The world of Agrarian kettle sour beer in bottles has arrived! We are poised and excited to announce our brilliantly tart sour line-up showcasing: red plums, Montmorency pie cherries, spruce tips, and a pumpernickel-esque interplay of rye and honey.
We have happily landed on naming our beers for this series after whimsical characters from Greek mythology...
Persephone (plum) is named after the Greek Goddess of spring. With a deep infusion of plum character, this sour ale is reminiscent of biting into a ripe red plum - tart plum skin and all. The light bready malt base provides a simple canvas for the subtleties of plum to emerge within the assertiveness of lactic acid sourness.
Eros (cherry) is named after the Greek God of romantic love. Eros combines notes of pie cherry tartness with a clean and toasty graham cracker malt base. The delicate fruit tannins ride the palate upfront only to transition into a bright lactic and cherry acid finish. Subtle yet substantial, much like love itself.
Dryad (spruce tip) is named after the Greek spirit of tree nymphs. Dry-hopped with estate grown crystal hops and fresh spring spruce tips harvested right outside the brewery windows; this sour blonde emanates layers of lemon zest and pine essence. This beer is like having lemonade on a rainy day somewhere deep in the woods of the Northwest while watching the tree nymphs zip around and frolic amongst the treetops.
Aristaeus (rye and honey) is named after the Greek god, creator and protector of bee keeping. With a hefty dose of rye malt this sour ale harkens back to classic pumpernickel bread. Caramelized honey and fresh cut fennel flower combine to add nuances of sweetened anise to this tangy sour ale. This beer is built as an artisanal reflection into what is meant by “liquid bread”.
What is a kettle sour and how do we do it?
Our process of kettle souring involves a brewing step akin to making sour dough bread or yogurt. Like any average brew day, malt and grain are mashed with hot water and sweet wort is extracted into the boil kettle. The wort is then heated up to a boil for about 15 minutes – at which time the “standard” brewing procedure gets carefully interrupted. The heat is turned off and the hot wort is rapidly cooled to the 110 – 120 degree range (the temperature at which Lactobacillus bacteria thrive). The sweet, un-hopped wort is inoculated in the kettle with Lactobacillus and left to acidify overnight. A distinctive tartness develops from the creation of lactic acid by the bacteria, and the brewery has a noticeable citrus fruit aroma in the morning. Once a target pH is reached (between 3.2 and 3.6) a small portion of the sour wort is pulled and put in the cooler to sour a future beer. The kettle is then brought back up to a boil to sterilize the Lactobacillus and finish out the brewing process. At this stage, hops, herbs, etc. are added, the wort boils, gets cooled, and a brewing yeast is introduced to commence fermentation.
Why you want our kettle sour beers?
For those who like sour beer, kettle soured beer is certainly awesome! Kettle soured beer is not all that common in the bottle market landscape – or at least it is not clearly defined as such. In the beer nerd universe, kettle soured beer is often seen as a contentious offering because of its relatively rapid process in relation to historical barrel souring - which may take upwards of several years. Our kettle souring process takes all of 12 – 14 additional hours, and two back-to-back brew days. Unlike barrel aging, this procedure is predictable and yields a beer with a distinct and definitive lactic acid dimension. Many of the time intensive historically made barrel aged sours appropriately command a double digit price point per bottle. With this awareness, several craft beers have emerged in the sour segment that might simply be kettle soured and yet are stickered with a lofty price tag. Our kettle souring intentions are transparent and reflect what we have to offer.
With beautiful farm fruit, estate-harvested uniqueness, delicious organic malt, and locally sourced rye and honey, we bring all of our Agrarian spirit to these sour beers. The specific lactic sour canvas that develops through kettle souring provides a medium to accentuate and capture fresh ripe ingredients at their peak. If you are a fan of sour beer, or if it's simply a curiosity, our kettle sour line encompasses a diversely approachable and seriously flavorful journey to explore.