Last December, we had the privilege of joining a handful of fellow hombrewers in filling a Leopold Brothers Blackberry Whiskey Barrel with Flanders Red Ale. This wasn’t just any normal barrel, though. This beautiful barrel was previously use for creating New Belgium Brewing Company‘s award-winning sour beers (La Folie, Le Terroir, e.g.). Loaded with all-star bacteria, the barrel still resides at New Belgium, watched over lovingly by Lauren Salazar and her team of experienced sour-makers. Two weeks ago we pulled the beer out of the barrel and this weekend we finally tasted and bottled it. I’m not going to lie – it’s damn good.
This was only our second sour beer attempt (we have two more fermenting – one on cherries, and a dark sour wheat) and the entire process is still a little new for us. For me, one of the craziest things about souring beer is that you intentionally infect them. I supposed it’s a little like cheese, but somehow it feels weirder. Anyway, this is how the top of our beer looked in the carboy before we bottled:
I know a handful of homebrewers who do not take part in their local homebrew clubs and, honestly, I just don’t understand it. The staggering amount I have learned from my fellow brewers, the opportunities the club presents (like the one at New Belgium), and the friends I’ve made by regularly attending meetings, brew days, competitions and events make it one of the most valuable memberships I’ve ever had. Thank you, Liquid Poets Society!
We’re looking forward to cracking on these bottles open every couple of months to see how they age – and we’re already scheming on how we can make more.