November is bringing some exciting news! We’ve been waiting for a while and we finally have something to show for it. We have received our manufacturing license! This means we can let you know more of what we are planning.
We can finally make beer!
So, we know a lot of you have been wondering what kind beer we will be making (and yes, we will take requests into consideration…). As discussed in a previous blog post, we do intend to stick mainly to north western European farmhouse inspired beers. The beauty in that is that the history there is broad and leaves us open to a wide variety of brews!
Due to the practicalities of these days of old, the only vessels that made sense to store beer in were wooden vats. Yes, this means what you think it means. Our focus will be on oak barrel aged beer!
Last year in August, Mischa and I were lucky enough to take the opportunity to tour Belgium. Our itinerary was really centered around visiting as many breweries as we could. No easy feat since most breweries operate with a more closed-door policy with small visiting windows. We were taken away with the variety of styles, flavours, locations, and feel each brewery presented. The one unifying aspect visiting both the old and new was the excitement it evokes for the beer. Each place had such uniqueness, but the beer was always so great. We really wanted to bring that excitement back with us to Norfolk County.
There is such a rich versatility with barrel aged product. At the basis there are the types of oak used, such as French, Hungarian, or American, to the degree they are toasted. The next level is looking at used barrels. A whiskey or bourbon barrel can add a rich boozy warmth to a beer. On the other hand, a wine barrel can bring a fruitier vibe. The possibilities are as far reaching as the alternative uses for barrels. The final touch, that will take some practice, is to learn the art of blending. One approach to producing barrel aged beer is to stick beer in a barrel, let it age, and bottle the beer from an individual barrel. For larger batches it’s possible to source multiple barrels with the same or similar characteristics and blend those before bottling. The real fun comes with seeing how various flavours can work together to make something really interesting.
Part of our vision for Meuse is to bridge the gap not only between the old world and new, but also the beverage scene in Norfolk County. Taking that old-world approach of barrel aging and blending it with Norfolk flare to create something unique to our area. Without spoiling too much of what we plan to produce, we want to take inspiration from our surroundings. The first step for that is to source some barrels locally, from the wineries of our area.
With our license in hand, we are hard at work to make something truly exciting!
Now we do not want to get too far ahead of ourselves. This is not something that we will be able to produce overnight. Whereas the average beer produced takes about six weeks from production to be released, the barrel aging process can take from a few months up to a few years! Not to worry though, we are also working on a more readily available line up of beers. The idea for this is also to create a simple, flavourful base farmhouse recipe that we can then use to experiment with further. Working in that way we can discuss how we adapt our main beers to let the drinker, you, experience with us how tweaking certain aspects of a beer has an impact. Whether that be taking that beer and aging it or adding adjuncts like we discussed in our last blog post.
We are aiming to find some partners to showcase our first brews during the holiday season. At the moment we will be exclusively working with restaurants, pubs, and bars, until our own location is so far. If there are any particular locations that you think would be a nice fit for our beer let us know! Shoot me an email or tag them or us on social media!