Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back to Black

As the months get cooler, our beers tend to get darker. This year, one of our dark creations manifested itself as three in our Holiday Dessert Series. The idea for this series started out with an incarnation of our Chocolate Stout. Brewed with plenty of chocolate malt and roasted barley like before, but hopped with Amarillo hops this time around and then aged on organic cocoa nibs. Once the nibs had made their mark, we split the stout into three. We decided to leave one third alone (allowing it to remain resting with the nibs), the other two had some pretty interesting treatments in store. Fresh mint was added to a portion, becoming our Mint Chocolate Stout. Finally for our last variation, the goal was to emulate a Mexican mocha by incorporating a healthy dose of Metropolis coffee as well as flavors of cinnamon and almond to pay homage to Mexican chocolate. This series was a very limited run, but I don't think this will be the last you hear of these chocolate stouts.
In other blackness, our coffee stout formerly know as Jampit has recently been brewed and awaits being bottled. This yet-to-be-named brew should be packaged and ready to drink before January's end.
Our most recent black addition comes in the form of a robust American porter. While currently in its earliest fermentation stage, this dark hoppy beverage may be pouring at Oh No! Doom in early February & may see an addition of peanut butter to a portion.

- photo by Ryan Smock

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Huge Thanks!

In our eyes, the Low Dive fundraiser at Oh No! Doom this past weekend was a huge success. We were blown away by the amazing outpouring of support and want to extend a huge expression of gratitude to everyone involved.

First and foremost, we have to thank Oh No! Doom. We are very grateful to them for allowing us to take over their gallery and we very much look forward to continuing to work with them in the future. We are also thankful for the bounty of delicious snacks provided by Farm. Butcher. Table., and are truly excited and appreciative of all who came to the event to support us. We had a great group of attendees who were able to extinguish our entire arsenal of draft beer in just under 4 hours (30 gallons across four different styles).

Two of the attendees were professional brewers in town for classes at Siebel—one from Pennsylvania and the other from Mother's Brewing in Springfield, Missouri. Having previously enjoyed a few rounds at Revolution, they decided to walk down Milwaukee Ave. for more rounds at Piece. Along the way they found our event, ended up staying for a couple of hours, and we're pretty sure they tried just about every beer we opened.

Also in attendance were some extremely generous bidders who made our silent auction very successful. We had a nice array of our stronger vintage ales available, including Malevolence, Noir Matou and Beneficence as well as a few others.

This event also marked the release of our new shirts designed by Joey Potts and printed by Sharprint. It was great working with Joey. The shirts sold incredibly well, and the remaining few are currently available at Oh No! Doom.

So once again, we want to thank everyone involved in helping us get the ball rolling with this fundraiser. We want to remind you that you can keep up with our quest to start a commercial brewery by signing up for our email list. Also, if you weren't able to make it out to the event, but still want to contribute, you can do so by utilizing the donate function of this site.

Thank you so much, we really appreciate all of the support!

* All photos above captured by Darwensi.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Our friends at Oh No! Doom are helping us host a fundraiser this Saturday from 3 to 7pm. The purpose of the fundraiser is simple: we're hoping to open a small commercial brewery. In order to do that, we're looking for help with the cost of expansion—space, equipment, licensing, and much more. In an effort to raise these funds, we think it's only appropriate we introduce ourselves and our beer to everyone.

- We'll have 4 beers on tap:
Separated at Birth III:
Here Comes the Rain
Wheat IPA   6.9%

Separated at Birth III:
Threat of Sun
Dry-Hopped Saison    8.7%

Harvest S.M.A.S.H.
Harvest Ale    7.2%

Herbst Schwarz
Schwarzbier    7.3%
- Delicious pork pickings from Farm. Butcher. Table.
- Silent auction including vintage Low Dive beers from our cellar as well as some recent releases (auction ends at 6:30pm)
- Raffle drawings at the top of every hour
- Complimentary Low Dive taster glasses for the first 30 people through the door
- New Low Dive shirts designed by Joey Potts for sale

It's our pleasure to offer what we hope will be a fun & informative event with no upfront cost to you. If you like what we stand for and enjoy the beers we make, all we ask in return is that you consider supporting us in taking our dream one step further. Your donations, either through this site or Saturday at the event, will help ensure Low Dive will be brewing for you for years to come.

