Get to know your beer: Anniversary Double IPA

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Get to know your beer: Anniversary Double IPA

You may have read the title of this blog and scratched your head…. "Alesong Double IPA??  That doesn’t sound right!  Did these guys give up on the barrel-aged and farmhouse angle??  Are they an IPA brewery now??  WTF?! I guess it was bound to happen eventually…"

Well, the short answer to all those questions is no!  We’re still focused on barrel-aged and farmhouse styles.  No we’re not making an IPA year round, and no we didn’t buy a canning line...  But!  We do love IPAs and we like to have a little fun too!

Our one year anniversary was coming up and, as you do in the beer world, we wanted to come up with a cool anniversary beer to celebrate… In this industry, though, everyone usually makes some sort of special, barrel-aged creation, and we kept struggling with that starting point.  We couldn’t come up with anything that felt right because we put all of our “special, barrel-aged” ideas into our normal production cycle and it just didn’t seem unique and celebratory enough for our anniversary.  So we decided it needed to be something different, something out of character for us, and something fun. 

We tossed around a few ideas and after some serious debate we eventually decided that a double IPA in cans would be awesome (narrowly beating out an American Light Lager in 40s)!  Primarily because it’s a style we love, but also because it’s a little “off brand” and fun for us as a one-off anniversary release.  And since it’s just one batch for the anniversary and we don’t normally make a lot of hoppy beers, we really went for it on the ingredients, using all of the most awesome hops (and extract, and lupulin powder) we could get our hands on! 

Anyway, this was a super fun project for us and a beer we’re thrilled with.  I can say that each time we’ve tasted it, we’ve had to really show some discipline to not keep nudging up our "founder allocations" and drinking all of it ourselves!  We hope you enjoy it with us out on the patio of our new brewery and on a few of your other summer adventures. And maybe if you guys like it as much as we do, we’ll make it again next year!

Cheers and happy birthday to Alesong!!

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Guest post:  Blackberry Gose cocktails with Isaac Johnson

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Guest post: Blackberry Gose cocktails with Isaac Johnson

This is a special post for us!  A good friend and amateur mixologist took it upon himself this past winter to host a party centered around creating unique beer cocktails using our Blackberry Gose.  It's an awesome concept and I'm sure some would work well with Strawberry Symphony as well!  Give them a try or create your own and let us know what you come up with!  Thanks Isaac!

What’s In that Glass?

Alesong’s Blackberry Gose

By: Isaac Johnson

Alesong’s Blackberry Gose is the perfect base for beer cocktail mixing.  The gose bursts with fresh blackberry juice, in a beautiful dark red/violet hue and finishes clean and dry with notes of coriander and cereal grains lingering on the palette.  Our intention as a team of mixologists was to create simple recipes that showcased the tart and juicy nature of the blackberry gose while adding subtle flavors and aromas to each drink.  We balanced the additional sugars from the herbal simple syrups with two different hop shrubs made with apple cider vinegar, a dry cider from Wildcraft and golden beet brine from the fridge.  The herbs were grown naturally around the garden, as were the beets and jalapeños for the experiment.  Our friend Jesse Levine provided a bottle of Bell Curve vodka from his work at Wolf Spirits Distilling.  The Mosaic and Cascade hops came from the Home Fermenter Center, the neighborhood brewing supply store.

Having never done this before I estimated on the amounts of fresh herbs to use for each simple syrup base.  I mainly used 16oz mason jars for storing and serving with the roasted jalapeño in a 32oz jar.  Both shrubs were made in 32oz jars due to the expanding volume of the fresh hops.  I used a cast iron skillet and pink Himalayan salt to “roast” the jalapeños until juicy and tender.  After a quick rinse and pat dry, the herbs were ready for their jars and a bath in the hot syrup mix.  As cleanly as possible I ladled hot syrup into each jar, filling the emptiness with unknown outcomes, keeping one jar of plain syrup as a base.  They had a couple days to marinate before the big party.  Even after cleaning the kitchen the ants still went crazy that night with all the sugar syrup.  

