Yep, it’s been busy. Why wouldn’t it be? We’re opening a brewery! Here’s what we’ve been up to - in case you’ve missed it.
August 3. I am really, really excited about this. We did a brewing demo on a beautiful Saturday morning at the Elmwood-Bidwell Famer’s Market. It was great seeing so many people and talking with the other farmers. The sense of community at the Market is overwhelming; perhaps that’s why Community Beer Works have been going there for three years! But - despite all of that - that’s not why I’m excited.
We wanted to brew something simple. Usually it takes 6-7 hours for us to brew a beer – the market is only open for 4-5. Since we’re uber-specific about our setup, and we didn’t have access to everything we needed (for example – cold water to cool the wort), we decided to do a partial mash brew (some grains, some malt extract.) And, if the beer didn’t turn out great, who cares right? Well, we decided if we’re not gonna care - we’re really not gonna care. So, instead of trying to bloop a single up the middle - we swung for the fences.
We collected about 5-6 pounds of ripe, bruised fruit from the farmers that didn’t need it – then used it as a source of wild yeast to kickstart a fermentation. Wild yeast (brettanomyces) typically lives on fruit, and plants, and naturally in our environment, and works similarly to brewer’s yeast (saccharomyces), but tends to yield a taste that is much different and more complex than typical flavors achieved from brewer’s yeast. To be honest, I thought there would be equal chances the beer a) wouldn’t ferment or do anything b) would turn into a vinegary, diaper bomb or c) maybe be a bit drinkable after a long, long time.
Well, after two days, we got a nice looking pellicle on top of the beer – which means that Western New York brettanomyces wild yeast has found its way into the beer! After about a week, enough yeast had grown to start a furious fermentation. I tasted the beer a week after that and it was tasting like a young red wine with a lot of funk taste thrown by the brett. We’re gonna let it sit for a few more months (at least) and see what happens. We’ll be back at EBFM on Sept. 21st to brew the same beer. We hope to blend them down the road and serve it to the farmers that provided the fruit (and yeast!) next year… or three years down the road if it takes that long to mature.
|Caution - Brett at work|
|Brewfest setup. Yep. We're Big Ditch Brewing Company.|
August 13. Big milestone this day – we finally sent in our TTB application! This is for our federal permit to open a brewery. We started working on this application in SEPTEMBER OF 2012. That’s a lot of paperwork dammit! The website says there’s a 77-day waiting period. I still check for updates everyday. At least twice. What’s wrong with me?
August 23. When we were asked to do the Bunkers in Baghdad charity event last year, it was just too soon – not enough beer, not enough things for us to talk about. Not this year! We brought 10 gallons of a hoppy, golden ale that was perfect on the course. The charity benefits soldiers in the Middle East, and was a ton of fun.
|Sure, nice setup - but look at those clouds! |
Those aren't CGI clouds, in case you were wondering.
August 31. This Saturday is the 2nd annual BeerBaconFest, which supports breast cancer awareness. No beer at this event, sadly, but we will have more merch and will also be donating a raffle basket with some goodies. This is a great cause; come out and see us and the other breweries that’ll be there.
September 20 -29. Our favorite week of the year – Buffalo Beer Week! We’ll be at a ton of events this year. The list right now is looking like:
- September 20: Brewed in Buffalo Release Party @ The Library (in Amherst)
- September 21: EBFM brewing demo #2
- September 21: Ballpark Brewbash
- September 26: Alternative Brews “Breweries in Planning” tasting
- September 28: Buffalo Beer Geek Festival @ Artisan Kitchen and Bathsand maybe a few others. It will be so busy but also so much fun. If you live in WNY and only get out for a few beers a year, this is the week to do it. Buffalo breweries and bars will bring their best. We had an awesome time last year, and expect it will be even better this year. See you there!