Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Brew Day: Pretzel Wheat Beer

One of my Brew Year's Resolutions was to collaborate more. The idea was to brew more with others and brew less in my hot and tiny kitchen. This brew was presented to me and is a great opportunity to do just that.

The Mass Brew Bros are two local craft beer enthusiasts who have visited every visatable brewery in Massachusetts. Their website features articles, detailed maps of every brewery in Mass broken down by region, and a list of breweries in planning that is updated almost weekly.

I originally connected with the guys on Twitter and met them in person at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp 2016 in Boston. Now that my hours have been cut at Modern Homebrew Emporium for the summer, I hope to be able to make it to one of their upcoming tastings.

Like every beer-lover should, Rob and Bob have dabbled in homebrewing in the past. They had brewed some Mr. Beer kits a long time ago. When the guys wanted to brew a pretzel wheat beer, they reached out to me for help. The inspiration for the beer was of all things Shock Top Pretzel Wheat. Say what you will about AB's crafty brand, but that beer does taste like a pretzel.

The guys sent me a recipe from Brewer's Friend and a description of the Shock Top beer. Having tasted the beer once I had a fair idea of what it should taste like. The beer is essentially a darkeer witbier with a hint of salt.

For the grist I went with Belgian Pils malt for a rich, bready malt flavor; Torrified Wheat to add a doughy flavor and add body; Caramunich as my caramel malt to match AB's description; and Special Roast to add a light toasty quality. Crafty witbiers like Shock Top Belgian White and Blue Moon have a sweeter orange flavor to me than say Newburyport Plum Island Belgian White so I added sweet orange peel. I used one quarter the amount of sea salt that I used in my Westbrook Gose clone

According to my refractometer we missed our starting gravity badly. Unfortunately I didn't have a hydrometer with me to confirm the reading. Everything else went fairly well. I was able to pack up my car and make it home by 3:00 p.m. It was amazing how quickly the day went buy brewing just one batch and not attempting any other beer-related tasks.

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