Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fizzy Yellow BEER

Yesterday I brewed something special and integral to American beer culture:  Fizzy Yellow Beer.  I am not the guy that is out to change everyone's mind about beer.  I always offer specialties and a diverse lineup of styles, but to exclude fizzy yellow beer based on an elitist approach to brewing is simply an unwise decision.  I am a brewer.  My job is to produce products that people enjoy.  People definitely enjoy fizzy yellow beer, and I am no exception.

My version is, of course, all malt... no corn or rice is ever used in my brews.  The only adjuncts I ever use are wheat, oats, rye and the occasional addition of cane sugar or honey to dry out a beer that would otherwise be cloying. 

Take, for example, my first iteration of Midwest Monster IIPA, which had a 5% clover honey addition in secondary.  The honey ferments out completely, adding alcohol to the solution, which dilutes the residual sugars in the beer.  The addition of honey brought the final gravity of the finished product from 1.024 to 1.018 and bumped the alcohol content up about 1% by volume.  This difference may seem small to any brewers, and mean nothing to the ordinary imbiber, but the effect on the final product was profound.  Something like an IIPA is meant to be a showcase for hops and the sweetness of a 1.024 beer gets in the way and makes it difficult to drink enthusiastically.    

Wheat, oats, and rye are used to impart subtle flavors and textures to beers that must live up to their namesakes [Rye IPA, Oatmeal Stout, Hefeweizen].  Rye adds a spicy character to a beer, wheat adds mouthfeel and head retention, and oats give a beer a thick mouthfeel and adds a layer of flavor.  None of these effects are part of the intended result when it comes to my idea of fizzy yellow beer.  

What I have created is intended to be a light, subtle and flavorful brew that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their previous experiences or expectations of beer. High quality base malts are employed to achieve this result.  With no specialty malts to add complexity one must rely on the skill and art of the maltster to develop a beer that is lively and interesting.  Malt selection is key.  I used a base of Weyermann Vienna malt to impart a subtle complexity to the flavor and finished the grain bill with a domestic Premium Pilsner malt.  Pilsener malt will add a familiar element to the beer: a slight presence of DMS [Dimethylsulfide] should be detectable in the finished product.

Without going into the chemistry I will say that many well-known fizzy yellow beers contain small amounts of DMS, which is most commonly experienced as a "cooked corn" essence.  DMS comes from the malted barley.  No chemical or corn additions are required to achieve a presence of DMS. 

I used a noble German hop variety to add another layer of familiarity to the beer.  This beer is hopped at a higher rate than domestic macro Pilsners but lower than a traditional Bohemian Pilsner [Think Pilsner Urquell].  Balance here is key as there is nothing obvious to hide behind.

The use of a clean fermenting and neutral ale yeast will impart little influence to the beer.  Too much ester formation will distract from the cleanly personality of this brew so specialty yeasts are out of the question.  The goal is a subtly complex, light, balanced, fizzy, yellow BEER! <=== [operative]

The yeast is fermenting the beer nicely and I will do everything I can to protect it from the harsh environment that surrounds it, but it has come to life and is basically on its own now.  Hopefully my formula is such that the final product will live up to its enormous potential.  Here's to 'parenthood!'


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Tribute to Oktoberfest


Beer, Smoke and Sweat...


Reverse "whistle wetting"

Beer Showers...
More Beer Showers...

All the Liters!


 ... Dirndl, Lederhosen and Liters of beer, the evolutionary pinnacle of beer and beer culture!


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Genesis

My name is Luke and I brew beer for a living.  I will blog about anything beer or beer industry related as I progress through my journey as a professional brewer.  I will start by summarizing how I got started. 

I have worked in many trades and spent years learning by any means possible and available.  I have built homes, erected structures with cranes, operated heavey machinery, and installed and serviced well pumps.  The list goes on, but now I am the sole brewer at Brady's Brewhouse in New Richmond, Wisconsin.

I have been working at Brady's since before the doors opened back in October of 2010.  The chefs were staffing up the kitchen in mid September of that year and I had heard by word of mouth that Brady's was to be not just a restaurant, but a brewpub.  I was delighted to hear that there would be a brewery in my home town and I wanted to be a part of it from the start.  I got an interview with the chefs and brought beer that I had made at home.  By this time my brews were impressing me and I had reasonable confidence that anyone who tried the beer would think favorably upon it.  I handed the beer across the table and said "This is my portfolio" and that I would gladly wash the dishes, but intended to work in the brewery as soon as there was a need.  I continued to submit quality brews for evaluation and proved my ability to create recipes without the need for more than style guidelines. 

After about four months of tossing pizza dough like a madman I was moved into the cellar to plumb and prepare the cellar to serve our beer.  The brewer, Rick Sauer, and I spent the next year building a solid lineup and working the kinks out of the system.  Now, almost two years later, I have taken full responsibility of beer production here at Brady's and intend to continue honing my craft and improving my practice to produce the finest, freshest beers possible.  The beer speaks for its self.  Prost!