26 May 2011

Struise In Indiana

Two Indiana breweries were recently visited by De Struise Brouwers' Urbain Coutteau. HBG readers may know of Mr. Coutteau from our January 2008 interview, or perhaps by his reputation as part of the brewery that was named RateBeer.com's 2008 best brewery in the world.

Urbain's visit wasn't just a vacation (though he did attend the Kentucky Derby) - his brewery visits lead to collaboration. Both Three Floyds and New Albanian played host, and it's safe to assume that we can expect fantastic beers as a result.

We contacted New Albanian's Jared Williamson to get more details about the New Albanian/Struise efforts.

How'd Struise contact you? Did you have a prior relationship or did they just sort of ask out of the blue?

The B'Urban Trail 2011 was the brainchild of Lori Rae Beck and Tyler Trotter, owners of The Louisville Beer Store and Holy Grale. On recent trips to Europe, Lori and Tyler became friends with Urbain and hatched a plan to bring him to the Midwest for a week of collaborations, travel, and The Kentucky Derby. Being good friends with Lori and Tyler, they asked if myself and NABC would be interested in hosting Urbain for a brewday, which turned into 2 brewdays.

Who worked on the beer? Which of your breweries did you use?

The first beer, Naughty Girl, was brewed at Bank Street and recipe design was by Urbain, David Pierce (NABC Director of Brewing Operations) and myself. The exact recipe was still being tweaked during the brewday and morphed into a hybrid style, as it should in true collaboration spirit.

The second beer, B'Urban Trotter, was brewed at our R & D brewery located at our Pizzeria and Public House. Recipe design was by Urbain and myself, and again we were tweaking as we brewed.

What styles were you looking at? Who contributes what? Did you do anything new or different than your normal processes? New ingredients/that sort of thing?

Naughty Girl started as a Belgian Blonde in malt bill, then took an American turn with the type of hops and the hopping rate. We used 13lbs of whole leaf Cascade in the 15BBL mash, and then used Galena, US Goldings and Cascade in the kettle. I then dry hopped it with 15lbs of Cascade pellets in the fermenter once terminal gravity was reached, after only 28 hours of primary fermentation due to using Urbain's house Struise yeast. It was the first time mash hops and warm pellet dry hopping has been used at Bank Street (both techniques are regularly used at our R & D brewery) and of course the first time using Struise yeast. In the end, we have a Belgo India Blonde Ale, 6% ABV, and 69 IBU.

B'urban Trotter is a huge Double IPA featuring American base malt and European specialty malts. All American hops were used: Summit, Chinook, Northern Brewer (Domestic), Cascade and Simcoe. Mash hops were used, a splash of Kentucky honey, a tiny amount of vanilla, and it was dry hopped at a rate of 2 lbs per barrel. Some bourbon oak and a microscopic amount of mint will age briefly in the bright tank. 9.2% ABV, 208 IBU.

What happens to the beer when it's finished? Will this be bottled? When will it be finished?

We will bottle Naughty Girl but not B'Urban Trotter. Draft will be exclusive to The Louisville Beer Store, Holy Grale and both NABC locations.. and perhaps some appearances at certain summer festivals.

How familiar were you with Stuise? Do you have a favorite Struise beer?

We started to have draft from Struise years ago at the Public House and they were the first to use key kegs, so they were memorable before I tried the beer. But the distribution channels dropped the ball and its been quite awhile since we've had Struise draft or bottles. Favorite Struise beer: Black Albert.

(Dumb question, but...) Why do a collaboration?

Why not? One of my favorite parts of the brewing industry is the camaraderie and exchange of ideas and techniques. It was an honor, an educational adventure, and a party with Urbain in town for a few days. Memories I will cherish all my days. I am deeply grateful to Lori and Tyler for their friendship and for the opportunity they presented us.

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