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get to know your beer

Get to know your beer: Touch of Brett - Mosaic

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Get to know your beer: Touch of Brett - Mosaic

Many of the beers that we have made at Alesong are not particularly hop forward.  But it doesn't mean we don't use hops. In fact, I'm told we'll lose our "PNW Brewer" card if we don't find a good way to use hops in our beers. However, it is true that we are not known for making IPAs, Double IPAs, and the slew of red, black, white, and hazy versions we see on the market today. Since we take so much influence from Belgian beers and especially farmhouse-style beers, you won't see a lot of highly bittered American hoppy beers in our lineup (although we may have a treat for you hopheads soon ;-) Stay tuned!).

But starting with 2016's Touch of Brett, we have been excited to explore how citrusy American Hops play with Brettanomyces yeast in primary fermentation. Many beers that are fermented with Brett in stainless, highlight tropical fruit flavors such as pineapple, mango, and passion fruit.  Sometimes citrus notes of orange and lemon and lime can even come forward, or even stone fruits like peach and apricot.  These fermentation flavors find a hook in the huge aromas found in many of the most popular varieties of American hops today.

In the fall of 2016, we were fortunate enough to earn a gold medal in the Brett beer category of the Great American Beer Festival in Denver Colorado with our first blend of Touch of Brett.  That beer was dry hopped with Citra hops and displayed many of the aforementioned tropical and citrus flavors and aromas.  From that batch on (only our fourth beer brewed), we've continued to produce Brett beers using different strains of Brettanomyces yeast and different American hops.  Many of these Saisons are still aging in barrels, but for this release we have the second in our Touch of Brett series.  This time, we were able to get Mosaic hops, thanks to a brewer friend who had some extra.  We hopped it at about 3/4 of a pound of hops per barrel after fermentation was complete (the definition of dry-hopping), and the beer suddenly popped with wonderful tropical and floral notes and hints of grapefruit. 

Mosaic hops, new to the industry in 2012, are highly sought after and oft considered one of the new 'cool kid' hops.  I just like how they taste and smell.  Some have even described them as similar to a 'dry gewurtztraminer experience' where you can have big fruit punch flavors in a dry beverage. There is a perception of sweet flavor even though hops aren't providing any sweetness.  In Touch of Brett-Mosaic, I get that tropical and citrus flavor and aroma and since the brett has fermented the beer so dry, there is a sensation of acid on the tongue, not unlike when you enjoy a juicy citrus fruit like grapefruit or a slightly unripe lychee fruit.  Touch of Brett-Mosaic has a wonderful nose from the Mosaic hops that invites you to your first sip.  It is dry and fruity, and the flavors from the Brett fermentation envelope the tropical notes in the hops, providing a refreshingly complex finish. 

We hope you enjoy our most recent Brett-fermented Saison topped with this exquisite hop, Mosaic.

Cheers!

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Get to know your beer: Shake Your Tree

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Get to know your beer: Shake Your Tree

As you know, Alesong is a pretty small operation: with just three founders/employees (indentured servants) and two stainless tanks, we’ve got a constant logistical challenge of aligning what we can do with what we want to do – juggling tank space, barrel care needs, driving the delivery truck etc. ends up being pretty tough sometimes when it starts to get in the way of the awesome project ideas that pop into our heads. 

Well, thanks to an expansion by our neighbor down the street, some of those ideas are getting a little easier to pull off!  Claim 52 recently grew out of their three original 8 barrel fermenters and were nice enough to give us a call before selling them to the broader market (plus it’s easier to just forklift them down the street than wrap them up for shipping across the country…).  We were thrilled to get our hands on these tanks because they will allow us to barrel up blends into stainless and then re-ferment on fruit, something we plan to do a lot of! 

And because we have such good access here in Eugene to awesome local fruit, you can bet that the second we got that first tank on site we were looking for something freshly harvested to put into it.  Turns out that the last week in August, Detering Orchards in Harrisburg was in the middle of its Elberta peach harvest so we were able to pick up 600lbs of freshly picked (that same day!), deliciously ripe and juicy peaches that we thought would play really well with a wild ale blend we were prepping for the November release.  Although it was a full day of pitting peaches by hand to get them ready for the tank, it’s tough to compare the flavors you get from fruit that fresh with anything we’d find that was already processed.  We also won’t complain about all the peach “quality control samples” we took throughout the day….

So this is the first of many small fruit blends to come out of these new tanks and we’re thrilled with the way it’s tasting (plus the easier cleanup vs. taking the heads off individual barrels is awesome)!  The blend that went into the tank is a couple of different light, golden, wild ales fermented with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus and aged in French oak wine barrels that formerly held Oregon Pinot Noir.  The vanilla and cinnamon notes we picked up from the barrels matched with the fresh ripe peaches is reminiscent of peaches and cream or a warm cobbler straight from the oven at Grandma’s house.  The beer is brought back into balance with a light acidity and a dry finish.  It’s a perfect for all your holiday gatherings! 

There’s only 60 cases though, so make sure you’re on our mailing list and put our November 19th release on your calendar if you want to get your hands on some!

Cheers!

Doug

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