Southwest Brewing News October/November 2015 : Page 1
TOWARDS GREATNESS: By Alex Graham By Bev Blackwood II HAND/GLASS ILLUS: HANS GRANHEIM WITH APOLOGIES TO ROY LICHTENSTEIN I Don’t Like Beer… It’s the four words any craft beer lover hates to hear from a good friend: “I don’t like beer.” On the face of it, it’s hard to argue with. Some folks don’t like peanut butter, some folks don’t like broccoli and that’s simply the way it is. But how many different kinds of broccoli are there? Sure, there’s a lot of brands of peanut butter and you can get them all in crunchy or creamy, but the bottom line is it’s all still peanut butter. When it comes to beer, it’s not as simple as that. “Beer” now encompasses a world of styles and flavors that can’t be summed up in a four letter word. OUI BREW. Reno, Nev. Brasserie Saint James brewers (L-R) Josh and Matt Watterson . PHOTO BY ALEX GRAHAM. See I Don’t Like Beer p. 2 From the Editor ........................ 2 Event Calendar ..........................5 Homebrew Beer Stylist .............. 6 Directories & Maps .............. 12-15 New Mexico ..................8 Oklahoma ....................9 Nevada ...................... 10 Arkansas .....................11 S/C/E Texas................ 16 Austin ........................ 17 N/W Texas ................... 18 Central Arizona ........... 21 Northern Arizona ........ 22 Southern Arizona ........ 22 Southern California .....22 San Diego ....................23 evada is a large desolate st divided by state y a northern and a southern region, or in an other terms, the o e greater Reno area and the greater ar reater r Las Vegas area. L a. The two host T the hj majority i of f the state's population. The craft beer market and culture are growing in both, but the Reno no area seems to be on a quick pace to surpass its southern counterpart. Mak Making k Waves in the High Hig g Desert One of the breweries truly O making maki i waves is Reno's own Brasserie Bras s Saint James. It’s located near nea ar downtown Reno in a rustic building bui i dating back to 1930, formerly for r used by Crystal Springs Ice e and Water Company. What makes ma a Brasserie so unique is that the e brews are made with well their wa a 265’ below the surface that water s is spring water from the Sierra Nev v Nevadas. The history of the building seemed to be a perfect fit for a brewery See Saint James p .4
I Don’t Like Beer
It’s the four words any craft beer lover hates to hear from a good friend: “I don’t like beer.” On the face of it, it’s hard to argue with. Some folks don’t like peanut butter, some folks don’t like broccoli and that’s simply the way it is. But how many different kinds of broccoli are there? Sure, there’s a lot of brands of peanut butter and you can get them all in crunchy or creamy, but the bottom line is it’s all still peanut butter. When it comes to beer, it’s not as simple as that. “Beer” now encompasses a world of styles and flavors that can’t be summed up in a four letter word.
From Macro to Micro
Today’s craft beer portfolio has more diversity of style and flavor than at any time in the history of beer. From the roasty espresso and dark chocolate notes of stouts, to the rich, sweet malty character of doppelbocks, to the refreshing tart bite of Berliner weisse, there’s literally a taste for every palate. When you throw in beers that have adjunct ingredients, like fruits, spices, chocolate, peppers or (and I’m not making this up) oysters, the range of flavors becomes nearly infinite. The problem is finding the right beer for the person who “doesn’t like beer.”
Of course, you can’t serve a rauchbier (think märzen made with smoked malt) to a Coors Light drinker and expect to convert them in an instant. There are a couple of ways to approach the problem and each has its pitfalls. The first requires you to do some digging into their past history with beer. If all someone has ever tried is one of the light lagers that still dominate the beer landscape, then you may be able to change their mind with a beer with something more… like flavor. Pretty much any craft brewed pilsner, helles, kölsch or blonde ale will fill the bill, providing a non-threatening color but more flavor than the more common macro beers. Someone with more experience, say with dry stouts like Guinness, British ales like Bass or maybe a German hefeweizen can be more of a challenge. Listen to what they have to say about the beer and what they didn’t like about it. The slightly sour and thin character of Guinness is far from the rich, malty heft of an American stout. The yeasty character of a hefeweizen is absent in a Munich helles. The grassy character of English hops is no match for the assertive citrus and resins of American varieties. It’s also useful to note that an import may have been lightstruck or oxidized, depending on how it was handled. Often the fresh beer you can get at your local craft brewery or beer bar is sufficient to change the way a skeptical drinker thinks about our favorite beverage.
