Ology takes sour program to next level
On April 3, Ology Brewing in Midtown put their quality — and commitment to excellence — on display, hosting a ticketed event featuring wines, charcuterie and a sampling of the latest beer from their sour program. While "Trace Element;" a funky, slightly fruited, and vinous, barrel-aged sour beer was the headliner for the night, so much of the event focused on the ideas of progression and process.
The thing that separates barrel-aged sours like Trace Element — and Ology’s much-acclaimed bottle release "Dynamic Fermentum" back in early January — from the tart flavored kettle-soured/clean beers (Berliner Weisses and Goses) you see in many tasting rooms is …well … process.
The first few steps of clean beer and barrel-aged processes do not differ greatly: Both start with an hour boil (extra if souring) and a 1-to 2-week fermentation process with Brewer’s Yeast. This fermentation period is where the two products take divergent paths.
Clean Beer is like a DJ - quick, consistent and modern. And it will spend a few days conditioning before its fresh, crisp flavors are served. By contrast, a barrel-aged beer is more like a live band: It takes refinement and a deft hand, rendering a sour, funky, wine-like product that may vary from batch to batch, or over time.
In addition to the two-week fermentation process, a barrel-aged sour will have mixed cultures introduced that will spend another four months in various fermenting stages, another two months of conditioning, and anywhere from zero to 20 years cellaring.
Ology’s decision to fully enter the second phase of their sour program has prompted the purchase of a custom foeder (pronounced “food-er”). The foeder, produced by Foeder Crafters of America in St. Louis is a giant, white oak barrel that will allow for a higher production volume of barrel-aged beers while conserving space.
A quality barrel-aged sour program takes a lot of commitment, and Ology’s head brewer Nick Walker carries that commitment throughout the process, from brewing, to pour, to presentation. One of the more eye-catching and unique aspects, of the Trace Element rollout at Ology was the use of “Sour Boxes” constructed by Walker to hold and pour the bottles of this liquid gold.
A modern twist on Belgium’s lambic baskets, typically made of wicker and featuring a 20+ degree incline where the bottle rests, Walker re-imagined the baskets as a beautiful wooden box of sorts branded with the Trace Element logo.
Walker points out that aside from being aesthetically pleasing, the boxes — and their incline — are “traditionally a way to keep (bottled) yeast and fruit out of the glasses of consumers.
"This is changing depending on consumer preference, as some prefer a cloudy pour, but we built ours to elevate the experience of having a bottle served in the brewery,” Walker added.
Bottles of Trace Element are still available at Ology.
Lake Tribe working on Wildwoods sequel
Having put their successful third anniversary in the rearview mirror, the Lake Tribe brew team is now setting their sights on their next big project: Wildwoods Project, Volume 2.
For those unfamiliar with Lake Tribe’s first Wildwoods Project, it was a four-week-long flavor experiment in barrel-aged wild ales last August, consisting of six unique and flavorful takes on what wild ales can be.
Volume 2 of the Wildwoods Project will include the return of a couple of crowd favorites, with the brew team pushing the envelope even further with new concept recipes and more local artisanal flavors.
Similar to the first Wildwoods Project, this year’s Project will include a very limited bottle release of each specialty brew.
Look for these beers to drop soon.
GrassLands pilot ready for takeoff
As previously noted, GrassLands Brewing owner Gabe Grass is rebooting GrassLands' pilot program — small batches of experimental beers that will only be available in the taproom.
Starting April 12, and running every Thursday thereafter, the brewery will tap a single keg of experimental beer.
Plans are to start with fruited berliners, eventually working up to experimental New England IPAs and barrel-aged beers.
We’re keeping our eyes peeled for the star of the previous pilot runs, the “Dill Pickle Boomtown Gose.”
Deep dives Into IPAs
Tallahassee craft beer fans may want to secure a diving buddy because Deep is taking their core IPA, “Reef Dweller,” to greater depths all weekend long in an event they’re calling “Dwelling On It.”
In addition to Reef Dweller, head brewer Ryan LaPete will be tapping four IPAs across the weekend.
Things kick off Friday at 1 p.m. with a session IPA, “Surface Dweller.” Then Saturday, Deep returns to good ol' terra firma with the “Beach Dweller,” a Mango and Coconut NEIPA. And Sunday presents a double feature with habanero and hops combining in the “Habanero Reef Dweller,” and the return of a Tallahassee Beer Society favorite, “Grapefruit Reef Dweller.”
While a tasting room tour of IPAs is certainly a big week for any brewery, the news out of Deep isn’t confined to its Northeast Tallahassee location this week.
“Tan In A Can” is now out for distribution. This beer is a cream ale infused with toasted coconut to give it that perfectly sweet, nutty finish.
Definitely a crushable warm weather brew.
The People’s Party at Proof
How does a brewery celebrate a first quarter that saw them take home “Best Brewery” and “Best Beer” at Cigar City Brewing’s prestigious Hunahpu Day, and three medals at the Best Florida Beer Competition — while also announcing a massive expansion/relocation?
By saying “Thank You!” to the craft beer fans of Tallahassee that have supported them along the way.
To show their appreciation, Proof is throwing “The People's Party” on Friday, April 13, from 4 p.m. until midnight. Patrons will be treated to a tap list featuring all of Proof’s 2018 award-winning beers along with local band "The Nitro Groundshakers" rocking the beer garden from 8-11 p.m.
Running the gamut from sours to stouts, with porters and pale ales in between, the award-winning tap list featured at The People’s Party really will have something for everyone, including Blue Raspberry Evil Kiss Berliner Weisse (#1 Best Beer at Hunahpu Day 2018).
The other beers being featured are:
• Ghost Totem Robust Porter, No. 7 Best Porter by Paste Magazine
• Tropical Uprising NE Style IPA, Silver Medal New England Style IPA, Best Florida Beer 2018
• Lager, Bronze Medal European Lager, Best Florida Beer 2018
• White Chocolate Cinnamon Coconut Creatures in the Dark, Bronze Dessert Stout, Best Florida Beer 2018