This morning as I struggled to get out of bed in the dark and cold, I finally gave up hoping we'd get a few more late "summer" days and begrudgingly swapped my shorts and t-shirt for jeans and a hoodie. There's more to this change of seasons than grey skies and falling leaves. It may also mean it's time to start drinking some 'transition beers' as I like to call them.
What's a transition beer you say? It's something that's in between the light lagers and session ales that are so popular in summer and the dark, smoky, full bodied stouts and porters of winter. This style of seasonal drinking is very popular in parts of Germany, where for example, a wheat beer drinker might drink Kristallweizen in the height of summer, a cloudy Hefeweizen in autumn and a Dunkelweizen in winter and then a Banana-weizen in spring.
I like to drink something that's a bit more full bodied and warming as the weather starts to cool, like a Belgian style ale with lovely alcohol warmth and complex spice notes or something close to a lager style that packs more punch either from additional hops or a more ester driven flavour profile.
Our two latest short term release beers are inspired by this change of season. The Dampfbier, literally translating to "steam beer" from German, originated in the Black Forest of Bavaria and it's a great story of something amazing being produced purely due to circumstance and locality. The story goes that the medieval peasants brewed their own beer and of course, being poor peasants they chose the cheapest malting method available and made an air dried pilsner style malt. The hops added were minimal amounts of local noble German hops that they were able to acquire from the local growers. Finally, some yeast was required. They went to the local brewery, which obviously being Bavaria was an exclusive wheat beer brewery and begged the brewers for some yeast! Then the beer was brewed without a refrigerated cooling system, meaning a quick fermentation and the quick and vigorous bubbling of the wort during fermentation looked a lot like steam bubbles, hence the name "Dampfbier". And so you end up with this light, yet very estery and flavoursome unique beer.
The Blonde beer story is a less historical one. Earlier this year, a friend asked if we could replicate a beer he had drunk years ago in Europe but was unavailable in Australia. He didn't remember the exact name or know what was in it. After a lot of research, questions, tastings of various styles and translating some Dutch and Flemish recipes with the help of some basic Afrikaans knowledge, we went for it and brewed this bold beer full of spices, zest and classic Belgian Ale flavours. Funnily enough, it turns out we were trying to replicate the wrong beer, but one person's trash is another's favourite new beer as they say! We think the results are absolutely delicious and this golden beauty may just make it onto our regular seasonal list...
Life's too short to drink boring beers!
Happy Autumn- cheers!