This week we are releasing “Geography Bee,” our cross-continental barrel-aged saison collaboration!
In truth this collaboration began years ago when Barrel Master Matt Cohen met his college roommate Phil Lorenz, now co-owner of Nectar Creek Meadery in Oregon. Nectar Creek makes delicious, “sessionable” meads that really highlight honey’s versatility.
When these two fermentation geeks finally sat down to discuss what their collaboration would look like, they knew it had to prominently feature honey alongside our expanding wood-aging program. We’re really proud of the resulting beer(s) and are finally ready to showcase them.
We used honey in the brewhouse to replace a portion of the grain, aka a “hot side” addition. Since honey is fully fermentable, this really only lightens the body of the final product, pushes up ABV a touch and otherwise doesn’t provide much in the way of flavor compounds.
After fermentation with a saison yeast, we racked the beer into wine barrels for souring and conditioning. To half the barrels, we added a single varietal carrot blossom honey from Oregon; to the other half, we added a single varietal cranberry blossom honey. To our surprise, the resulting secondary fermentation produced two very different beers! We decided upon tasting them that we’d release them as such: Geography Bee (MA) and Geography Bee (OR).
The OR version has a touch more acidity, a spicy, floral note on the nose and a rather sharp, short finish. By contrast the MA version features softer honey notes, baking spice that we recognize from tasting the honey, and a longer, fuller mouthfeel.
Both versions will be available in our Barrel Room and throughout Massachusetts this week. We couldn’t BEE any more excited! Check out this videos below to learn more.