Monthly Archives: March 2011

artisanal manifesto

Artisan:
‘a skilled tradesman that produces something (as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods’

Until just a couple hundred years ago, this applied to beer on a massive scale.
All beer produced was essentially artisanal.
It had been that way for ten thousand years or so, specialists making beer by hand.
I own those hands now, and Sahalie is my futures study in what beer is becoming.
A definition for you:

Sahalie

~heaven and waterfall~
my daughter of discovery

In real-time (as in ‘what this means to you’), I have a concept for a modern brewery.  ‘Modern’ in the sense of community, sustainability, family, and most of all, beer.  Specifically ale.  Have you participated in our American beer revolution?  You’ve certainly heard of it. It’s been a cavalcade of beer, falling over itself trying to get noticed.  Perhaps that was the ’90’s.  The ’10’s?  Much good beer, lots of bad beer, and very few great American beers.  Look where we sit now!  Grocery stores with aisles devoted to beer.  22’s as far as the eye can see.  750’s even.  The wild west days of the microbrewery era are now memories.  Breweries are grown up or growing with shoes to fill.  Brewers are moving about restlessly or talking endlessly or quietly brewing.  Our beer is in its adolescence and fatherless, but not without ambition.  The industrial revolution and Prohibition combined to create a rather bleak landscape for beer in America.  Stories and methods were lost to antiquity, lost to machinery.  We brewers have been struggling to regain our identity amid all our discoveries.

This stuff gets me all worked up!  Hence, my brewery concept, which is thus:  Create a beer, specifically ale, that captures our historical reliance and respect for this drink.  To support my family and very little else from the proceeds of this project by keeping it small and focused.  To practice sustainability as an ingredient as I try to understand more fully the era we are entering…a hopefully smarter and sleeker (and sustainable) future.

Wineries often situate themselves on the grounds which grow their most important ingredient.  Taking that to the brewery, we have decided to operate ours with absolutely the purest and most individual water possible.  Breweries often transport raw materials, but never the water.  Our volcanically filtered, soft water is one of our most precious and secret ingredients considering the delicate nature of Sahalie.  This is not a farmhouse brewery.  This is a mountain brewery.  We will produce one signature beer and not much more.  Taking inspiration from the world’s first well-carbonated beverage, we will be investigating long-term contact between the yeast and the beer through aging and blending as we create Oregon Treasure.

Sound good?  Lot’s of lip-flapping and not many facts, though.  My plan is to utilize a very small home-built brewery to develop a beer that has existed in my mind only.  Develop a process that produces the desired flavor profile, and then, build a brewery around the process. This brewery will combine age-old techniques alongside modern ones, and we will not be brewing to satisfy bulk consumption.  There are plenty of great brewers out there already doing that (check out our links!).  Our product will be fermented at least 3 times with multiple yeast strains and available in bottle form only.  Currently I am brewing to determine which yeasts we will use.  Once we’ve established a house strain, we’ll move onto the base beer, testing commercially available and local ingredients.  All the beer brewed in our research will be aged in oak barrels with one of our selected wild yeast strains.  This aged beer will become a signature ingredient that embodies the change and development we demand from our product.  While Sahalie will have a consistent flavor profile, all batches will differ from one another in ways that aren’t completely clear to me yet.  Bottle-aging is one way, but I’ve got other ideas on how to celebrate diversity in our product much like our wine brethren do.  Follow our progress and stay in touch!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 264 other followers