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...

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