As many of our friends and followers know, we've recently collected, isolated and banked our very own native yeast strain from right here in Saxapahaw, and we've been letting it stretch its legs in a few internal test batches we've brewed, as well as a commercial beer called Little Miss NC that we recently collaborated on with Trophy Brewing Company.
So far, we've been thrilled with how our little Saxapahaw yeast strain has performed. It's played wonderfully in test batches of a Belgian Blonde, a Saison and a Belgian-style Tripel that we've brewed here. If we give it the right malt bill, it flocculates beautifully, leaving a crystal clear beer after about 20-30 days (although it finishes out a ~1.060 wort in about half that time). Again, assuming we want it to, it can attenuate at room temperature quite easily, leaving a clean, crisp, dry beer.
Over the past couple of years, we've had dozens of folks stop us around town here in Saxapahaw to say "Hey, can I grow some (fill in the blank with something delicious) for you?" Even I'm surprised at how willing neighbors out here in the country are to try their hands at growing ingredients for us—it's quite humbling, to be honest. And as much as we appreciate the willingness to help, it's sometimes a tough question to answer. Growing a few hop bines or an acre of barley isn't too difficult to do, but producing enough for commercial batches of beer, guaranteeing consistency and quality, and preparing ingredients properly to be used with the equipment most commercial breweries use... that's a different story, and still a daunting challenge for most small farmers.
We know it's been a long time in the works, but after several months of having a smarter, more scientifically trained friend of ours help clean up and isolate viable strains from within the miasma of critters we collected here in Saxapahaw last February (of which we posted a follow-up a few months later), we're finally ready to update everyone on some of the (so far, at least) rewarding results of our wild yeast collection project.
A few weeks ago, Haw River Farmhouse Ales was lucky enough to have been invited to pour our beer alongside some of the most promising upstart breweries in the state, helping to raise funds to benefit the Triangle's oldest no-kill animal shelter, Second Chance Pet Adoptions. The awesome folks at Steel String Craft Brewery, Deep River Brewing Company, Four Saints Brewing Company and newcomers to the scene, Raleigh Brewing Company and Crank Arm Brewery, were all in attendance at Rockfish Seafood Grill in Durham for a night of great beer and great people.