Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ska unveils Snowdown beer and more

Ska Brewing Co has a bunch of beers coming around the corner. Let's get to it:

1. For the brewery's traditional Snowdown beer, Ska will release Hyper Fierce Gnar Gnar Hefe. This unfiltered hefeweizen will be brewed with pineapples and toasted coconut. The good folks at Carver's are letting Ska use their kitchen to toast the coconut, President Thibodeau reports.

"I've never even imagined such a thing," Thibodeau says. "This came out of Head Brewer Thomas Larsen's head. Obviously we have to keep a short lease on that guy, but he got away with one here."

The toasted coconut and pineapples fit in with Snowdown's "Life's a Beach" theme. After Larsen's success along with Avery Brewing Co. in brewing Wheelsucker Wheat, this might be tasty. I can also imagine the pineapple sweetness dominating with a cloying, syrupy taste. We'll have to see how this comes out. Regardless, it's a pretty daring experiment, even for a local release.

Hyper Fierce Gnar Gnar Hefe will be released only in Durango in 22-ounce bottles beginning Dec. 29, Thibodeau says.

2. Right after that, the brewery will release Ska Sour, which the brewery has been working on for most of the last year, Thibodeau says. I'll let the man tell you about it himself:

"If you could give it a style, I might call it a Belgo-American Sour Pale. It was brewed specifically
for the 10th anniversary of Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines. Brewed with multiple yeast strains, including Brettanomyces, Ska Sour was aged and generally funked-up in oak casks inoculated with all manner of groovy little bugs. The aroma is decidedly sour with musty Brett hints and hearty notes of dark fruits (black currant, plum). The addition of Centennial dry hops in the casks give this beer a unique Ska hop twist."

Ska Sour will be released at the Vail Festival on Jan. 9, and statewide the following week. It will be bottled in 750ml bottles topped by a cork and cage.

Brettanomyces is the yeast behind some of my favorite beers, including Deschutes' The Dissident. It's an extremely delicate yeast that takes talented, patient brewers to handle.

In a larger sense, this is exactly the kind of beer I've been waiting for Ska to brew. The rush to "imperialize" every style has reached its limit, and it's time for a new trend in brewing. Going back to the roots of continental European traditions, like sour beers from those crafty Belgians, is a promising frontier.

3. Finally, one more limited-release Local Series beer will be out soon. This beer - which apparently still lacks a name - is a cream stout aged in oak casks with orange peels.

"The last time I tasted it, it reminded me of a liquid creamsicle," Thibodeau says. "This is very limited (4 casks) and will only be available in Durango. Look for the familiar Local Series labels on 22-ounce bottles."

Update: Beer #3 is apparently named Oak-aged Orange Cream Stout, per Ska's Facebook feed.

1 comment:

  1. I am really looking forward to taste the new Ska Sour as I am a big fan of sour beers. I love the fact that more and more Colorado breweries and brewpubs are starting to experiment with Brettanomyces. I'm going to try to make it up to Vail for the Big Beers fest in January. If not, then the Sour Ale Fest at Avery Brewing in February. Glad to see Ska is branching out!