Thursday, April 26, 2012

Celebrity Brew Day

A cause for celebration.

The chance to brew a Raspberry Saison at True South Brewery with head brewer Sam FΓΌss, local comedians Charlie Pickering and Danny McGinlay, Beer Diva Kirrily Waldhorn and beer scene writing stalwarts James and Jenn Davidson.

Yes, it does justify the aforementioned celebration, but you've jumped the gun. 

The reason this celebrity brew day took place was to brew the ceremonial beer to be shared and to be given to guests of the wedding of Danny McGinlay and his lovely fiancee Lesya.

Pickering and McGinlay are avid home brewers and Sam's blind tasting of their Celtic Red Ale at the recent Ballarat Beer Festival was the trigger to this idea to put the icing on top of the finishing touches of the wedding.

The two close friends operate their home brewing under the moniker "McGickering Brewing Industries" and clearly have a passion for the activity. 

To give the day an extra special touch, Sam decided she would throw open the doors of the brewery and invite the public to come and watch, or even join in if they felt so inclined. This is how I managed to worm my way into proceedings. Very clever, I know. Besides, my innate ability to... reach things from high shelves.... was most likely a total blessing to all involved.

You're welcome.

Raspberry Saison was the choice to to commemorate the occasion and it piqued the interest of everyone involved as the Saison Du Victorien was such a nice example of the style with the local kick, and today's brew to was draw from the base of that offering.

Right from the get go it was clear that the day would be about brewing beer and cracking wise, with the two lads turning even the most mundane of tasks into chuckles, giggles and fun. The element of "kids in a candy store" was apparent for the entire day with the chapter of McGickering Brewing Industries stepping into the full production volume for the first time. 

So not really "kids in a candy store", they were adults. In a brewery. That is the adult equivalent. 

Once we were mashed in and boiling in the kettle, it was time for a little bit of food, and of course a beverage. First honorable mention goes to the True South Pale Ale which is tasting better than it ever has, but the special siren that stole everyone's heart was the ever fading supply of Ninkasi's Angel that was being poured and tasting a treat.

Now, if you haven't been to True South for a meal then may I ask you why? In an excellent illustration of the magnificent food being prepared in the brewery kitchen we sampled the tapas menu and were continually delighted with the dishes being served up to us. 

I could probably eat the salt and pepper calamari perpetually, but I couldn't attempt it on this occasion because lunch was over and there was work do. 

Late hops go in and we get this baby transferred into a fermenter to let the yeast get busy and eat all those fermentable sugars, but our work isn't quite done yet. To the fermenter was added six containers of pureed fresh raspberries (Yes, this is the "raspberry" component of the title. Raspberry Saison.) to round out the tartness of this celebratory beer.

Adding the raspberries was both a necessary task and a spectacle with our Beer Diva Kirrily not afraid to get her hands dirty. There are pictures around that tell a thousand words. Two thousand.

Set to bubble away we set ourselves on cleaning the brewhouse, and funnily enough the celebrities had to go off and make some important appointments, that's weird timing huh?

Capping off what was a remarkably fun day in Black Rock we went our own separate ways. 

We'd like to take this opportunity to wish Danny and Lesya all the best for the wedding day and what is to come in the future.

Now although this Saison has been brewed specially for the big day, there will be some available at the brewery, and very limited supply going out to the venues that regularly pour True South beer. This will be the last single batch brew done by Sam as head brewer so if you see it around make sure you snap it up and enjoy!