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Kveik Fest 2019 | A Unique Norwegian Farmhouse Yeast

Kveik Fest 2019 Preview for

It’s only a matter of time before Chicago’s craft-community routinely lists Burnt City Brewing as one of the city’s most innovative and creative breweries. And that day may inch closer after it hosts Kveik Fest. Thirty Breweries from around the country will descend upon Chicago to showcase beer brewed with kveik, a traditional and unique Norwegian farmhouse brewing yeast. The festival will occur on September 7 at the (also innovative) District Brew Yards, a spot shared by Burnt City, Around the Bend and Bold Dog Brewery.

“Kveik is a Norwegian dialect word for ‘yeast’,” explained Lance Shaner, owner at Omega Yeast Labs in Chicago. “In the brewing context, kveik are Norwegian farmhouse brewing yeasts that collectively share a lot of common traits, most notably high temperature tolerance (not unusual for them to produce good beer in the upper 90sF), high alcohol tolerance and fast fermentation. They were brought to the attention of the world by Norwegian blogger Lars Marius Garshol.”

Garshol will be on-hand at the fest to speak about kveik. “He’s traveled to many farmhouse breweries in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Russia. I’m excited to have him be part of this event,” said Ben Saller, co-head-brewer and partner at Burnt City.

One thing Lars makes clear on his blog: “Kveik is a type of yeast, not a specific strain.”

Shaner explained:

“From a brewing process perspective, they throw a lot of rules out the window. High temperature, fast fermentations are to be avoided typically, but kveik thrive in that environment and produce wonderful, fruity ales. Importantly, they can also be used to produce styles popular today, such as hazy IPAs and big stouts.”

Saller added:

“By far the most appealing aspect of kveik for me is the flavors it can give to beer. It can add notes of citrus, pineapple, peach, and other fruits without adding the banana and clove notes we’re used to with Belgian yeast.”

Kveik Fest functions as another example of how craft beer can result from confluence of historical and contemporary brewing (one need not go any further than to one’s local brewery with foeders in the brewhouse to see an example). The Burnt City Brewing Kveik Fest is an expanded version (30 breweries, 60 drafts) of an event that has occurred the last two years in San Francisco, hosted by Old Devil Moon, during the area’s craft beer week. The last one titled, “Kveiking Raid 2: The Kveikening.” One would imagine that usage of kveik will only grow from this point forward. So, for those who haven’t yet heard of Kveik, it won’t be long until they do.


So, what can patrons expect from the thirty breweries attending the Chicago event? “I expect quite a few different kveiks to be used for these beers,” explained Saller. “There are four or five strains more readily available to American brewers, but some breweries are tracking down other ones. Hopefully we’ll see some at Kveik Fest.”

Meanwhile, Burnt City will collaborate with Omega Yeast labs and Garshol on its beer for the fest. “We’ll be using Framgarden kveik for the first time. As far as I know, we’ll be the first brewery in Chicago to use this particular strain,” said Saller.

This is not the first time the brewery has decided to showcase historical styles and ingredients. Back in November, 2018, Burnt City and Omega collaborated on a Lithuanian Farmhouse-Style Raw Ale comprised of Lithuanian yeast and relying on old-world techniques such as forgoing the boiling of wort. Raw, indeed.

“I like to work with new ingredients, particularly when they give me perspective on how brewers did things in times and places that I’m not well familiar with,” said Saller. “The more ingredients and brewing techniques I’m aware of, the more inspiration I have when I’m working on new recipes.”

Details: Kveik Fest 2019

Brewery List:

Brewery List for Kveik Fest 2019 at Chicago's District Brew Yards
Brewery List for Kveik Fest 2019 at Chicago’s District Brew Yards, hosted by Burnt City Brewing

When: September 7, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Cost: $75.00 (You can purchase tickets here)

Where: Hosted by Burnt City Brewing at District Brew Yards | 417 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60622
“Kveik Fest will take place outside in the parking lot adjacent to the District Brew Yards under tent cover. In the case of serious weather, the festival will relocate inside District Brew Yards.”

Food: Patrons can order from the regular dining menu inside District Brew Yards (house-smoked bbq, sides and desserts).

Follow: Facebook Event Page


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