Monday, April 17, 2006

My First World Beer Cup Award

I'm not really sure if it has sunk in yet?? Winning an international award is awesome! We had a great time in Seattle, really came away with a lot from the Craft Brewer's Conference, and brought back hardware from one of if not THE premiere beer competition in the world. Flattering-I think that is the best word. I'm always told by customers which beers are awesome, and that's flattering in itself. But to have a group of my peers, profesional judges, and beer aficianados judge my beers the best is just outstanding.

I'm very happy that we could keep the Pullman Brown's history alive. It is the most awarded beer in our lineup and with 5 GABF awards and 3 WBC awards, 2-3 Real ale awards and several local awards, Pullman could be giving any beer in the Chicagoland area a run for most decorated??

While the Pullman legacy lives on, I am floored by the success of our little "lambic that could." This beer began as a faux Flanders brown in the spring of 2004. Later it was laid down in an oak white wine barrel where, after 6 months or so, it took on a pleasant tartness. From their, we pumped it full of whole frozen raspberries, 5 lbs at a time until it tasted "right". That made a kinda sorta framboise, but it was missing something. After sitting through a wild yeast seminar at the 2005 CBC, I knew it was time to experiment into the land of wild yeasts-Brettanomyces.
well, we racked off two kegs worth and used the strain bruxellensis for one and made the other lambicus. They spent another 7-8 months "refermenting in the celar before blending and bottling. Jeff Sparrow of CBS was an invaluable resource in the blending. We choose a 60-40 blend of Lambicus-Brux.
It probably could use some more aging time, but we sent it anyway with our fingers crossed. I worried for the next two months. How could it compete with the likes of Cantillon and other classic Belgian beers. My beer wasn't sour enough. What if all the great American brewers entered their sour beers. we're dead, I thought. Two years of experimentation for naught!

Well, lo and behold I was wrong! we finished right behind Rodenbach( I LOVE Rodenbach) and right in front of Dogfishhead. Wow! That short Belgian brewer behind me backstage probably thought I was crazy as I gushed how much I enjoyed his beer. I had forgotten that they just voted me second best Belgian style sour beer in the world!

Yep-flattered is the right word.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boy, this news sure rocks the house! Even though I knew about the awards, when I read here that you came away with "new hardware," I thought someone had given you a new fermenter or somethin.'

All'n'all I count ten medals for Chicagoland brewers (and I'm presuming if the Floyds didn't get one, maybe they just didn't enter).

So now the question becomes, how can you gain the physical ability to make and serve bug-filled Belgians. I'm sure an old attic somewhere can be converted to a spare brewhouse :^)