Stocked with jars of savory simple syrups, hop shrubs, various soda waters, tonic waters and bottles of prosecco we anxiously started measuring liquids and guessing what ratios might provide the best outcome.  The rule was to document the best combinations and recreate them down the road, after a couple “palette cleansers.” The naming of the cocktails had hilarious outtakes as each participant in our group of 12ish had their own input.  After a couple oops’ we quickly learned the portion sizes for the simple syrups and shrubs, especially the rosemary and roasted jalapeño. ¡Aye dios mio!  A roasted jalapeño and white pepper cocktail was floating around that grew upward on the Scoville scale, yet people continued to sip and enjoy.  It made my tongue numb for a while but was earthy, complex and enjoyable in small sips.

The majority of the finished cocktails measured between 6oz and 8oz and there were lots of shot-sized experiments happening in an effort to utilize the booze.  The majority of these smaller “concept” drinks avoided documentation but sparked the creation of a larger drink down the road.  The reddish-violet hue of the blackberry gose contributed blood-like colors to the drinks and brought out vampire jokes and impersonations along the way.  The majority of the gose cocktails appeared similar in hue with differences from straining the ingredients and the ratio of gose to other liquids.  We mainly used .25ml snifters for glassware as a way to showcase the gorgeous colors of the drinks and be able to swirl our drinks in admiration.

We all shared an evening, drinks and laughter over life’s adventures and about the various blackberry gose cocktails we created and look forward to the next evening of mixing beer cocktails together.  As each season brings new fruits and vegetables to the garden, seasonal beers follow suit and showcase the seasonality and abundance of our region.  We are fortunate to live in a fertile valley and to be surrounded by passionate individuals willing to craft delicious beverages based on locally sourced ingredients.  The concept of mixing beer and cider cocktails is relatively new but with products like Alesong’s Blackberry Gose the future is bright and tastes amazing!  Hopefully this event and others will inspire drinkers to think outside the glass and explore their creative imaginations of what their ideal drink is.           

 

Simple Syrup and Hop Shrub Recipes

Equal parts water and granulated sugar.   Heat water and sugar together in a large pan, stirring to incorporate the sugar.  When liquid becomes clear and all the sugar has dissolved, turn off heat.  Use a ladle to scoop hot syrup base into smaller mason jars with fresh herbs or other serving vessels. 

Rosemary Syrup
11.2g fresh rosemary in a 16oz mason jar filled with syrup base

Oregano Syrup
10.4g fresh oregano in a 16oz mason jar filled with syrup base

Thyme Syrup
1.7g fresh thyme in a 16oz mason jar filled with syrup base

Fennel Syrup
24.6gtoasted fennel seed in a 16oz mason jar filled with syrup base

Jalapeño Syrup
93.8g salted and roasted jalapeños in a 32oz mason jar with syrup

Mosaic Hop Shrub
1cup Plain simple syrup
1cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1oz-pinch Fresh Mosaic Hops
After stirring and macerating the ingredients I used cold water to fill to remaining space in a 32oz mason jar but in the future I’d increase the volumes of apple cider vinegar and simple syrup instead of water.

Cascade Hop Shrub
1cup Plain simple syrup
1cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1oz-pinch Fresh Cascade Hops
I used cold water to fill to remaining space in a 32oz mason jar but in the future I’d increase the volumes of apple cider vinegar and simple syrup.

 

Cocktails!

Hoppy Thyme
5oz Blackberry Gose
1/2oz Thyme Simple Syrup
1/2oz. Mosaic Hop Shrub
Ice
Stir ingredients together, strain and enjoy. Garnish with a thyme sprig.

Lime Thyme
1/2oz. Oregano simple syrup
1/2oz. Thyme simple syrup
1/2oz. Lime juice
4oz. Blackberry Gose
Stir together with ice and enjoy. Garnish with a thin lime slice.

Fennalatio
1oz. Fennel Simple syrup
1oz. Cascade Shrub
6oz. Blackberry Gose
splash tonic water
Stir ingredients together with ice and top with tonic water.

The Weird
1/2oz. Thyme Simple Syrup
3/4oz. Cascade Shrub
1/2oz. Plain Simple Syrup
3oz. Gose
1oz. Vodka
pinch Turmeric
Shake all ingredients together with ice, strain and enjoy.

Bloody Scarecrow Martini
2oz. Vodka
1oz. Thyme Simple Syrup
1oz. Golden beet brine
2oz. Blackberry Gose
Stir ingredients together with ice, strain and garnish with an almond stuffed olive.

