Fruit Beer Tunes
I brought a young and funky, Belgian pale to the fest and that was being sampled that night. The story behind the beer goes a little something like this: I wanted to explore Wyeast 3942 (De Dolle) in a few beers. As I usually do when experimenting with a new yeast, I start with a simple beer so the yeast is able to speak volumes. In this case, the beer was a simple pale ale with wheat, and a noble hops (i.e., Willamette, Saaz). I expected a lot more character out of the yeast than i got in the first pass with this yeast, but was surprised to end up with a fairly clean beer.
There weren't any solid plans for the beer so I decided to drop it into a pinot noir barrel sitting empty in the corner and so I did. Time passed and then the Fruit Beer Fest crossed my radar.
What to do? Hmm, I could dose the De Dolle beer with Wyeast Lambic Blend and add some currants. In the end, I decided on champagne currants. The beer was offered a short 2+ month maturation on the lambic blend before the whole currants were added. At that point, there was a little more than a month remaining before the fest so I pulled the beer from the barrel just in time for the fest. It's very funky on the nose. Earthy. The fruit rounded out the sourness produced by the lambic blend, but is lurking in the background for the most part.
Back to the media preview. Here I am sitting at the table with brewers from Upright, Burnside Brewing, Fort George and Block 15 (Carston from Alameda was there too, but not at the table). Admittedly, I was a bit star struck. A nanobrewer working out his garage sitting around the table with some very accomplish and talented brewers. On par with vast majority of people in the beer business, the folks around this table were all remarkably friendly people. Still, I was feeling a little out of place. Allow me to make a music analogy to illustrate how I felt sitting around the table tasting the beers from the fore mentioned breweries.
I was the eager musician sitting at the rock star table. Actually, it's probably more appropriate to liken them to symphony musicians given their fine tuned skills. All of these musicians were masters of their instruments and I was still hitting off notes, and maybe my instrument was even a bit off tune. I was (am) the apprentice musician wanting to play the tune just right. Listening to their pieces was really inspiring and motivating. It made me want to double my efforts to create well played beers.
I need to keep that motiviation going forward, but in the meantime I hope you don't mind if I get a note or two wrong as I learn to play. You should get over to the Fruit Beer Fest and sample some of the fascinating creations that will be available to taste. Maybe even try that funky tune from Beetje.