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Panzer Imperial Pils and High Tide Update

Devoted readers of The Lost Abbey blog (also known as Tomme’s ADD like Tendencies) may recall the self imposed no new beer moratorium from this summer. I had hoped that by going less schizophrenic on the new beer side of things that we might actually get caught up around here. It was going pretty well. Then my honey supplier showed up and we “had” to find a beer to use his Grapefruit Honey in. So, Witch’s Wit was released. We almost made it 60 days before I broke down and brewed a new beer. During that Moratorium, we also brewed another beer under wraps.

Perhaps from the title of this Blog, you may have figured out that we have another new beer in the pipeline. Some of you may also find it curious that we chose to brew an Imperial Pilsner given my lack of interest in brewing lager styled beers. But like every great beer here at Port Brewing, there is a story. So humor me (as you always do) as I discuss in great, but not excruciating, the details for this new little beer.

A few years ago, the Great American Beer Festival decided to create a new category of beers. Essentially, they wanted to have a category that could bridge home and commercial brewing. This category is called the GABF Pro- Am and it features award winning home brew recipes brewed at commercial breweries. I think it’s a pretty cool idea and have wanted to support it since its inception. Last year, we could not get our crap together to do it and missed out. The guys at Ballast Point won a Bronze Medal for their Sculpin IPA which as we all know is a great IPA.

Those of you who visit Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey have no doubt been introduced to Julian Shrago. No stranger to great beer, Julian and his side kick Nigel come by from time to time. I have been impressed since day one with his beers (not Nigel’s) and have always thought his Bellweather IPA would give many a craft brewed IPA a run for their money. So Julian and I started talking about using one of his recipes for the 2008 Great American Pro Am.

Around the same time, Julian went down to Solana Beach and brewed a batch of his Tovarish Cofffee Imperial Stout with Greg and Yiga. It was decided they would hold back a keg for the competition. I started thinking about how great Julian’s beers are and I mentioned in passing to Jeff Bagby, Pizza Port Carlsbad Head Brewer and Director of Pub Operations that each Port location ought to jump on the Shrago Express. Essentially, we would all select one of Julian’s recipes and brew it for the 2008 GABF.

This was all fine and dandy and in fact Julian came and brewed this batch of beer with us on July 3rd, 2008. He then went on and brewed another batch of beer in Carlsbad with Jeff. We selected the Imperial Pils recipe as we felt it would be a great departure from all the ales and weird stuff we normally do AND, there weren’t any raisins looking to jump on board.

From the moment we decided to brew this beer, I was concerned we might have an issue sourcing enough hops to make it work. We might not be Sam Adams in our hop needs but damnit this is an Imperial IPA being brewed with hops we don’t normally keep around. We were fortunate and really only had to sub Domestic Hallertau for German Hallertau. We got some great German Tett and Saaz as well. The brew day went incredibly well and the beer has been lagering away for some time now.

It looks as if it is finally time to get off our duffs and package the beer. Yes, I know I promised no new beers earlier in the summer. But hey, I’m entitled to Whims and Folly from time to time. New Belgium may be bigger but they don’t own Folly making meriment. The real bitch of this beer is that we can’t send it to Denver to the Great American Beer Fest.

It seems that we didn’t read the fine print. And by fine print, I don’t mean the part that says “No Imperial Anythings.” No, what I missed was the part that said Contestants in the Pro Am can only enter one beer per AHA Membership. Our dream of having four Shrago Specialty beers in Denver was dashed. It sucks. I guess I need a new pair of glasses?

Either way, we have this new beer coming out in a couple of weeks. Distribution will be quite limited. In fact, most of it probably won’t even leave Southern California. I doubt we’ll yield more than 200 cases. It will be on tap at the brewery for sure and growlers will most likely fly out of here. I wanted to tell the story of Panzer Imperial Pilsner today so that Julian gets credit for this beer. He needs to get off his ass and open a brewery of his own so that I can visit and talk smack. Orange County has The Bruery. Let’s hope it doesn’t stop there. I look forward to another 9.0% ABV beer on the wall. It’s just what we need around here.

Lastly before I forget there are two more notes to post today. First is that we did launch our beers in Colorado last week. Thanks to all of you who are supporting us and your local beverage store with your buying power. It looks like Colorado will be good to us. There has been some interest in our Midwest timing. I forgot to include that we are looking at more area then just Chicago at this time. Hang on for more news at 11 about this when I can post.

Finally, High Tide is progressing along nicely. We have 80 bbls in Brite Beer tank # 2 and another 120 in Brite Tank 4 as well. We hope to transfer the beer next Monday to the bottling tank and begin that process on Tuesday- Thursday for the first bottling. My guys will kill me for this but it will be worth it. We’re going to have a cask release for High Tide on Thursday September 25,2009 at O’Briens so come on out for not one but two casks that night. Bottles should be in the market starting October 1, 2008.

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