AboutDavid Nilsen – PorchDrinking.com
Nestled in the woods of southern Illinois, among the dips and low hills of a surprisingly wild region of the state, sits one of the most innovative breweries operating in the American craft beer scene today. That innovation, however, comes by way of ancient tradition. Owners and brewmasters Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon aren’t pioneering cutting edge brewing technologies or using explosively flavorful new varieties of experimental hops. Rather, they’re reviving the use of ingredients and techniques that humans have used for centuries to make beer. Foraging among the underbrush of their wooded property for edible bark, nuts, fruits, flowers, roots and mushrooms, and growing yet more ingredients at their brewery garden, the folks at Scratch are bringing unexpected flavors to beer drinkers lucky enough to make it to their rustic property.
Image by David Nilsen
ABV: 6.2% | IBU: 8
When you taste an authentic Belgian oude gueuze or other lambic-based style, you’re tasting something its brewers certainly hope you enjoy, but there’s a sense the beer doesn’t really need you. It existed before you, and it’ll find a way to survive after you, just like the wild microorganisms that give these beers their distinctive character. You drink a lambic or gueuze on the beer’s own terms, not yours.
Featured image courtesy of David Nilsen
I had never met a nun before. That feels important to establish at the outset.
Though I grew up religious, the spiritual instruction of my youth came mostly from non-denominational preachers with overactive sweat glands and a predilection toward sermons about the end times rather than from black-clad Catholic nuns. So I had no idea what to expect when my wife and I arrived at Monastery Immaculate Conception, home of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana. I was there to interview Bruce Luecke, the brewmaster at Saint Benedict’s Brew Works, the only brewery in the country housed on the grounds of a women’s religious community. The graceful but imposing dome of the monastery’s century-old chapel rose above us on a hill as we stepped out of our car in front of the Kordes Center, the monastery’s guest lodging facility. The brewery was nowhere in sight as we entered the doors of the retreat center.
Image courtesy of Full Frame Studios.
ABV: 4% | IBU: 20
When the temperatures begin creeping into the 70s here in Ohio each spring, we begin shedding our winter coats and making plans for summer. As we put our fuzzy mittens into storage, we start opting less often for stouts and other heavy beers and reaching instead for lighter, sunnier fare. For those of us in the Dayton area, that often means Warped Wing Trotwood Lager.