, about 4 brews per week.
The brewery is taking a collaborative approach to meet these challenges. Working in the brewery for a while now, Kalim is now taking a lead role as brewer. Joining him is Noah, who worked with us about a year ago.
Jumping back into the brewery has been exciting. I have been brewing more in the last few weeks than ever before. Additionally, solving the giant mindf*^& of problems brewing presents has lent me great satisfaction. So much stress, but so much payoff.
It felt good to have all the fermenters full this week, but the continuous cycle of brewing, transferring, packaging, and cleaning will probably leave one open here and there.
The Dark Horse Rye barrel series of beers will be continuing as well. Nothing beats the flavor of bourbon or rye. We currently have Flenker’s last beer, Young Country Promise, aging happily away in our new barrel. After that, our little cherry quad will be soaking up some whiskey flavors.
Old Country Promise, Andi’s Ale, and Abstergify are the beers we are planning on brewing every week. Cask ales will be featured along with draft beer. These three beers cover the spectrum in color, flavor, and style. One-off barrel aged beers will be joining their ranks, along with the occasional seasonal.
Speaking of seasonal, our most recent special release beer was a rewarding success. Hanging out with some fun people and making something new and interesting that hadn’t been done before (or maybe that’s never true).
Our collaboration with Oddly Correct was a wonderful and humbling experience. They make a fine product there, the best coffee I’ve ever had. Treat yourself to it, it will make your mornings sublime.
When we brewed our collaborative beer Columbian Gold, the addition of hopped toddy and Gerardino espresso after fermentation brought some incredible aromas and flavors to the equation. The finished beer was maybe the best Papa Louie’s beer so far. Incredible coffee and hop aromas: stone-fruit, spice, pepper, pine, a bit of prune.
We hope to brew this beer again. If we are blessed with another try, I hope we can increase the intensity of hops. The coffee character was so good, it was absolutely my favorite part of the beer, and was missing a third kind of heat (Donaghy). It can be the endless pursuit of perfection that makes life interesting and worthwhile, and I think this recipe needs just a bit more execution on our part to really shine.