The brewer meets the baker


I had the pleasure and honor of finally meeting Gérard Rubaud today thanks to my friend Marcus, something that I’ve been wanting to do for some time now. Gérard is a 78 year old French baker who owns and operates Gérard’s Breads of Tradition in Westford, Vermont, and is the definition of an artisan baker. He apprenticed as a baker when he was 13, and was also passionate for skiing and mountaineering which is what led him to Vermont 30+ years ago. At age 47 he decided to go back to his original love and start a bakery in Vermont. He makes an amazing sourdough bread that is available around the area, but usually sells out as soon as its delivered. Earlier this year we used some of his bread in a batch of beer, which was soured with his bread then aged in french oak barrels. Even with the ABV at just over 3%, it has an amazing amount of flavor and aromatics that come through.

When I arrived, he was finishing up his day by taking the last dozen or so loaves out of the oven. The smell of levain and wood fire filled the space, which was a beautiful collection of hand made wood tables, chairs, bread crates, various other items used for bread making, and a sweet litte black lab named Jo Jo.

Gérard showed me the oven and I was able to watch how he sorted through all the loaves to pull only the ones that were just right. The smell was incredible, and I’m sure in another life I would have loved to have been the baker.

We opened a small bottle I brought, a straight pull from the barrel that holds the beer I made with his bread. Gérard doesnt drink alcohol, but he was more than happy to try a half glass sample. We both sat and enjoyed the beer and talked about all the ingredients and processes used in making it, even a financial comparison of his daily bread making and selling, to me brewing this batch that has taken up space in a few barrels for 6 months, and the costs associated with that.

There are a lot of similarities to what we each make, the one in particular that holds most of the secrets is the yeast used and how its taken care of. “It’s alive!” He exclaimed when we discussed how the yeast is propogated and stored.

He seemed to really enjoy the beer, and described the pleasant aftertaste that stayed on his pallet as sweet but not sugary sweet, that has a sour balance to it. And even commented that he really enjoyed it “without the bubbles.” He was very attentive to all of the flavor components that I also reflect on.

I plan to make a new batch of Gérard’s beer soon, and I’m building the grist based on his grist… barley, wheat, and spelt. I plan to use the bread again, and I plan to propagate wort in the bakery as the base yeast for fermentation. In the meantime, I think its time to bottle this first batch up and send it out. We’ll keep you updated.

One goal of mine is to create something that gives people an awareness and appreciation for the thought put into creating the beer. My heart and passion are in this kind of beer making, and this was an amazing affirmation that I am on the right path.

Cheers!

 

Sour Cherry Season

Sour cherry season has started in Vermont.  We’ll be hand-picking as much as 300 lbs of fresh, local, organic sour cherries from a number of orchards.  These will be frozen and vacuum-sealed for use in a few batches over the next 12 months.  These batches include our Whiskey Sour, Cerise, and Sour Brown.   Every sip triggers a trip back to summer days.

Homebrew Rally Wrap-up

Thanks to everyone who made it out last Saturday for the 1st annual Homebrew Rally. We filled somewhere between 35-40 fermenters, lost track along the way, and managed to squeeze out 2 gallons for myself.  The recipe came out great, and we hit all of our anticipated numbers.

As for the bottle round up and competition… we’re shooting for sometime in late August, early September.  We’ll finalize a date in the near future.

Let us know if you have any questions, and we hope you have fun with it!

Cheers!

2014RallyRecipe

Four Quarters Homebrew Rally

1st Annual Homebrew Rally

On Saturday May 10th, we will host our first homebrew rally – the basic premis is that we brew a full four barrel batch of wort and give it away to area homebrewers.  That’s it, end of story… we just would love to promote the hobby that got us started.

The detailed version…
Step 1:  We’ll have an open house brewday on Saturday May 10th, starting at 8AM.  At the end of the brewday, hopefully around 3PM, we will have wort ready and waiting to fill into carboys for area homebrewers to take home and ferment.  You provide your own yeast, do any sort of special treatment to it you like (i.e. dry hop, oak, fruit, spice, funkitify, etc).
Step 2: At the end of the summer, we’ll host a competition of all the beers created from this galactic event… we’ll pick three winners from the lot, who will get to brew their creations on our pilot system.
Step 3: The overall winner will get to brew their batch on our four barrel brewhouse later this fall.

Rules:
Must be 21
1 fermenter per person, 5 gallon max… and try to pair up or group up since there’s not a lot to go around.
Your fermenter must be sparkling clean and ready for wort.
You provide your own yeast.
First come, first serve.  We’ve decided not to take names, you need to be there the day of the event.

The Batch:
We’ll be brewing a multigrain saison… a style that we love, and leaves a lot of room for fermentation experiments, as well as adding any extra flavors you might like to try out.

Any questions… leave us a comment here!

Cheers!

Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis is a tart sessionable saison we brew with barley, oats, hops, and our house saison yeast.  It is sour mashed for a day, acidifying the wort, producing lactic acid, then fermented in red wine barrels for 4 weeks.  At a mere 3.5% ABV, this beer is a nice palette-cleansing drink to quench your thirst on a hot day, accentuate any meal, and if blended with fresh juice, can be a great brunch beverage.

Opus Trio

Opus Dei, Opus Humulus, and Opus Ferum will be the foundation of our Belgian beers… each deriving from a traditional Patersbier, a Trappist variety that translates as “father’s beer” that is a low alcohol version of their stronger beers (such as a Tripel), meant to be consumed by the monks themselves.  It’s very flavorful,

Opus Dei – “the work of God”, a nod to the tradition where this style comes from.  Light, refreshing, fruity, spicy, easy to drink “God is good” goodness.

Opus Humulus – “the work of hops”, this is our hoppy Patersbier, still retaining the low alcohol base of Opus Dei, but showcasing the flavor and aromatic qualities of Pacific Northwest and Australian varietal hops, yet retaining the fruit and spice characteristics of Opus Dei.

Opus Ferum – “the work of wild” is our Patersbier fermented with Brettanomyces bruxellenis, a traditionally “wild” yeast that is today been somewhat domesticated.

In planning…

Opus Ignis – “the work of fire” a lightly smoked version of Opus Dei

Opus Noctem – “the work of night” a dark version of our Patersbier

Magnum Opus – “great work” what we’re shooting for.

The New Whiskey Sour

This weekend we filled our first set of barrels for some barrel-aged beers. This one – a whiskey barrel-aged sour. We brewed the base beer two weeks ago, using a blend of wheat and barley, hops and lots of orange peel, zest, and juice. We pitched a healthy dose of bacteria, and now we wait. See you in a few months!