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

 

 

 

DRINK COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF BEER TO SUPPORT THE ARTS IN JUNE

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Boom Island Brewing Company’s connection to the Arts dates back to when owners Kevin and Qiuxia Welch were active French horn player in the Twin Cities. It makes sense that as the brewery becomes more established and looks for a place to “pay it forward,” the Arts has become the main focus of our charitable endeavors.

Join us in the taproom for trivia nights in June with proceeds going to local charities! On Thursday, June 9th and Wednesday, June 15th Boom Island is opening its door for local charities Sparkle Theatricals and Brewing a Better Forest for great beer and trivia at 7pm both nights. In addition to the trivia, on Saturday June 18th the Boom Room will host a kickoff event for Make Music Day, a nationwide celebration of music.

Sparkle Theatricals’ mission is to engage artists and audiences of all ages with compelling and humorous productions that celebrate youthful curiosity, highlight the educative value of play, and inspire laughter. Led by artistic director Alejandra Emilia Iannone and technical director, (and accomplished DJ) Rick Ausland, the Sparkles team will conduct Boom Box Trivia, music trivia using sound clips among the clues. They will also give all comers a chance to leave with booty via door prizes. A $10 donation for a trivia sheet goes to Sparkle, who is trying to match a grant in time for their Halloween event.
Brewing A Better Forest is a non-profit group of arborists and tree lovers who are passionate about trees and craft beer in the Twin Cities. The crew at Brewing a Better Forest strives to engage and encourage residents to notice, appreciate, and help water newly planted city trees.  Learn how to “adopt” a tree, play trivia and drink some beer on the 15th.

Not into trivia? Stop by anyway; the room will be alive with great beer and the active support of quality causes. All donations to these events are tax deductible.

On June 18th Boom Island will host a kickoff for Make Music Day, which is held annually on June 21. Make Music Day is part of the international Fête de la Musique, taking place in 700 cities across 120 countries. The daylong, musical free-for- all celebrates music in all its forms, encouraging people to band together and play in free public concerts.

Event Schedule

5PM Chinese American Association of MN Dance Theater

6PM The Average Tuba Quartet

7PM Brad Bellows Quintet

We are booking music for this event, send request to info@boomislandbrewing.com

Now mark your calendar! Not only are you gathering with friends for great beer, you are supporting the Arts or fostering a local tree. It’s a simple and delicious way to make the world a better place. Cheers to you!

Boom Room Jazz Expanded to Every Summer Saturday

 

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From-Jim

You ask and we will deliver! Due to the rousing success of our Boom Room Jazz events the past few months, we have expanded our Boom Room Jazz nights to every Saturday at 7pm throughout the summer starting May 28.  Brad Bellows and his “Cats” will return weekly, affixing the Boom Island Brewing Company taproom to an all-too-short list of go-to destinations for high quality live jazz in the Twin cities.

If you haven’t heard Brad Bellows and his group play, picture swinging late 1960’s Prestige label era classic jazz. They have decades of experience in the local and national jazz scene, and it shows. This is not fluffy, hotel lobby jazz.  As always, there is no cover and music will begin promptly at 7pm.  The taproom will stay open until 10pm during Boom Room Jazz events.

To use the jazz vernacular, come to our crib every Saturday to wig out to our wailing cats of cool. Now you’re on the trolley.

Musicians for Saturday,  May 28

Brad Belows – Valve Trombone
Larry Hillman – Tenor Sax
Steve Kimmel – Vibraphone
Tom Lewis – Bass
Peter Hennig – Drums

The Tale of a Wild Ale

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From-KevinSo what happens when friend walks into a brewery with a trailer load of fresh, second use French oak wine barrels? This is exactly what happened to us here at Boom Island around 4 months ago. My first thought, “More Oude Funk!”. Not a bad idea at all. But after a bit of further deliberation, a different idea came to me. I had several conversations recently regarding Brettanomyces (known afterwards simply as “Brett”) as the source for primary fermentation. In practice, this is almost always performed with a single strain of brett for the fermentation. Knowing many strains of brett are especially known for their unusual aromatics that it contributes to beer, I developed a new challenge for us. We would create a “Wild Ale” which uses three different strains of brett for its fermentation.

From there the recipe formulation began. We were looking for a very nice deep mahogany colored beer from several of our favorite Belgian specialty roasted grains. We knew that these very grains would also leave a nice residual body after the brett’s notoriously aggressive fermentation cycle. The three strains of brett were then chosen for their aromatic qualities which evolve over the months to come. Descriptors such as; fruity, floral, pineapple, crushed fruit candy, and pear were those used to describe the strains which were eventually chosen for Triple Brett. The hopping schedule was light and with the Saaz variety only.

