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."