You love the blog, so subscribe to the Beervana Podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud today!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Cheers to Belgian Beers: The Ultimate Primer

Post has been updated: Lucky Lab Doggie Kong added to the list.

Over the past couple days, I've been trying to track down as many breweries as I could to find out more about the beers they made for the Cheers to Belgian Beers fest. I was interested in the methods as much as ingredients of the beers. Many got back to me, and below are excerpts of their responses.

I considered trying to recreate their responses in neutral Jeff-speak, but I like the way each told his own story. As you'll see, some breweries went to elaborate lengths to create interesting beers. As a consequence, it's a looooooong post (though I've put in a page break). I hope to hear from more, so I'll update the page as needed throughout the day. I'll also post a pdf with this whole document in case you want to print it off for the fest.


Name: Ambacht Black Gold
Concept: Brewer Tom Kramer described his beer: "Ambacht Black Gold that we brewed for the PCTBB is a variation on our regular Ambacht Black Gold that brewed with the Farmhouse strain of yeast and bumped the OG up a bit to make it a bit more festive.
Method: "We brewed it early February, just after the yeast became available and it spent two weeks in the primary getting up to 80°F, we then let it age for a month at about 50°F before kegging/bottling. We carbonate all our beers withhoney which we find leaves just a bit of residual sweetness to the taste."
Comments: "The farmhouse yeast added some new flavors and we are very happy with how it turned out."
Stats: 15.2P, 6.8% ABV, 25 IBU

Big Horse Brewpub
Name: Cuvee Du Ferme
Concept: If you haven't been to Big Horse in the past year or two, you need to go try new(ish) brewer Jason Kahler's beers. "Describing "Cuvee Du Ferme" gets a little complicated, because two of the three beers going into it were experimental in process. All three use the selected strain; I suspect people will assume that it involves other "yeast." It does not."
Method: " I brewed the 2 younger beers in early Feb. and allowed them to condition warm until about 2 weeks ago. Sour Mash Wheat: 72% of the blend, FV temp. 78F, sour mashed 1/2 the grain for 48hrs. Rye Saison: 24% of the blend, FV temp. 80F. The Old Gold: 4% was a beer I did years ago with the [same strain of yeast], I put up a 1/2 barrel of it with pediococcus/lactobacillis and let it ride at ambient temps, hot in summer, cold in winter. This beer on its own is very acid, it's one that I use strictly for blending."
Comments: "[The soured beer] adds a layer to the cuvee that I really enjoy. As far as the [festival] strain is concerned, it is probably my favorite of the commercial Belgians.
Stats: Final, blended beer 6.3% ABV

Click to expand and continue reading...



  1. Jeff,

    Great info, can't wait to now try some of these.

  2. Nice sleuthing, Jeff! Great info!

    Weather looks dicey for tomorrow! Anybody know if Hopworks rented a big tent?

  3. Wow, that's like real reporting. Good work.

    I assume this is also your must-try list, or do you have others?

  4. Bill, it's not exactly my faves list. I sent this out to more folks than I heard back from--I was going for comprehensiveness. I had the idea that hearing about the beers would make me a more informed consumer, so I wanted to hear from everyone. I wasn't able to figure out who to talk to at Lompoc, McMenamins, Old Market, or Philly's; Amnesia, BridgePort, Fanno Creek, and MacTarnahan's didn't use the yeast. Craig never checks his email, so I didn't try to talk to Roots, either.

    Everyone else I sent emails to, and the ones represented here replied.

  5. I find it fascinating that many of the brewers appear to design recipe that seem to actively fight against the phenolic nature of this yeast strain.