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Bear Republic Brewing Co. Quality Manager Roger Herpst Talks Sonoma Tart

Bear Republic Brewing Co. Quality Manager Roger Herpst Talks Sonoma Tart

We spoke with Bear Republic Brewing Co. Quality Manager Roger Herpst about Sonoma Tart.

BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
I did.

BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
This beer has an amazing tropical nose reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc or Muscat wines, but the balance of the core components—fruity tropical aroma, soft wheat implication of sweetness, tart lacto zing—are what make this beer shine.

BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
We wanted to pay homage to our home county—lots of amazing beer comes from Sonoma County and this is no exception. The label artwork features local landmarks unique to our home. The beer also pays homage to the artisan ways our county has lived over the last 100 plus years. The diverse flavor profiles are similar to the wide variety of produce, wine, spirits, dairy and fruit produced here. Sonoma county is known for its artisanal food and drink. We believe this beer fits right in. There is a flavor for everybody.  

BC: Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Tropical, juicy, tart, and crushable. Now in non-IPA package.

BC: Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Working through the technical issues this beer presented reminded me of everything I love about being a craft brewer and part of an outstanding team. The critical challenge for us to make this beer was to naturally sour wort with lactobacillus in a repeatable way without eating up our kettle’s time or compromising our “clean” beers, and the question of how to jam all that passion fruit and guava into a fermenter was not far from my mind, either. Every department in the brewery had a hand in making this beer a success-- our awesome lab tech Tasha worked on bench trials with different lacto strains and brewed the first batch on our nano brewhouse, the maintenance team and our head brewer repurposed an old fermenter as a heated lacto reactor to ferment the sour wort and get it into the kettle, our pub brewers made a great first 15 bbl pub batch, and our cellar team determined a good way to jam all that passion fruit and guava into a fermenter using our hop tea tanks so that our production brewers could nail the first 50 bbl batch on time and to spec. The development process really got at the essence of what craft brewing is all about: fresh ideas, overcoming challenges on a shoestring budget, and working together in the service of excellent beer!

BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
The tropical fruit and slightly funky lactic tartness is going to play really well with seafood, spicy dishes, and more lacto-fermented foods. You can make a feast of something as simple as a Sonoma County Dungeness crab with drawn butter, or a fiery & briny kimchee fried rice. If it is earlier in the day, Sonoma Tart is an amazing breakfast beer. Skip the mimosa and have a Sonoma Tart with your Eggs Benedict.

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