Fennel Attraction
1oz. Vodka
1/3tsp. Fennel simple syrup
Small squeeze lime juice
3oz. Blackberry gose
Pinch cinnamon
Optional-dash plain simple syrup, cocoa powder
Shake ingredients together with ice, strain and enjoy

Papa Don’t Take No Mess
1oz. Vodka
Pinch of turmeric
1.5oz. Stiegel Radler
1/3 tsp. Jalapeño syrup
2 Basil leaves
tiny squeeze lime juice
Shake with ice, strain and enjoy

Scarecrow no.2
2oz. Vodka
1oz. Golden Beet brine
1/2oz. Jalapeño syrup
1/2oz. Thyme Syrup
Almond stuffed olive
Dash fennel simple syrup
Shake above ingredients with ice, strain and top with Steigel Radler, adjust with beet brine.

Unnamed Beauty
Dash oregano simple syrup
Dash jalapeño syrup
2oz. vodka
2oz. Gose
1/2oz lime juice
1/2oz. lemon juice
Dash Steigel Radler
Pinch fennel seeds
Stir together with ice, strain and serve on fresh rocks, adjust with Gose

Pioneer Cemetary
1oz. vodka
2oz. Blackberry Gose
2tsp. Jalapeño Syrup
2tsp. Mosaic shrub
3oz. Wild Craft Pioneer Perry Cider
Stir together over ice, strain and enjoy. Adjust with gose.

Cider? I hardly Mo her!
2oz. Mosaic shrub
1oz. Vodka
4oz. Wildcraft Pioneer Perry Cider
1oz. Blackberry Gose
1oz. Rosemary simple syrup
Stir together over ice, strain and enjoy

Clocking Out
½ tsp. Jalapeño syrup
½ tsp. oregano syrup
1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Pear cider
2oz. Blackberry Gose
dash lemon juice
dash lime juice
stir together with ice, serve on the rocks. Repeat and enjoy the weekend.

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Bottle Conditioning and May Beer Release!

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Bottle Conditioning and May Beer Release!

As most of you know, we always 100% bottle condition our wild beers. This process involves adding a known amount of sugar and fresh yeast at packaging time to the still (un-carbonated) beer. The beer is then immediately packaged and kept warm to undergo the beer's last fermentation while sealed in the bottle. As the fresh yeast consumes the newly available sugar it is producing mainly ethanol and CO2. Since the package is sealed and the CO2 has nowhere to escape to, it stays dissolved in the beer producing carbonation! With our process and depending on the beer it takes about 6-8 days for all the sugar to be consumed by the yeast and the beer to be carbonated. BUT, the beer is not ready to consume at this point...

During conditioning, the yeast is also producing some flavors and aromas that are normal by-products of a healthy fermentation. Several of these flavors are desirable in the final product but not all of them, so it's important to allow the beer sufficient time to condition.  We typically allow another 3-12 weeks or until the green flavors of fermentation have all been consumed by the hungry yeast still inside the bottle. It is at this point that we finally release our beer because we want you to be able to enjoy it in all its glory from the day that it is released.  

That's a long-winded intro and explanation getting to the main point here, which is that today we did one final taste of all the beers for the May 20th release before opening the pre-sale and can still detect a small amount of these green fermentation flavors in Pinot Spontanée. The yeast will consume all the green flavors in the coming weeks but there is no guarantee that will happen before our release party.  Unfortunately that means we will be holding the bottles of Pinot Spontanée until our next release to make sure the beer has the time it needs to finish conditioning and tastes as delicious for you all as we know that it should. But look for it later this year.  It is an awesome beer!  

BUT, don't be too sad, because in its place we will be pulling out a few cases of the first version of Touch of Brett from our cellar for the mailing list release as a library offering so you can compare it side by side with this year as a mini vertical! Keep in mind when tasting them both that we were not trying to make the EXACT same beer. The theme of the Touch of Brett series is that the beer is: 

  • Barrel Aged
  • 100% Brettanomyces fermented Saison  
  • Liberally dry-hopped after aging  
  • Bottle conditioned  

With those themes in mind here are the differences between Touch of Brett and Touch of Brett Mosaic- 

BEER

Yeast Strain

Barrels

Dry Hop

TOUCH OF BRETT ('16)

Brett. Lambicus

French Oak and Acacia

Citra

TOUCH OF BRETT: MOSAIC

Blend of Brett. Brux

French Oak

Mosaic

We hope you enjoy this mini vertical and we'll see you all at the release!

