Back in 2011 I decided I wanted to open a brewery focused on the production of barrel-aged American Wild Ales. I was living in Berlin and studying Brewing and Malting Science at VLB, and most of the curriculum focused on the production of traditional German-style lagers. I love well-made German lagers, but for a long time I have viewed wild ales and Belgian Lambic as the most complex, ultimate beer. I had brewed some beers with Brettanomyces and souring bacteria at other breweries before moving to Germany, but I wasn’t able to experiment as much as I would like. While living in Germany I spent much of my free time reading books and scientific journals about the production and history of Belgian Lambic. I visited Belgium a couple times, and met several of my favorite Belgian brewers.
In November of 2017 I was finally able to open Odd Breed, and it has been a crazy ride opening and operating a brewery focused on Belgian-inspired wild ales aged in oak. My passion and effort that goes into producing these types of beers is something that I have sometimes struggled to explain to consumers. These beers aren’t simply special because they require extra work and are aged for a long time. They are special because of the multifaceted approach, the seemingly infinite number of variables to consider that ultimately decide the flavor of the beer, and the individual preference that goes into blending barrels and deciding on the desired flavor profile. Creating beers like this is not just an exercise in patience; the production of Lambic-style beers is a canvas to display style.
Creating a beer that follows the recipe and process for traditional Lambic is easier said than done.
Our two anniversary beers were brewed with imported Pilsner malt and domestic raw wheat, and boiled for 4.5 hours with aged whole leaf hops. We followed the procedure for a traditional turbid mash, which ensures a prolonged fermentation, fuller body (for a wild beer) and even a slight sweetness from the production of long chain, unfermentable sugars. Instead of a typical 6-8 hour brew day, our Lambic-inspired brew day lasts over 20 hours. Creating these beers is exhausting, but it’s a labor of love.
Since our brewery is now 2 years old, we found it fitting to release two beers for two years.
One of our anniversary beers is our Lambic-inspired wild ale left unblended, and the other is the same base beer refermented with organic white-flesh peaches and pluots fresh from California.
Our Lambic-Inspired wild ale is more fruity than our Saison (Past & Future), yet also has a more phenolic, classic horse blanket and leather character. The finish is bright with lemon and grapefruit alongside soft acidity. The ridiculously long, complex and intensive brew day resulted in a nuanced beer that I think is worth the extra effort and attention to detail.