With our first blog post, it only seems appropriate to talk about beer. Tomorrow we will be releasing an exciting beer in the taproom, and we wanted an opportunity to really explain how it was made. While having you simply taste and enjoying it is enough for us, for those that would like to know more about how this beer was crafted, we wanted to explain our process.
We will be releasing a Chardonay barrel-aged Saison tomorrow called Pêche de Vigne (7.8% ABV). We plan on this being the first in a continual series of barrel-aged Saisons we will release at the brewery. We were inspired by the traditional ways that Farmhouse Ales were brewed at the end of a harvest season, aged in wine barrels over the winter, and served to farmhands in the spring.
This beer started as our Plowman’s Folly, a French Saison Farmhouse Ale (7.5% ABV). The Plowman’s Folly features organic Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand, giving it a distinct white wine characteristic. We brewed it in July of 2014, and let it go through a 2-month fermentation in Stainless Steel with a Saccharomyces yeast strain. The yeast was then dropped out of suspension, and it was moved into a separate fermenter we have in the brewery strictly for wild fermentations. We inoculated the beer with a strain of Brettanomyces, and let it take hold and homogenize in the beer over the course of a month.
In the beginning of October, we moved the beer into three Chardonnay barrels from Frank Family Vineyards, CA. Additionally, we drove up the road to Kalawi Farms and picked up just over 130 lbs of ripe September Sweet peaches. We may have gone for Ben’s Ice Cream just as much for the peaches. We pasteurized the peaches, and then added 44 lbs of peaches and pits to each of our three barrels. The peaches were added to provide a further sugar source for the Brettanomyces yeast, as there was almost no residual sugar left after the primary fermentation.
The barrels were stored since October in our climate controlled barrel-aging room. You may have seen them sitting behind the windows in our tasting room if you’ve visited. Over the past 5 months, the Saison was transformed into an incredibly complex beer with vibrant flavors of Chardonnay, peaches, and tannins from the oak and peach pits. There is a soft tartness from the lactic acid, which further makes this crisp beer that much more refreshing.
There is just a small batch of Pêche de Vigne available, but we will be distributing a few kegs around Southern Pines, Pinehurst, and Fayetteville, as well as sending a limited amount up to the Triangle. If you have the opportunity to try some in the tasting room or around town, we hope you’ll enjoy this first release in a series of wine barrel-aged Saison.