Silo | Hedgerow | Grindstone
Farmhouse ales have always been a favorite style for us around Penrose, and we recently got to spend some time in the cellar, crafting some rustic saisons with some fun techniques and unique ingredients. Saison is a broad style that really allows a sense of time and place to shine through in the finished beer. The methods we employ and the ingredients we use lend to a unique fermentation and conditioning, which provide a sort of personality to the beer that your olfactory senses can truly interact with.
For our base saison, Silo, we wanted to employ some techniques used by some of our favorite farmhouse ale brewers in Belgium. Firstly, we chose to ferment using a yeast similar to that used to ferment Saison Dupont, a benchmark of the style. With the potential for fruity ester production and mildly spicy yet balancing phenolic compounds present in the finished beer, we allowed this fermentation to “free-rise” in a rectangular stainless steel fermentor. The geometry of the vessel as well as the ability for the temperature to increase as heat is produced during primary fermentation lends to that classic saison character we are looking for. Modest additions of pillowy oats and silken wheat lay a classic farmhouse canvas for this yeast-forward ale. Painting fruit and spice atop a wonderfully soft body, pleasant and balancing bitterness from old world hops finishes the sip in this decidedly dry saison. A classic flavor profile, one that encapsulates warmer weather in a bottle. We chose to condition this beer in classic green bottles to allow a subtle light-strucken quality to shine through as if the beer were sitting on the picnic table in the early afternoon sun. The aroma encourages you to send off into a headspace adjacent to a late summer field of grain, as you embibe at the end of your work day. The effervescent sound of opening the naturally conditioned bottle provides the feeling that your thirst is about to be quenched. A feeling that can transport you to other seasons, and out into rural landscapes where this style belongs. When we aren’t drinking this beer on the farm, it brings the farm to us.
We had the pleasure to incorporate some local farm-grown ingredients into two iterations of our base saison. With the help of our favorite farmer Dug, at Heritage Prairie Farms in Elburn, we were able to grow and harvest some flavor-packed crops from just down the road. Firstly, we wanted to strike a contrast between fruit forward flavors, and more herbal, deeper notes. For Hedgerow, we started with black-cap raspberries and lemon. A classic combination but the black-cap raspberries provide a much deeper tannic dark skinned fruit note reminiscent of black currants. The acidity is boosted by the lemon while the oils of the peel brighten the entire experience. To add complexity we added freshly picked lemon thyme, a variety of thyme with a much more citrusy flavor than its savory cousin. We boosted the lemon gradient with HPF grown lemongrass to add that yellow juicy tone. After all that, we dry hopped this farmhouse ale with Sabro® hops. This varietal has a vivid range of flavors that play into the beer, boosting herbal thyme notes, adding woody cedar undertones, and brightening with subtle overripe pineapple flesh. A complex concoction, sure to leave you pondering another sip.
Secondly, we have Grindstone. Recently we’ve been interested in the interplay between fruit and hops. This is a really fun example of how the two can complement each other and leave you with something totally new. With our base Silo saison we refermented it on loads of apricot and blueberry, with the intention of blending the flavors of one of our favorite hops: Mosaic®. The stonefruit aromatics of this varietal are boosted by the luscious apricot while the blueberry muffin vibes found in the hop are even more vibrant atop the berry refermentation. The dank, cannabis-like nature of Mosaic® shines through the fuschia-toned ale. An exciting peak into what the future holds for beers utilizing different raw materials to provide intriguing fruit forward flavors.
These three new ferments have taken their journey from farm to cellar, and into the bottle where they await the opener. We encourage you to pry one open with a friend, and just be on that little farm in your head.
Want a chance to try for yourself? Order a mixed pack here:
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