Bread

 
 Photo of a bottle of Bread

Photo of a bottle of Bread


In the summer of 2017, in collaboration with the folks at Union Square Cafe, we began to experiment with training sourdough yeast culture to ferment Sour Farmhouse Ale in oak.

 Photo of Union Square Cafe’s sign

Photo of Union Square Cafe’s sign

When we visited USC to pick up the sourdough starters, their baker greeted us in the Cafe’s dining room with two very large cardboard boxes.

One was filled with:

  • Six or seven different starters in clear plastic kitchen pints.

  • The same number of whole grain flour blends in brown paper bags that corresponded to the starters.

  • A hand-written list of instructions on how to properly hydrate the flour to feed the starters, should they become hungry.

 Photo of Bread bottle and glass at Union Square Cafe

Photo of Bread bottle and glass at Union Square Cafe

The other box was filled with:

  • Twenty five pounds of bread (we ate as much of it as we could).

 Photo of Alex from Union Square Cafe pouring Bread into a glass

Photo of Alex from Union Square Cafe pouring Bread into a glass

Over the next few months, we put each starter through a number of trials to select for the most desirable combination of yeast culture & fermentation environment:

  • In hopped & un-hopped wort.

  • In the presence of Oxygen or C02.

  • At room temperature, or in the Boiler Room (which is as hot as it sounds).

  • Every combination of the above.

We then used this culture to inoculate a Sour Farmhouse Ale, which we transferred to oak wine barrels for long term maturation.

 Photo of Mike taking a sample of Bread from one of our barrels

Photo of Mike taking a sample of Bread from one of our barrels

Almost a year later, the team from USC came up to visit the brewery, bringing along with them a knapsack full of fruit & botanical tinctures they developed for the Cafe’s cocktail program. We tasted through samples from all of the barrels and all of the tinctures.

Eventually (after a significant amount of drinking), we landed on the arrangement used on this year’s version of Bread:

  • Orange Zest

  • Lemon Balm

  • And Rose Petals!

 Photo of Natalia hand waxing bottles of Bread before they are labeled

Photo of Natalia hand waxing bottles of Bread before they are labeled

Bread is the result of countless decisions made over the course of the last year, hand in hand with the team at USC, who we have found to be as kind and passionate about their craft as the stories would lead you to believe.

 Photo of Union Square Cafe’s dining room

Photo of Union Square Cafe’s dining room

Available exclusively at Union Square Cafe.

 
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