Treats for the Taste Buds
For the non-beer drinker, it’s a bit more of a challenge, since you have no beer history to go by (although it’s a pretty safe bet they tried a mass market beer at some point that convinced them to look elsewhere for their buzz.) If they drink wine, then there are a host of tart offerings out there that might appeal to them. The current darlings are gose, a slightly tart and minerally (some say salty) wheat beer that is light and refreshing, and Berliner weisse is similar in its composition, but with a distinctive lactic sourness that gives it a lemony note. It can also be served with a variety of fruit syrups that cut the sour bite. Lambics, while a bit harder to find, will also provide a sour and complex beer, and may also include the addition of sweeter fruits to give it a sweet/tart character. If those aren’t an option, the Flanders red style can also appeal to a red wine drinker, with its complex sourness and darker malt profile meshing with familiar oaky notes from barrel aging.
Whisky drinkers are among the easiest to convince, since beer shares much of the same process and ingredients. Scotch ales, brown ales and amber ales are among the more malt-forward beers that will highlight the similarity between the two tipples. If they drink scotch, the slight smoke of a wee heavy will put a lift into their kilt!
Should your drinker’s taste lean more towards “boat drinks” or other sweet cocktails, then you have a world of fruit beers to offer. Nearly every brewpub (and many packaging breweries) will offer a wheat beer with fruit added. These beers have the flavor depth of a craft beer with an added note of fruit. The degree of fruit flavor will vary, but seldom rises to a cloying or overwhelming note. However, fruit needn’t be the only sweetness you search for in beer. The depth and complexity of malt sweetness can be found in Belgian styles like dubbel, tripel, strong golden and strong dark beers. These offer alcoholic strength in addition to the intricate interplay of yeast and malt character while going easy on hop bitterness.
Spices and peppers can also add a layer of flavor to beer. Most notable among these is the light and refreshing wit, whose gentle wheat tartness is complemented with orange peel and coriander. Saison is also a great example of a beer whose spicy yeast character is often complemented with subtle spice additions of peppercorn, lavender or orange peel adding to the already complex bouquet of the beer. For those who like it hot, jalapeños or habañeros can add a bit of burn to a cold beer of nearly any type.
Ultimately knowledge is strength when it comes to getting a non-beer drinker to try our favorite beverage. Taking them to a brewery tour, which allows them to understand the ingredients and processes that create the flavors and complexity of the beverage can be the best way to make a convert. Brewery tours also offer a chance to try a range of styles in brewery-fresh condition. The sampler sets offered at brewpubs can also give you a chance to share several beers at once with your friends and discuss the range of flavors without having to commit them to a full pint. Exposure to the multitude of flavors craft beer provides can make many a convert, but not everyone will become a believer. For those that do though, “beer” will no longer be a four-letter word.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/I+Don%E2%80%99t+Like+Beer/2294510/276056/article.html.
Barrelling Towards Greatness
Nevada is a large desolate state divided by a northern and a southern region, or in other terms, the greater Reno area and the greater Las Vegas area. The two host the majority of the state's population. The craft beer market and culture are growing in both, but the Reno area seems to be on a quick pace to surpass its southern counterpart.
