Braxton Brewing Tapping First Lager
The team at Braxton Brewing has long been unabashed fans of lager beers. The brewing team possesses nearly 40 years of lager brewing experience between them so it was bound to happen once they had some free tank space. This Friday, they tap their first foray into bottom-fermenting beer with Twisted Bit, a classic Dortmunder lager. I caught up with head brewer Evan Rouse to learn a little more about this project (and pull a couple samples off the brite tank).
Dissecting The Dortmunder
Twisted Bit is very much brewed in a traditional manner; from the ingredients to the water profile to the mash technique. Brewers Evan, Richard, and Adam spent a considerable amount of time researching the water profile of Dortmund, Germany in an attempt to stay true to how this style has been brewed historically. The water profile is fairly hard in nature, but not quite as extreme as a Burton-on-Trent. This meant analyzing the water that flows through Covington and into their filtration system to make the appropriate chemical adjustments to be in range of the original natural water profile. The malt bill consists of Pilsener, Munich, and a touch of Carafoam with noble hop additions of Czech Saaz and Tettnang.
They took the extra time to perform a decoction mash — basically taking a third of the wort from the mash to boil and then returning to the mash to generate different colors and flavors compared to a traditional mash — to stay true to the style and also play with their equipment. When building the brewhouse originally they knew they wanted to decoction mash some beers and added functionality to make this process easier. The beer fermented in about eight days and then began a three week cold lager slumber. They’ve been tasting the beer nearly daily to see how it is was progressing and finally found it to ready to serve in the past few days. A run through filtration and adding carbonation means it is ready for consumption (more on that below).
The Braxton crew was kind enough to give me a small pour off the brite tank and I found this to be a pretty spot-on representation of the style. You get a nose of bread and biscuit malt and some earthy and floral noble hops. The flavor is certainly malt forward with some subtle hop flavor and bitterness to balance it. It wasn’t overly sweet but it makes for an easy drinking, crisp beer that I really enjoyed. If you are unfamiliar with the style, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold is probably the most readily available example of the style. It’s been a long time since I had one of these and it was a really nice change of pace. I could definitely knock back a few of these.
Twisted Bit will be tapped Friday night (July 31) at the taproom and Wunderbar will be in the house to serve up some tasty bites. This release will only be available in the taproom.
You may have noticed their social media posts the other day when they took delivery of two shiny new 80bbl fermenters. This will allow them to pump more flagship beers into the big fermenters to free up the occasional 20bbl fermenter for a lager. Next, they plan to brew a very traditional Oktoberfest to be ready in time for the fall Fest season. After that, they don’t have any firm plans. I lobbied for an IPL (India Pale Lager) which wasn’t immediately shot down, so keep your fingers crossed.
These new fermenters also open the door to potential Ohio distribution and packaging but that is still a little ways down the road. However, it’s a solid start to pushing more beers out to our community.