The brewers at Stormcloud Brewing Company in Frankfort are constantly honing their craft and trying out new recipes.
In this week’s Brewvine, Whitney Amann and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson show you how you can get a taste of their creative process.
“In addition to our big 20 barrel system here, we’ve got a small, half barrel system with one barrel fermenters,” said head brewer and co-owner of Brian Confer. “We call it our pilot system and we use that pilot system to do a couple things. We do some recipe formulation, recipe tweaks on the small system before we scale it up to the big system, but the other thing we do is the brewers have sort of a free pass on that system to do whatever they want.”
That “free pass” gives the brewers at the opportunity to get creative with different hop varieties and strains of yeast.
You can taste the results at their taproom like their “Sunrunnr”.
“It’s a version of our ‘Rainmaker’ brewed to be a lower ABU and then we ferment it with these kveik strains, we dry hop it,” he said. “It’s very different, you would never taste it next to ‘Rainmaker’ and even think that it’s the same beer but it’s a variation of the recipe and it’s a really good, easy drinking, summer ale with a little bit of tartness.”
Another variation that you’ll find on their brewer tap is the “Nelsoneer”.
“Right now on tap we’ve got the ‘Nelsoneer’, it’s a little bit different than the pilot batch but it’s still a brewer’s tap,” said Brian. “It’s a little bit higher alcohol version of our ‘Birdwalker blonde’. We did it in our foeder, which is a large wooden vessel. It’s been in the foeder for three months. That imparts a nice oaky character to it. Chris thought that it would be really cool to pull some of that aside into our pilot fermenters and do different dry hops with it. So we pulled some out we dry hopped this one with a New Zealand hop, Nelson Sauvin, which is known for a real white wine type flavors and gooseberry type flavors. It’s really delicious, it’s kind of tart, lovely color, really nice summer drinker.”
They try to keep two of these “ex-beer-iments” on tap at all times but since they only get a keg or two out of each small batch, these creative craft brews go fast.
“We may start scaling up one or two of them next summer,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to just keep throwing stuff at the wall, see what sticks.”