After a brief fermentation in stainless, the Triple Brett spent ten weeks in those wine barrels which were the original inspiration for the beer. Bottling day arrives and we decided to hand bottle every drop rather than risk running the wild yeast through our automated bottle filler. Natural conditioning in the bottle was 6 weeks. The result was extremely pleasing.

Important points to note: This is a wild beer, not to be confused with a sour. A wild beer is a beer which is fermented with organisms other than traditional brewer’s yeast. There is a bit of overlap but Triple Brett is not a sour. Also, don’t let the term “wild” cause you to shy away. This beer is very approachable. 7.2% ABV. Nice deep color with a very, very fruity nose. Ingredients: simply malt, water, hops and three strains of Brettanomyces.

Cheers!

Pints and Pups 2016

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Wiggy, Unofficial Taproom Greeter

From-MartaIt all started with our bar manager Jim and his love of dogs. In particular, a very special love for Wiggy, whom he often describes as the Unofficial Boom Island Greeter. Many patrons who have walked into the Boom Island taproom have encountered our favorite, four-legged friend right at the door, her entire body wriggling from side to side as all the energy from her furiously wagging tail works its way up her torso. Within moments, she’ll either be lying down for a belly rub or will come and sit on your feet once you have your beer. And yes, she literally sits on your feet; if this has happened to you, you know what I’m talking about. In the end, the universal truth is that we all love and adore Wiggy.

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Jim and Wiggy at Pints & Pups 2015

But Wiggy’s story before enjoying time with her humans (affectionately known as Mr. and Mrs. Wiggy) at Boom Island might surprise you. Wiggy herself is a rescue from Secondhand Hounds, and to imagine sweet Wiggy as a rescued dog is gut-wrenching. What kind of life she had prior to coming into the care of Secoundhand Hounds is hard to envision. And what is even more heartbreaking to think about is other dogs like Wiggy who are currently in situations where they don’t receive the care and love that they deserve.

Given the history of Wiggy, Jim couldn’t stand idly by knowing that other dogs were in the same situation as Wiggy had been. We needed to do something to help other rescued dogs, and with Jim at the helm, the idea for Pints and Pups was born. Jim took charge in early 2015 to seek out several local rescue organizatations and invite them to come to Boom Island Brewing for a day to raise awareness and funds for the plight of animals in need. Everything was ready to go, and we expected a good day for Pints and Pups 2015.

We were wrong. It wasn’t just a good day; it was a fantastic day of love, support, and happy tails. With a line circling inside the taproom and making its way out the door, we were incredibly happy to see the overwhelming amount of support pour in from patrons. Pints and Pups was a huge success beyond what we had intially imagined, and in thinking ahead to 2016, we knew we could make it even better.

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Pet Project Rescue at Pints & Pups 2015

Pints and Pups 2016 sees the return of several rescues from last year in addition to a few new organizations. We’re so excited to have the following rescues participate this year:

In addition to the rescue organizations, a variety of dog-related vendors will be on-site with information and services that could benefit you and your pup. And just like last year, we encourage visitors to bring along their own pooches to join in the fun! All leashed and well-behaved dogs are welcome to attend Pints and Pups with their humans.

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Happy tails at Pints & Pups 2015

 

So once again, we’re calling on all dog-lovers to join us for a day of supporting dogs in need on Saturday, May 14. A portion of our proceeds from the entire day (that’s 1pm to 9pm) will be given back to the rescues. That means bring your friends and family, and come have a pint to support a pup! We want you to come drink us out of beer. Because in the end, what could be better than having good beer and doing good for pups in need?


 

All photos by Heather Hanson Photography

The Arrival of Triple Brett

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Our newest beer, Triple Brett, is soon to make its official debut next month on Friday, May 13 during Minnesota Beer Week! As a beer that has been in the works over the past year and one that is an American Wild Ale produced in Minnesota, it’s an exciting time for the brewery to introduce Triple Brett to the world.

Probably the most unique characteristic of Triple Brett, as evident by its name, is that it was fermented with 3 different strains of Brettanomyces yeast. How does one go about selecting 3 different Brett strains for a beer? Very carefully, and as head brewer Kevin Welch stated, these strains were chosen for their specific aromatic properties. Triple Brett was then aged for 10 weeks in French oak red wine barrels after its first fermentation. The patience was worth it, and Triple Brett showcases a significant fruity aroma with hints of pear and pineapple against additional floral notes. With a fuller body that provides prominent fruit maltiness, Triple Brett ultimately ends in a dry finish.

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So why Brettanomyces? Historically, the brett yeast strain has often been an unwelcome guest in breweries and wineries as it can adversely affect fermentation, resulting in downright repulsive flavors and aromas and ruining entire batches of beer or wine. It would seem contradictory to intentionally introduce such a repugnant yeast strain to a beer, but when done correctly, the results can be extremely pleasing and complex, both in flavor and aroma. Take, for example, the Trappist abbey of Orval. When it comes time to bottle the beer, Orval adds in a strain of brett to aid in the refermentation that takes place in the bottle. Not only does this practice yield an impressive beer, but it’s a beer that continues to develop. Thanks to the additive of the brett strain, the Orval beer will mature in flavor over time. Many beer experts enjoy the experience of tasting a fresh Orval beer alongside one that has been aged as the difference is noticeably significant.

