Friday, May 30, 2014

Epioside 22: 'Tis the Saison

It's the simple things that make brewing such a fascinating topic. True, if you're reading this and are a regular listener, what follows may not be a shock for you, but still it's worth marveling at how brewing evolved and evolves. The show was slated to be about additives, but early on, I asked Doug whether he was always very busy for Memorial Day weekend. My thought was that it was a massive brew day.
My thought was wrong.
Although it was counter-intuitive to me, he said summer isn't particularly a busy time for homebrewers because the unpredictable heat spells make it tough on yeast and on fermentation generally. Unless, of course, you're making a lighter beer, like a Saison.
Farmhouse ales, as it turns out, aren't an accident of history but rather a produce of weather. Most people (I guess) are aware of this, but it was a headslap moment for me.
The reason we'd planned on (and eventually began) speaking about additives was I'd recently seen an ad for Dos Equis Azul (a beer made with blue agave) and it reminded me of Carton Canyon, a lager by Carton Brewing using blue agave that was an exquisite beer (bummer alert: it's exclusive to the taproom and the local restaurant for which it was brewed).
Finally, we made it to the Q&A section, covering off-flavors attributable to Irish moss. Here, nearly as mind-blowing as the summer Saison to my little brain, was seaweed people have been adding to beer for millennia to make it clearer.  Or maybe not specifically to make it clearer, but through trial and error (like everything else in brewing) it was discovered that too much of it (or if it was insufficiently dried or stored) effected the beer's taste in an undesirable way, and too little left the beer with too many floaters.
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