11 April 2017
Ashland, Virginia Monday, April 11 2017 Like many of the beers brewed at both Origin Beer Lab and Center of the Universe Brewing Company, the idea of a gluten reduced beer started with a conversation.
“Wouldn’t it be cool to brew a beer/cider hybrid?” Is how this particular conversation got started between brewer Harrison Baronian and the Origin brew crew. Experimentation is what Origin Beer Lab is all about so “Let’s find out” quickly became the the answer.
Harrison, brewer at Center of the Universe Brewing Company and Origin Beer Lab and Will Correll, owner of Buskey Cider are both alumni of Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden Sydney, Virginia. While they didn’t know each other in college, Harrison had read about Will in the school’s newsletter and decided to approach the fellow Hampden-Sydney grad about a collaboration.
The Origin Beer Lab and Buskey Cider teams met and decided that ‘gluten reduced’ was the way to go. They chose two types of millet to use for the grain bill, pale malt millet and vienna millet, which are gluten free. Here’s where the experimentation comes in. They pitched two yeasts for this batch at different times. First, they pitched a dried form of COTU's house strain (dried yeasts are grown on a gluten-free medium). Because wine yeast is stronger than brewer’s yeast, they pitched Buskey's house wine strain a few days later to ensure that both yeast strains got the chance to contribute to the fermentation process.
Once the beer was in the fermenters, Buskey’s house apple juice was added. The juice consists of a blend of Virginia grown apples and is used for most of the cidery’s flagship ciders.
“We're hoping to really get the cider to shine in this, and I think the little bit of sweetness we'll get from the vienna millet will complement the cider well,” says Baronian.
While all of the fermentables of this hybrid are gluten free, they have to refer to it as gluten reduced because it was brewed in the same space where beers that contain gluten are also brewed. If the environment itself is not gluten free, the beer cannot be called gluten free.
The brewing took place at Origin Beer Lab on Monday, April 3rd and will be released at Origin Beer Lab on Thursday, April 27th. Expect a tasty, sessionable brew that clocks in around 5%.
“This brew is truly an experiment from all aspects, as none of us have ever done anything like this before. Origin is the perfect platform to try it, and I'm excited to see how it turns out!” - Harrison Baronian