Beer Ranting and Raving

The best is yet to come!

It's easy to brew beer. It's easy to make good beer. A lot of beer out there is pretty darn good. It's immensely hard to make really good beer. It's downright tough as $h!t to make great beer. What we're doing at Lookout these days is looking at, tasting, talking about, thinking, dreaming, and planning amazing beers. We're sampling the best beers in the world as often as we can find them and brainstorming about what makes them so damn good. Right now we're working on an IPA. (go figure, my favorite style).

I found one little line in one obscure blog about some old techniques used a long time ago during fermentation that helps carbonate the beer from times before CO2 tanks. I found that some oversees breweries were still using some of these techniques today because they feel that the natural carbonation that occurs is smoother and allows hop oils stay in the beer better. So, we tried it. And it works. It saves us time and CO2 and accentuates the hop aroma and character.

Then I started trying some different yeasts and growing my own yeast. It hasn't worked out every time, but it's starting to. Our lab isn't quite as nice as I would like, but it'll do for now. I read some articles about how yeast is the "Future of Flavor Creation" in the craft beer universe. So we're messing with as many different strains as possible...and it's working. They might be onto something. Now as I go around tasting beer, I can tell when brewers are using the standard yeast. It's fine, no problem, I still love my "go to" standards, but there's more out there. It's like things are going backwards for me, I want to be smaller. I want to experiment with all these different variables and brew 5 gallon batches for my friends. I want to have 30 different versions of the same beer with this new hop and that new yeast and whatever else I can get my hands on.

Too often we get tied down to doing the same old thing every time. But We are not going to settle for it. We are going to make Excellent Beer! We will try that new hop and that new yeast and those odd temperature ranges that aren't normally used in that style. It's not about being a good brewery with good beer, it's about exploring, reaching, striving, planning, listening, and learning. It's about going for it and not being ashamed to try it because it might come out better. I'm not in this to just make some good beer. I'm in this to make a beer so amazing that you just might turn your head to the nearest human and exclaim "That's the best F^@h9!ng beer I've ever had or heard of!!!"

And if I'm that nearest human, I'll probably say "Damn right, let's have another round."   

--Garcia

Beer for Life

Beer is for life. Too many people feel guilty about enjoying beer. Here at Lookout, we have a different perspective. Try to start from the beginning and try to follow this:

Barley is a plant that has always been a staple in the world of agriculture and providing sustenance to the masses. As a plant and a living thing, it's entire purpose is to generate the next generation. It grows a seed. Within that seed is the next generation. The crop is harvested and sold to the consumers. Some of those consumers are called maltsters.  The malster will then take the seed and hydrate it. He or she is causing the seed to begin to sprout. When they do this, an energy in the form of sugar is created in the seed providing enough energy to sprout a root, grow a stem, and grow a leaf to catch sunlight for energy creation. The maltster then stops this process and dehydrates the seeds. They will then bake, roast, smoke, cook, and kiln the seed into a variety of varying brewer's malts. This is where beer gets it's main colors and malty flavors. The brewers will be the next consumers in line. We will take that malted seed and "mash" it. We are after the colors, flavors, and SUGARS(energy) in that seed. We extract those things and mix it with hops and yeast. The yeast becomes the next consumer. It will consume the sugars that the brewer extracted in the mashing process and excrete that sugar as alcohol. Then the brewer will finish out the process in any number of ways to create a finished product. That's where you come in, the final consumer. People drink beer for a lot of reasons, but if I were a gambling man, I would bet that many of them are after that slightly euphoric feeling that alcohol seems to generate. How can you explain that euphoria in any better way except that you are drinking the "Essence of Life" from that little seed. It might be the closest and best way to truly get closer to the creator by enjoying the energy that is there to create life itself.

Now, I'm sure it might take a few of you a while to soak this all in. That's OK, it will be alright. But it be a helluva lot better with a cold beer in your hand, wouldn't it?

--Garcia

Wild Yeast

Today we are doing an open fermenting experiment. We have found that the local yeast that is in the air around our brewery is particularly good this time of year. So, yesterday we had a batch that we decided to leave open to the air on out patio. It is not something we can do all the time, but we love this time of year and went with it. The beer was brewed with Pilsen, Caramel 10, and Wheat. The hops we used were Chinook, Willamette, Cascade, Centennial, and Amarillo. We also added about 50 lbs. of dextrose to boost up the a.b.v. and help dry out the finishing flavors. We are shooting for a pH of around 3 so it'll be pretty sour but not over the top. Our gravity finished out at 1.049 so not too high. If it fully attenuates we should have a beer around 6%. We will be dry hopping this beer, so the final product should be hoppy, light, crisp, and sour. It will be interesting to see and taste how it turns out. If any readers have any opinions on what we should dry hop the beer with, feel free to post below. We will be setting the beer out on the patio for the next 3-5 days until it starts to really roll in fermentation. So feel free to come check it out and see this process in action. Cheers y'all! 

--Garcia