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The Belgian Mare Says Hello!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Creating A New Style

I have never been one to accept sharp definitions of beer styles. When one views brewing as an art, as I do, the idea that a particular beer style is or can be a clearly defined target is anathema. All styles must be open to interpretation and innovation or they are dead. So perhaps it is both fitting and ironic that I would embark upon creating my own style.

I did not at first set out to create a new style. I simply wanted to do something that did not appear in any of my recipe books. Then it occurred to me that by avoiding all possible styles does one not effectively create a new style? Indeed, it treads into the realm of famous paradox: "The set of all things that are not the members of any set."

So what was the result of this desire for difference? I decided to create a "cream" lager. In defiance of the concept of lagers as clear, light, bitter beers, and ales as heavy fruity/malty beers, I would create a lager that was heavy and smooth, a little malty, and with a distinct, but not bitter, hop flavor.

I am only on the second batch, but I believe I am on to something. This second batch, after only 15 days in the bottle is among the best beers I have brewed. It is a bright gold, creamy, full bodied lager. The flavor leans toward the fruity (a bit like Steinlager) but with a strong malt presence. The hop character is distinct: I am reminded of the aroma of the hops on the day I picked them. It is not a harsh bitterness. It is more akin to tasting the whole flower of the hop.

How did I achieve this? I suppose I should not give away trade secrets, after all this may become one of the flagships of our brewery. Then again, in the spirit of brotherhood among brewers, I guess I can give out the basics so that others can interpret my new style. The ingredient list is actually quite simple: pale Pearl malt, 20L crystal malt, lactose, and my own hops. Oh, and a touch of molasses for priming prior to bottling.

So what name did I give this new style I created? After a bit of thought, I decided to honor both geography and content. I decided it should be known as New England Cream Lager. Let us hope that many will enjoy it and none feel compelled to define it!

A new style is born...

1 comment:

  1. All in all this is a really nice beer, and if I had to compare it to another beer I am definitely reminded of Ale - one of my favorite beers