An opportunity like this presents itself only once in a lifetime – three of our favorite and most admired brewers, all here at CBC and willing to join us for a massive collaborative brew: Yvan de Baets of Brasserie De la Senne in Brussels, Belgium. Chad Yakobson of Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project in Boulder, Colorado. And Luc “Bim” LaFontaine, head brewer at Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! in Montreal, Quebec. Despite some initial concerns about too many brewers in one brewhouse, we pretty quickly came to an agreement to brew a sort of “old school” saison, using whatever cool local grains we could get our hands on plus a secondary fermentation with a few strains of Brett. Despite the fact that Brett was never intentionally used in saison production, many of these “farmhouse” beers would show Brett character after aging for several months. Farmer/brewers were making beer to slake the thirst of the farmhands, so low abv was the norm as was the use of local grains and plenty of hops. Andrea and Christian of Valley Malt just so happened to be malting a small batch of organic spelt – wheat’s rustic elder cousin. None of us had brewed with it before, so we agreed that it would be a focal point in our grist. Yvan wanted to push the historical boundaries of hopping with 60IBUs in a targeted 3.5%abv beer, but luckily we talked him off of that ledge. The brewday went very well, and each brewer chipped in more than their share of physical labor - mashing in, emptying the mash tun, breaking up bales of hops, cleaning along the way – all the while swapping stories of past beers, techniques, and experiences. French saison yeast and multiple strains of Brettanomyces were added at various stages during primary fermentation with 100% stainless steel fermentation and maturation, so no barrel aging. Naming a beer is something we brewers approach with more than a touch of humor - I had been jokingly referring to De la Senne as the De La Soul Brewery over the months, and since we planned on brewing a 3.5%abv beer I thought it would be a kick to call this beer 3% and Rising. Get it? No? Well, I was one-bettered by Jay and Sean who said we should call it Me, My Spelt, and Rye. It’s super dry, with cereal grains and earthy hops vying for attention and Brett playing a very subtle supporting role, with hints of tropical fruit and farmhouse character. Our goal was to brew a very low abv beer which was quite quaffable, yet also quite complex. Collaborations present a great opportunity to learn from one another and to create a beer that is more than the sum of its ingredients, greater than the individual participants, and often something completely unique which would never have been conceived by one brewer alone. I have taken a lot away from these experiences, and they will continue to inform CBC and its history of amazing beer. Thanks for joining us on each of these journeys!
Glouglouburp (5929) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 27, 2012
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
In short: A dry, moderately rustic rye beer with nice wheaty and spicy notes
How: Tap at Hill Farmstead Farmhouse Saison Festival 2012
The look: Cloudy pale golden body topped by a medium white head with medium retention
In long: Nose has a moderate rye presence, rustic yeast notes with a nice wild almost-bretty twist, a witbier-like spiciness and light floral hops presence. Taste is again moderately rye (this is not a rye-bomb), the rustic yeast develops an almost-bretty nice wild twist, spiciness, toastiness, very good attenuation, floral hops. Dry, well balanced, easy to drink, a good beer. The last beer I rated at the memorable Hill Farmstead Farmhouse Saison Festival, and the hardest part about a good beer festival is coming back home totally burnt out with the alcohol trying to escape from your pores and you have to resist licking your skin.
thirdeye11 (5379) - Dallas, Texas, USA - SEP 16, 2012
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
(Draught at Hill Farmstead Fall Festival of Ales) opaque medium gold, fine offwhite bubbles. Nose of rye, lightly tart, light melon. Taste of light rye, spicy, fresh grain, refreshing but dry, nice palate cleanser. Leaves a hint of brett at the end.
Travlr (9999) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - SEP 8, 2012
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Belgian Beer Fest Boston. Clear yellow color, white edge head. Aroma of straw. Taste is dusty cobwebs. Or maybe rhubarbs, I can’t read my handwriting!
SrSilligoose (3090) - pouring bus, New Brunswick, CANADA - AUG 19, 2012
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
tap at hill farmstead fest of farmhouse ales. notes of rustic, earthy grains. melon, tropical fruits, grass farmhouse grass and wet hay. nice little beer here.
j12601 (6585) - Poughkeepsie, New York, USA - AUG 13, 2012
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pouring at the Hill Farmstead Saison Fest. Pours a hazed gold with a medium sized white head. Soft sweet musk, spicy rye. Toast, medium bodied, spicy rye. Very dry, soft sweet musk, rye and toast. Sweet musk, tasty.
Ernesto987 (3230) - Connecticut, USA - AUG 13, 2012
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
on draft at the hill farmstead festival, big rye spiciness here but without a great saison yeast flavor support. Kind of foggy and murky. Not great.
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