#yeast – PorchDrinking.com
There are beer festivals centered around hazy beers, big stouts, sours and other styles, but rarely is there a festival around a strand of yeast. Burnt City Brewing teamed up with Omega Yeast Labs to showcase the Kveik strand of yeast and show just how versatile it is.
30 breweries were on hand at District Brew Yards, the home of Burnt City in Chicago, to pour more than 60 beers, a majority using the Kveik yeast. Everything from hazy IPAs to stouts to barleywines were on hand at the festival.
Mathew Powers and I were both there for PorchDrinking.com and we were also joined by Jack Muldowney from The Hop Review; we’d like to share some of our favorite beers from the afternoon.
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.”
The modern world of craft beer tends to glamorize the brewmaster as a lone wolf creative genius. One person working away in an underground lair fermenting magic. Of course, a brewmaster relies on a large team of professionals in every step of the process. The very first step is gathering quality ingredients. Yeast is beer’s most mysterious ingredient. A reproducing single-celled organism that consumes sugars to create alcohol and carbon dioxide. Without these invisible creatures, there would be no beer.
Homebrewing isn’t just a hobby; it’s an art form defined by our country’s do-it-yourself spirit through combining dedicated scientific research and passionate culinary engineering. According to the American Homebrewers Association, there are approximately 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States after every state had legalized the act in 2013. Just as craft beer opens you up to whole new world of flavors, there’s infinite number of possibilities when you realize what you can make with your first homebrewing kit. And as you ignite this new exciting hobby, you really start to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into the industry as a whole.
Even before brewing at Smog City Brewing Company, head brewer Jonathan Porter has been no stranger to the Southern California brewing scene. As former brewmaster of Tustin Brewing, Porter had an award winning resume before heading out on his own—and it shows.
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I’m a huge advocate of the brewers’ saying that “Brewers make wort and yeast make beer.” Without healthy yeast, you cannot make the best beer possible. So step up your homebrew game with a yeast starter and improve your next batch of homebrew!