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Archive for January, 2008

Ok, so yesterday’s post was completely terrible. From messing up twice on the type of bourbon barrels to doubting it would see store shelves this week. Sorry about that, should have checked with people in the know before spouting off. Oh well, onward and upward.

According to Derek Bean, the sales manager for O’Fallon, the bulk of the 31 cases should be hitting store shelves today. So I’d contact your local retailer to see if it’s available to pick up today. If the frenzy for Hopslam was any barometer, this one is sure to go fast as well.

If you access this site via an RSS Feed, you may have to update it. I was having issues with it earlier, but they look to be resolved now. Also, I’ve had to temporarily shut down the Event Calendar as I’m having issues with it as well. Hopefully it’ll be back up shortly.

Back to your normally scheduled beer news.

beer-174_1280x960.jpgDave Johnson from O’Fallon Brewery posted that they’re going to begin bottling the Whiskey Barrel Smoked Porter. What’s especially exciting about this news is that if you read Sara White’s recent article about aging beer in bourbon barrels in Sauce Magazine you’ll know that this batch was aged in 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve bourbon barrels. Turns out this isn’t the batch that was aged in the 23 year old barrels, this is just the normal Jim Beam Buffalo Trace barrels. Sorry about that, it’s still exciting stuff though.

Dave is hoping that this will start going out to stores by Friday, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. As soon as it’s out I’ll be certain to let everyone know.

Thanks to Sam for the tip.

picture-017.jpgLarry Chase is the Worthouse/Brewery Manager for , a new local Brewpub located in Creve Coeur. Larry was kind enough to answer some of my questions about how they brew their beer, how the ferment it and what some of his favorite styles are. (You can read my initial thoughts of GCFB here.)

STL Hops: How many styles does GC produce in a year?
Larry Chase: GC serves 4 regular house beers: Northern Light Lager (pale lager), Brother Benedict’s Bock (bock), Duke of Wellington IPA (IPA), and Broad Axe Stout (dry Irish stout). We also brew 6 seasonal beers. The current line-up includes Burning Barn Irish Red Ale, Ostara’s Spring Ale, Wag’s Wheat (Hefeweizen), Belgian White Ale, Oktoberfest, and McK’s Scottish Ale. All locations have one 350 gal batch of the seasonal to serve.

STL Hops: How much room for experimentation do the brewers have?
LC: Our head brewers experiment with recipe improvement through process controls and lab testing. Certain seasonal beers are sometimes tweaked on a year to year basis to improve flavor. Experimentation for developing new beers is limited given that the current seasonal rotation is set in place.

STL Hops: Can you quickly explain how the Fermentus Interruptus process works?
LC: Granite City’s business model for beer production is designed for flavor consistency and attractive financial leverage across a multi-unit restaurant concept. We are a restaurant with a microbrewery. A centralized brewery for wort production gives us the opportunity to consistently control the flavor inputs of the brewing cycle. We also remove from the restaurants both the capital cost of brewing equipment and the square footage cost of a manufacturing facility.

We then ship the wort in a customized tank truck to each location. After off-loading into fermenters we pitch yeast and finish the production cycle through fermentation, maturation, and filtering.

Shipping wort instead of finished beer allows us to avoid the complex legal hurdles of shipping alcohol across state lines.

STL Hops: How does the wort arrive at the stores?
LC: The wort is shipped in a straight tanker truck. Our trucks have a series of 4 or 6 individual pods (all insulated) at 400 gal each. This set-up lets us ship multiple styles of beer to multiple locations in one trip. We use hoses and a pump at each restaurant to transfer the beer from the truck into the fermenters.

STL Hops: How do you avoid problems like contamination?
LC: We follow standard cleaning, sanitizing, and testing procedures like all breweries. We simply pay attention to the extra step of wort shipping. The wort is chilled to 40oF and stored in a 37oF cooler prior to shipment. Like all breweries we have the constant challenge of maintaining clean and sanitary conditions.

We have a lab at the central worthouse for on-going sample testing.

Every brewery manager is trained and follows a set of SOP’s for the brewery operations at each restaurant. Our brewery field manager, trained in brewing science, oversees the work of all brewery managers.

STL Hops: How do you deal with things like aging with the limited capacity at each store?
LC: We serve 2 ales and 2 lagers as part of our regular beer line-up. We have enough tank space (5 fermenters, 8 cellar vessels) to ensure our required maturation time for each of the beers. Through our volume and usage reporting system we are able to schedule deliveries to ensure each location has wort on a just-in-time basis.

