(By Gail Ann Williams, the brewer in the Beer By BART family)
This coming week I hope you get to enjoy SF Beer Week, and that you get a chance to try My Funky Valentine. In November, “Organic Dan,” Dan DelGrande of Bison Brewing, touched base with me to propose a collaboration. He offered me four five-gallon corny kegs full of The Hostage, an organic Baltic Porter that had spontaneously soured in a bourbon barrel.
His offer was that I could add bugs, fruit or whatever to make something special out of this very lactic brown beer.
I was delighted at the opportunity to “doctor” a clean lactic sour beer, and immediately started growing up several strains of Brettanomyces from little jars in my refrigerator, using organic apple juice and organic brown rice syrup for a starter because I had no organic malt in the house, and Bison is an organic brewery. (I promise to post more geeky details later for those who want all the specs, but I selected the most vigorous strains of the yeast and put them in a bucket of chopped dried organic cherries and red plums. And organic whole wheat spaghetti. Brett loves wheat.)
After a week, I added the fermenting fruit slurry to kegs of the base beer. Some weeks later, there was less fruit extraction than I wanted, so I added more fruit — some amazing organic nectarines that were the available organic fruit at my house that evening — to one of the kegs in order to blend in more fruit intensity.
The last tasting was much more fruit forward than I ever expected. I can’t wait until I can have a whole glass instead of a small sample.
I’m getting ready for the debut of this beer, most likely at the Opening Gala of SFBW Friday, and then at Sour Sunday in Berkeley. There is only 20 gallons on the planet, so it may be poured at a set time at the Bison Brewing table. Please stop by and have a taste if you like. I even bought some little heart trinkets for decorating tap handles…
Go, Beer Week! Go, My Funky Valentine.
Explore Beer By BART; use our list of some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best beer places with detailed transit info, so you can get out there to enjoy without driving.