Sneak Peak #01 - Beers Made By Walkig (Monument/COS)

Beers Made By Walking is coming up! It's just around the corner! September 22nd will be here before you know it. We thought we'd whet your beery appetites by offering a few sneak peaks of the brews that have been made for the event.

If you're not familiar with Beers Made By Walking, it's a program that we started last year where we invite brewers onto nature hikes and they make a beer inspired by the edible and medicinal plants on the trail. This year we've got 8 beers inspired by the trail along the Palmer Lake Reservoir, the beers will be served on Sept. 22nd at Pikes Peak Brewing. These beers are really innovative, using untested ingredients and a hope of capturing the beauty and essence of our local landscape! We've asked the brewers a few questions about what they're making, here's a look at a couple of the beers:

Scott Simmons

Scott picking some chokecherries
Beer Name: Kriekenstein

I am making the sourest beer in the shortest amount of time that I can. That process includes a 4 day sour mash and a primary fermentation with lactobacillus. The beer is aimed toward a heavily-wheat-based chokecherry kriek.

There were so many possible ingredients from the hike, the two that stood out for me were acorns and choke cherries. Choke cherries stood out because they are so abundant and I kinda went in leaning towards making a sour. I thought the fruit would be a nice balance to the tartness. Acorns stood out because roasting them and using them in ways that other brewers have used nuts sounded intriguing. I did not end up using the acorns though.

Like I mentioned before the choke cherries were added for some sweetness to balance the tartness I was hoping to achieve. I am very curious to see how it comes out. When I taste some of the cherries they are so dry they suck the moisture out of your mouth. I'm excited to see how that blends with the beer.

Another idea I tried was using super heated granite to boil the wort instead of a direct heat source. My goal was to use something from the hike in the process, not just the beer itself. I thought of the rocks as similar to a Sahti, where the juniper is used to lauter but still influences the beer. My goal was to introduce some carmelization with the rocks by going to an instant boil. While I did get some bubbles from the rocks, it wasn't enough to sustain a boil so I ended up putting the kettle on a heat source. Lesson learned.

With my beer expect some sourness. The beer was sour just from the sour mash, so the lacto probably only pushed that further. But look for the choke cherries, the beer should be pinkish to red in color and we will find out together what other affects they had on the beer.

Bryan Paradisi and Oren Weil

A view from the hike at Palmer Lake Reservoir

Beer Name: Professor Plum

Tell us a bit about your beer, what are you making?
We took a pretty standard porter recipe and replaced the grain bill of wheat with oats and placed 10oz. of dried plums in the primary. We then took two different types of oak cubes, American and French, with different degrees of toast, medium and heavy, and soaked them in brandy for a little over a week. We then added those cubes along with an additional 10oz. of dried plums to the secondary. By using plums, oak and oats we feel like we took as many different ingredients from the hike and put them in a beer that would taste good without being too disjointed.

The beer should come out as a pretty standard porter with a hint of plum that finishes with a light oaked brandy taste. We think the oak and brandy will not heavily overshadow the subtle plum finish.

On the hike, what were some of the ingredients that stood out in your mind? And why did you choose your adjunct ingredients over others?

We really liked the horsemint, chokecherry, sumac and kinnikinnick but were concerned that it would be too hard to procure the amount of these items to make it a beer that could be realistically brewed in a commercial batch. We also had concerns about any tannins that might be present when using edible plants like kinnikinnick and chokecherry.
Logistical items such as how much, when to add them as well as any off flavors that might be present because of the various ingredients were causes for concern.

What were some of the other ideas you came up with for your beer and how did you eventually decide on what you picked?

We played around with a few ideas but decided that we wanted to go with a plum beer. After looking at the various styles of beer we thought we could pull it off with a really light beer or something darker that already had some of the dark fruit flavors. We would have loved to do a barley wine but with the shortened brew schedule we decided a porter would work better. We kicked around the idea of using honey with the plums but then came up with the idea to add brandy to the mix (we've had some amazing brandied plums before). After that adding a little oaky flavor to add another layer of depth seemed like an obvious choice and fit well into the theme of Beers Made By Walking.

Beers Made By Walking (Monument/Colorado Springs)
Sept 22nd / 3-6pm / $10

At Pikes Peak Brewing / 1756 Lake Woodmoor Dr, Monument

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BeerEric Steen