“Hey. How’s it going? I want to do something special for this party. There are going to be bands, comedians, fire dancers, a burlesque group, and like over a hundred people. Will you help me brew a special beer for it?”
As I heard my brother’s voice on the other end of the line, it struck me how perfect the idea was. Everyone was encouraged to make or bring something, and creating a keg of unique custom suds seemed like just the kind of unexpected and generous thing we Matzes are fond of. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and we started brainstorming.
The plan ended up to be to use a Lagunitas style IPA as a base and add a bit of herby goodness. The trick would be to add the right amount, just enough to be interesting without becoming like a mouthfull of weird bubbly medicine. We followed a recipe I’ve used many times, but thinned it out a bit with extra water and added a fresh branch of Rosemary cut straight from the giant mutant bush in my backyard in the last five minutes of the boil and during the cooldown. Later I pitched the yeast and capped it, setting it in the cool shade of my closet to bubble away.
Throughout the next two weeks I enjoyed the aroma of the yeast’s work every time I opened the door. Those little organisms feasting on an abundance of malt extract created their signature scent, which I only hope doesn’t stick to my clothing too much!
When it was time to keg, it was anyone’s guess what it would taste like. I siphoned and strained the golden nectar into a 5gal keg and cooled it for a couple days before tasting. I poured a bit from the tap and tasted. BINGO! JUST RIGHT!
Granted it was quite a strong beer, probably around 9% and with an herby, hoppy punch, but everyone at the party seemed to like it and I heard quite a few say they preferred it to the Racer 5 IPA which was also there. A statement like that will make a brewer’s heart proud! In fact, I went back to retrieve the keg the next day and it was bone dry. The experiment had worked out and my head is swimming with possibilities for the next infusion to try.
LONG LIVE THE UNKNOWN!