Running out tends to be only an issue when we experience mechanical failures with equipment at the restaurants. That’s no different from any other brewpub.

We only serve one batch of each seasonal. This increases the demand and the urgency for customers to come try the beer before it is gone.

STL Hops: What’s your favorite style of beer right now?
LC: I lean towards hop flavored and bitter beers. The bigger winter seasonal beers are always fun to drink during this colder time of year.

Thank you again Larry for providing STL Hops readers with a little more information on how your process works.

wineandbeerwebsite.jpgIf you’re a homebrewer in St. Louis, then it’s a good bet you’ve visited St. Louis Wine and Beermaking in Town and Country.  Offering the freshest yeast and the biggest number of homebrewing products in St. Louis it should be the first stop on whether it’s your first brewing session or your one hundredth.

Dave from St. Louis Wine and Beermaking mentioned to me a while back that they would be updating their website and it looks like that day has come.  It’s far easier to find products compared to the old website and also features technical articles and recipes now as well.  Make sure to check it out.

I’ve just been told that Hopslam is now available at the Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton.  Paul only received 8 cases, so you better get it while you can.  Here’s this week’s Round-Up:

Stuff from around the web

Beer Releases and News

  • Paul at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton alerts me to some new beers he has in stock:
    • Spoetzl Brewery – Shiner Bohemian Black
    • Bell’s Brewery, Inc. – Bell’s HopSlam
    • Arcadia Brewing Company – Arcadia Hopmouth Double IPA
  • Jerad from Piasa Winery let’s me know about some beer beers he has to offer you:
    • New Holland Brewing – Mad Hatter IPA
    • August Schell Brewing – Carmel Bock
    • Allagash Brewing – Allagash White
    • Founders Brewing Company – Blushing Monk
  • Jerad also let me know that The Rotten Apple has these beers on draught:
    • Lagunitas Brewing Company – Lagunitas Pilsner
    • Founders Brewing Company – Founders Centennial
    • Lagunitas Brewing Company – Lagunitas IPA
    • Lagunitas Brewing Company – Lagunitas Censored
    • Brouwerij Het Anker – Gouden Carolus Noel
    • Founders Brewing Company – Founders Pale Ale
    • Great Divide Brewing Company – Hercules Double IPA
  • Chris at Randall’s Wine & Spirits in St. Louis alerts me to some new beers sets he has in stock, just in time for the holiday season:
    • Bell’s Brewery, Inc. – Bell’s HopSlam
    • Uerige Obergrige Hausbrauerei – Uerige Dopplesticke
    • Brauerei Heinrich Reissdorf – Reissdorf Kolsch 4 Packs
    • Dortmunder Actien Brauerei – Dab Original
    • O’Fallon Brewery – O’Fallon Smoke 22oz
    • Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers – De Dolle Dulle Teve
    • Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers – De Dolle Extra Export Stout
    • Coors Brewing Company – Blue Moon Rising Moon
  • Chris is also expecting these beers in today at the Fairview Heights Randall’s:
    • Rogue Ales Brewery – Rogue Brutal Bitter
    • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Sierra Nevada ESB
    • Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine
    • Brouwerij Liefmans – De Boomgaarden Tropicale Mango Lambic
    • De Proefbrouwerij – Andelot Cuvee Mystique
    • De Proefbrouwerij – Belgiume Lunatique
    • Great Divide Mixed 12 Packs
    • Clipper City Mixed 12 Packs
    • Boston Brewing Company – Sam Adams Triple Bock
    • Anheuser-Busch Brewing – Budweiser Chelada Tall Boy

Here’s a list of upcoming beer events:

Ric Syberg and Andy Snead will try to warm you up this winter with an Amber Beer tasting on Wednesday, February 13th:

It’s cold outside, so come in and warm up with Andy Snead and Ric Syberg, our resident beer heads. This month, we’ll focus on amber ale, which is primarily a catch all for any beer less than a dark ale in color, ranging from amber to deep red hues. This style of beer tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high. Expect a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness in most examples. Of course we’ll have salty snacks to keep the balance, along with plenty of water to keep you hydrated. It’s going to be awesome, which is what you’d expect, based on our prior beer classes.

You can purchase tickets here!