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Friday, January 22, 2010

Fusion Beer

What happens when you take a dark rye ale and ferment with Ardennes yeast? Ted Sobel is experimenting:
The 2010 KLCC collaboration brew was brewed on Saturday. An interesting project for myself, as the recipe required three grains, three strains of hops, and a yeast that I've never used before. The ratios of the grains were predetermined, but the hop drops were up to each brewery. This is billed as a Belgian Cascadian Dark Rye Ale, and I was so glad the the brewers avoided the tragedy of calling it a Dark IPA....

If this turns out alright, it is possibly the first ever cask-conditioned Belgian Cascadian Dark Rye ale ever produced in a commercial brewery. Who knows.
Safe to say, Ted.

Though maybe for not so much longer. American brewing has really entered the "kichri" stage. (In India, kichri is a dish made with whatever small bits of ingredients are laying around.) At least for the irregular, specialty beers, brewers seem more likely to fiddle with tradition than not. It was just a decade ago when we exited a traditionalist stage--a reaction to the beginning era of craft brewing, when breweries didn't really know what they were doing. To prove their chops, American breweries were really trying to play it straight. (Less so on the West Coast, but even here, style was a big deal.)

Now we expect breweries to be able to brew to style. We're looking for novelty, something fun and different. Brewers, too, enjoy novelty (if for no other reason than it gets people like me talking). It's definitely a good time, though not a predictable one. Whether Ted's experiment will work is another matter. That Ardennes yeast is tough to work with. But from the many misfires or noble efforts, a few truly spectacular beers are bound to emerge. And with them, possibly, the styles of the next generation.

1 comment:

Mike said...

This is interesting. I keep reading similar thoughts on the progression of the craft brew movement, and this keeps supporting the same idea. Craft brewing is growing, is going to continue to grow and mature in its own way. Have you ever read Michael Jackson's "Beer"? He talks about how all the great beers in the future are going to be American made because we don't have any of the traditional restraints that Europe has. This article supports that exact idea.

I'm curious as to how this brew will taste. Update us if you get a chance to try it.

Mike
Mike's Brew Review

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