You remember my friend Scott from Blank Slate Brewing Company, right?
Of course you do! He makes some of the best beer in all of Cincinnati, Ohio, and I personally think, in all of the Midwest.
Last time we caught up with Scott was about a year ago and a lot has changed since then. Business is going well, perhaps too well, if that’s possible.
You see, in my first meeting with Scott, he broke exciting news about plans to move from kegging only to bottling four of his seasonal beers. Unfortunately, with demand high, and the economics of bottling large, Scott decided to change course, reverting back to the original business plan, and remain a kegging-only facility for the time being.
Despite the minor miscalculation, he has still had an absolutely phenomenal year full of brewery expansion, new beers and collaborations too, including one of my favorite Quaff Bros brews, a bourbon barrel aged chili pepper doppelbock called The Quaffanator. It may sound scary, but it’s perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious.
Scott is still hopeful about future bottling plans. In a perfect world he’d be bottle conditioning some of his bigger, higher ABV beers while maintaining some of the lighter beers on draft. Fingers crossed.
The big news here is that BSBC has made some substantial (though frequently frustrating) progress towards building a tap room at the brewery. After a battle over zoning for parking at the current space, Scott found out that the variance he requested passed, which obviously is fantastic news. The other important piece of the puzzle was acquiring the space next door in order to make the expansion possible. All of this is getting us a couple steps closer to a Blank Slate tap room. Though, when asked about timeline, Scott will only say, “It’ll be open when it’s open.”
My source tells me you should keep your eyes peeled for a potential Kickstarter to help support the tap room construction. . .
In addition to tap room progress, at the end of last year Scott finally replaced those finicky old wine fermenters he not so lovingly referred to as Larry, Curly, and Moe. He is now the proud owner of three beautiful stainless steel fermenters he has dubbed Donny, MCA and Dusty Bottoms. The fermenters once belonged to Rivertown Brewing – and so continues the thrifty, hand me-down nature of BSBC.
He also hired a much needed assistant brewer, Colin, a fantastic brewer and all around good guy. I’m lucky to count both of these fine gentlemen as friends of mine.
He even upgraded to these fancy branded kegs.
When I arrived at the brewery last weekend, Scott was busy brewing up one of his spring beers, Out and About, a modernized gose-style beer brewed with salt, caraway and coriander. Gose is classically a summery, sour ish German-style ale brewed with ~ 50% malted wheat, plus plenty of salt.
Salt, you say? Yep, salt.
The salt actually makes the beer more thirst-quenching and thereby perfect for those hot summer days.
Scott’s version is less sour than traditional gose to appeal to a wider audience – it’s got a pleasant wheat tartness and is amped up with plenty of freshly split whole coriander and caraway seed.
If you’ve never smelled freshly crushed coriander, do yourself a favor and correct that immediately. Coriander has this amazing, practically indescribable aroma and flavor that is all at once floral and sweet. It’s intoxicating.
According to Scott, spinning whole coriander in a food processor for a short time will cut it in half rather than pulverize it, which increases the surface area and yield. I’ll take this tip with me the next time we brew up our favorite saison recipe.
I’ll leave you with about a zillion fun photos I took while “helping” Scott brew. And by that I mean I got to add the first addition of hops to the boil kettle, and that is all.
(To see pics larger in a slideshow, click on the first picture and scroll through)