|We pretty much remembered how to do this!|
The events of the past year have cast much into stark contrast with our closely held assumptions and beliefs. For me it's been an introspective period, with no small share of personal growth and a search for balance and meaning in an otherwise topsy-turvy world.
"But what does all of this have to do with beer?" I hear you ask. The answer is, like many things, as meandering as it is meaningful. I'll try to be concise, I'll probably fail. After all this is kind of just talking into a void so... Who cares?
I think in the end it has to do with beer because it has to do with everything. It's the 'community' stupid. That is of course the royal stupid, not writ large. It's the people; those we love, those we miss, those we help and those who keep us going. Beer, like most things in life is a vehicle for community. To share, to celebrate and maybe also to commiserate on occasion. We've been through a lot, and there's more to come so my hope is that I can participate communally by sharing the fruits of my labor with those I love. Additionally, right now it feels more important than ever to engage in tangible pursuits. To create things we can see, feel touch and in this case taste.
Dusting off the brewery after so long (more on that in a coming post), we at S&F were moved to consider timing. We were still in early fall and seeing no shortage of IPAs the feeling was to turn in a different direction. Enter: 'Winter's Discontent Spiced Ale'. It was a favorite of the early days, and something of a left-field entry in the Sound & Fury canon. A chewy, fruity number with festive spicing for that holiday kick. In attempting to re-create this tipple, I first consulted the digital oracle (the BeerSmith database) but finding not a whiff of the recipe I ended up having to go into the archives and read something I believe our ancestors referred to as a 'book'. It was a relic of the 20th century, paper bound in more protective materials to physically record thought.... I digress. Upon referencing the S&F brewery's original journal I was miffed to find that this recipe had been constructed upon a malt extract backbone in the pre-allgrain days.
No matter, our intrepid brewers sallied forth and using guesstimates based on the original recipe, brewers intuition and a heaping dose of 'just winging it' we've come up with something we're quite proud to share. It is a somewhat by the books affair with a close to 75% Pale/Marris Otter grain bill, but with some cheeky Chocolate Malt added for color/depth and a smidgen of Smoked Peat Malt thrown in for... well for fun I guess. We also went a little adjunct-crazy with a punch of boil-time cardamom and cinnamon complementing the borderline iconoclastic Willamette and Saaz hop bill. All this is boosted with a dollop of black strap molasses mid-boil to make for an [un]intentionally massive winter warmer. Clocking in at an unprecedented 9% ABV this year's WD will warm the cockles of your cold-dark evenings with a complex spicy smoke flavor and rich mouthfeel that screams coziness. Stoke the fire and snuggle up under that blanket. Let's get through this "together", so we can be together.