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Brewer Q & A – Spring 2016 (Issue 23)

For beers that receive a score of "Excellent" or above (91+), we've asked the brewer a few questions regarding that beer's origins.

 


91 Rating – Southbound Brewing Co. – Moondance

Responses from Southbound's brewmaster Smith Mathews.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
I did.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
My favorite aspect of this beer is the dark chocolate and caramel flavors that come together beautifully to make an exceptional mind grenade on the first sip.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
This beer's name comes from the classic song and album by Van Morrison.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Coming in at 10.6% ABV, this stout has plenty of strength and flavor to make any desert island your new happy place. Sign me up!

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
It is chocolaty, smooth, roasted and tastefully spiced. 

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
Brewing this beer was a monster. The massive malt bill tested our 30-barrel mash tun's capacity for sure. We had to dig deep and paddle hard to get this bad boy stirred up. We were nervous that the mash was going to flow over the door, but we knew it was going to be delicious!

Photo Credit: Southbound Brewing Co.


91 Rating – Breckenridge Brewery – Twenty Five

Responses from Breckenridge's cerllar master Brandon Osha.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
John Jordon, our Quality Control brewer, and myself. The base recipe is our Vanilla Porter, but we doubled it up and swapped out some malts. The malt that really stood out is Special W. It has a lot of red fruit and raisin characteristics; it’s a malt that really complements a dark, barrel-aged beer. For the barrels, we ordered 200 rum barrels from Barbados. We also ordered high-quality, fresh vanilla beans from the Veracruz region of Mexico. These beans came from small family farms – they're hand-pollinated and hand-picked. Once we had the Imperial Vanilla Porter resting in rum barrels, we added bundles of the fresh, wet vanilla beans to each barrel.    

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
How balanced it is, and how every element worked well together. It's a strong, very flavorful beer, but each ingredient complements the others, and there isn't one flavor that overpowers the others.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
This beer is a tribute to our 25th anniversary, thus the name "Twenty Five."

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Nah, it's too dark and strong for that. I'd consider it my "stuck in a snowstorm" beer.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Twenty Five is a beer to enjoy leisurely with friends.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
This beer means a lot to me – it’s the biggest project I’ve led since joining the brewery 7½ years ago. We came up with the idea for this beer when we were hanging out together at the 2015 Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival in Vail, Colorado. I was excited that Todd liked the idea enough to give me the go-ahead to do it.

Photo Credit: Breckenridge Brewery


91 Rating – Upland Brewing Co. – Barrel Chested Barleywine

Responses from Upland's lead brewer Patrick Lynch.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
This recipe has evolved over the years. We used to release our Winter Warmer Barley Wine every winter and would occasionally brew a bourbon barrel-aged version alongside it. The bourbon barrel edition was so popular that, beginning in 2014, we focused solely on that, and Barrel Chested was born.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
The bourbon character from the barrels is retained but not too dominant. There is a complex array of flavors and a soothing warmth from the high alcohol content.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
We wanted a name that made it clear this beer was barrel-aged, but also captured the bold, strong character of the beer. Barrel Chested accomplishes both these goals, and the “Gentle Giant” on the beer label furthers the display of strength.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
To answer that literally, I probably wouldn’t make it through too many of these on a desert island. On the other hand, if I were stranded in a winter cabin, Barrel Chested would definitely be my beer of choice to keep me warm, sane and satisfied.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Strong, rich flavors with an approachable balance.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
I always look forward to Barrel Chested because even though we brew it in the warmth of April, it represents the cooler temperatures in the distant future. As spring transitions to summer in the brewhouse, I’ll play Christmas music while brewing Barrel Chested and feel a connection to the spirit of the winter season. This beer really does experience all four seasons. It is brewed in the Spring, aged over the Summer and Fall, and packaged and enjoyed in the Winter.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Schoch


91 Rating – Good People Brewing Co. – Good People Brown Ale

Responses from Good People's brewmaster and co-founder Jason Malone and head brewer Adam Klein. 

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
Jason created this recipe. 

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
Adam says that this beer holds a special place in the brewery’s heart because it was the first one brewed and the first one introduced in Alabama.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
Adam says that we’re all pretty big hop heads around the brewery, so this wouldn’t necessarily be our first choice for a beer style. But, if this desert island had a grill and/or crockpot, you better believe we would want the Brown around to help marinate meat and flavor our meals.

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
This is a great food beer. Slightly sweet and nutty.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
The original version of the Brown Ale recipe remains carved into Michael’s garage workbench ten years after being created.

Photo Credit: Cary Norton


91 Rating – Boston Beer Co. – Sparkling Ale

Responses from Boston Beer brewer Jennifer Glanville.

Who came up with this beer's recipe?
This beer style was originally brewed in Scotland in the 19th century as an alternative to the heartier ales of the era, but historical recipe details have been hard to trace. Eventually, sparkling ales became popular in Australia as the Scottish moved on to brewing different styles of beer that had become popular in neighboring England. A fair amount of trial and error was required on our part in the nanobrewery here in Boston to get to the desired flavor profile.

What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)? 
I really like the crisp, clean flavor profile of the beer, and love the hop character that the Noble hops contribute.

Where does this beer’s name come from? 
Sparkling Ale is our take on a rare historic Scottish style. Golden in color and effervescent, it combines subtle Noble hop notes with pale malts to create a slightly floral character and a dry finish. At first sip, the word “sparkling” immediately comes to mind.

Is this your "desert island beer?"
I think that if I’m going to be living on a desert island, I’m going to want a slightly heartier beer. But… because this beer is lighter in flavor intensity, its crisp and clean finish allows it to match up well with more intense and flavorful foods, like salty ham. So, if there were any wild boars on my desert island I think I would be all set!

Can you describe this beer in 10 words or less?
Light-bodied, light cereal notes and tart hints of dryness.

Do you know a story – or have a personal story – that revolves around this beer?
For Sparkling Ale, what excited us the most was the opportunity to bring back an old and almost forgotten beer style, and we had a lot of fun throughout the brewing process.

Photo Credit: Boston Beer Co.


 

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