The Art of Aging Bottles of Boom: Resist Temptation

From-Jim

Over the last several months I’ve heard a number of people admit that they don’t possess the will power to age their bottles of Boom Island beer for any length of time.  They just can’t resist the lure, and allure, of those beautiful 750ml bottles of ambrosia.  To make the task even more difficult, the taproom has bottles available of Yule 2014, Yule 2015, Triple Brett and Cuvée de Boom in corked and caged 750’s.  All of these beers are special, limited and not readily available anywhere else in town.

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© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

My sales pitch, which many of you have heard, goes something like: “Buy a couple bottles (of the Yule for example). Drink one when you get home and put the other in your cellar or basement and bust it out on Christmas Eve.  It continues to ferment in the bottle and gets more complex and delicious with each passing month.  Don’t feel compelled to share it with your family and friends when they show interest.”

Most chuckle and think it’s a good idea but some still can’t resist the temptation.  The bottles never make it to that special occasion.  Here is the idea of the day:  Buy a couple bottles.  When you get home force yourself to wrap them in any form of giftwrap you have on hand.  Next dig out your holiday decorations and bury the wrapped bottles in the bottom of a box and cover it with other boxes.  Out of sight, out of mind.

When the holiday boxes come out down the line, the bottles will emerge.  Drink them then stop by the taproom or your favorite store and buy some bottles of the Yule 2016.  After the holiday, put the bottles in the boxes and put them away for the year.  Put it out of your mind.  Next Christmas you have one-year-old bottles waiting for you, much to your surprise and delight.  Drink them up or use as a prepaid gift option.

Way to go.  You are now a pillar of self-control.

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© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

 

 

 

From the Brewer: 2015 Yule

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It is about tradition… not style.

Christmas beer is a long standing tradition among breweries large and small in that wonderfully quirky little country. A tradition that is, rather than a style, in a country where beer is taken as seriously as its fine cuisine.

In the town of Essen near Antwerp in the North, there is even a special beer festival held annually specifically to showcase the beers brewed for the holiday season. In 2014, over 190 holiday beers were represented at that festival. As I mentioned before, this type of beer is a tradition rather than a style. Some are dark, some are blond. ABV can range from 7% to well above 10%. One interesting side fact…the famous Trappist brewery Chimay once brewed a Christmas beer. After its initial release, it was in such demand that the monastery decided to make it available year round so they gave it a new name so today we know it as Grand Reserve (the one with the Blue Label).

Although the tradition of the holiday brew does not dictate any necessary recipe guidelines, there are some general tendencies. The majority tend to be higher in alcohol. They tend to be darker. Many have holiday type spices and some have fruit.

In effort to showcase the tradition, our Yule has many of these qualities. It is rich and dark. I have always used holiday spices, but very lightly so. To acknowledge the fact that there is a wide spectrum of interpretation in recipe formulation, I have changed the fruit from year to year. Our first Yule was in 2012 and was made with tart cherries. In 2013 I used Italian plums and 2014 was fermented with black current which gave a nicely tart edge to the big, dark and bold 13% ABV beer.

That brings us up to this year, 2015 Yule. The story begins with a word or two on cellaring. Most beer is intended to be consumed fresh. Filtered and artificially carbonated beers are very vulnerable to oxidation, which is exposed to the liquid at bottling time. I am a passionate advocate for one particular element in the Belgian tradition of brewing and that is 100% natural, re-fermentation in the bottle. This means that at bottling time, a little bit of fermentable sugar is added to the beer allowing the yeast in the unfiltered beer to undergo a final fermentation in the bottle, once the bottle is sealed. Belgian brewers refer to it as “Living Beer”. The advantage is that this process consumes the oxygen in the headspace of the bottle making beer inside very shelf-stable.  The beer is now able to mature just like fine wine and without risk of oxidation.

All that being said, earlier this year we opened a bottle of our very first Yule which was more than 3 years old. Its flavor development over time was incredible. With cellaring in mind, we brewed this year’s Yule about four months ago and allowed it to mature a slight bit ahead of time for you. I also went back to that original recipe which used tart cherries. We made a bit more this time than we did on that first batch, now 4 years ago so you can grab an extra bottle or two and lay it down for years to come. Happy Holidays and Happy Yule!

Prost!!!

Yule will be available at the Friday, Nov. 6th taproom release party at 6PM. Join us at 2014 Washington Ave N., Minneapolis, MN 55411.