Making Waves in the High Desert
One of the breweries truly making waves is Reno's own Brasserie Saint James. It’s located near downtown Reno in a rustic building dating back to 1930, formerly used by Crystal Springs and Water Company. What makes Brasserie so unique is that their brews are made with well water 265’ below the surface that spring water from the Sierra Nevadas. The history of the building seemed to be a perfect fit for a brewery and it officially opened in October of 2012. Even at its young age, Brasserie Saint James has earned some serious national attention. They started with winning multiple medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship in 2014. They walked away with a gold medal for their Belgian tripel, The Third Man, and silver for their smoked beer, Rauchbier. These medals were setting the stage for their grand finale of 2014. Not only did they win a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver for their year-round offering, Daily Wages, which is a farmhouse saison, but the greater surprise came at the end of the awards ceremony when they received the prestigious Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year award. Head Brewer Josh Watterson was shocked. "It really caught us off guard as we didn't expect to win brewpub of the year!" Watterson exclaimed. "We were happy with the gold medal and were getting ready to leave the awards ceremony when they announced our name," he added. Normally a brewery doesn’t receive such a high award with winning just one medal, but their other entries scored very high and were considered for medal contention, and that is what separated them from the rest of the pack. In 2015, they have started off with two awards at the U.S. Open by winning a bronze for the farmhouse red, Red Headed Stranger, and a silver in the Belgian lambic category for their Plum Lambic. With GABF right around the corner [at press time], they are very excited about the possibilities of this year.
A Unique Brewspective
The brewing process is covered by brother duo, Josh and Matt Watterson, but they hired Madison Gurries last year due to his having a biology degree as well as a diploma from the World Brewing Academy. When Josh discussed his brother he stated, "I wanted someone I could trust being in the brewery. Matt has a degree in biology and many of things he was already doing could be applied to brewing."
Josh has taken the role as head brewer since opening, but his background started in Oregon where he worked at wineries as a cellar hand cleaning, yeast propagating and sorting. Quickly realizing that he had a passion for beer, he worked at Bridgeport Brewing Company and earned a degree at World Brewing Academy. With his wife wanting to move to Reno, Josh looked at the brewing scene and discovered Great Basin Brewing where he gained a lot of experience prior to opening Brasserie Saint James. Josh informed, "Actually, working in the wine industry really helped with the brewing, especially with the barrel program that we are developing. Many of the beers we are doing will be aged in wine barrels." They currently brew up to eight year-round offerings that are diverse enough to please even the most particular customers. Their year-round beers consist of Koln Concert German-style kölsch, Red Headed Stranger red farmhouse ale, Jamison's Station English-style porter, Third Man Belgian-style tripel, The White Album Belgian-style wheat beer, Daily Wages farmhouse saison, 1904 American brett and Hopalong Cassidy American DIPA. Of course a number of seasonal beers are on constant rotation and greatly expressed by creativity. White Downs, an American sour, has butternut squash in the mash, white sage in the whirlpool and is then aged in white wine barrels for up to 10 months. Another seasonal is Pale Rider, brewed with coriander and fermented with brettanomyces bruxellensis.
The current location offers food that ranges from Brasserie Poutine to Argentine Steak Salad, but their Buenos Aires Barbecue, which feeds two to four people, offers a variety of meats and grilled vegetables that can leave a customer feeling very good. They offer live music and movies nights on the rooftop patio. Along with the rustic decor, a person can enjoy beer and food on the patio where hops are growing.
Brasserie Saint James may be young, but great success has already started to spring into expansion. In October, they’re opening a second location a stone's throw away from the original. The new facility will be a beer and barrelhouse, per Josh. They will offer 24 taps and host 150 barrels that will primarily age sours; other styles will be aged in wine barrels. Also by the end of the year, Brasserie will open a third location in San Francisco. This will be a showcase brewery that will feature a sevenbarrel brewery with two or three proprietary beers to help the brand grow. With great success comes hard work, creativity and dedication. Brasserie Saint James has found and used that formula and has proven that it can be done in a short amount of time.
Read the full article at http://swbnonline.brewingnews.com/article/Barrelling+Towards+Greatness/2294511/276056/article.html.