Ask Lonerider: Favorite Beer to Make?
In a new addition to our blog, we give you the opportunity to ask questions of the team here at Lonerider. Our first question comes from @hopoffthepress on Twitter: What’s your favorite beer to make and why? Our head brewer Galen Smith answers…
All beers are very different in many ways. Everything from the raw ingredients used to the fermentation process and even the conditioning method can make a huge impact on the beer that eventually is poured into a glass. The beers we make at Lonerider are unique and have their own personalities. Our hefeweizen, Shotgun Betty gets most of it’s character from the estery yeast that we use to ferment it, giving it it’s signature banana and clove nose and flavor. Sweet Josie gets most of it’s complexity from the large variety of malts that are used in the brewing process. Peacemaker of course fills the whole brewery with citrusy hops during the flameout addition of pacific northwest hops. Eve is kind of a balance between all of those, making it particularly special, not to mention challenging.
I’m often asked which beer of ours is my favorite. It’s a difficult question to answer because they are so different. I don’t have any children, but I feel the question is similar to a parent being asked which child is their favorite. There are no favorites and I love them all the same in different ways, and sometimes I favor one of them over the other depending on the day. A better question would be “What is your favorite beer to brew?”
Without hesitation the answer is always Sweet Josie, and preferably on a cool crisp day. The first step in brewing is mashing the malts. Josie uses 6 types of malts. The heirloom Marris otter gives it an uncomparable maltiness that is enhanced by crystal, chocolate and the appropriately named aromatic malt. When these are hydrated and mixed into the mash tun, the aroma that fills the brewery is rich and heady.
We’ve now pulled our sugars from the malt and start filling the kettle with the sweet wort. The first runnings into the kettle are the strongest not just in gravity but aroma as well. Caramel scents waft out from the kettle as the thick first runnings hit the steam jackets as the kettle gets filled up to it’s final volume. Now it’s time to pour a cup of coffee and head outside. The kettle vent stack is billowing clouds of more caramel and toffee into the air, and on a cold winter morning it really cuts through the chilly air and fills the whole block and let’s everyone know that we’re brewing Josie today.
We’ll then add our hops to the brew to balance out the malty sweetness. This changes the scent in the brewery to more of an earthy spice and again, it’s obvious to those in and around the brewery that Josie is being created. After the wort is boiled it’s cooled down and pumped into the fermenter. We use an English yeast that yields a well rounded, juicy beer that compliments the other raw ingredients perfectly. We give it a soft and low carbonation to further enhance the ability to taste everything we’ve put into this brown ale.
Being poured a pint of Josie, I’m able to taste the entire brewing process and all the work we’ve put into it.
If you have a question for anyone at Lonerider, tweet at us using the hashtag #asklonerider or email us: social[at]loneriderbeer.com and we’ll try and use your question in an upcoming Ask Lonerider!