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Motorworks Brewing Launches Wild Beer Program Using A Truck Bed As A Coolship

Motoworks Brewing of Bradenton, Florida is staying true to its name. In its latest attempt to push the envelope, it has converted a truck bed into a coolship for its new sour beer program. For full details, continue reading.

Bradenton, Fla. (January 17, 2018) – Motorworks Brewing launched its wild beer program over the weekend in ultimate gearhead fashion with “Fermentis Camino,” a spontaneously fermented beer brewed in the truck bed-turned-coolship of Lead Brewer Jose Martinez’s ‘84 El Camino Conquista.

A coolship is an open vessel ideal for spontaneous fermentation—the large surface area allows the wort (unfermented beer) to cool more efficiently—that doesn’t look dissimilar from an oversized baking tray. Steaming wort is transferred into the coolship—or truck bed in this case—where it lies exposed, becoming saturated with indigenous bacteria and wild yeast drifting imperceptibly through the cold air. Air temperature and seasonality are crucial, ensuring the right kind of bacteria are soaked up, and Motorworks Brewing jumped into action when they saw the weekend’s forecasted overnight temperatures drop into the 40s.

Once the wort has cooled enough and native microflora have settled in a film over the liquid, the magic begins. Afloat with airborne bacteria (particularly Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces and Pediococcus), the wild yeast begins to feed on the fermentable sugars in the wort (extracted from the malted grain during the mashing process), in part converting them into ethanol (alcohol), but more interestingly imparting unique esters and flavors, giving wild beers their defining characteristics: decidedly funky, occasionally tart and unquestionably complex in depth, boasting a unique sense of place.

Motorworks Brewing put a distinctly DIY, automotive twist on this old-world brewing technique traditionally used by Belgian farmhouse brewers to create their famed Lambics.

Bob Haa, Head Brewer: “Coolships are rare here in Florida and we’ve all been interested in doing this for a while. When I visited Cantillon in 2012 (Brussels) I considered that a bucket-list trip, almost like a pilgrimage. When I was 22 years-old I was buying old, dusty bottles of Lambics from a guy in St. Petersburg who couldn’t sell them. They were so good I went back and cleared out his supply, and since I started home-brewing in the late 80s I’ve been inspired by wild beer styles. I’ve always been leery about the ramifications of doing it in a commercial brewery, but we now have a solid crew and the processes in place and care to make it work.”

Bruce Bobbitt (Brewer): “Buying a coolship wasn’t exactly priority number one with our production demands, so we had to think outside of the box a bit.”

Jose Martinez (Lead Brewer): “This whole idea started over the summer when Andrew (Andrew Pollard, Brewer) mentioned wanting a swimming pool because of how hot it was. I was trying to sell the El Camino at the time, so I jokingly suggested he buy it off me—the bed is pretty much a mobile pool—and that’s when it dawned on me: I already have a coolship, it’s just on wheels.

We measured the bed of the El Camino and the dimensions were damn near perfect for a 3.5-barrel brew (the size of our pilot system). We found a heat-resistant, food-grade, FDA compliant liner that would fit the bed and went from there.”

Bruce: “It didn’t leak a drop; it worked perfectly!”

Bob: “We’re not trying to rush the process, and we’re going to let this sit in a barrel for at least a year, tasting it along the way to monitor how the flavors develop.” (traditionally-soured beers typically remain in barrels for 1-3 years, and are often blended together)


Jose: “It looked nice and frothy and aerated when it was transferred from the Camino into the fermenter, so we’re just hoping for a cool, funky beer showcasing Bradenton’s unique microflora. This is the beginning of a spontaneous fermentation program we’d really like to keep going in the future.” 

About Motorworks Brewing
Motorworks Brewing is located at 1014 9th Street West, Bradenton FL, midway between downtown’s Riverwalk and the recently renovated LECOM Field (spring training stadium for the Pittsburgh Pirates and home of the Bradenton Marauders). The brewery is adjacent to Bradenton’s unique Village of the Arts district and is in the heart of Bradenton’s expanding downtown entertainment corridor.

Converted from a 1923-era automobile dealership—complete with a concrete ramp that was used to shuttle cars from the ground floor to a second-floor service area—the 27,000 sq. ft. building houses Motorworks’ full-production brewery and tasting room.

Motorworks Brewing also boasts the largest beer garden in Florida, complete with a spacious deck built around a magnificent 150+ year-old oak tree, complete with two professional bocce ball courts, a dozen cornhole sets, life-sized Jenga, a massive outdoor music stage and 22 ft. projection screen.

The Taproom offers an evolving lineup of seasonal, small-batch brews alongside Motorworks’ award-winning core beers: V Twin Vienna Lager® (Bronze Medal, 2014 Great American Beer Fest), Intellectual Property Ale IPA, Pulp Friction® Grapefruit IPA (Gold Medalist, 2017 Best Florida Beer Championships), Midnight Espresso Coffee Porter (Silver Medal, 2016 Best of Craft Beer Awards)—featuring fresh coffee hand-roasted at the brewery—and Rollcage Red Ale® (National Grand Champion, 2017 & 2015 U.S. Beer Tasting Championship). In addition to their award-winning beers Motorworks Brewing offers an expansive wine list, and – most uniquely – a full liquor bar.

The tap room opens at 11AM every day of the year. Motorworks closes at midnight from Sunday to Thursday, and at 1AM on Friday and Saturday.

For more information about Motorworks Brewing, visit motorworksbrewing.com, read our blog, or get social with us at @MotorworksBrew, and on Facebook and Instagram