Brewer’s Corner – July 2020

Welcome back, everyone! We are so glad that we can see you all in the taproom again enjoying yourselves. It has been a rough few months, and we all deserve some beers in a safe environment.

For us here at Alter, we have been trying to keep up with the demands in an ever-changing environment while also opening up our second location in St. Charles. With our new restaurant and brewhouse, we are able to brew a lot more one-off beers to offer you all some variety. What is interesting, and many don’t realize, is that our flagship beers cannot be brewed in St. Charles. This includes Hopular Kid, Alterior Motive, Center Line, and Hell Hazed Over. This is because the brewhouse is so different than the one in Downers Grove. It is smaller, uses direct fire instead of steam to heat the kettle, and the water chemistry is entirely different. We knew this going in, so it’s not like we didn’t think about it! Like many breweries that open up new satellite locations, the mothership will always be where the main beers are pumped out.

Speaking of the mothership, we have some really cool beers coming down the pipeline. The one we are most excited about it the foeder-aged pilsner. This is our take on a traditional style that has been around for a very long time. For those who don’t know, a foeder is basically a giant wooden barrel to age beer in. This is how all beers were stored before stainless steel was readily available. Stainless steel tanks are amazing because they are very easy to clean, neutral, and are extremely resilient – but they have no soul. A foeder is harder to clean because it is made of wood and you cannot use traditional cleaning chemicals without harming the wood, so you use gentle cleaning solutions and hot water. So why do it? Because it’s freaking cool and gives the beer complexity and personality. The plan is to pump different lagers into the foeder every few months and explore all the different flavors that are developed over time. It’s worth mentioning that most brewers I know, especially here, are going to guzzle this stuff down pretty quickly so enjoy it while you can. We are expecting it to be ready mid-July.

Another beer coming down the pipeline that we’re excited about is a raspberry sour. Over 500 pounds of Raspberries went into the fermenter during secondary fermentation to give it a full taste and aroma, just like you picked a raspberry right off the bush. We soured down the base beer to compliment the tartness of the berries as well. Finally, to give the beer a little twist, we are adding a small amount of lime to give it a zippy freshness.

Others to looks forward to are the West Coast IPA, Orange Hwip (yep, it’s coming back!), Kolsch, Festbier, Barrel-Aged Barleywine, Swedda Wedda, and Kings Blood. We want to make sure that when you visit us, you have a wide selection of bevvies at your disposal. Keep it fresh, keep it different. Stay safe out there, and please wear your mask when required!

Until next time,