After something happens, people have a tendency to lose their imagination. The only outcome possible was the one that transpired. This is a delusion. Things could have been very different. I, for one, could very well be standing in front of a room full of teenagers right now instead of a brew kettle.
In my past life, I was a high school history teacher. I often asked my students, “How do you know what you know?” We would talk about this at length. It’s a tricky question, and troubling for a lot of fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds. They just want to say, “I know because I know.”
Last week, America’s small brewers descended on Washington DC for our yearly industry meeting. It was five days of learning, connecting, and, of course, sampling, set against the backdrop of our nation’s institutions and history.
This was no free-for-all of bearded dudes shouting, “Well this is how we do it at MY brewery.” We started, 6,500 of us, with the double-digit growth we’ve generated year over year, the progress we’ve made chipping away at your pappy’s adjunct light lager and your mom’s chardonnay. From there, each SOB on the trip had a somewhat different experience, each marked by the wisdom of seasoned veterans and the experience of new beers in new settings. In a way, our gathering was something of a peaceful rebellion against the status quo, a mile-marker on the path to more democratic beer. It wasn’t lost on anyone that, mere blocks from the conference, a hearty demonstration on the steps of the Supreme Court reflected the vigorous arguments within, the fates of millions hanging in the balance. Our purpose there was serious, but, at the end of the day, it’s just beer.
This month, we have some specials and surprises coming your way. I mean, our barrel-aged Oubliette isn’t going to drink itself. Expect something à la Radth; Dude, Hold My Purse; or Upper Lip Surprise to come and go in a flash in the taproom. We also have a Bannoffee pie-inspired take on Yarnbomb in the pipeline and a couple of the beers below are particularly well cut out for spice and fruit additions, so watch for the occasional one-off keg or firkin.
This our heat exchanger. He is the troll that lives under our brew deck. He exacts the toll of thermal energy from passing wort. He protects the yeast in our fermenters from death by scalding.
When we’re done boiling wort in the brew kettle, we have to get it to the fermenter. This is called ‘knockout’ and it has to happen at the proper temperature. If it doesn’t, we could shock or even kill our yeast. We knock out ales at sixty-eight to seventy-two degrees, and lagers around fifty.
Each month, we will bring you a preview of the beers we plan to release. Yes, we know we’re halfway into March, but we just went live yesterday. Cut us some slack, hombre.