Brut lager – a novelty in the world of craft beer
American craft brewers have never been shy about borrowing technology specific to one style and applying it to others. If aging in barrels can add notes of oak and bourbon to stouts, why not try it in the case of the Belgian quad? If bottling with nitrogen gives the porter a nice creamy texture, why not do the same with the pale ale or IPA?
As soon as a new technology, ingredient or process appears in the brewers’ arsenal, they try to get the most out of them. One of the latest examples of the intersection of styles can rightfully be considered brut lagers. The history of the appearance of the style tells the site CraftBeer.com. Pivo.by publishes a translation of the material.
The birth of brut-IPA
Brut camps would not have been born without the brut IPA, which can be considered their ancestors. But brut-IPA would not exist without such an enzyme as amyloglucosidase or amylase. Fortunately, you do not need to know how these words are written to understand what effect this enzyme has on beer.
He attracted the attention of brewers at the end of 2017, when Kim Sterdavant from Social Kitchen and Brewery (San Francisco) used it not for a stout, as craft brewers usually do, but for IPA.
Amyloglucosidase is used to break down malt sugars, which simplifies their absorption by yeast. Because of this, the character of beer changes, and it turns out to be dry, with a thin body and bubbling like brut champagne, from which brut-IPA got its name.
This style began to develop, and today Brut-IPA can be found even on supermarket shelves in packs of six. In this regard, some craft brewers thought about whether they should use this enzyme when creating lagers.
The term “brut lager” was first used in 2019, but the first camps using amyloglucosidase appeared back in the 1960s. It was a key component of light beers produced by large breweries, due to its ability to break down malt sugars, which make beer more saturated, and reduce the calorie content of the drink.
Therefore, when Dave Berg, August Schell Brewing Co.’s chief brewer from New Alma (Minnesota), he heard about the use of amyloglucosidase in the creation of brut-IPA, he thought that it is also perfect for the camps, which is known for his brewery. He set himself the task of taking all the best from brut-IPA – the aroma of hops, a thin body – and translating it into a camp.
“Trying to mimic the brut-IPA style, we used late hopping, and also some new hop varieties,” says Berg. “It seems to me that today people want to see fewer calories in beer, but so that it tastes attractive, so it seems that now it’s a rather large undeveloped territory.”
Beer lovers who are looking for a pronounced hop character, but are not ready to regularly consume an IPA with a strength of 8%, can opt for a brut camp from a set released by the brewery in June. The word “brut”, associated in the beer world with IPA, emphasizes the effervescence of this beer and its hop aroma.
“We wanted to try something new, and connoisseurs of good beer already appreciated the brut,” says Berg.
He’s not sure that in about five years time there will still be beer cans with the inscription “brut” on the shelves, but suggests that this refreshing and aromatic variety still has great potential.
“For a long time now, imperial stouts and varieties with a very high alcohol content have been trending, and there is nothing wrong with that, but as we get older we cannot afford to drink so much. In addition, beer with a low carbohydrate content and an interesting taste will also find its buyer, ”he says.
This is not wine, this is Brut Lager
The Kinslahger Brewing Company brewery in this new style was not attracted by the muffled malt aspect of the brut lagers, but by its similarity to wine.
For more than three years, this brewery located in Oak Park (Illinois) has been producing mainly lagers. Brewer Steve Laurents constantly tried to expand the ideas of beer lovers about this kind of beer. According to the owner of the brewery, Keith Huizing, when people hear the word “lager,” they imagine a certain taste. But lager is just a type of fermentation, part of the general concept of beer, limiting it no more than, for example, the word “el”.
“We wanted to create something completely new, like sparkling wine, but that it was one hundred percent beer,” says Huizinga. “The idea was to combine the technology of cooking brut with the choice of hops, which would emphasize the similarity of the drink with wine.”
To create a camp called Sauvin Blanc, the brewers chose Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc hops, which gave the beer a wine aroma and taste. The fact that the name of the beer is consonant with the name of the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety helped them convey their idea to the customers.