August 23, 2010

Follow the Yeast

Beer Geeks follow brewers. Real Beer Geeks follow Brewhouses

So was the the proclamation I made to fellow beer enthusiast, Thomas Vincent (formerly of Flagstaff but now in the NC Triangle) as we were discussing the whereabouts of the brewhouse that vacated 67th Ave & Beardsley some months back. When you follow the beer scene long enough and keep your ear to the ground, you start to pick up information about such things, the value of which is too trivial for any practical use, so I will put forth another gem of a rule with which I can show some practical value- Follow the Yeast.

Follow the Yeast
Perhaps some of you have had the opportunity to try the collaboration Pilsner brewed by Uwe Boer of Sun Up Brewing on Four Peaks 40BBL brewhouse.  Four Peaks has had it on tap since last Thursday under the name Poppin Pils, but regulars at Sun Up will recognize the all-Tettnang hopped lager as Patriot Pilsner, a longtime favorite.  Patriot kicked off Sun Up's 9th Anniversary over the weekend and features Ayinger bock yeast.

Why is the yeast significant?

First off it's a bock yeast, which is a strain that is highly alcohol tolerant.  Pilsner typically ranges from a low of 4.4 to 5.2% ABV, hardly what anyone would call high alcohol. A second telling clue is that a pitchable strain of lager yeast for a 40BBL batch probably costs between $700 and $800.

Yeast is often used for several generations and Uwe was quite forthcoming about his designs for its second generation of use at Sun Up. "I am very excited for this Pilsner but I am even more excited for the Octoberfest using this yeast!" said Uwe adding that in years past, the Octoberfest featured an ale yeast. This year it will be the Ayinger lager yeast with an all new grain bill that will be ready for Sun Up's September 23 Octoberfest.  "At 4PM", Uwe added with the precision of, well, a German Brewer.

Uwe also revealed that Four Peaks would be using their second generation for a Vienna Lager, which he thought we should be on the lookout for around the same time frame.

The beer geek in me says that Vienna and Octoberfest are below 6%, so I'd look for something special in the 8 to 9% range perhaps just in time for the Strong Beer Fest in February.  It's half guess and half hope, but I'm laying my money down on a dopplebock from Sun Up.

Anyone want to guess on Four Peaks?

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