Archive for March, 2013

Alabama

Friday, March 8th, 2013

We’re coming, Heart of Dixie. Five thousand eight hundred pounds of French Broad beer heading into Bessemer very very soon. Just have to pump up the tires on our wheelbarrow and make a few sandwiches.

The Magic City Brewfest falls on the same day as Asheville’s own Beer City Festival, Saturday 1 June. We’ll be there and here, handing out top-shelf beverages to beer lovers, selling t-shirts, koozies and such for gas money, discovering homecooking and road food in a gastronomic synchronicity that spans 350 statute miles, a veritable Van Allen Belt of beer, a constellation of carbonation, a subcontinent of suds.

Be there. Or here. Say hello!

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The brewery of Dorian Gray

Friday, March 8th, 2013

We’re an old company, it’s true. That’s a good thing in many ways: Our beers know what they’re doing, their hygiene is impeccable, their hops appropriate, their malts complex. Savoir biere, if you will.

There’s a downside, though. The folks who started this company have kids. Kids graduating from college, kids getting married, for Pete’s sake. And, the folks who started this company have canes, prescriptions, eyeglasses, and engraved invitations to any number of undignified medical fishing expeditions that offer more in the way of embarrassment than revelation. Growing old, as they say, is not for sissies.

So, anyways, we went round the houses with our carefully-crafted product, our history of paying bills and carefully husbanding cash (some call us cheap, but we think of ourselves as careful husbands), and we got some good people to trust us with a pile of cash. This windfall-cum-amortization-and-APR has presented us with the opportunity to get some chemical peels, some hair implants, hip replacements, Saville Row suits that make a happy imposture of our aging posture, &c. A cashflow fountain of youth, as it were, should we choose to spend it on our all-too-compromised selves.

But then we looked at our dear brewery. The floor drains have seen better days, and believe us, beer likes to be in shiny and new coolers, kegs and other such packages. So, we’re spending the money on her. She’s getting snazzy automated grain handling, a beautiful new cooler, and, in a few weeks, we’re going to shut the tasting room for a few days and do some pretty serious bust enhancement up in here. The beer will be the same, only better, and there’ll be more of it, and the sound of a running brewery, which is the most beautiful sound there is, will be more precisely tuned, more humming and less clattering if you know what I mean.

Take our advice: If you love it, see just how you can love it more than you love it.

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Inside the delicate art of “Krausening”

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Typically what you do is fill a cask with beer that’s already fermented and is just about to be filtered into a brite tank. Then, to carbonate it, you add dextrose. This has the effect of stirring the dormant yeast to life and thus conditioning the beer. French Broad Brewery cellarman and Asheville Brewers Supply stalwart Alex Chambers described the dormant yeast as “pooped-out” and compared the dextrose method to yanking the yeast out of bed. “It’s groggy. It doesn’t want to get up,” he said. When a cask is krausened, what you do is add a small quantity of freshly fermenting beer in lieu of dextrose. It’s like, if a casked ale is an aged body, the carbonating agent is a portion of its youthful self, added in through some bizarre and wonderful process involving a time machine and alchemy. Speaking of time machines and alchemy:

I’ve been reading T.H. White’s The Book of Merlyn. How it starts is, Merlyn confronts the expiring octo- or nonagenarian King Arthur and convinces him to become childlike again for a pair of transformative courses in being. The King has no desire to alter his form (he has earned his age; it would be undignified) but permits the wizard to enliven his brains, to give his mind the elasticity and nimbleness of youth. Merlyn krausens Arthur’s brain, see: all at once he bubbles and fizzes and dashes into wonderment.

So the guys took a pint of French Broad IPA fermenting at a high roll (how you felt in your 20s) and added it to a cask of ret-to-brite IPA (how you feel now). Describing the difference between this and the dextrose method, Alex Chambers said “that yeast feels good” and pistoned his arms like you do when at a brisk jog. “That yeast got laid last night,” added Brewer Peter Batinksi, “It’s ready to go.” “Happy yeast,” Chambers concluded.

The effect, I am glad to report, is a remarkably clean cask-conditioned ale. This IPA is indeed vigorous. Its happiness is light on the grateful palate. Do come in and try some!

From left: Batinsky and Chambers.

From left: Batinski and Chambers.

-D.W.

 

Public Opinion Trends in the French Broad Brewery (Wednesday Edition)

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

The long-awaited results from the poll we put in the field yesterday are in. Gird yourself before reading on, folks: this data is hot, and it’s possible (I’d say likely) that many of you won’t see eye to eye with many of us. Here goes:

When asked, “Would you let your daughter marry an Oompaloompa?” 1 out of 1 French Broad employees answered, “Sure.”

When asked, “Would you let her marry one of those winged monkey creatures from ‘The Wizard of Oz’?” 1 out of 1 French Broad employees said, “It’s her decision.”

When asked, “Would you let your son marry a guy?”‘ fully 100% of the staff replied yes without hesitation. (Interestingly, when the question became, “Would you let your son marry a guy with slight hearing loss?”, there was total reversal.)

Her decision, Shannon? Really?

Her decision, Shannon? Really?

To the question, “Have you guys seen ‘Ben Hur’?” 2 out of 2 employees eventually answered yes. (Clarification was called for: one employee said, “Was Charlton Heston in that?”) Both respondents concurred that it’d “been so long” since they’d seen it, and both evinced surprise when informed that a man had died during the chariot racing scene.)

Uh, yeah. That's him, all right, Alex.

That’s him, all right, Alex.

Finally, in response to a question put in the field in an unscientific, seat-of-the-pants manner just prior to publication, Rainbow Road was universally declared the most reviled and difficult track in MarioKart.

No caption needed here, I think.

No caption needed here, I think.

As usual, this poll has a margin of error of +/- 0%. And as usual, please feel free to suggest questions in the comments section for the next poll.

Thanks everybody. And go team!

-D.W.