All of us at the farm are thrilled to announce the official launch of our Farmentation Bottle Project kicking off March 17th, 2018 - St. Patrick's day!
This inaugural release features the first two unique offerings in what is an amazing ongoing series, precisely focused on our farm-to-beer roots. With special care this project provides some of the deepest reflections and inspirations into our connection to the small plot of earth we brew on.
Join us on this continual exploration as we capture in elegant 500 mL bottles the passion that drives us to toil in the fields where we grow beer.
Farmentation Project 001:
Fortitude - Cherry Bomb Chile Porter, 9.3%
"The Agrarian hop farm exists alongside Crossroads chile farm. With an abundance of chile varieties grown right outside the brewery, brilliant fusions of flavor await our beckoning. In forging huge malt depth with rich chile capsaicinoids, we have created a full and spicy, pitch-black robust porter that exudes layers of coffee and chocolate with a warming dimension of red chile heat. Steady your path and strengthen your experience."
Fortitude was created with a generous amount of organic chocolate malt to achieve a pleasing balance for the moderately bright heat that is characteristic of Cherry Bomb chiles grown at our farm. In addition to their uniquely spicey profile, the thick-walled Cherry Bomb chiles have a distinctive fruity sweetness.
We often gravitate to cherry bomb chiles for culinary and brewing endeavors due to their dynamic flavor and approachable heat level. The heavy use of darkly kilned malts in Fortitude lends substance to the backbone of this creation, resulting in a smooth synergy of dark chocolate and sweet chile spice.
We love dark fortifying beer and fresh invigorating flavors at Agrarian, and we have honed in on precise formulations to unite these qualities eloquently. After years of continual chile beer experimentation, our approach has evolved to reflect our acute awareness of how capsaicin integrates and evolves in beer as a whole. Fortitude is a remarkable example of this experience made real.
Working on a farm with rustic equipment and brewing beer in an old dairy barn can be exceptionally challenging at times - invariably requiring an elevated level of resilience and fortitude. We hope you enjoy how we have chosen to represent in delicious liquid form this particular quality of what Agrarian is and how we will continue to be.
Farmentation Project 002:
Phlogiston - Old World Oak Smoke Ale, 6.4%
"In the 18th century a fire-like element called phlogiston was theorized to be contained in all things that burn. For this beer we capture oak phlogiston from our house-smoked malt and combined it with old-world farmhouse techniques. Mashed over Sequoia boughs in oak barrels, infused with pine needles, juniper berries and spruce tips, and fermented in pinot noir barrels; this mahogany-colored ale provides flavors of rich smoke, bright tree resin, and layers of toasted wood."
Inspiration from Then and Now
This beer was inspired by the proud Nordic farmhouse brewing traditions and the abundant variety of glorious trees we have here in the Pacific Northwest as well as on our farm. At every every point we could imagine incorporating trees into the brewing process we did. We love wood and we love beer...
Harkening back to tradition and techniques used prior to all the shiny stainless steel common in brewhouses today, old world brewing typically involved mashing grain in wooden vessels. The organic malt we used to make Phlogiston was mashed in our dual wine barrel mash tun. One of the benefits of having a woodshop adjacent to the brewery, and our love of woodworking, is that we have been able to retrofit and create unique tools and equipment for many of our old-world adaptations to the modern brewing paradigm. We were able to create this awesome wooden brewing vessel utilizing two French oak wine barrels configured with large top-side doors, 1.5 inch bottom-side ports, specially fitted mash screens, and a Rube Goldberg-esque copper sparge arm... It is quite a contraption, but it is worth the set-up to mash in such an old-world way using a wooden vessel.
Old World Smoke
Another nod to old world brewing was the use of smoked malt. Prior to the development of kilning, grain was smoked to dry it after malting. 27% of the total malt for Phlogiston was smoked by us over oak. Utilizing our large trailer-mounted rotisserie smoker and a pile of local oak firewood, we gave all of this barley a deeply rich oak smoke patina that carried through nicely to the final beer.
Old World Techniques
As described above, a variety of tree parts were incorporated throughout the process as well. Nordic farmhouse brewing tradition includes the use of juniper boughs in several stages of the process, including as the filter bed used to hold the grain back as the liquid is drained off. We substituted fresh, local Sequoia boughs placed below the mashing grain to aid with filtration and infuse a bit of essence. Fresh cut estate Valley Ponderosa pine needles, spruce tips and juniper berries were all added to the boil to build a bright tree resin character.
After the initial vigor of fermentation on a traditional Norwegian Farmhouse Kviek yeast subsided, Phlogiston finished its fermentation in Lavelle Vineyards Pinot Noir barrels - where it subsequently aged and mellowed for another 3 months. This barrel aging softened some of the sharp edges to the oak smoke and added a delicate toasted wood overtone to the sweeter malt notes.
Seek and Enjoy
The old world spirit that Phlogiston embodies flows through our veins every single day we toil out on the farm. Be a part of this world, enjoy the ways of old as we have... Seek out a bottle of Phlogiston - we guarantee it will broaden your perspective.