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Exploring Chinese Beer Culture

–with Qiuxia & Heather

What’s the craft beer scene like in China? Qiuxia, Boom Island’s Co-owner, and Social Media Manager Heather are about to find out…

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Qiuxia and Heather are headed to Chengdu, China; Qiuxia’s home town, for a whirlwind week of exploring beer culture in China. We are wondering (and you might be too): How is the beer culture different from the U.S.?
Where do you find beer and what’s available? Can you find Belgian Beer in China? Can you find breweries in China? And above all, what is beer like in China?
We hope to answer all of these questions and more over the next week and report back! Stay tuned for updates from these two adventurers and get to know the Boom Island Brewing team as they explore overseas.

Meet Christian

Meet Christian, our new-ish brewer (since June)! In charge of crafting the delicious Belgian-style beer alongside head-brewer and co-owner, Kevin. In a short period of time he’s stepped into the role of brewer naturally and added another fun-loving personality to our team.

Photo © Heather Hanson Photography LLC
Photo © Heather Hanson Photography LLC
“The first time I had a Boom Island beer I was hanging out with some friends grilling, one of which brought a bottle of Brimstone. I was intrigued first by the bottle and presentation. Large, heavy bottle. Cork and cage and all. Buddy popped the cork on the bottle and out came this beautifully clear effervescent beer which paired wonderfully with the food and friends at the time. Didn’t hurt that it was almost 10% ABV as well!”
Christian spent a couple of years working at Northern Brewer, which fostered his love for the art and science of making beer. He also spent time working at Lucid Brewing working on their packing line, furthering his skills and adoration for the craft beer industry.
His current favorite at the taproom is Witness — “It’s just so refreshing!” Other favorites include Edmund Fitzgerald from Great Lakes and Bent Paddles’ Venture Pils.
“I love seeing the regulars coming in as well as those who are discovering not only Boom Island beer but possible Belgian-style beer for the first time. Jim does a great job making the taproom a fun friendly place to drink beer,” he remarks about his taproom experience.
At the end of the day, he says his real joy in working at Boom Island Brewing is simply making beer!

Meet Alex

Meet Alex, our most recent addition to the Sales Team! As a sales representative for Boom Island, Alex is in charge of meeting with our current liquor store clients, introducing new stores, and upholding the spirit of Boom Island Brewing Company!

© Heather Hanson Photography LLC
© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

“Figure out what you love to do, then figure out how to get paid to do it.” -Nick Offerman

“I first heard about Boom Island from a friend … I really got into the local taproom scene and made it my personal mission to try to get to every tap room around the area. I still wear my Nordeast Grainbelt hat I got while filming the local cable access show Drinking With Ian at Donny Dirks Zombie Den.”
“I honestly don’t remember my first beer from Boom Island,” he continues, “but I know I will never forget my first taste of a 2013 Vintage of Yule. Everyone in the room stopped cracking jokes and looked down at the beer, then one after another said “Holy Sh*t.”
Alex has worked in sales for a while selling “this and that,” but it wasn’t until about 3 years ago that he got the itch to work in the beer industry. “I started a beer blog to document and explore beer styles and dove in head first into learning as much as I could about Breweries, the business and the science behind the beer,” he says. “My wife, Samantha, just received her Masters in History from Northeastern University in Massachusetts and we both love learning about historic Trappist breweries and styles of brewing. I got my big break into beer from Element Brewing Company as the Eastern Mass Sales Representative, I still like the beer and the company but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to move back to Minnesota to work here.”
Aside from Yule, Alex says he’s obsessed with Hoodoo! He says, “I love seeing the look on people’s faces when they first try it. They look like they just realized there’s more to craft beer than just IPAs and I get the pleasure of seeing their expressions.” Other favorites include Dangerous Man’s Chocolate Milk Stout and Peanut Butter Porter; Insight Brewery’s Saison De Blanc; Element Brewery’s Dark Vanilla and also the “unique bubblegum taste” he gets from a glass of Bell’s Two Hearted after Drinking a Surly Furious.
As Alex adjusts into the world of Belgian beer, working with this crazy team of misfits and enjoying the patio season in MN, he notes that the best part of his day is “not knowing when I should stop working and go home,” and that Haiku Jim will always hold a special place in my heart. He’s like the big hug you need after a bad day.
What’s your favorite part of Boom Island Brewing Co? Let us know in the comments below!