We dumped the eighth batch of beer we brewed here at Tonewood. It was an American Wheat beer that would have been ready right after we opened in June of 2016.
The yeast didn’t do what we needed them to do, we didn’t dial in our process for the style, and painfully we dumped fifteen barrels-worth of sub-standard beer down the drain. And, though it felt like an awful day for our bottom-line at the time, it has been a reminder to all of us of the high standards to which we hold ourselves.
To that end, we refuse to become complacent in our brewing and we work tirelessly to make sure our beers continue to excite customers each and every time they are consumed. It’s a practice of both discovery and of refinement – to enhance the beers and recipes when we believe they can be improved.
Some recent changes
After brewing Fuego and then Chief, we noticed how efficiently their strain of yeast fermented those styles of beer. The yeast also fermented cleanly, meaning that it provided a neutral flavor and aroma, while showcasing the hops.
We decided to carry that yeast over into our other ales – SIPA, Amber, Revolution Porter, and Rye IPA (henceforth known as Holden IPA). We couldn’t be happier with the adjustment. Clean flavors from both malts and hops became more expressive than before. Without making any changes to our malts or the ratio of malts in our recipes, we were able to taste more of the sweetness, biscuit and bread character. Without adding more hops, or changing the hops, we were able to perceive more pleasant, soft bitterness and floral aromas that we intended.
Experimentation vs. Consistency
Certainly, our goal is to brew consistent and recognizable beers batch after batch. Yet, consistency alone cannot be a singular focus. We also strive to present flavorful, well-executed beers that match the concepts we intend in the recipe design. In this pursuit, we must have artistic license to experiment with recipes over time. We are currently working to make some of those adjustments now. And, we appreciate everyone’s feedback as we dial in our techniques, processes, ingredients, packaging, and service.
We don’t want to dump beer down the drain. We much rather make tweaks and adjustments. However, please know that our quality assurance is such that we will not serve you beer we do not believe in – we will not serve you beer that we wouldn’t drink!