NOTE: We will NOT be able to accept credit cards at the event Saturday. Cash or check only please.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall Harvest

Often times the change in seasons can dictate what concoctions are coming out of the Low Dive camp. As we say goodbye to summer and welcome the vibrant colors, smells, and tastes associated with fall, this could not be more true for a recent batch we brewed. This year marks the second time we have utilized our homegrown Nugget hops in one of our beers. Coming on strong in its third year of residency in a cozy backyard in Logan Square our Nugget hop vine provided us with an opportunity to make a harvest ale.
Harvest ales are brewed in conjunction with the annual hop harvest. Instead of using hops that have been dried once they are picked, these ales use 'fresh hops' that go from vine to kettle with as little time in between as possible. In our case our hops were picked only a few hours before the beer was brewed.
In an effort to showcase the characteristics of our Nugget hops we decided to brew our first ever S.M.A.S.H. beer. The acronym S.M.A.S.H. stands for Single Malt and Single Hop. The mash for this beer was composed entirely of Maris Otter, an English base malt that produces a slightly darker beer than American pale malt and has it’s own unique flavor. And of course, Nugget was the only hop variety used in this beer, for bittering and flavor in the kettle, as well as for the dry hopping. If this is something you would like to try please join us this Saturday, November 5 from 3 - 7 PM at OhNo!Doom in Wicker Park. Our Harvest S.M.A.S.H. will be on tap for those interested in a taste.
Additionally, there was enough Nugget produced this year that we were able to contribute some of our crop to the fine folks down the street at Revolution Brewery. Revolution collected uber locally grown hops and brewed a beer appropriately named Backyard IPA. We thought this was a great experiment and really can't say we are aware of anyone else doing this before.
Planning ahead for the future we also planted some Chinook, Centennial, and Cascade rhizomes this year. No, we did not plan on planting only hops that started with the letter 'C'. That kind of just happened. Can't wait til next year to c how these hops develop...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blueberry Farmhouse

We first brewed our Saison, Summer's Here Man, back in April of 2010; we were looking for an ale, not unlike Fantome, that given time in the bottle would funkify itself. So the plan was to use a French Saison yeast strain in addition to a starter made from the dregs of a Fantome. The resulting beer, while refreshingly crisp & dry with earthy notes of black pepper and spice, just never really got to that funky place. So to rectify this situation the idea was to brew another farmhouse-style ale, but this time ferment with only the grown-up dregs from the bottom of that king of Saison from Soy. We decided on a very modestly bittered wort comprised of roughly half pale malt & half wheat & fermented with our Fantome starter. The resulting beer, Farmhouse 6, turned out exactly as we had planned: refreshing, crisp, slightly wheaty & sour - not puckeringly, Pajottenland style sour, but a light sourness that made the beer even more refreshing & thirst quenching. It was one of our most popular & one of my favorite Low Dive beers of 2010.

So, its 2011 & we wanted to bring this one back, but with a twist - Low Dive's first fruit beer. We brewed the same wort as last summer & made another starter from the various bottles of Fantome the 4 of us had collected over the last year - it also worked out to be a nice little tasting to get to all of those precious dregs.

Once the beer had completely fermented the sugars from the wort, we added the fruit. Blueberries - more than a pound and a half of fruit per gallon of beer. It took a couple of months for the yeast to eat all of the available sugars in the berries, but the finished beer achieved a brilliant red-pink hue & a berry character, that while not in your face, added a nice complexity to an already successful beverage. A perfect beer for this 80 degree Indian Summer we are in the middle of. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brew Ha Ha

Tonight we kegged the rye saison and small beer for the upcoming Brew Ha Ha. Next weekend we'll be joining forces with Chef Won Kim & Co. and some other talented homebrewers to bring you great food and locally handcrafted beers at a really unique space in Pilsen.

