It’s been a while since we’ve checked up on what is inarguably the most important part of this whole project: the beer. As I’ve mentioned, I don’t get to spend much time working on the beer—it actually functions as something like a mini-vacation within the endless hurricane of bureaucratic & construction crap—but recently we’ve had some developments worth noting.
Some quick background to catch-up the n00bs: Blazing World is one of our planned year round beers. It’s loosely inspired by Troegs Nugget Nectar and Alpine Nelson, two hoppy beers that were hugely influential in my rise to level 7 beer geekdom. My goal was to produce a medium-bodied amber beer redolent with Nelson hop aroma, sort of an amber IPA heavy on the fruity dankness.
It was the first beer Mike and I started working on, and we’ve made loads of progress over the course of the last year. But the hop mix was always at the “cool!”-level, not the “SHAZAAM!”-level required of a Modern Times beer.
The problem was the third complimentary hop in the recipe. Nelson and Simcoe were working out great, but Ahtanum, Columbus, and Palisade all blew their chances at the big time.
I recently decided to move our ‘clean’ pilot brewing out here to San Diego, leaving Mike to focus on developing our brett and sour program. So Alex and I brewed the first batch of Blazing World on the West Coast, this time with Mosaic taking the place of the aforementioned shamefully inadequate hops.
And the results were indeed “SHAZAAM!” The complexity and juiciness were off the charts, with the aroma offering something new every time I brought the glass to my nose. It’s definitely still fruity and a bit dank, but it would be hard to pin down exactly what it smells like. I guess the only answer is that it doesn’t quite smell like anything I’ve smelled before, but whatever it is, it’s frickin’ delicious.
Before this particular eye-opening experience, I’d greatly enjoyed Russian River Happy Hops with Mosaic, so I went ahead and bought a few hundred pounds on the assumption that we’d find some way to use it. But after tasting this beer, I told my hop sales guy that I’d commission a velvet painting of him if he hooked me up with enough to last us the year. And he did.
So the good news is that we now have two beer recipes very close to finalized. Naturally, they will change when we scale them up to the big system, and we’ll need a few tries to get them dialed in, which is why you guys are going to be super understanding and cool about our first few batches.
But it’s reassuring to know that we’re heading in the right direction.
We’ve also made some progress on Black House, our oatmeal coffee stout, and Lomaland, our saison—which I’ll fill you in on next time.