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Get to know your beer: Plum in Love

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Get to know your beer: Plum in Love

At Alesong, we like to think that each of our beers is brewed, aged and blended with love – love for our community, our craft, and of course a love of drinking beer!  Plum in Love, though, is the culmination of a yearlong project to create a beer that was worthy of representing Brian and his fiancée Lindsey at their upcoming wedding, so it felt like it had to go even further than that! 

Of course when they got engaged last spring, it was a given that Alesong had to play a role in the nuptials! Starting a brewery isn’t the best way to have an extravagant wedding budget, but there are certainly some perks to be had.  Like having the wedding at a new brewery in the country! Oh wait… never mind. Anyway, some things aren’t always under your control, but one thing we did know: Brian’s wedding beer was going to be amazing!

So how can you possibly begin to make a beer that is going to live up to all the expectations of love, of a wedding, and of a lifelong commitment?  First, you go through the cellar and taste every single barrel to pick out your favorite one.  It has to represent you on your big day!  Then, take 50 lbs of hand-picked, tree-ripened plums from a friend’s garden and spend a day together with your fiancée pitting and processing, maybe eating a few... Add lots of laughter and silliness (those who know Lindsey will understand!), and finally, take all your effort and turn it over to Mother Nature to add the finishing touches!

Well, after about 9 more months re-fermenting in the barrel, Plum in Love lives up to all of our highest expectations for Lindsey and Brian. And of course for the beer!  A beautiful, subtle nose that is unmistakably plum mingled with a hint of hayfields after spring rain gives way on first sip to a mildly tart Belgian-style golden ale that finishes dry and clean.  Delicious and refreshing!  If the way Plum in Love turned out is any kind of omen, I think Lindsey and Brian are in for a long and happy life together!

Cheers to many years!

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Get to know your beer: Strawberry Symphony

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Get to know your beer: Strawberry Symphony

Our non-barrel aged beer of this release is a collaboration with the Eugene Symphony for its 2nd annual SymFest on Saturday, June 3rd. SymFest is the symphony's celebration of all things Eugene and the surrounding Willamette Valley, and a great chance to try out the symphony if you’ve never been before. Before the main concert, they offer beer and wine tastings in the lobby of the Hult Center, and food carts outside, with a bluegrass band and marimba players adding to the fun. The smaller theater inside the Hult Center will feature a showcase of local performing arts groups hosted by Eugene’s Slug Queen and including a mariachi band and dancers. The main concert features the orchestra with Eugene vocalist Siri Vik and the trio Time for Three playing mash ups of classical and pop music. Afterwards, you have two ways to end the night – either dancing to a DJ in the lobby or relaxing in the jazz lounge – or do both! And all of this is included in the concert ticket (starting at $21).

Scott Freck, Executive Director of the Eugene Symphony, with Matt on brewday. 

Scott Freck, Executive Director of the Eugene Symphony, with Matt on brewday. 

We carried the local theme of SymFest into our beer. This Strawberry Gose is made from 100% Oregon grown, harvested, and cultured ingredients. The grain came from Mecca Grade Malt in Madras, hops from Crosby in Woodburn, yeast from Imperial Yeast in Portland, Lactobacillus from Springfield, hand-harvested Oregon coast sea salt from Jacobson, and Strawberries from Stahlbush Island Farms outside Corvallis. This is the first time we used Mecca Grade Malt and we are incredibly impressed. The malt imparted a very unique grass and spice character that really added to the depth of the beer and we will be experimenting more with it in our saisons over the next few months.

The beer came out hazy, pink in color and mildly tart. If it ever decides to stop raining here in Oregon, this beer is going to be awesome on a hot sunny day!

Collaborations are always fun and help get a brewer out of his comfort zone to learn some new tricks and techniques. The best part of this collaboration, though, was wrapping up brew day over a shift beer with an intimate performance by the symphony's principal cellist Anne Ridlington.

Principal Cellist Anne Ridlington

Principal Cellist Anne Ridlington

The music-beer collaboration is really flowing over the next few weeks. A string ensemble from the orchestra will serenade us during our release of this beer at our event on May 20th. We are also doing an event with Tap & Growler on June 2nd at which all proceeds from a keg of Strawberry Symphony will go to the Eugene Symphony Association! AND we will be pouring at the main event – SymFest – on June 3rd at the Hult Center! Don’t miss it!

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