Come hang out, chow down and share a drink with us.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mainly Black

Since I last wrote in January there have been several new beers working their way into the Low Dive lineup. Back in February we brewed Jampit, an Oatmeal Stout of medium gravity with a pretty complex grain bill - moderately hopped with both Nugget and Liberty hops. After some discussion with Chicago Micro-Roaster Dark Matter, we decided to cold-press some Indonesia Java Jampit and added the extract at bottling. The result is a easy drinking Coffee forward Oatmeal Stout perfect for that first morning beverage.
March brought the formulation of a another stout recipe. This stout while equally as complex in its grain bill, was brewed to a much higher gravity & hopped much more aggressively than Jampit. Currently clocking in at around 11% abv., this yet to be named stout rests in secondary as we patiently await its large flavors to meld and become more cohesive.
Also in March, we brewed Low Dive's first Porter. In a recipe written by Sean, we featured some home-toasted Oats in this American-style interpretation. The batch was split & half currently resides on some Bourbon soaked Oak, while the other half is being dryhopped & will soon find its home in bottles.
One last update; A little over a week ago, under constant threat of rain, we detoured from the blackness and brewed a Farmhouse style Saison. This style is traditionally very pale in color and due to its dry finish will result in a refreshing beverage, perfect for a day in the sun. We utilized a traditional grain bill & paid homage to both the Belgian and French yeast origins, but did stray a little from tradition, using American hop variety Citra for every step of the process - we also plan to add more of the citusy goodness a little later when this Saison gets dryhopped in the keg with more Citra.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

If you weren't aware, most of our brews up until recently have been constructed by Matt. This year, it was our goal for the rest of us to contribute. On April 17, we brewed my first recipe; an approximately 7% wheat IPA, named Here Comes the Sun.

We mashed mostly 2-row and wheat. We added both Centennial and Cascade hops on brewday, and dry-hopped with Citra when we racked into secondary.

We ended up with an attractively yellowish-orange pale ale, that delivers a pleasant combination of floral and citrus aromas. It tastes more bitter than what I was trying to achieve, but overall, I'm pleased with the outcome. At the moment, the recipe's getting tweaked, and I obviously look forward to the next time we brew this beer. But until then, give us a shout if you'd like to try it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

a little help from our friends

During the last week of 2010 we brewed our second installment of our sour ale series. These yet to be named beers have many many months (in all likeliness years) to go before they are anywhere near ready to drink. The long fermentation process is due to the use of an aggressive yeast called Brettanomyces (which will provide some funky/earthy flavors) as well as the use of the bacterias Lactobacillus & Pediococcus (which will bring the sourness), these organisms can take years to eat all of the available sugars in our wort as opposed to the 'regular' ale yeast strains that can complete fermentation in less than a few weeks. The wort itself is pretty pale in color and very low in hop bitterness, to this we added a blend of yeasts including the ones mentioned above, a Belgian ale yeast and a sherry yeast from Wyeast as well as some dregs from a few commercially available sour ales (New Glarus, Captain Lawrence, Drie Fonteinen, Russian River & Cantillon), this will help insure that we get a good variety of bacteria to turn our sweet wort into a complex sour ale. It will be at least a year before we taste this beer & that time we may decide to package some, add some fruit to some and/or save some for blending with future batches - but we'll talk about that in the future.

In other Lowdive news, we packaged a couple of beers this past Sunday:

Herbst Schwarz is our take on a Schwarzbier, weighing in at 7.72% abv. it is a little stronger than would be traditional, plus we used American grown Liberty Hops instead of a more traditional German variety.

Bad Blood is the second brewing of the Rye Pale Ale we had on tap at BrewBQ 2, this batch came in a little stronger at 8.77% abv. and was brewed with a significant a mount of Rye Malt. Bad Blood was hopped exclusively with Nugget hops, including a large amount grown in the back yard of two of our co-founders.