New England Meets Mountain West

The mountains are calling and I must go.

Things have been quiet at Third Leap for the past several months, and for good reason. I am moving!

I have been incredibly fortunate to call New England home for my entire life – from birth, through childhood, college, and even my career. Besides having served as a physical home to me for 28 years, New England has also served as an inspiration to Third Leap Brewing & Blending.

The white-tailed deer, found throughout much of the Northeast, is prominently featured in our logo. The farmland, once abundant and plentiful in Colonial times, gives credence to our farmhouse ale recipes. The agriculture, from homegrown hops to wild grapes to Cape Cod sea water, has made its way into many of our beers. Even the microflora, unique to the humid Massachusetts climate, has been integrated into every Third Leap beer since 2015.

And that’s the way we planned it. After all, our manifesto has been to create artisan beer that harmonizes local ingredients with native, foraged yeast to impart a distinctive New England terroir.

But I am officially trading New England for the Mountain West. Come May 5, I will depart Massachusetts and make the long drive across the United States to Idaho to begin the newest chapter of my life with my beautiful fiancé.

Moving across the country does not come without its challenges, particularly homebrew challenges. In addition to the 150+ bottles of (already) packaged beer, the following batches are currently in the fermentation or conditioning phases:

  • Amber Wild Ale – 10 gal
  • Bière Blanc – 1 gal
  • Bière Rouge – 1 gal
  • Continuum – 10 gal
  • Entropy – 2.5 gal
  • Evolution #3 – 1 gal
  • Farm Bière – 1 gal
  • Foraged Yeast Pilot #2 – 2.5 gal
  • Foraged Yeast Pilot #3 – 2 gal
  • Golden Wild Ale #1 – 10 gal
  • Golden Wild Ale #2 – 2.5 gal
  • Lambic #1.1 – 1 gal
  • Lambic #1.2 – 1 gal
  • Lambic #2 – 5 gal
  • Lambic #3 – 5 gal
  • Lambic Remix – 1 gal
  • Plum Bière – 1 gal
  • Sur Lie – 2.5 gal
  • Sourdough Saison – 0.5 gal

Amber Wild Ale, Evolution #3, Farm Bière, Foraged Yeast Pilot #2, Foraged Yeast Pilot #3, Golden Wild Ale #1, Lambic #1.1, Lambic #1.2, and Lambic #2 will all be packaged prior to moving. These are mature beers (>12 months old) that needed to be packaged anyway. Bière Blanc, Bière Rouge, and Plum Bière will be transferred onto foraged fruit (white grapes, red grapes, and beach plums, respectively), and aged three additional months for fruit extraction. These will be stored in my father’s basement until July, whereupon I can package them during the July 4 holiday weekend. Continuum, Entropy, and Lambic Remix are solera projects, meaning that they represent a mixture of aged, continuously blended, and (eventually) fractionally packaged beer. These will be stored (indefinitely) at my father’s. Since these projects began in late 2016, I do not anticipate intial packaging until late 2017 or early 2018. Lambic #3 and Sur Lie are still fermenting and/or conditioning. They need significantly more time until packaging (circa spring 2018). These beers will also be stored in my father’s basement. Last (and definitely least) are Golden Wild Ale #2 and Sourdough Saison. Sadly, these beers are destined for the drain due to excessive ethyl acetate (nail polish remover aroma) and acetic acid (vinegar flavor).

So what’s next for Third Leap?

First and foremost, brewing operations will cease until June. This will provide an opportunity to catch up on blogging, including reviews of recently packaged homebrew. Boise living arrangements will necessitate swapping my 10-gallon electric brewery for my 1-gallon stove-top pilot system, at least for the short term. This will allow me to increase brewing frequency and expand my recipes, through low risk trial-and-error. New, local brewing ingredients are now available to me thanks to Idaho’s vast beer agriculture (2nd largest barley and 3rd largest hop producing state). This will encourage me to improve and expand my recipes while still using exclusively local ingredients to impart Mountain West terroir in each beer. New opportunities for foraged yeast await thanks to Idaho’s geography and semi-arid climate. This will allow me to experiment with a new house yeast for use in our farmhouse ales. The relocation also puts me in close proximity to greater Boise’s 18 breweries. This will provide volunteer opportunities in a commercial brewery setting. But most exciting of all is the opportunity to perform (the first ever?) spontaneous fermentation in Idaho!

Take the Leap (to Boise)!

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