Triple Brett can be treated the same way; it’s advised that you get one bottle for now and another to save for later… much later. “This [the process of creating Triple Brett] is taking elements that exist in certain Belgian techniques traditions and forging a completely new direction,” says Kevin. “This beer will change over time; Brett will continue to mature in its flavor contribution for very long periods of time.”

The official release for Triple Brett will take place at the Boom Island Brewing taproom at 6pm on Friday, May 13. Bottles of Triple Brett will be available for purchase during the release, and perhaps plan on grabbing 2: one for the fridge and one for the cellar.

Breweries of Belgium

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Europe is rich in culture and has an indefinite amount of food, music, art and more to delight any visitors. But if you’re lucky enough to find yourself destined for Belgium, there is one part of Belgian culture you won’t want to miss, and that is drinking their beer. Our head brewer Kevin Welch has been to Belgium on multiple occasions and knows several breweries that are especially worth visiting. In this post, we have compiled some of Kevin’s recommendations so that next time you’re in Belgium, you can easily find some of the best beer that Belgium has to offer!

  1. Cantillon – Located in the city of Brussels, this brewery is mere blocks from the central train station. Kevin describes it as “One of the most important Lambic breweries, in my opinion,” and it’s easy to understand why. The beers are carefully crafted at Cantillon to preserve the lambic tradition as well as the Gueuze style that originated in this area of the country.
    1. Cantillon website – http://www.cantillon.be/br/3_1
  2. Achouffe & La Vieille Forge – Kevin says that if you visit, stay at the BB&B (which stands for bed, breakfast and brewery) of La Vieille Forge in the little village of Mont and visit Brasserie Achouffe as well. Achouffe was a venture started by two brothers-in-law, and as the beer became successful, they eventually decided to pursue brewing full time. It is advised that you book and confirm the Achouffe tour ahead of time, and separately from the room at La Vieille Forge.
    1. Achouffe website – http://www.achouffe.be/en
    2. La Vieille Forge website – http://vieilleforge.freehostia.com/index.php?Itemid=54
  3. Brouwerij De Koninck – This brewery is located in Antwerp and is a virtual “Disneyland” of Belgian beer. The origin of this brewery dates back to the early 19th century, and later became officially formulated as the “De Koninck” brewery in the early 20th century. Kevin highly encourages sitting in the main city square on a sunny afternoon and enjoying a De Konink at Cafe Den Engel to pass the time.
    1. Brouwerij De Koninck website – http://www.dekoninck.be/en
  4. Westvleteren – Located in western Flanders, here you can find some of the most sought-after Trappist beer in the world. Brewed by the monks themselves, this brewery has a large reputation, but its producers prefer to remain out of the spotlight. Anyone visiting the monastery can get further information about the beer at the nearby visitor center, but the monks themselves do not receive visitors.
    1. Westvleteren website – http://sintsixtus.be/
  5. St. Bernardus – This brewery is also located in western Flanders. Book a room and a tour at the St. Bernardus brewery’s bed & breakfast in the city of Watou. Take advantage of the complimentary bicycles to pedal through the countryside (you can easily head out to the Abbey of Westvleteren). Kevin recommends partnering this journey with a tour of the Hop Museum in the nearby city of Poperinge.
    1. St. Bernardus website – http://www.sintbernardus.be/
  6. Brouwerij Rodenbach – Rodenbach, the original Flemish dark sour, is located in the city of Roselare and was originally started and operated by 4 brothers in the early 19th century. The business stayed within the family until the 20th century and was later sold to Palm Brewery. Today, Palm continues to produce and distribute a variety of Rodenbach beer.
    1. Rodenbach website – http://palm.be/nl/rodenbach
  7. Brouwerij Maenhout – Brouwerij Maenhout is one of Kevin’s favorite newer Belgian breweries in the village of Pittem and he says that owner and brewer, Tijs Maenhout’s Tripel “Koeketiene” is an outstanding beer to try. If you are able, stay in the nearby village of Tielt in the historic Sleutelhuys Bed and Breakfast, the newly remodeled historic city hall building which was built in the late 1500s.   
    1. Maenhout website – http://www.brouwerijmaenhout.be/

Thanks to Kevin’s adventures around Belgium, now those of us who have a passion for craft beer in the United States can cross the pond and seek out the finest beers in Belgium, and perhaps the world.

If you’re interested in more information about beer in Belgium, you can also visit this helpful website: http://belgium.beertourism.com/

Cheers!