From: Dexter, Michigan
Style: Wild Farmhouse Ale
Every beer that comes from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Michigan is open fermented and aged in oak. This means their beers take a lot of time to make, have a high risk of getting infected by stray yeasts and bacteria, and can make it very expensive.
Lucky for us, since they opened in 2004, they have perfected their craft, consistently creating beers with amazing complexity while keeping their prices reasonable.
The Oro de Calabaza, pictured here, emulates the Franco-Belgian tradition of strong golden ales. After the brewing process, this beer is thrown into Chardonnay barrels and left to age for 2-4 months. The batches are blended to achieve consistency.
This beer can keep you talking for hours. The subtle sour funkiness, vanilla and grape from the wine barrels, brisk and tingly carbonation, spicy and peppery from the hop and yeast characters.
Beer pairing applications include, but are certainly not limited to, grilled meats, hardy salads, washed-rind cheeses, and caramel desserts.
If you fancy yourself more of a wine person, give Jolly Pumpkin a try. You might find there's more to beer than you once thought.
Name: Aval Cidre Artisanal
Style: Dry Cider
From: Brittany, France
We're not just about beer. We also LOVE cider, especially balanced ciders that remind you it's made with real apples, with none of the overbearing sweetness you'll find in those ciders made with apple concentrate or added flavors.
Aval cider is incredibly easy-drinking, with just enough sweetness to hold up to lots of food and a remarkably dry finish. There's a lot of carbonation here, which emphasizes a wine-like tannic quality. This gives it extra oomph alongside richer, fattier dishes.
Check out this awesome diagram on their website which shows their process from picking to drinking here
We hope you'll come enjoy one with us soon. Cheers!
Beer Here: Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge by Omer Vander Ghinste
What: Flanders Red Ale
If you're new to Flanders Red Ales, or sour beers in general, you have to give this beer a shot. Flanders Reds are quite unique in the beer world and bring to the table a flavor profile more akin to wine or cider than beer.
Brisk acidity and bold cherry flavors dominate here, so much so that it's all the more astonishing that the only ingredients in the beer is malted grain, hops, and wild yeasts. After the boil, the wort is transferred to a large, shallow basin known as a coolship, which is open to the air so those wild yeasts can spontaneously ferment the beer. It's a very imprecise and risky method of making beer, but the Belgians have perfected the practice over centuries. Once the beer finishes fermenting in the coolships, it's then transferred to oak barrels for continued aging, in this case for at least 18 months.
In terms of food pairing, finding the right combination can be elusive, but once you do, it can be enlightening. Heavy, spicy dishes might overpower this beer, whereas lighter dishes might get lost in the beer's acidity. Savory, rich seafood is right in this beer's sweet spot. Gerrit Oliver, Brooklyn's esteemed brewmaster, especially recommends brunch foods, like omelettes and Croque Monsieurs. These foods won't overpower the beer, while the beer's acidity helps to cut through the richness in the dishes. At FBR, a fish special or our meatballs over polenta is exactly where you need to be.
Great Raft got a foeder, and we're all reaping the benefits.
What's a foeder (FOOD-er) you ask? They were originally used in winemaking, but brewers have been scooping up these large wooden vats for the purpose of aging their sour beers and developing their own special yeast that will live in the nooks and crannies of the wood.
This batch, number 003, is a product of the two brews that came before it. Even though it's a beer with no adjuncts, this beer is brimming with fruit flavor up front, in addition to a brisk sour bite and a nice bit of funk. Much of that fruit, we presume, comes from batch number 002, which had been filled up with tons of ripe Ruston peaches. Also, don't forget about batch 001, which included mayhaws.
Come try this beer while we have the little bit we got. Also, keep your eyes open for future batches. We'll be able to see how this project evolves overtime, how the beers influence each other, and how they all develop somewhat of a unique identity as the foeder grows its personality.
Cheers to Great Raft for this killer beer!