"Brewing beer with wild yeast and bacteria adds a new level of complexity to an already complex process. Making beer with these specialty cultures is less precise and much less predictable than brewing with a single yeast strain. The rewards however can be tremendous if a brewer has patience." -Wild Beer Brewing, Wyeast Laboratories Inc.
This past February, Fremont Brewing announced something spontaneous and fun that will be released upon Seattle. Originally confirmed February 17th, and released to their Heron Hunt Club members, the brewery is set to release two new barrel-aged beers starting with Viognier Silence and Raspberry Silence. Viognier Silence, is a golden ale aged with viognier grapes while Raspberry Silence is another golden ale aged Raspberries. Released as part of the Black Heron Project, both beers were sampled back on February 17th, as a thank you to those who have supported the brewery for many years.
Brewing like alchemy has long been about perfection. From the modest Amber Ale to the bold and brash Imperial India Pale Ale, brewers continue to juxtapose the definition of perfection. All romanticism aside, every brewer simply wishes to make a beer that people seek out instead of refrain from.
Having accomplished their main goal, some continue to 'experiment', often with 128 different styles, to produce a personalized interpretation of a barrel-aged stout or Belgian Dubbel. But there are those who, like the age of the industry, prefer the reckless rewards associated with risk-taking to replicate beers like lambic, gueuze, or gose. Some would call them brash, others would call them careless, this writer calls them innovators.
Fremont, like so few breweries in the state, first experimented several years ago when they sought to birth upon the curious few, something wild and different. What was released from the small warehouse space, incubating in barrels, was something uttered as The Lamb. Replicated to pay homage to the farmhouse ales of Belgium, the beer was well received by Interurban IPA loyalists.
Recognizing the reaction to The Lamb, the brewery's brain trust (including co-owner Matt Lincecum, head brewer Matt Lincoln, and head brewer James McDermet) nominated an acolyte of Brett, Nick Mader to act as caretaker of the expanded barrel-aging program. Shortly before the brewery moved into their production brewery, nested near Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, the decision was made to re-appropriate the original location and isolate barrels to be inoculated with yeast strains like Brettanomyces Lambicus, with Nick chosen to stay behind.
For Nick, someone who worked under supervision at Crooked Stave, the opportunity to experiment with different yeast strains is exciting. One would only have to ask about his favorite beers (like Orval and Boulevard Brett Saison) to gain insight into his mania.
The others, when asked what inspired them would react in different ways
With a wry smile, Lincoln recalls brewing imaginative beers at Goose Island. As an assistant brewer at Goose Island, Matt Lincoln not only brewed copious amounts of Bourbon County and 312, but also had a hand in brewing some interesting wild and Belgian ales.
James McDermet, like visiting his childhood home, simply looks forward visits at the old brewery, escaping the machinations of the 80 barrel brewery. Having started at 1050 N 34th Street, the look of nostalgia can be seen on his face, as he stands there sipping on a sample of Brett IPA.
Meanwhile, Matt Lincecum, altruistic and humble, would simply remind you that he looks forward to sharing these beers, made by everyone at the brewery to enjoy.
All of course, smiling ear to ear, are excited to showcase the brewery's range from Interurban to B-Bomb to Raspberry Silence.