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Brouwer’s Imagination Saison


We’re going to try to play catch up around here. It seems that I am always behind schedule with things relating to new releases and the infinite amount of new beers we seem to unleash. First things first, we have lifted the moratorium on new beers (thanks Rex). Last week, we brewed a new batch of our Summer Seasonal. It is a Wit bier brewed with Grapefruit honey (Thanks Rex the honey guy) and some grapefruit zest (thanks Terri and Sage for all those fruits).

If you recall back in May, I mentioned in my first blog in months that we wouldn’t be brewing any new beers for a bit. That was a half truth. Mostly it was a half truth as we had already brewed two new beers that resting in our brewery but wouldn’t be released for a while. How did this happen? What does this mean for me your loyal Lost Abbey drinker?

Since I love a good back story, let’s dive into another one here. Last October I went to Seattle to launch our line of beers with Click Wholesale. During my time in Seattle, I visited Brouwer’s Cafe (home to Seattle’s most amazing dracft and bottled beer list) and spent some time with Matt Bonney the owner. Matt drilled me on the subject of our limited releases. Brouwer’s “had” to have them. I explained that our Non Denominational Ales and limited releases were produced in incredibly limited quantitities and as such, we just didn’t have enough to go around at this time.

I mentioned this would not always be the case but presently, we demand far exceeds our production. I countered that we at The Lost Abbey would be more than willing to work on a very small scale to create a unique beer for Matt each year that would be sold only at Brouwer’s Cafe (maybe Bottleworks?) Matt seemed to think this was an acceptable solution and he tasked us with creating a Saison styled beer for the Original Release of the Imagination Series.

Those of you who have met/shared a drink with me understand that I am a huge fan of Saison styled beers and will jump at any chance to work one into our production. It so happened that we were considering a new beer to mark the start of the Lenten Holiday in February. It was to be a very low alcohol beer made with some unmalted wheat, oats, Amarillo and Simcoe hops fermented with a Saison strain of yeast. We released this beer as Carnevale and partied the night away.

A portion of this beer was diverted at bottling time to our small grundy tank. It was spiked with Brettanomyces Anamolus and packaged for Matt and Brouwer’s Cafe. Bo and I felt that the addition of the fruity Anamolus Brett working with the citric American Hops would be a slam dunk. It was! The beer dried out to a very nice level and the Brett is available in the nose but not so overwhelming. For all intense purposes, it is a smashingly drinkable summer beer. Which is good. Because, Brouwer’s is about to receieve the shipment of this beer in early July.

One last note about this beer. It was sort of a stealth project. We really didn’t talk much about the beer around here as we were always waiting for it. It was brewed in January. We then waited for the Brett to do its’ job. Then we waited for the artist to create the label. AND most recently, we waited for the TTB to approve that label. Now that we have gone to print with it, we are waiting for the labels to arrive. It’s nice to be done with it all.

However, the waiting has only served to heighten the awareness of this beer and increase the expectations. This past April, we entered the Brouwer’s Imagination Saison in the 2008 World Beer Cup. It won a bronze medal in the 91st and final Category of the competition. This was the beer that literally delivered us to the podium for the Small Brewery of the Year Award. Without the Brouwer’s Beer, we would not have earned enough points. So thanks Matt for giving us a little push. It doesn’t take much to motivate us around here. We can only hope that you’ll find yourself in Seattle soon enough AND that Matt has some left. There were only 43 Cases and six 1/2 bbls produced of this beer. Simply put, you will not find it on sale in San Marcos at the brewery. Sorry! There is a rumor on the street that this beer was an overwhelming success and as such the 2009 version of Carnevale may take on more of the attributes from this version…Stay tuned.

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