Sour thoughts on my day off

There are few things in life better than waking up when you want to during the work-week. That's what my day is like this morning. The only thing on my agenda (besides drinking a beer) is purchasing ingredients for my next batch - the annual brew of my Ethereal Earth Belgian Strong! I have a buddy who absolutely loves Allagash's Curieux - a bourbon barrel aged tripel - style ale that tastes freakin' awesome. Seriously, the folks at Allagash do it right (they also happen to be from one of my hometowns: Portland, Maine, but that's beside the point). Well, my buddy ordered a case and asked if I wanted to split it with him. What am I going to say to that...no? Yeah right!

Sooooo, to pay for my share, we're simply going to split a batch of my EEBS! I plan on brewing 10-12 gallons and souring half of it. If any of you were paying attention last month, I popped open an 18-month old soured version of EEBS and holy carp, it blew my mind! Sour beers epitomize the risk/reward mentality. The risk is that you could infect your entire operation if you're not careful. A common saying is that if you get Brett (a commonly used souring bacteria) get into your brewery - you might as well burn the whole place down as it'll go rampant...either that or start getting really good at brewing sour beers!

On the home-brew scale, it's fairly easy to avoid such a catastrophe - simply assign one or two fermentation vessels and equipment solely for souring. Many of my NFBL buddies do this and they make some excellent beers. The EEBS has a crazy malt profile and tastes excellent on its own after aging, but when you introduce a sour mix into the fermentation phase, it just takes the beer to another level. I think that's a good enough payment for a half-case of Allagash Curieux, don't you?

However, I'll have to wait until some of my current fermentations finish as I've got 30+ gallons bubbling away at the moment! 12 gallons of my rye saison, 10 gallons of my dryhopped summer ale, 5 gallons of my Fiery Plains imperial IPA and 5 gallons of Saralyn's DC Honey Blonde. EEBS will just have to wait its turn, but with a starting gravity of close to 1.100, she'll definitely need some space :)

I've mentioned a bunch of changes coming to the site soon - and they certainly are. I'm testing the waters over the next few weeks with regard to apparel, so keep that in mind. My crew and a few other select GrassHoppers will be donning some GLB gear come November 3rd! In due time, you'll all have the chance to do so as well.

Also, the GrassLands email listserv has officially launched and everyone on it gets even further insight into the progress we're making toward launching a craft brewery. Want on? Fill out the contact form and we'll make sure you won't miss a thing!

The lucky lottery-winning GrassHoppers for Le Roi Rouge test batches #2 and #3 should be receiving their samples in the next three weeks or so - but let me tell you: this version is VERY close to what I'm shooting for in the eventual flagship. I'm excited to hear what the six lucky hoppers think!

Perhaps it's simply because it's my day off, but I'm just in a really good mood. This has easily turned into a highlight for me week-to-week. I love the level of interaction this site, our Twitter account, our Facebook account and our Untappd account has provided. I'm excited enough to get this thing going, but it's been your enthusiasm that has kept me confident GrassLands can become a reality. We're getting there, step by step, day by day.

With that, I'll leave you guys to it for now. Grab an awesome craft beer and spread the word that GrassLands is coming! Enjoy your weekend, dear readers, because you deserve it.

Prost!