Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ska update

Ska Brewing Co. has a couple of new beers debuting soon: Ska Sour and Orange Cream Stout.

Ska Sour is the brewery’s first attempt to make a Belgian-style sour (and, I believe, the first brewery in Durango to do so).

Ska Head Brewer Thomas Larsen introduced Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus yeast to the Belgian amber during barrel aging.

I’m officially excited. Some of the best beers in the world, like Deschutes' The Dissident and Belgium’s Orval, use Brettanomyces. Belgian souring yeasts are a rather beautiful, Old World way of introducing special flavors.

Avery Brewing Co
. in Boulder has done similar projects, as with its Brabant release, but Ska is the first Durango brewery to take on the cantankerous Brett monster.

“Basically, we just wanted to experiment with our first sour,” Larsen told me. And good on 'im.

Larsen said the new beer has “a very nice sour aroma,” but is not excessively sour. The brewery will bottle a little over 100 cases of Ska Sour, which is expected to land at roughly 6 percent ABV.

It will debut at Vail’s Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines Festival Jan. 7-9, and in local liquor stores soon after. Bottling is scheduled for today.

Secondly, Ska is also brewing Orange Cream Stout, to be bottled on Jan. 18 and released around Valentine’s Day. I know little about it, but consider: Orange … Cream … Stout. Is there anything about that you don’t like? Me neither.

Finally, the great blogger-brewer collaboration marches on. Larsen and I have a brew date of Jan. 25 for my Ska imperial red ale, essentially a double-Pinstripe. We meet a week before to hash out the recipe.

I’m thinking water, malted barley, hops and yeast will be key ingredients (I know, a bit opaque, but I’ll let you know when we hash out the recipe. It’ll likely be a high-octane version of Pinstripe, a red ale big on Liberty hops and caramel malts, with a classic English Ringwood Ale yeast).


  1. Both of those beers sound awesome. Sours and stouts are in my top fave styles. Will both of those be distributed statewide? Hope so.

  2. Chipper D: It sounds like Ska Sour will hit the Front Range. Not sure about Orange Cream Stout. I'll try to get some more details.