By the feel of the last two days you wouldn’t know it but, guys, summer is nearly here. To help nudge Mother Nature along we’re releasing two Spring/Summer beers tonight at the brewery. One, Sorachi Ace, is an old friend who’s back for another spell in the limelight, this time in re-fermented bottle form. Another, Brooklyn Buzz Bomb, is a brand spanking new Brewmaster’s Reserve release. Descriptions of both beers can be found below.
But FIRST, let’s do some giveaways. The first handful of loyal Brooklyn Brewery Blog readers to email “Sorachi Ace In The Place” to email@example.com will win a pair of spots on the guestlist for tonight’s party at The Brewery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. To email you go!
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace Ale
Most Brooklyn beers are made with a blend of hop varietals. As a chef does with spices, we look to get the best qualities of each hop and create a harmony of flavors and aromas. However, a few years ago, our brewmaster ran into a hop unique enough to deserve its own moment in the sun. A large Japanese brewery first developed the hop variety “Sorachi Ace” in 1988. A cross between the British “Brewer’s Gold” and the Czech “Saaz” varieties, it exhibited a quality that was unexpected – it smelled really lemony. The unique flavor of Sorachi Ace was bypassed by the big brewers, but we thought it was pretty cool. So we made a special beer with it, and added the beer to our Brewmaster’s Reserve special draft beer program last year. Most Brewmaster’s Reserve beers are only available for a short time, and then they’re gone. But we liked this one so much, we decided to bring it back and give it the star treatment.
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace is a classic saison, a cracklingly dry, hoppy unfiltered golden farmhouse ale, but made entirely with now-rare Sorachi Ace hops grown by a single farm in Oregon. We ferment it with our special Belgian ale strain, and then add more Sorachi Ace hops post-fermentation. After the dry-hopping, the beer emerges with a bright spicy lemongrass/lemon zest aroma backed by a wonderfully clean malt flavor. From here we’ve taken it through 100% bottle re-fermentation with Champagne yeast, giving it fine pin-point carbonation and a beautiful pillowy foam. It tastes like sunshine in a glass, and that suits us just fine, especially with seafood dishes and fresh cheeses. It’ll be just the thing on nice summer days and beyond. We only made 2500 cases, and to tell you the honest truth, we pretty much made it for ourselves. But beer’s no fun if you don’t share, so we do hope you’ll drink some with us.
Brooklyn Buzz Bomb Ale
In medieval Europe, ale graced the tables of everyone from paupers to kings, but honey wine, called mead, was largely reserved for the rich. In the days before table sugar came from the tropical parts of the world, honey was the only intensely sweet thing that many people had access to. Honey was expensive – after all, a man can only keep so many bees. Meads were also expensive, but people often brought ale and mead together in a popular drink called “braggott”. Sometimes these braggotts were simply blends, but the best of them had the grain and honey extracts fermented together, bringing both sets of flavors into a unified whole. To tell the truth, our brewmaster hadn’t spent much time thinking about braggott until last summer, when he ran into Nathaniel and Thatcher Martin at the New Amsterdam Market in New York City. The Martin brothers were pouring small samples of their mead, called Brooklyn Buzz. It was pretty delicious, and they all got talking about honey. It turned out that the Martins source their raw wildflower honey from the same place that Brooklyn Brewery does – Tremblay Farms in upstate New York.
And now, as summer smiles upon us once more, we bring you the result of last summer’s stroll through the market – Brooklyn Buzz Bomb Ale. We’ve used Alan Tremblay’s wildflower honey in a few of our beers, most notably Brooklyn Local 2. In Brooklyn Buzz Bomb, the honey takes center stage, making up a full 25% of the fermentable sugar. We added the honey to the kettle along with a gentle hopping and a lilt of orange peel. Is the beer sweet? Actually, not at all – honey is quite fermentable and our Belgian ale yeast is very hungry. Brooklyn Buzz Bomb has a bright gold color and a spicy floral aroma showing distinctive honey notes. The palate is light, crisp, and very dry, showing a zing of acidity and a quick burst of fruit. Complex floral, honey and spice flavors linger in the bone-dry finish. Brooklyn Buzz Bomb is a perfect match for summer foods – salads, barbecue, shrimp dishes, hummus, grilled salmon, brunch dishes and fresh goat cheese. It’s also very pleasant all by itself, as you smell the flowers, feel the sun dapple through the trees, listen to the birds sing and wonder what it was you really liked about snow anyway.
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