One of the perks of winning last autumn’s Brooklyn Wort was a one on one coaching session with an employee of Boston Brewing. By the way, the next Brooklyn Wort is being held in Manhattan in October and entries start Aug 11 for the preliminary round. Details are here. (http://www.brooklynwort.com/)
I was offered a bunch of options, like a phone conference with a marketing specialist, but I was really interested in speaking with a brewer that could help me out with some of the more experimental things I’m playing with in my kitchen, I mean brewery. I was hoping that one of the biggest Micros would be willing to let me take up an hour of time to really pick a pro brewers brain.
After months of failure trying to work out a date that I could make it up to Boston to actually get face time with someone, summer finally came to my rescue. I grabbed two friends who happened to have a weekday off and drove up to Boston.
Rolling up to the “Boston Brewery” I was immediately taken back by how small the scale was. It turns out that they only use a 10 barrel system up in Boston, be it a nice one, the vast majority of their beer is brewed at two other major breweries in other parts of the country.
The shock of that quickly wore off when I learned that the Boston Brewery is responsible for their cask room releases. The brewery is all set up for nice tours and cool pictures with plenty of history about Sam Adams and lots of awards that they have won hung above. I would recommend a visit for someone who hasn’t really toured breweries before, you get to smell hops, check out grains, and walk the floor of the brew house.
Luckily, the majority of my visit was spent with Grant, a recent addition to Boston Brewing, who is one of the brewers there. After a few minutes, Grant figured out that I wasn’t there for some fun chat about pitching rate, but that I had a few more in depth questions that I would like to discuss.
The talk very quickly turned into a great coaching session with ideas being shared about wild yeast identification and pH adjustment, with a little bit of info about KMS and stabilizing bigger beers. Having someone with this kind of brewing knowledge really explain some of the science behind my ideas essentially leapfrogged my experiments about 2 years forward. On the way out, he even hit me up with a couple of online resources that are exactly what I was looking for. Grant made the four hour drive worth it.
This experience really renewed my affection for Sam Adams. Sam was one of the first Micros that I ever tasted and many times, it was their brew that was my first exposure to different styles of beer. Having them treat me with such a high level of respect and openness really boosted this beer back to the top of the pile for me. I know what I’ll be drinking next time I’m at a normal bar. Much more on the information that I learned about in the coming posts, I hope Sam Adams starts a beer school!
Many thanks must be said to both Michelle and Grant.