Looking Backward, Looking Forward

2014 proved to be a great year for Third Leap. From waiting in line for 6 hours to try Pliny The Younger, to visiting Denver for The Great American Beer Fest, to writing the Third Leap Brewing Company business plan, we built quite the collection of memories last year!

But the single most important thing we did in 2014 was brew beer. And lots of it. We brewed 33 batches in 2014. Yes, 33! Not quite the 38 we originally had planned, but a respectable amount regardless.

Beachcomber (American Saison) was our most brewed recipe, totaling five batches. Nine batches were IPAs, mainly Hoppopotamus, our flagship IPA, but some Double, Session, and Wet Hop variants made dappearances as well. Five batches found their way into bourbon barrels, including Porter’s Porter (Robust Porter), Morning Fix (Bourbon Coffee Imperial Stout), and Afternoon Delight (Bourbon Chocolate Imperial Stout). 10 brew sessions resulted in wild ales/sour beers, with nearly half as spontaneously fermented batches only (wild yeast only). We even brewed two wedding batches!

The reason brewing was the most important achievement from last year is because we are finally honing in on our final recipes for Third Leap. Experimentation over the past three years has helped feed our creative minds to develop recipes both good and bad. Today, I am confident that Third Leap Brewing Company will offer five perennial beers when it opens its doors in 2016. Those beers will be Hoppopotamus, Beachcomber, Porter’s Porter, Domestication, and Synergy (names pending).

If you’ve been following our blog, twitter, or instagram over the past year, you’ve probably seen or heard about Hoppopotamus, our flagship American IPA. For Hoppopotamus, we weave five hop varieties into a well balance malt bill to craft an explosively aromatic, citrusy, hop-forward IPA. I’m talking tropical hop juice here. The best part about Hoppopotamus is that it is easy drinking and not overly oppressive to casual beer drinkers.

Beachcomber is our tried and true American Saison. This beer began as a summer seasonal, but was so popular with family and friends that we’ve been brewing it year round! We combine fruity American hops with a traditional Belgian grain bill and yeast to create a uniquely delicious beer showcasing spice, white wine, tangerine and grapefruit flavors/aromas. Similar to Hoppopotamus, Beachcomber is noticeably hop forward, but not excessively bitter. The recipe is nearly spot on, but we will need to rename it for year-round applicability.

The concept for Porter’s Porter grew from our love of barrel aged stouts and our chocolate lab. The recipe began as an Bourbon Imperial Porter, but has evolved into more of a Bourbon Robust Porter recipe combining bourbon, vanilla, and oak with toffee, coffee, and grainy flavors. We intended for Porter’s Porter to be our winter seasonal, but similar to Beachcomber, we soon found ourselves brewing it year round. We’ve even started experimenting with barrel aging in freshly dumped liquor barrels beyond bourbon, with brandy being the newest variant.

Domestication was inspired by Russian River Sanctification and The Lost Abbey Mo Betta Bretta. It is our 100% Brettanomyces fermented beer. In 2014, we brewed this recipe and split it with seven different Brett yeast strains and seven different fruits, in a project we dubbed “Funk In The House”. It was primarily to assess which Brett strains we enjoyed most as primary fermentors, but it gained enough interest that we even wrote an article for HomeBrewTalk.com! I love the idea of offering a 100% Brett beer at Third Leap since it is a somewhat under appreciated, newer style.

Lastly, I envision adding a Berliner Weisse-like beer to the core offering at Third Leap when we launch. Admittedly, I haven’t brewed Synergy yet, but have plans to in the coming weeks. The beer will be soured with Lactobacillus prior to primary fermentation which will ultimately be carried out by our house Brett strain. The inspiration came from tasting Bear Republic’s Tartare last year. It was hands-down one of the best sours I’ve ever tried. A Berliner Weisse is appealing since it has a relatively quick turnaround time for a sour beer – weeks vs months. It should hold patrons over until our wild/sour program hits bottles and kegs after the first year of operation.

Besides these five perennial beers, I envision four barrel aged sours; Flora (Sour Blonde), Fauna (Sour Red), Fungi (Sour Brown), and Entropy (Spontaneously Fermented Sour). I’ve started homebrew batches of these beers, but they are months from being ready for consumption. We’ll see how they taste!

And that’s it. Five perennial beers, and four barrel aged sours. Instead of offering cliche seasonal beers, I plan to make variants of the five perennial beers throughout the year to compliment the seasons and satisfy our own curiosity. I like the idea of focused brewing, brewing fewer recipes (a la The Alchemist) but amazing beers. Some examples include White Wine Barrel Aged Hoppopotamus Brett Fermented IPA (spring), Red Wine Barrel Aged Blueberry Synergy (summer), Maple Syrup Barrel Aged Porter’s Porter (fall), and Double Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter’s Porter (winter), to name a few.

So what’s next? Lots! We will continually to brew these nine recipes, and mix in a few experimental batches here and there. We’ll also pick our business plan back up and iron out the final details. The next few posts will focus around our business plan and the “beginning stages” of planning a nanobrewery.

Take the Leap!

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